Tin Dipping Services for Wire and Cable

We offer many types of wire and cable products with the option of tin dipping, and the quality of our work is guaranteed through our strict ISO 9001 quality process and customer service. We have wire cutting machines that capture the exact length of the wire along with the strip length on each end. We typically either semi-strip the insulation on each end or tin dip each end in solder to avoid strands from fraying during transit to the customer.

Why Does Hook Up Wire Get Tin Dipped?

Photo of wire being cut before tin dipping process.

As you can see in the image above the machine can leave a small piece of the insulation on the wire as it’s processed. The alternative is to pull the insulation off each end completely, called a full strip. Typically, when wire is full stripped it also gets tin dipped into solder so that the individual strands don’t end up being a mess when they arrive to the customer. Small gauge wire usually has about 7 copper strands inside the insulation that, when exposed, get tangled and messy. To avoid the tangling each wire is then dipped into tin.

Photo of wire being tin dipped.

The Difference Between Tin Coated and Tin Dipped Wire

Three things comprise small hook up wire; copper, tin coating and insulation. Each 30 AWG copper strand is run through tin during the manufacturing process before getting wound together. When they dry there are about 7 strands wound together before the insulation gets placed over it. When wound together, 7 strands equates to a total diameter of 22 AWG, 10 strands equates to 20 AWG and 16 strands equates to 18 AWG. A large diameter piece of copper conducts more electricity than a smaller piece. Likewise, more strands wound together creates a large wire which can conduct more electricity as well. Each of the copper strands are considered tin coated which is useful during the soldering process of end users. When soldering wires to a circuit board the soldering iron heat will slightly melt the tin coating so that it adheres to the application more securely. It’s difficult to get solder to adhere to bare copper without the added layer of tin.

On the other hand, tin dipped wire is a second process completed after the wire is cut to length and each end has exposed copper strands. At this point, the strands are flimsy and need to be handled carefully. Sometimes it can be beneficial to use two fingers to twist the strands into a tight organized piece immediately before dipping into tin. Once the wire is tin dipped all of the strands will stick together and become impossible to revert back to the flimsy individual strands. This process makes it easier to ship the product across the country to our customers.

Photo of wire being tin dipped in solder.

Types of Solder Used to Tin Dip Wire

There are two basic types of tin used to stop individual strands from fraying; with lead and without lead. The words Solder and Tin are used interchangeably within this industry depending on how it’s being used. When using a soldering iron it becomes common to call tin “solder” but when dipping wire into a tin pot it becomes “tin”. However, be careful because some solder uses lead or a mixture of lead and tin together. The bottom right corner of the picture above has a cup of flux which is used to help adhere the solder to the wire. Flux prevents oxidation, which quickly forms on copper at high heats, and therefore helps adhere the tin to the copper strands smoothly. This is mostly used for the lead-free solder process because the lead doesn’t need the flux to adhere.

Types of Wire That Get Tin Dipped

Hook up wire is classified into categories of insulation, voltage, temperature and approvals. Common classifications are UL1007, UL1015, Type E, Type EE, PVC, PTFE and Irradiated. Some are more expensive than others and some types of insulation are much thicker for added protection. However, 18 AWG wire is always the same diameter whether it is one solid strand (less flexible) or multiple strands wound together to form the same diameter (16 strands of 30 AWG). The smaller strands add flexibility and still conduct the same amount of electricity.

Therefore, the type of wire isn’t as important as the copper strands, which rarely change other than the two main versions; solid and stranded. The commonality is that 90% of wire is already coated with tin underneath the insulation before cutting the wire and tin dipping it. First the individual strands are coated without sticking together, then the group of strands are dipped so that they all stick together as one.

Photo of employee testing tin dipped copper wire.

Types of Cable That Get Tin Dipped

Similarly, electronic cables come in various shapes and sizes but the copper strands remain the same. Without the concern for neatness and added protection there’s little need for the overall jacket covering the individual wires. When the wires are designed to resist 105C and 300 volts, the jacket is made the same way. In order to connect each of the wires to an application the jacket needs to be removed a few inches from each side, whereby exposing the insulation of the conductors to the same heat and voltage level as the outer jacket. That’s why they are always (usually) the same.

Photo of tin dipped and stripped copper wire order.

That brings us back to the same spot. The added insulation and jacket don’t change the fact that beneath it all remains individual strands of copper that could fray during transit. Common types of electronic cables are Fire alarm cable (shielded and unshielded), PVC (shielded and unshielded), PTFE, STJ and FEP high temperature (shielded and unshielded). Some companies will cut electronic cables to 5 feet, remove the jacket of each end by 3 inches, remove the insulation from each conductor on each end 1 inch and then need to tin dip each group of strands. The image above shows the entire process before the tin dipping stage. As you can see, the little pieces of insulation are about to be removed and immediately dipped into tin so that they remain a clean, solid conductor of electricity that can be connected to various applications easily.