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topic 690

Plating steel rod with copper for solderability


I would like to deposit a thin film of tin or copper on a steel rod. My problem is the following: I need to solder 18 gauge steel wire on a printed circuit board (PCB) with ordinary solder (made of tin and lead).

There exist a kit in store to do tin plating. But the problem is it is a chemical process with a special lamp. Does anyone have a solution with electricity. As an example 2 electrodes with a DC power supply. One electrode would be tin and the other would be steel rod with every thing soaking in an acid. Is it possible?

Alain Boutin
- Montreal, Quebec, Canada


You may first want to check with wire suppliers before bothering with plating your own, as tin plated, steel wire may be commercially available. If not, I would recommend the use of an immersion plating solution to deposit the tin. This would require a cleaning, activation and simple immersion, eliminating the need for a rectifier and anodes, etc. One type of immersion tin is available from Electrochemicals in Maple Plain, MN.

Keith Wicklund, CEF-SE
avionics - Minneapolis, Minnesota


Thanks Keith. I'll look for that solution

Alain Boutin
- Montreal, Quebec, Canada


Just a note to this process, For cost reduction I think you should look at epoxy glue, a low cost alter is from Noelle Industries Inc. in Mass. They have a low cost epoxy that you could dip the amount of area with either silver or nickel epoxy and depending on the vis and if you wanted it bonded to the PCB this can be done even at room temp cure.

You can still get the steel wire plated depending on the length, but I think you should look at this option especially for bonding to the PCB.

Stephen Bradley
- Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

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