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Author Topic: How to properly solder a pl259  (Read 3252 times)
STILLWAITINGONGRANT
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Posts: 1




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« on: June 13, 2002, 07:29:16 AM »

OK here's a question.

For years I always solder a coax to a pl259
as follows.

I would strip 1in from the coax. I would then
take the shielding and spread it back then trim
it. I would fold it over the insert barrel etc.

then I would leave about 1/8in insulation then
strip enough off the center wire to expose about
3/8 inch maybe a little longer. I would soft solder
the center then I would assemble the PL259
solder the center then I would solder thru the
holes to get the braid.

Now I saw a image of a how to solder a connection
and I am confused. It said strip the coax about 1inch
trim shield so it is exposed 3/8in then softsolder it
then leave about 1/8 inch center insulation then strip
and soft solder center wire. but if you soft solder the
shielding, when you slide your adapter over it then screw the adapter onto the coax and then screw it into
your PL259 the soft solder shield is inside the barrel
and doesn't bend over the barrel so you can't solder
it thru the holes.

I have tried both my methods and with a ohm meter I have no shorts and a good solid connection.

So my question is which is the better way.

Thanks In Advance,

Tim
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N8YV
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Posts: 103




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« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2002, 08:51:02 AM »

The method is to fold the braid back over the jacket of the coaxial cable, then soft-soldering (in MY day, it was called "tinning").  If you are using smaller cable which requires a UG-175 or UG-176/U adapter ferrule, then the braid gets folded back over this ferrule FIRST, then soft-soldered. Anytime you use reducers like these, treat them as part of the coax itself. Stuffing the braid INSIDE the ferrule is not proper.

If you are only using the cable for a temporary jumper, you can get away with the "cheat" of putting the adapter ferrule on over the braid, but it is only a shortcut for temporary use and not recommended for a permanent connection.

I used this shortcut method with my old diagnostic box jumpers, when I was always bending and wearing-out the jumper in my mobile-installation work. I got tired REAL quickly of having to unsolder and re-solder the plugs every four or five days, so I developed this "cheat" to save time in performing on-the-spot repairs. The cable would ALWAYS break at the connector just when I was the furthest away from my bench, usually up in the cab of some tractor or in a boat!  
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W4QA
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Posts: 22


WWW

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« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2002, 08:59:31 AM »

Tim,

This is a very good question and it depends on whether you are trying to install a PL-259 on smaller coax (RG-58,59 or RG-8X) or the .405" OD cable like RG-8, 9913, or RG-213.  If you are installing the connector on the smaller coax and using a "reducer" or "adapter" with the 259, you should not tin the braid in advance -- for the reasons that you stated in your post.  The adapter is designed to provide a proper electrical / mechanical connection to the braid.

However, if you are installing the PL-259 on RG-8 type cable -- ALWAYS tin the braid in advance by "painting" the braid lightly with solder and your iron.  There should not be any bumps on the braid after you do this -- if there are, you will have problems installing the connector.  Done properly, the tinned braid will easily solder through the holes.

Rush -- W4QA
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N2ERN
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Posts: 238




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« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2002, 02:20:10 PM »

This was covered pretty thoroughly here a few months ago.

Check:

http://www.eham.net/forums/Elmers/20707

for the comments. They should answer most of your questions
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N8YV
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Posts: 103




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« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2002, 07:58:39 PM »

W4QA, what you are saying is that soldering the braid to the shell thru the holes, is unnecessary, but the adapters can NEVER supply correct contact with the braid, under long-term use. The other disadvantage of relying on the "pinch" method of braid contact, is that the cable's center conductor is alone in supporting the tensile stress on the cable.

The jacket is free to pull out from the adapter, braid and all, over time or under stress. Soldering the braid over the adapter and to the shell thru the holes, helps to eliminate this. Amphenol and other manufacturers are clear on this point.  It is also detailed this way in every issue of the ARRL Handbook that I own, going back at least as far as 1976.

Under certain conditions, as I outlined in my own reply, soldering is not critical; however, for permanent installations or for outdoor use, soldering is the best method to use.
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KB0ETC
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Posts: 248




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« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2002, 12:22:32 PM »

Check this page out for an illustrated guide.

http://www.qsl.net/kf4l/coaxez.htm
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W4QA
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« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2013, 09:39:18 AM »

Just to clarify the point in my prior post long ago (!) (thank you N8YV).... my suggestion is not to tin the braid first when using an adapter / reducer on the smaller diameter coax as that will aid in assembling the barrel.  Yes, you should always solder through the holes in the PL-259 for proper braid connectivity and mechanical support.
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W8JX
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Posts: 6643




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« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2013, 10:10:08 AM »

A mistake that a lot make is to not use a big enough soldering iron to solder braid to backshell. The trick here it to heat it quick to melt and flow solder and get off it. This minimizes heat soak into coax and dielectric. 60 watts is really not enogh here but some do it. I suggest at least 100 watts or better yet a gun that you can control heat with. Myself I use a gun.
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You can embrace new computer/tablet technology and change with it or cling to old fall far behind....
WA2CWA
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Posts: 311


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« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2013, 02:29:12 PM »

Here's an ARRL video on installing a PL-259:
http://www.arrl.org/multimedia#

Pete, wa2cwa
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K8AXW
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Posts: 3996




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« Reply #9 on: February 23, 2013, 07:27:44 PM »

Tim: You're question will no doubt start a firestorm of answers and opinions.  Let me give you two links to view.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jlPcBVg45E&feature=relmfu

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agkP9YMR3Kc&feature=related

I'm not saying this guy has the procedure cornered on this operation but it's hard to argue with someone who has done literally hundreds of installations!
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G3RZP
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Posts: 4954




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« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2013, 03:29:29 AM »

I pre-heat with a hot air paint stripping gun until the solder will melt. After that, a 40 watt Weller is adequate. Rather faster than even a 250 watt soldering iron or a gun.
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W6EM
Member

Posts: 900




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« Reply #11 on: February 24, 2013, 08:14:58 AM »

One thing that always frustrated me when trying to tin PL-259 barrels and the inserts was that some tinned very easily and others took forever.

Apparently, some manufacturer got tired of the tarnished appearance of silver oxide.  Never mind that it, unlike other oxides, is a great conductor.  So, they introduced nickel-plated connectors and adaptors.  Sure, nickel won't tarnish over time like silver will.  And, it's cheaper.  But, try to solder to something nickel or nickel plated if you haven't ever tried it.  You'll find it takes a great deal of heat, a lot of flux, and a lot of patience.  Most soldered connections to nickel probably aren't too good even if they appear to look OK.

So, when you're in the market for PL-259's and adapters for RG8/RG59 or RG58, make sure they're either silver plated or tin plated.  Teflon insulation is preferable since it won't melt like some other plastics.  But, soldering the center conductor isn't a long-time event for the gun or pencil iron anyway, so not that big of a deal.

73,

Lee
W6EM



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G3RZP
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Posts: 4954




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« Reply #12 on: February 24, 2013, 10:32:47 AM »

Back in the early 1970's, Amphenol (at least over here) introduced something called 'Astroplate' on them: it was supposed to solder easily and be cheaper. It did seem to change over the years though to something that that didn't solder.

So now I only go (like W6EM) for silver plated Teflon insulated PL259s  at around something like $12 for 10 at Dayton.
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K8AXW
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Posts: 3996




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« Reply #13 on: February 24, 2013, 11:17:37 AM »

Tim, other brought up an interesting point which is how to deal with the nickle plated PL-259s.

Until just recently I used the nickle plated connectors and will confess to my ignorance in trying to solder them.  Then I found that if you take a rat-tail file and file off the nickle plate around the solder holes you will find brass underneath which is very easy to solder.

Same with the adapters.  Use a flat file to remove the nickle.

Or you can save yourself a lot of work by simply using silver plated connectors.  If you shop around you can find the silver plated connectors selling for prices that are comparable to those with the nickle plate.

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G3RZP
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Posts: 4954




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« Reply #14 on: February 24, 2013, 02:36:23 PM »

AXW said;

>If you shop around you can find the silver plated connectors selling for prices that are comparable to those with the nickle plate.<

Be careful, as many of the nickel plate ones have what can best be described as 'muckite' insulation, and it often melts easily. USA made, Teflon insulated, silver plated is the way to go.....
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