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Soldering to Nickel plated connectors

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  • Soldering to Nickel plated connectors

    Hello, We are having trouble successfully soldering to a Nickel plated high current electrical connectors. The vendor claims they don't have these problems, but I have found evidence in researching the web that most Ni plating product passivate quickly and are thereafter not reliably lead solderable. If we strip the plating in the area to be soldered (360 Brass) no problems soldering. We need to maintain a low temperature (<350 F) for this soldering to avoid damaging the inner poly insulators. None of the standard electrical fluxes seem to adequately activate the Ni. Any guidance would be appreciated.

  • #2
    Re: Soldering to Nickel plated connectors

    One of the acid fluxes should work if that fits with your process. It should be allowed to melt before applying full solder heat. If not, the portion to be soldered can be dipped in a 50/50 solution of sulphuric acid (battery acid) for about 15-30 seconds. Caswell also sells the Pickle #4 for deoxing various metals.

    Forgot to mention: Make sure the part is free of oils or grease to start.
    Last edited by CarWiz; 04-27-2009, 02:34 PM. Reason: addition

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    • #3
      Re: Soldering to Nickel plated connectors

      Thanks, but we can not use the acids you recommend for cleaning. (Gov't contractor, safety, bla bla) We do not believe there is any oil/grease as we have agressively cleaned before solder. I have seen posts on this page that indicate it may not be practical if not the correct nickel compound (sulphmate vs sulfate). Any truth to this? Not sure which this is, but it is a bear to solder to. To overcome the cohesive force of the solder the surface temperatures need to exceed anything we can reliably solder with and protect the insulators. Currently we are machining the nickel off the surface to be soldered, but this is expensive and costly. Any other suggestions would be appreciated.

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      • #4
        Re: Soldering to Nickel plated connectors

        Sulfamate and sulfamate-chloride based nickel baths will passivate quicker.
        Anodic cleaning will passivate nickel, if that's what you are doing. I've never really had much success at all with soldering on nickel myself, it will passivate at temps above 110f, and from just lying around. Have you tried a rosin core or acid core solder rather than using flux?


        Originally posted by robinsra View Post
        Thanks, but we can not use the acids you recommend for cleaning. (Gov't contractor, safety, bla bla) We do not believe there is any oil/grease as we have agressively cleaned before solder. I have seen posts on this page that indicate it may not be practical if not the correct nickel compound (sulphmate vs sulfate). Any truth to this? Not sure which this is, but it is a bear to solder to. To overcome the cohesive force of the solder the surface temperatures need to exceed anything we can reliably solder with and protect the insulators. Currently we are machining the nickel off the surface to be soldered, but this is expensive and costly. Any other suggestions would be appreciated.
        James Bateman

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        • #5
          Re: Soldering to Nickel plated connectors

          Have you considered spot welding?

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          • #6
            Re: Soldering to Nickel plated connectors

            have you tried bakers soldering fluid.

            i use it every day at my work and found it to be the best for nickle,brass and copper.
            hope this helps.
            the trumpet builder
            brass , nickle, copper, is my subject

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