Category Archives: Analog

Analog Electronics

Analog Electronics

Preparing Enameled Wire

I am doing some experimenting with some small signal magnetics and a thought crossed my mind to ask the super-cool @tymkrs IRC channel gang if I was missing the boat on stripping enameled wire. Turns out I was….

Warning: I will not be held responsible for wives who are upset about missing emery boards.

The winner was the emery board. My wife might have to donate one to the cause.
The winner was the emery board. My wife might have to donate one to the cause.

The conversation:

<chasxmd>JohnS_AZ, is there a magic formula to removing the enamel off magnet wire?
<tautic|mobile>Stupid traffic
<mgburr|work>good exacto knife and scrape, or heat to 400f
chasxmd: hit it with your iron that is set higher then the melt temp
thanks for the tips, I've always gone exacto knife and felt there had to be a better way
<johns_az>chasxmd: I always steal one of Lisa's emmory boards. :-)
<johns_az>fine sand paper works well.
- scratch quit (Ping timeout)
<mgburr|work>all of the above

So I put these to test! I’m using 30 gauge wire that’s less than 10 years old and was redistributed by GC electronics.

Soldering Iron: Free air and solder pool.

Sanding: emery board and 220 sand paper

Exacto-Knife scraping.

Not tested, but possible future ideas: Blow torch, actually googling to see if there is a tool the industry uses.

So scraping takes a while and it leaves small strips that you end up having to sand or rotate a 30 ga wire and get lucky? On 30 gauge wire, forget about it.. a waste of time.

220 sand paper? probably a lot better on 18gauge+ enameled wire but for small wire it was a hassle and took way too much time testing the conductivity and making sure I had gotten at least almost all the enamel off.

The two reasonable methods for my wire were my wife’s emery board and the soldering iron.

The emery board was the shortest method. I removed a 1/2 inch* section of enamel in just under a minute**.

The soldering iron was looking like a bust because I was free-air rubbing the wire to the tip of my Weller soldering station with some fresh solder on the tip. At 1:15 I hadn’t made a dent in the enamel. I trend grabbed a piece of copper clad board and added a little solder and rubbed the wire with the soldering iron and it turned out okay.

* I live and work in the USA. I use measures of units that I was born and raised on; It’s not lost on me that this is inconvenient for you non-US persons.

** I wasn’t cracked out on caffeine and I was just taking a leisurely relaxed pace through this process.