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Old 09-12-2010, 08:48 AM   #1
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Sweating copper pipe - what was I doing wrong


Tried my hand at soldering some end caps onto a 1/2" copper pipe yesterday.

As far as I can tell, I did the cleaning OK and put enough flux on. But when the solder melted, it just beaded up and dripped off the pipe. Hardly any stayed on the pipe.

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Old 09-12-2010, 09:01 AM   #2
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Sweating copper pipe - what was I doing wrong


probably got the pipe to hot.. as you are heating the pipe just touch it real quick every couple seconds as soon as it flows take the heat away
and let it suck in the solder all around.

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Old 09-12-2010, 09:12 AM   #3
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Sweating copper pipe - what was I doing wrong


don't touch the pipe with the flame. just the endcap
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Old 09-12-2010, 09:23 AM   #4
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Sweating copper pipe - what was I doing wrong


Quote:
Hardly any stayed on the pipe.
See the next point:

Quote:
let it suck in the solder all around
You should see it suck in like a sponge. The solder should be IN the joint, not ON the pipe.
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Old 09-12-2010, 09:43 AM   #5
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Sweating copper pipe - what was I doing wrong


Quote:
Originally Posted by steveel View Post
don't touch the pipe with the flame. just the endcap
yes heat the end cap right at the end of the cap so it draws the solder in . Prep work is the key.
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Old 09-12-2010, 09:54 AM   #6
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Sweating copper pipe - what was I doing wrong


Quote:
Originally Posted by Fortitude View Post
Tried my hand at soldering some end caps onto a 1/2" copper pipe yesterday.

As far as I can tell, I did the cleaning OK and put enough flux on. But when the solder melted, it just beaded up and dripped off the pipe. Hardly any stayed on the pipe.
sound's like the pipe was not hot enough? If it was blue you got to much heat and you will have to start over. Like resanding the copper and inside of the cap. If you didn't do this. That could be the problum also. You have to heat both at the same time only the cap a little more. It is a bigger item on the pipe. Did you tin the pipe? How to do that ? heat the pipe and flux and than solder so that it get's shinie Now at the same time take a rag and wipe the pipe. Watch so that you don't burn hand. Now the pipe is ready to be solder to the cap. Now heat both tell you see the solder on the pipe start melt than add solder to the cap area . you will see the solder flow into the cap. Now use a little lite flame when doing this . What you are doing is heating up both pieces so the solder will flow both direction's . Let it cool by itself . It should look shinnie . Now maybe some solder will drop off when you are doing this but that is ok the solder that you put on is going to where it should be going now. good luck been around soldering all my life. just a little learning curve Also they make a slip on conector no soldering required . These are at the box stores Shark bite is the name.
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Old 09-12-2010, 10:56 AM   #7
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Sweating copper pipe - what was I doing wrong


It is my experience that solder beading rather than flowing is the result of a dirty surface. Just to be sure, make sure you are cleaning (and fluxing) both surfaces: outside of tube and inside of connector.
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Old 09-12-2010, 11:41 AM   #8
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Sweating copper pipe - what was I doing wrong


clean the outside of the pipe till it shines
Clean the inside of the fitting till it shines
flux the outside of the pipe and the inside of the fitting
apply heat till the flux bubbles then the solder

If it blows out its because you can not solder a sealed pipe. the air inside heats up, expands and blows the solder out. You need to relieve the pressure
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Old 09-12-2010, 12:04 PM   #9
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Sweating copper pipe - what was I doing wrong


like NHMaster said caps close the system so IMO are the hardest thing for diy'ers to sweat on. If you still have problems after recleaning and fluxing, consider using something like ball valves instead. If the caps are temporary, consider sharkbite caps (It's the only time I'll ever recommend em)
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Old 09-12-2010, 01:01 PM   #10
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Sweating copper pipe - what was I doing wrong


here is one site to read. their are many These have been around 10yrs. They are made in australia . with a garrentee. So don't knock them. Do a google search and find out lot's of good thing's .You can't use them in the bath tub fill spout . Because it will just keep turning but won't leak . But you will not be able to get it off. You need to compress the plastic piece to release the gripper's. Other than that all is ok. They have stop valves now also. here is a link http://www.ridgidforum.com/forum/showthread.php?p=81743
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Old 09-12-2010, 01:15 PM   #11
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Sweating copper pipe - what was I doing wrong


Is there standing water in the line?

Is the line open somewhere?

Is the line dripping water?

JW
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Old 09-12-2010, 03:33 PM   #12
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Sweating copper pipe - what was I doing wrong


sounds like there might be water in the line somewhere, not letting the pipe get hot enough, Shove a ball of bread in the pipe before soldering
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Old 09-12-2010, 04:57 PM   #13
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Wow. That's a lot of responses. Thanks everyone!

The system was open and the lines were dry. The water supply to the house was off and all the taps were open.

I read about the SharkBite fittings, but really wanted to learn how to solder copper pipes. The SharkBites were my backup plan.

Here's a some more detail about what I did. I used an emory cloth to clean about an inch all around the end of the pipe, and a wire brush to clean the inside of the cap. Then I applied flux to the end of the pipe and the inside of the cap. I put the cap onto the pipe. I held the solder to the top of the pipe/cap, and ran the torch all around. When the solder melted, it mostly just beaded up and dripped off.
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Old 09-12-2010, 06:09 PM   #14
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Sweating copper pipe - what was I doing wrong


It's good that you wanted to learn to solder, too many want the easy way out these days. Like someone said above, make sure other faucets nearby are open, maybe stick a shopvac on the pipes you're sweating to get all the water out then give it another go. As long as the gases have a way out, it should sweat on pretty easily. Good luck, leave them sharkbites at the store
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Old 09-12-2010, 06:45 PM   #15
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Sweating copper pipe - what was I doing wrong


id try shoving some bread in there. Water can be way back in the lines and still cause problems. Bread works like magic for that

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