What is Tinning?

Beau Wynja

tinning explained title video shot

“What is tinning?” you ask. The main point of tinning stranded wires is to create a stronger contact point when connecting wires to the correct terminals. When you use a soldering iron to add rosin-core solder to the wire strands, the solder fills in the voids between the wire strands and causes the loose, fine wires to become one solid wire. This solid wire can be more easily bent and manipulated as you place it underneath the terminal screws.

At Color Cord Company, we encourage a DIY attitude when installing your newly bought light fixtures. Whether you’re putting together pendant lights or chandeliers, if you want to learn more about tinning wires for screw terminals, check out this guide from Color Cord Company today!

Table of Contents

1. Tinning Essentials

tools needed for tinning wire

While you can complete tinning stranded wires on your own, you do need some special tools to get the job done. Before we can answer your question about what is tinning, you must have these items on-hand:

If you’re missing any of these tools, we recommend you explore our light fixture essentials before getting started.

2. Getting Started

 tinning wire setup

Now that you know what tinning is, you probably have plenty of areas where it can be used. But, before you even turn on your soldering iron, you want to ensure that your work is as comfortable as possible. If you plan on tinning wires for screw terminals, you should have the right setup for making the job quick and easy.

At Color Cord Company, our experts prefer to set the soldering iron in a static position, moving the wires and solder to touch the heated tip. A stable iron is safer for you and your workspace than trying to manipulate the iron while also holding the solder and the wires. After all, you don’t have three hands!

Many soldering irons come with a stand, but you can also buy one separately to hold the iron as steady as possible.

3. Application & Soldering

how to tin wire still image

You’ve got all your tools, your iron is set up and hot, and you’re holding wires in one hand and solder in the other. Time to get tinning!

To tin a wire, apply the wire to the tip of your iron for a second or two before placing the solder on top of the wire.

Applying the exposed wiring and solder in this order heats up the wires and solder in a way that ensures they bond together better. The solder should melt and flow freely into the exposed strands of your wire in just a few seconds.

And, there it is! You’ve answered the question, “what is tinning” without even breaking a sweat!

4. Checking Your Wire

tinned wire example

Even though this seems like a super simple process, you still want to check your wires to ensure you did the job right. Take a look at your wires and make sure they’re fully coated and the solder is adhering completely. You don’t want that solder flaking or sliding off! Once your wires look like ours, you’ll see how easy it is to connect your wires to the appropriate terminals.

More Advice from Color Cord Company

We’re here to help everyone get the perfect lighting for their home. With our DIY tutorials and advice for how to wire sockets or what tinning is, you’ll find yourself installing wall sconces and plug-ins in no time! Explore our blog today for more videos and decor inspiration!

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