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Old Apr 04, 2013, 09:14 PM
Registered User
USA, WA, Bremerton
Joined Feb 2007
856 Posts
Can't solder wire to motor

I have an older heli motor called a Tonic-X Z-20 (980kv) that has wires that have an "orange brownish" color to them.

I can not get solder to flow onto them. I've tired various heats and flux or no flux.

Any suggestions?

I would assume that "re-winders" or other motor pros could replace these with new wires but that is not me. This motor is not sold any longer - but those that use them claim they are excellent quality motors. Are there vendors that could fix my motor if I was willing to pay those costs? Any suggested vendors?

Thanks for ideas from motor pros on this thread.
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Old Apr 04, 2013, 09:20 PM
Wake up, feel pulse, be happy!
C₄H₁₀'s Avatar
United States, AK, Fairbanks
Joined Aug 2009
12,689 Posts
The copper wires are coated with a sort of enamel insulation. You need to remove this insulation before you can solder anything to them. Scraping, burning, sanding... whatever gets the job done.
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Old Apr 04, 2013, 09:26 PM
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DownUnderPilot's Avatar
New Zealand, Tasman, Richmond
Joined Mar 2006
2,107 Posts
You can put the wire on top of an aspirin tablet and then apply heat with your soldering iron. The aspirin will remove the enamel. Don't breath the fumes!
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Old Apr 04, 2013, 09:52 PM
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Bishopville S.C.
Joined May 2003
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I prefer scraping old wires. If you have already heated them enough in the soldering attempts, it should flake off easily. In multiple strand winds each wire must be clean prior to soldering. It might be a good idea to cover the unsoldered portion of the leads after tinning with heatshrink so they can't short to each other or the motor.
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Old Apr 04, 2013, 11:08 PM
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USA, WA, Bremerton
Joined Feb 2007
856 Posts
Thanks to all the suggestions. I will attempt to clean the wires and try again, and report.
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Old Apr 05, 2013, 12:54 AM
Registered User
USA, WA, Bremerton
Joined Feb 2007
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Sanded the crap out of those wires. They seemed nice and bright copper colored. Soldered them in a fan shape and they seemed to take the solder. They were silvery colored. Then tried to solder them to new wire leads which I had soldered the ends.

They didn't solder well. Really junky. I have cut them off.

I'm running out of "wire" to play with. Any suggestions on what to try next?
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Old Apr 05, 2013, 08:09 AM
USA, ME, Ellsworth
Joined May 2008
17,314 Posts
It looks like the brought the bundle of small strands of coated wire used in the windings out in shrink tube to be used as the end for attaching the motor connectors. So the ends have to be stripped of the insulation in order to solder connectors on.

There really no quick and easy way, if you want it to work you just have to get the insulation off. This post describes it pretty well:


Once you have the ends bare and tinned you can put connectors on, if you need to add short male to female extensions between the motor and ESC you can do that.

Some solder motors directly to the ESC and skip using connectors but I don't recommend that. It just makes it too hard to configure, test, and use power system components. I would put 2.5mm or 3.5mm male bullet connectors on that motor and have the matching female connectors on the ESC.

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Old Apr 05, 2013, 07:11 PM
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This motor / ESC combo just does not work together. I followed that info provided in the link and the previous comments to my question.

I separated the individual stands, sanded, fluxed, and soldered each one today. These were all nice and silvery when I was done. I then soldered new stub wires to those to extend the ends.

I then pulled the connectors off the ESC with a torch, got each good and hot and added more solder to the connectors.

I then trimmed back the ESC wires to expose bare strands, fluxed and soldered the ends (tinning?), and then re-soldered the wires to the 4mm connectors.

Each solder joint looks good.

I then re-connected motor and ESC and the same stuttering is present.

I then connected an 18 amp 4s ESC (hobbywing fun-fly) and the motor spins up nicely.

I am just going to order a new HK motor for $20 and see how it works with the Align ESC.

Thanks to everyone that made suggestions.
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