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How To Remove Coating On Very Thin Headset Wires?

by Lancelot59
Tags: coating, headset, remove, wires
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Lancelot59
#1
Aug31-09, 07:25 PM
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Hello there PF. I'm currently attempting to repair an old headset of mine that had the cord broken. The only thing is that I can't get the wires to make a connection. I know that wires such as these have a special coating on them that prevents shorts when they're bundled inside insulation bare.

The only thing I can't get this coating off. I tried to burn it off with a soldering iron, and that didn't work.

How are these coatings usually stripped?
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negitron
#2
Aug31-09, 07:32 PM
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In the production environment, expensive wheel or cone strippers are used for various types of magnet wire. But for you, the easiest method is to burn off the insulation with a lighter or match, then shine up the burnt area with fine steel wool.
vk6kro
#3
Aug31-09, 08:13 PM
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You can also try paint stripper or di ChloroMethane (Methylene Chloride) if it is a type of tough varnish. This works with Litz wire which is similar.

There use to be another one where each wire in a bundle was wrapped in cotton. That was horrible stuff and the best solution was to rewire it with real wire.

Lancelot59
#4
Aug31-09, 08:32 PM
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How To Remove Coating On Very Thin Headset Wires?

Well there are two wires, red and blue with the coating in them. Another two plain ones that act as grounds for the microphone and speakers. Then a fifth one in thin insulation.

I'll look around and see if I have any paint thinner/stripper.

Just one thing though, I thought ~650 degrees Fahrenheit would easily burn off such a coating. I've seen my dad burn off coatings like this on a similar wire with a soldering iron.
negitron
#5
Aug31-09, 08:43 PM
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Depends on what the coating is. There are many, many types. I've always used the flame method with excellent results. There are many which can withstand soldering iron temperatures and solvents, but none can hold up to flame.
Lancelot59
#6
Aug31-09, 09:00 PM
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Fire it is then, I'll get the torches and mobs of villagers. The coating shall fall!
vk6kro
#7
Aug31-09, 09:05 PM
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I've tried flames, but usually end up melting the copper wire or always end up oxidizing it so it is hard to solder.
If you can find some paint stripper, I'd try that first.
Just a few drops then wait 30 minutes or so.
Clean it carefully and if you can see copper, go ahead and solder it.
negitron
#8
Aug31-09, 09:06 PM
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Quote Quote by vk6kro View Post
I've tried flames, but usually end up...oxidizing it so it is hard to solder.
That's what the steel wool is for!
vk6kro
#9
Aug31-09, 09:11 PM
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Are we talking about the same thing? I think this is 30 gauge wire or thinner in a bundle of about 20 wires. Horrible stuff.
They vanish in a little green flash if you put them in a flame. :)
Lancelot59
#10
Aug31-09, 09:13 PM
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This wire is less than a millimetre across.
vk6kro
#11
Aug31-09, 09:16 PM
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1 mm is quite thick. Is it in a bundle of wires or just one?
Lancelot59
#12
Aug31-09, 09:19 PM
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Just one, but I said less than 1 mm. It's more like .5 mm diameter, very thin. It's just an approximated measurement.
negitron
#13
Aug31-09, 09:21 PM
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Quote Quote by vk6kro View Post
Are we talking about the same thing? I think this is 30 gauge wire or thinner in a bundle of about 20 wires. Horrible stuff.
Yes, that's the stuff. You have to do it quickly; just pass the wire end through the flame once or twice. If you do it right, you'll see the end just start to glow red to orange-red with a little puff of smoke. If the wires are twisted in a bundle like Litz wire you want to separate them first. I've been doing it this way for decades.

I was spoiled for a time several years ago when I worked for a transformer manufacturer. They had cone strippers for their fine magnet wire.
vk6kro
#14
Aug31-09, 09:33 PM
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And then you use steel wool to clean the wire? Amazing.
Lancelot59
#15
Aug31-09, 09:35 PM
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You must be pretty dexterous to clean wire that thin without shredding it.
vk6kro
#16
Aug31-09, 09:37 PM
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Yes. Why would you bother?

Paint stripper gives you nice shiny copper which solders easily.
negitron
#17
Aug31-09, 09:38 PM
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Quote Quote by Lancelot59 View Post
You must be pretty dexterous to clean wire that thin without shredding it.
Not at all. It just takes a light touch. Anyone can do it.

Quote Quote by vk6kro View Post
Yes. Why would you bother?

Paint stripper gives you nice shiny copper which solders easily.
In 30 minutes, apparently. With my method, I'm done in 30 seconds. And I also wind up with nice, shiny copper that solders easily.
vk6kro
#18
Aug31-09, 09:55 PM
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There is no real hurry.
The actual time varies with the coating. Could be one minute sometimes.
House paint takes about 30 minutes, so thin wire coating would be quicker.

Try it both ways and see which is better in your case.


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