Author Topic: Tinning Copper Bus bars  (Read 4905 times)

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Offline Rover

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Tinning Copper Bus bars
« on: February 23, 2012, 02:02:17 PM »
OK... I've made several attempts in the past to Tin the connection point on my battery bus bars (1"x1/8"x 17") , and frankly just gave up as my little butane torch can't deliver enough heat to do a good job (yes fluxed).

Anyone have a suggestion? dipping solution ?

Only reason I'm asking as I'm starting to see some oxidation on my bus bars, which I would like to stem.

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Offline Cornelius

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Re: Tinning Copper Bus bars
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2012, 02:27:27 PM »
Do you have a gas stove?

Should make the bars hot enough... ;D

Offline Rover

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Re: Tinning Copper Bus bars
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2012, 02:31:35 PM »
Nope , no gas stove.

But figure if I can't get it hot enough (reliably) with a standard butane torch .... IMHO gas stove element not going to match heat...

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Offline Rover

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Re: Tinning Copper Bus bars
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2012, 02:33:52 PM »
Arrgggg... butane.. meant propane... nerts

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Offline rossw

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Re: Tinning Copper Bus bars
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2012, 04:06:05 PM »
OK... I've made several attempts in the past to Tin the connection point on my battery bus bars (1"x1/8"x 17") , and frankly just gave up as my little butane torch can't deliver enough heat to do a good job (yes fluxed).

Anyone have a suggestion?

I presume you're using low-temperature solder (tin/lead), and a reasonable flux (non-acidic).
Clean the copper bar. *PROPERLY*.
Once you have those, the only remaining thing is the right heat. 17" of 1" wide bar will conduct (and dissipate) heat fairly quickly. Here's a trick I've used to braze 1" copper pipe when I didn't have enough heat to just do it normally.

Wrap as much of the copper in insulating material (offcuts of fiberglass insulation bats is great). This will stop the heat you CAN apply from escaping so quickly.

Pre-heat the work if possible. Put it in the oven on high heat for a while. Once the whole bar is hot, wrap it in the fiberglass matt with just the required work area exposed. Apply additional heat, flux and solder as required.

I've found that propane seems to inhibit good soldering - and seems to burn the flux quickly. I've had far better results indirectly heating the area. So... apply the torch to the underside of the bar, and tin from the top. "Chase" the solder along. If you can get a good coating, while the solder is nice and runny - "wipe" it off with a dry paper towel or clean rag. You can spot the areas that need more flux and solder easily this way, and it leaves you a nice thin, uniform layer.

Offline Rover

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Re: Tinning Copper Bus bars
« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2012, 04:56:02 PM »
Thanks Ross, all of the above. Never thought of insulating the copper... good idea.

Ever tried solutions or electroplating ?

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Offline dang

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Re: Tinning Copper Bus bars
« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2012, 09:03:17 PM »
Even with soldered or electroplated tin there needs to be an anti-tarnish finish, especially in a salt-water environment.

Maybe you are over-thinking this? Get some anti-corrosion paste and avoid the hassle, 3rd degree burns & changing the metal color & temper. Plain or tinned lugs on pure copper w/ protectorant and you should be famous for many years. You had your chance to buy tinned buss stock and declined, go with the flow - glyptol or motor enamel paint on the bars would be a anti-corrosive industrial finish.

Oxy-Acetylene 3000°C - Oxy-MAPP 2900°C - MAPP 2,020°C (3,670°F) - Propane 1,200° – 1,700°C - Butane 1,430°C.

If you really want to play with fire go get a MAPP cylinder and a Heavy-Duty Pencil Burner Tip Torch and some Sn96Ag4 or Sn paste - insulate the bulk of the bar and use indirect heating. Only heat enough to brush on and puddle the solder and move the insulation onward to the next splice pad area. You might have to dress the molten tin surface with a wet rag to even it out & clean it. Maybe avoid the 'self-clean' or 'no-clean' fluxes as they are too corrosive long term - especially when there is salt water nearby.
 
If you want some caulk-tube sized lead-bearing solder paste - if used with a torch has explosively burnable flux - I can send you some to make the experience more memorable.
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Offline brucedownunder

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Re: Tinning Copper Bus bars
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2012, 12:39:39 AM »
 

  Many Years ago  (sounds like a bed-time story),,  I got hold of a tin of "tin-rich" paste.. We used to heat the copper ,after wire-brush cleaning perfectly ,smear some tinpaste on it ,heat it til small bubbles come out (thats the molten tin and resin) then quickly wipe off the excess with cotton watse(or rags)..

We used oxy-actelene torch as a heat source , but I have used those small butane hobby torches with success..
  You might pick this stuff up at plumbers,copper distributors,jewellers supplies ..
 Bruce

Offline Norm

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Re: Tinning Copper Bus bars
« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2012, 11:19:24 AM »
Nice DIY forge run on charcoal....once you get the bus bars hot enough turn off
the blower and let the hot coals keep it hot enough to melt the solder  :)
From there you can use even a small propane torch.
Norm.

Offline ghurd

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Re: Tinning Copper Bus bars
« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2012, 03:29:41 PM »
Does anyone have much experience with the 'battery terminal protector' spray?
(CRC, Gunk, Lynx, etc)
Thin, runny, red stuff, that does not dry.

After it is tinned, maybe it would help?

I have used it a few times but never was back to those systems to see if it made any difference.
G-

Offline Wolvenar

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Re: Tinning Copper Bus bars
« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2012, 04:41:20 PM »
I used Permatex brand anti corrosion spray on stuff.  It sprays on as a thick goo almost adhesive quality, just never will dry.

I have no tinned or special anything with copper connectors. I have had almost no corrosion on this in the 6 years it has sit in the shed. I am tearing it down today so will verify that.
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Offline Rover

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Re: Tinning Copper Bus bars
« Reply #11 on: February 24, 2012, 07:23:30 PM »
OK , after reading the responses.. do I have an absolute answer.. no ... Dang, I like the most, just protect, but then there are the contact points which you don't want to cover.

I'm honestly leaning towards a do nothing scenario...

:)

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Offline philb

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Re: Tinning Copper Bus bars
« Reply #12 on: February 24, 2012, 08:55:49 PM »
"Does anyone have much experience with the 'battery terminal protector' spray?
(CRC, Gunk, Lynx, etc)"

Yes, I've used CRC and Gunk on my RE and auto batteries for years. It works very well. Only one drawback...It attracts dirt and sand quite well too.

Before I found terminal protector spray, I used axle grease. That works but is a bit too thick to get in the small cracks between the posts and terminals.

Anything to keep the air off the connection will work.

Offline Wolvenar

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Re: Tinning Copper Bus bars
« Reply #13 on: February 24, 2012, 10:08:18 PM »
Ok on tear down today it was as I said, zero corrosion on anything I sprayed the Permatex.

I took some pics of the connections before I redo them a little better.
I'll get them off the phone maybe tomorrow, bit to tired tonight to deal with it.

The one connection that had any corrosion had no protection at all.
I might not have a great test bed as for at least the last 3.5 years this has only worked as a backup system, mostly on float.
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Offline ghurd

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Re: Tinning Copper Bus bars
« Reply #14 on: February 24, 2012, 11:02:40 PM »
"Does anyone have much experience with the 'battery terminal protector' spray?
(CRC, Gunk, Lynx, etc)"

Yes, I've used CRC and Gunk on my RE and auto batteries for years. It works very well. Only one drawback...It attracts dirt and sand quite well too.

Before I found terminal protector spray, I used axle grease. That works but is a bit too thick to get in the small cracks between the posts and terminals.

Anything to keep the air off the connection will work.

Thanks Phil,
I tried Vaseline a few decades ago, but it didn't seem to help, or my junk cars/terminals/wires/batteries were past trying to save.
Plenty of conflicting opinions about the petroleum jelly or axle grease coating... coat then assemble... assemble then coat... 1 is better than the other... the other is better than 1... if you know what I mean.  LOL

The red and green felt washers work on my batteries, for sure.
Notoriously incorrect popular site says they keep the dirt from causing a terminal to terminal short due to gook on the battery case, which may be a side effect but its not the main effect.
I have used them for many years, and am confident in saying they actually stop the corrosion from happening in the first place, even where the felt washers are not touching (at the top of the terminals, bolt threads, and the power wires).

Wondering if the Red & Green felt washers would help on the bus bars, or why they would not help.

I try to keep the distribution parts away from the battery fumes.
G-