Frequently Asked Questions

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FAQ Category: Resistance Soldering

Q. What is resistance soldering and how does it work?
A. By passing a safe, low voltage, high amperage current through a resistive material we are able to generate an intense heat that can be controlled and localized. The heat that is being generated can then be efficiently used in a wide variety of soldering applications.

There are three key components of resistance soldering:

  1. a specialized step-down transformer that will generate the appropriate current
  2. a resistive material to generate the heat
  3. the ability to complete an electrical circuit

Q. What real advantages can I expect to see by using resistance soldering?
A. Here are a few of the immediate advantages you can expect to see.
  1. Resistance Soldering is a faster, more efficient soldering method than irons or torches.
  2. There is no warm-up time needed. Heat is instant and localized.
  3. Handpieces cool extremely fast, reducing the risk of serious injury.
  4. There are no open flame hazards to be concerned about.
  5. You will have lower overall operating costs because;
    • Extra solder is not needed for pre-tinning Electrodes.
    • Electrodes generally last 2-3 times longer than traditional Soldering Iron tips.
    • You will need less flux, because it is more thoroughly activated during soldering.
    • Soldering will be more consistent and the improved quality will mean less rework.
    • The faster and more efficient use of current during actual soldering lowers consumption.
  6. Resistance Soldering Handpieces are generally lighter than irons, reducing operator fatigue.
  7. Thermal damage to heat sensitive components will be minimized.

Q. Why should I choose American Beauty® resistance soldering equipment?
A. American Beauty® resistance soldering products are proudly made in the USA and have proven themselves in industrial settings for over 50 years. We offer the widest selection of handpieces and electrodes, the best technical expertise and assistance and the safest and most durable power units. We understand and appreciate that you are often paying a higher upfront cost for this type of soldering system and therefore we work very hard to help you realize all of the benefits and savings involved with resistance soldering.

Q. Where can I use resistance soldering?
A. Most soldering applications can be performed using resistance soldering equipment, especially when you need to bring the intended joint to temperature rapidly to avoid thermal damage to surrounding components.

Q. Is resistance soldering safe?
A. Yes! The output voltage of all American Beauty resistance soldering equipment is low voltage AC Current. Unlike soldering irons, the elements and electrodes are only being heated during use and cool down quickly.

Q. Why do the high wattage power units (1,100~1,800~3,000 Watts) have three output terminals?
A. The transformers in the higher output units have an off-center tapped secondary in order to provide a wider range of power levels for use. To which terminals you attach your handpiece/return leads/accessories, determines your power range. If the power unit has a tap switch incorporated, there are 8 separate levels of power to choose from within each of the available Power Ranges.

Q. Are American Beauty Resistance Soldering Systems UL listed?
A. Although we do not subscribe to UL or CSA marking services, our resistance soldering products have been tested by independent product safety facilities to allow CE required self certification markings.

Q. What wattage American Beauty® Resistance soldering power unit should I use for my application?
A. When making your purchase, it is always a good idea to buy a unit with a higher maximum wattage than is required for the current task in order to;
  1. Keep you from over taxing the power unit.
  2. Give you a wider working range (dial down the output for applications that require less power).
  3. Allow you to venture in to other applications which may require more power.
If you have any uncertainty regarding which wattage power unit is right for you, contact us with details of your application before you buy, and we will advise you as to the proper system to solve your soldering needs.

Q. Do the electrodes used for resistance soldering require tinning?
A. No. Soldering iron tips need to be tinned to assist in the transfer of heat into a solder joint. Electrodes (because of their resistive properties) generate heat within the solder joint. In fact the electrode materials have been specifically chosen because they do not readily accept solder.

Q. What can I do to prevent my carbon electrodes from breaking?
A. Electrode breakage is usually due to the use of excessive pressure during the soldering application. It is important to remember that only light pressure is required to conduct the current needed to generate heat. Adding pressure does not increase the heating efficiency! If the level of heat being generated is diminishing, it is usually due to the build up of oxidation, or contamination on the electrodes surface. A light abrading with a fine grit emery cloth should solve the problem. If excessive pressure is required to aid in the assembly, you may need a handpiece with a larger diameter carbon electrode or a stainless steel electrode for the job.

Q. How do I test the voltage output from my resistance soldering power unit?
A. You can do this quite easily, using your always handy, multi-meter, with the function dial set to read AC voltage.

Q. How do I test the voltage output from my resistance soldering handpiece?
A. You can do this quite easily, using your always handy, multi-meter, with the function dial set to read AC voltage.

Q. What is a 50% duty cycle?
A. When ever you are operating an American Beauty Resistance Soldering power unit at 50% of its available output, or higher, you will need to cycle the unit so that the idle time is equal to, or greater than the active time. For example, if your power unit is set to 50% and it takes ten seconds to solder a joint, you will need ten seconds or more of idle time before soldering the next joint. This is to ensure the power unit is not over taxed and to help keep the handpiece from over heating. You should periodically check the handpiece and cabling for any excess accumulation of heat.

You should never run the unit continuously on any setting for more than 20 seconds.

Q. I have some scrap copper lying around. Can I make my own resistance soldering electrodes?
A. A resistance soldering system is only as good as its point of contact. Copper itself has a low level of electrical resistivity therefore making it quite a poor material for resistance soldering. Our electrodes are made from stainless steel and then copper plated. This allow the electrical current to travel with a low level of resistance down the electrode until it passes through the steel, getting instantaneously hot.

Q. I bought your 1,800 Watt Power Unit (105C1) recently and notice that the call outs on the power dial are all less than 10. What's the deal?
A. Actual wattage will vary depending upon which handpiece is being used, what materials are being soldered or brazed, the physical mass of those pieces, the exact nature of the point of contact, the amount of applied pressure, length of dwell time and a few other factors. The numbers that you see on your dial is the output voltage coming from the specialized step-down transformer. If you require the actual wattage for a specific application that is being performed, individual testing will be required. Wattage is calculated by multiplying the actual measured amperage by the actual measured voltage when the equipment is cycled with a load.

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