Soldering wires to coils (flippers and scoops) - any tips to prevent them breaking?

C&C

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I've had my first pin (TNA) for around 6 months and played just over 2000 games. During this time, I've had a wire come adrift from the top flipper 3 times, and from the left scoop once. It seems that the top flipper in particular gets a lot of vibration. I'm certainly not in the habit of repeatedly banging away at the flippers, and also as the top flipper is controlled with the left flipper button, each time it is operated, the left lower flipper also fires, yet I've not had an issue with wires to the that flipper.

Each time, I've re-soldered it securely yet the problem re-occurs. It seems there isn't a problem with my soldering (it's not very neat, but it is secure), but the wire itself breaks just next to the end of the soldered bit. I'm getting a bit concerned, as each time this happens, I need to strip a very short piece of insulation then re-solder, which means the wires to the flipper are getting shorter (still enough slack in them, but if this happens many more times, I'm going to be running out of wire!)

Is there anything I could/should be doing to further protect it from breakage? Maybe the next time, put a bit of heat shrink wrap over it to support it or something?

Any thoughts welcomed!
 

BigIan

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Sounds like a ropey wire, maybe temporarily put a short piece of wire on the end with a small terminal block or scotch lock. See if the vibration is dulled by the block and if not where its breaking etc.

If it turns out to be the wire then secure it elsewhere and run a bit of wire from the flipper solenoid over to it.
Hope that makes sense, not the tidiest but should help reduce/find the cause
 
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C&C

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Thanks all for your very quick replies!

@ronsplooter - yes, I am physically hooking it through the tab before soldering, and the solder remains in place - it's definitely the wire which is breaking just above where the solder ends on the flipper coil. The scoop coil which has only broken once also went in exactly the same way.

@Dave Bishop , @BobWood - I'll try the heat shrink sleeve on it next time it goes.

@BigIan - If the heat shrink doesn't sort it, then I'll do as you suggest (and your explanation does make sense)!

Thanks all.
 
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ronsplooter

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it's definitely the wire which is breaking just above where the solder ends on the flipper coil. The scoop coil which has only broken once also went in exactly the same way.

Interesting, that sounds like really sh*t quality wire like @BigIan says :eek: I've not heard of this being a common thing on TNA (or other Spooky games) so maybe you're just unlucky and got a bad piece. What gauge is the wire (I'd expect 18 AWG for power wires to coils)?
 

crsedgar

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Have you tried stripping the wire an inch back from the coil tab, tinning the bare wire with solder then heat shrink it, I would hope since the wire is further back from coil the vibration would dissipate. Just an idea, I've had broken wires but once fixed they don't come off.
 
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C&C

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Interesting, that sounds like really sh*t quality wire like @BigIan says :eek: I've not heard of this being a common thing on TNA (or other Spooky games) so maybe you're just unlucky and got a bad piece. What gauge is the wire (I'd expect 18 AWG for power wires to coils)?

I'm not that familiar with wire sizes (although it seems I'm getting more experience through this pinball malarky)! :)

From memory, it looked like most of the wires were the same sort of size, but I'll open it up again later today and take a few photos and post on here. Thanks.
 
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C&C

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Have you tried stripping the wire an inch back from the coil tab, tinning the bare wire with solder then heat shrink it, I would hope since the wire is further back from coil the vibration would dissipate. Just an idea, I've had broken wires but once fixed they don't come off.

That's a good suggestion re. tinning the wire a little way from the tab to strengthen it - I'll definitely try that with the heat shrink if/when it next breaks.
 
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C&C

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use a decent soldering iron and quality solder,not the 99p ebay crap

The actual soldering isn't the problem as that is not failing, it's the wire itself.
The combination of iron and solder works very well - no problem at all in applying it.

For reference, the soldering iron is a Weller WT1012 95Watt digital station with a Weller WSP80 soldering iron.
The solder is not the modern lead-free type - it's Savbit alloy solder with 5 cores of ersin flux in a couple of sizes :
Size 5 and Size 2.
I have a habit when it comes to tools of going a bit over the top, for example, most of the power tools I have are Bosch professional ones. They may not get used that much, but I've never regretted spending a bit more on tools which are then a pleasure to use even if a bit over-specced for the job in hand! :)
 

Toads

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Once soldered turn the pin on with the playfield up and hit the flipper button to see if anything is catching on it.
It is not an issue I have heard of before with TNA.
 

Asiapinball

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If its breaking where it meets the insulation it might be that you are nicking some strands of the wire itself when stripping the insulation off and weakening at that point, particularly if you are using just pliers to strip the insulation. I've got a pair of Stanley Fat Max Automatic Wire Strippers and they work great. It also gives you an excuse to buy a new tool that you will enjoy using!
 
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C&C

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If its breaking where it meets the insulation it might be that you are nicking some strands of the wire itself when stripping the insulation off and weakening at that point, particularly if you are using just pliers to strip the insulation. I've got a pair of Stanley Fat Max Automatic Wire Strippers and they work great. It also gives you an excuse to buy a new tool that you will enjoy using!

Thanks for the suggestion, but I recently bought the Draper equivalent which also works great and doesn't damage the wire. If I didn't already have one though, I'd definitely be getting one following your suggestion - they are really quite ingenious tools! :)
 
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C&C

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To everyone else that has replied - many thanks.

I should have a bit of time today to get some pictures, test the coils for rotation/wiggle etc, so will post up later. :thumbs:
 
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C&C

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Right, so I've had another look at it and tried to get some photos/video. Clicking on the photos should take you to my FlickR page which should enable you to see a higher res photo, and for the videos, play them.

The first is a picture of the soldering - the arrow on the middle connection is an indication of where typically the wires have broken previously.

flipper_solder by conradsphotos, on Flickr

The second is to try to get an idea of the gauge of the wire. The bottom 2 connections seem to be a smaller diameter than the 2 wires connected to the top connection. Note that the top connection has never broken, but both of the lower 2 (smaller gauge) wires have broken previously.

Untitled by conradsphotos, on Flickr

The first video below is of a test of the flipper/coil.

Untitled by conradsphotos, on Flickr

The last video is of me trying to see how securely the coils are mounted. The first coil is the one where I've had problems, the other 2 are the main flipper coils. All 3 of them seem pretty secure, but do move a fraction, although all the same amount.

Untitled by conradsphotos, on Flickr

I don't know if this helps at all, and as already advised, the next time one of these breaks, I'll leave a 1/2 inch of bare wire, tin it, and support with shrink wrap.

As ever comments welcome (including how rubbish my soldering is)!
 
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C&C

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is there any slack on that wire that keeps breaking?,if it's pulled quite tight,it could be coil vibrations causing your problem?

Yes there's a fair bit of slack - not pulled tight at all.