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sardonx 26th October 2005 10:30 PM

Stripping the ends off Solen air core inductors
I just got four of these 12 awg and am wondering is there any easier way of stripping the red stuff off the ends other than sanding each individual strand with sand paper?

Algar_emi 26th October 2005 10:53 PM

This is about the only affordable, easier way (by easier I mean easier at home). The two other ways I know of are chemical enamel stripper and soldering pot.

All the wire enamel stripper fluid that I tried were not really effective.

The solder pot is the professionnal way but the really expensive one for the diyer.

Have fun :angel:

GM 26th October 2005 11:01 PM


Unless the coatings has changed in recent years, acetone is the thinner, so dipping it, then scraping/wiping should remove it. I just burned it off with a cheap cigarette lighter or hobby torch, just don't do both unless all the acetone has evaporated.

sardonx 26th October 2005 11:37 PM

hmmm Ok.. thanks dudes. I'm not sure i wanna burn them off nor do i have acetone here... so i'll just do it the sandpaper way. This will help for the next time though!
Thanks Again!

simon5 27th October 2005 01:58 AM

A old knife or an hexacto is fast too but just be careful.

gary f 27th October 2005 03:33 PM

You can use a hot soldering iron, heat the tip of the wire, and add some solder. The varnish will melt away and fry. Add more solder to continue. I just did that last weekend and it work well. It may not be faster than sanding paper, but it does a nice job.


Kevin Haskins 27th October 2005 04:36 PM

Ok... I do a lot of this so I'll share what I've found works.

There are some common names for the wire and coatings. Most inductors use common magnet wire which is copper wire with a Polyurethane/Polyamide coating. The coatings differ a little as some are designed for higher tempeture applications.

The other situation where you need to remove this coating is with litz stranded magnet wire. Solen makes some inductors like this and all the Cardas wire is a litz construction.

For all these types of wires there are a couple alternatives for removing the varnish. I'll outline the tools and cost of each and which work the best for various types of wires:

#1. In production environments we use a solder pot to remove the coating. For those who don't know it's a simple pot with an electric heating element where a bowl of molten hot solder is kept. You dip the wire into the molton solder and it removes the coating (and makes a smelly toxic vapor so use good ventillation).

Solder pots work with all types of coated wires. You can tin all versions of magnet wire and litz type coated wires. Solder pots are easy to use but there is an optimum temp range that you have to experiment with to determine how to get the best results. Also... paste flux helps you to get better results, especially with the Cardas type litz wires.

Solder pots cost from $30 (MCM has a cheapo one) all the way up to several hundred dollars. They are a good tool investment for people who do a lot of DIY work.

#2. Soldering iron: I've seen people recommend this method but it is hard to get good results with the iron. It only works with small gauge solid core wires. An iron typically just isn't hot enough for the really large gauge cables and it's useless on the litz wires. The problem with the soldering iron is that you can get the wire to a high enough temp to remove the enamel but it has no where to go. It's a messy and time consuming way to try and work with this type of wire. I don't recommend it for even the small guage solid core wires.

#3. Mechanical sanding: This works best on large solid core wire. If you don't have a solder pot this is what I'd recommend for the 12AWG. This is time consuming though and really slows down construction.

#4. Solder Sucker: Yes... this is the same desoldering tool sold at most retail locations. Use the tip to suck up a bunch of clean solder. The tip heating element will hold a good 1/3 ounce of solder. Don't suck it all the way in. This tool actually works REALLY well on small gauge coated wires, both litz and solid core. In fact I prefer it to our solder pot for signal level wires (18AWG and up). This is inexpensve as you can pick one up at PE for abotu $10. Drill out the tip a little to hold more solder and for use with larger gauge wire. Use the paste flux on your wire as it still helps get a nice clean application of solder on the wire. Don't try and use it for large gauge cable. It just doesn't hold enough heat to properly tin the large gauge wires.

sardonx 28th October 2005 10:16 PM

Thanks everyone for the responses.... especially Kevin. That was very informative...

I ended up sanding the 12awg.. but since the 12awg is actually 7 smaller strands of wire woven together it took me about an hour to do 4 inductors properly. Thats a lot of time considering i could have done it in 5 minutes with a pot....
Thanks again,

DcibeL 28th October 2005 11:25 PM

I used a lighter on my solen hepta-litz inductors. Then some rubbing alcohol (isopropyl I think is the technical term) to clean off the burnt stuff. I used some "no-clean" flux on the wires when I soldered to help the solder stick to the wires, but it probably would have soldered just fine without.

I would imagine the standard solid wire inductors would be much easier to strip.

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