Welcome to PhantomPilots.com

Sign up for a weekly email of the latest drone news & information

Conductive wire glue

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by TimmyG94, Sep 26, 2014.

  1. TimmyG94

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2014
    Messages:
    121
    Likes Received:
    1
    I've had a Phantom Vision+ for a couple months and decided I wanted to add a Flytrex Live and LED headlight to my bird. This required soldering wires to the +/- battery power leads on the mainboard, but I suck at soldering! I tried my best, but I burnt a hole in the insulation of one of the wires, and it was VERY hard to maneuver my 30-watt iron in the tight, confined space of exposed Phantom innards without burning everything in sight. I used rosin core solder, but I just couldnt get that **** stuff to flow onto the wires. I did finally manage to get a teeny-tiny bit of solder to tack down my "pigtail" leads to the main solder beads that the battery wires were attached to the mainboard and hold them in place. At this point, I cried "Uncle" and decided to initiate Plan B which was run to Radio Shack to buy a small tube of conductive wire glue for around $5.00. I've seen this stuff for years but didnt think it worked.

    This glue actually works! I applied some of this gooey stuff liberally to both pigtail leads using a small paintbrush from a hobby set, being careful not to let any bridge the +/- beads and cause a short circuit. I let it cure for 24 hrs. as per the instructions. After it dried, I tested my Flytrex Live and LED headlight and they both powered on so I knew it was a success. I then laid down a strip of electrical tape to protect these connections from the WiFi radio that is placed over top of it.

    I've had a couple of minor crashes since I glued these connections, such as landing in some tall weeds and bouncing off a barn roof and everything still works! I've heard this glue becomes very brittle after it hardens so I know it's not ideal for something like a Phantom, but I'm just going to keep flying and see how long it lasts. Specs say it even works down to 0F so looks like I can fly my bird in the winter weather and still be OK. I'll give a status update if the connections break. I'm a believer in this stuff now, and you should consider it for your next multicopter wiring project if you dont have ace soldering skills.


    http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=12925060


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
     
  2. MadMitch88

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2014
    Messages:
    539
    Likes Received:
    10
    Location:
    Cleveland, OH
    Nice work!

    Why can't DJI put small screw terminals on the power leads inside the Phantom similar to car batteries so users can easily add accessories instead of soldering? Also seems dumb to located these terminals underneath the WiFi radio, so put them somewhere more accessible when you take the top off. Hopefully that will be an improvement we see on the Phantom 3.
     
  3. N017RW

    Joined:
    May 2, 2014
    Messages:
    6,244
    Likes Received:
    1,614
    Location:
    Palm Beach Co.- FL
    With all due respect...

    I'm glad you got your stuff hooked up but cannot recommend or condone glue as a way to upgrade or repair your $1200+ a/c.

    A temporary fix for low voltage/current signals (wires) in the field ONLY... maybe.

    The 'stuff' is poorly reviewed and rated. Never consider it's use for high current applications or large gauge wires and never anything that is 'flight critical'.

    Your initial experience is likely due to lack of heat and a clean tip.
    Iron too small, no solder added during heating phase, oxidized tip, no pre-tining all contributing to poor to no heat transfer. This can result in numerous solder quality issues and failure modes.

    Should just one wire come loose and touch something else... your a/c may be lost.

    You are better off learning to solder or be plagued with problems you cannot easily fix or upgrades you cannot execute properly in the future.

    Besides, that's kinda the fun and challenging part... learning new things and skills. :cool:
     
  4. paulajayne

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2014
    Messages:
    330
    Likes Received:
    22
    Location:
    Bocking - England
    Where are you based? If close to me I will solder that correctly for you.

    Also I am sure others on the forum would help.
     
  5. OI Photography

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2013
    Messages:
    5,542
    Likes Received:
    17
    Location:
    Clarksville, TN
    +1

    In fact, +2 :)

    I would never trust that stuff to handle the 20-30A your Phantom will be drawing over that connection while flying. While you might get lucky, those two power connections are the most critical on the aircraft and if either of them fail then you'll be needing help figuring out which parts can be salvaged from your crashed Phantom :(

    Like PaulaJayne suggested I would try to find someone local who can fix those joints for you in a quick minute...other Phantom owners maybe or even Ham radio operators (we solder just for the fun of it lol).
     
  6. rrmccabe

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2014
    Messages:
    1,647
    Likes Received:
    358
    Location:
    Ankeny, Iowa
    The fact its conductive makes it worse in my opinion. There is no way it can hold current of any amount so when things do start getting warm from the inability to pass current this conductive patch of glue is probably going to do its part in passing the heat further if not adding to it.

    Sorry but this an aircraft just waiting to fall out of the sky. Possibly on fire.

    And I will add to above, if you are anywhere close I will be happy to fix it properly for you.
     
  7. TimmyG94

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2014
    Messages:
    121
    Likes Received:
    1
    N017RW, OI Photography, and rrmccabe:

    I think you're all getting confused about what I did in this project. I did NOT replace the factory solder that connects the large-gauge battery wires to the mainboard with the conductive glue. I simply glued on some smaller 28-gauge wires of my own (I call them "pigtails") that I then used to splice on the +/- wires from the Flytrex Live and LED headlight. If you look carefully at the middle photo you will see where I burned a hole into the insulation of one of these smaller "pigtail" wires. The factory solder beads can be seen as spherical bulges under the black glue.

    The factory solder joints connecting the battery +/- wires to the mainboard are still intact and functioning perfectly. The conductive glue is only passing a very small amount of current to the pigtail wires which are spliced to the Flytrex Live and LED headlight. I don't have exact manufacturer specs, but I would guess the Flytrex Live and LED headlight are only drawing around 50 mA each so that's a really tiny amt. of current that the glue could easily handle. I didnt take a photo of the strip of electrical tape that I covered these connections, but that would provide a safety net in case one or both of these connections breaks and there is a loose power wire underneath the WiFi radio.

    As far as detractors of this glue, well of course you'll find critics but if you read Amazon reviews of the Phantom Vision+ there are many people claiming it's a very unreliable quadcopter that is quite prone to random flyaways! If we only listened to these detractors then DJI would be bankrupt from not selling any Phantoms, correct? There are lots of people who endorse graphite-based conductive glue for low-amp, low-voltage situations or else they would never sell the stuff to begin with. :p

    I couldn't find specs on the Radio Shack website, but here is a link to similar graphite-based conductive glue on another site:

    http://www.thinkgeek.com/product/b7...caDZnNBnSwELRHzyMfNUTIr5CSiJ-IiTqIxoCftnw_wcB
     
  8. rrmccabe

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2014
    Messages:
    1,647
    Likes Received:
    358
    Location:
    Ankeny, Iowa
    Well if you are close, the offer still stands. Hope it works well for you.
     
  9. N017RW

    Joined:
    May 2, 2014
    Messages:
    6,244
    Likes Received:
    1,614
    Location:
    Palm Beach Co.- FL


    I assure you I am not confused... I saw photographs.

    Do not try to convince me that this is acceptable, it won't work. It's not.

    Please take up one of the offers to teach you how to solder if it is feasible.

    Cheers!
     
  10. OI Photography

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2013
    Messages:
    5,542
    Likes Received:
    17
    Location:
    Clarksville, TN
    If you were just connecting two low-current wires together it would be fine, but not for connecting them to a high-current source like that. I also wouldn't feel comfortable that the original attempts to connect them didn't compromise the original joints in some way, and don't suggest flying until they've been resoldered.
     
  11. TimmyG94

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2014
    Messages:
    121
    Likes Received:
    1
    I'll try to stay as polite as I can here, but your opinion is really not any more credible than anyone else's here. Basically, you havent posted any verifiable documentation of your qualifications to speak in detail about the effectiveness or potential dangers of using graphite conductive wire glue in this situation. Please post a copy of your degree in electrical engineering or materials science if you can? You're speaking about this topic as if it's a scientific analysis of a brain surgery technique and yet you never spent a single day in medical school. ;)

    Truth is, this wire glue IS working and working pretty **** well. I've had close to a 100 flights (each one at least 12 minutes long) since I glued these connections two months ago and nothing has been abnormal so far. If there was any immediate danger of fire, short-circuit, overheating, etc. I would've noticed it by now. Everything about this setup is well within the spec'd parameters of the glue.

    Soldering is a skill I may improve on in the future. More immediate priorities are learning to be a better pilot, FPV operator, and video editor to make my Phantom footage look superb!

    :mrgreen:
     
  12. TimmyG94

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2014
    Messages:
    121
    Likes Received:
    1
    Have you taken a basic electronics or physics course? I have and I learned that electricity flows in the path of least resistance. That's why your appliances have rubber and plastic insulated coverings on the power cord and makes it safe to touch while the current flows safely through the copper wires inside. Once the Phantom battery is turned on, the current will preferably flow along the copper wires and through the solder into the mainboard as it's designed to do, since that is the path of least resistance. SOME electricity will flow through the wire glue to supply a VERY small amount of current to the pigtail wires connected to the Flytrex Live and LED headlight.

    Graphite doesn't corrode solder material, so not sure why you're worried about this glue compromising a factory solder connection?

    As far as being worried about flying, I hate to inform you that I've safely flown close to a 100 flights already with this glued connection and ZERO problems so far. Any imminent danger with this glue would've already become apparent with the first few flights after I made the pigtail connections.

    I'm not trying to belittle people in here, but I have a science degree from a large state university so I'm not a complete moron when it comes to technical subjects. In my worldview and my occupation, you need to post credible scientific and engineering details to disprove a particular material is not suitable or even dangerous to use in this situation. Simply stating that "somebody posted a negative review about this glue on another website" holds no credibility in my world.
     
  13. OI Photography

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2013
    Messages:
    5,542
    Likes Received:
    17
    Location:
    Clarksville, TN
    I never said it might, I was concerned about your earlier attempts at soldering having that effect.

    I also never meant to suggest that you would go down in flames as soon as you take off. What I did say was that I would be concerned about the possibility of solder joints failing...something that your 100 flights (which you never mentioned) don't disprove either.

    My intent was to give you fair warning about something that it didn't sound like you had much experience with (...since you failed to publish hard data proving otherwise).

    If you've already tested the theory and are satisfied with your results, what's the question?
     
  14. Wedeliver

    Joined:
    May 15, 2014
    Messages:
    675
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    Tionesta, California
    Hi, I am not going to comment on the method used, since I always applaud creativity. That said, Learn to Solder. Evidently you are not supid and you understand where things go etc. So, all you need to do is develop a skill. Practice, practice, practice. That rosin core solder is fine. get some wires and practice tinning. the tricks or key things to remember is to let that Iron fully heat up. if necessary get one that goes to at least 40 watts. Wait, and then wait some more. You have to have a good clean tip, no way around that and as you notice in the below video he does not touch the tip to the solder, his soldering tip is against the wire, and then he just allows a little solder to spead. I would imagine there are more ways to get soldering instruction.
    Good luck and safe flying. Although I said I was not going to comment on the method used, you can clean that up and make it look and be perfect if you wish (liquid tape could cover that hole). also you might keep an eye on those joints and solder them them if they ever get loose.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQvxXMlhOeo

     
  15. TimmyG94

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2014
    Messages:
    121
    Likes Received:
    1
    No I was very careful not to compromise the solder joints of the main battery leads. That is the main reason I aborted repeated attempts to solder the pigtails because I was afraid I would compromise those factory connections and wanted to be sure they remained intact for the voltage that is supplied to the entire quadcopter and all of it's functions.

    You state "I would be concerned about the possibility of solder joints failing". Please provide some credible engineering specs indicating that graphite wire glue would somehow compromise the integrity of the factory solder? I'm open to anything as long as it has solid scientific/engineering data to back it up.

    The reason for my original post is to provide a viable alternative to soldering in a specific situation like I had with adding my Flytrex Live and LED headlight. NEVER did I state to use this glue as a replacement for soldering the main battery leads to the mainboard. I think that's where some people got confused. I just wanted to provide testimony and photographs showing how I did it, and give a status update after I flew a sufficient number of flights to make sure the glue works as advertised. It does! :mrgreen:
     
  16. OI Photography

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2013
    Messages:
    5,542
    Likes Received:
    17
    Location:
    Clarksville, TN
    Again, I wasn't talking about the graphite itself causing a joint failure, rather your initial failed attempts to solder them prior to adding the graphite. Those joints are (or were) also a common failure point in Phantoms and even when left completely untouched they've been known to separate from the pads too easily. Add in some sloppy soldering work and you have a potential recipe for disaster. I inspect all my power joints every single time I have the Phantom open, and any visible signs of fault would be hidden under the graphite.
     
  17. TimmyG94

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2014
    Messages:
    121
    Likes Received:
    1
    Yes, I fully agree that good soldering technique is a very usefull skill to have, and one that I would like to pursue in the future since multirotors appear to be a lifelong hobby for me now.

    However, also please realize there are often situations where some alternative technique can open your eyes to a new way of doing things. For example, many doctors in the 70's and 80's used to think gastric ulcers were caused by mental and emotional stress and told their patients to work less and sleep more as a form of treatment. However, modern medicine now realizes most ulcers are caused by a bacteria called Helicobacter pylori and therefore physicians prescribe antibiotics instead.

    At this point, I've flown close to a 100 flights without any power problems or other abnormalities that might be caused by the conductive wire glue. I might decide to remove the glue at some point in the future and solder them properly, but I have no timeline on that proposed endeavor. I live in the Northeast so I'll likely just keep flying until the winter months when I'll have more bench time to tinker with the innards of my Phantom.

    I just hope other people out there give this conductive wire glue a fair shot like I have because I think they'll be satisfied with the results. :)
     
  18. TimmyG94

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2014
    Messages:
    121
    Likes Received:
    1
    Well you have a good point there and admittedly I didnt inspect those joints under a microscope like a true engineer would after I finished my botched attempt at soldering, although I did visually check those beads and they looked pretty good. So therefore, I can't really say for sure I didnt compromise them at least in some degree. I wish they made some kind of material like silly putty that you could apply over these connections and then it hardens like cement to make sure those battery wires don't pop off the mainboard during a flight. Maybe there is a product like this?

    However, at this point regardless of detailed engineering analysis, I will just keep flying on "gut feeling" and keep my fingers crossed that nothing bad will happen as a result of the wire glue. I live in Ohio so obviously the weather won't be very conducive to flying by Thanksgiving, so that just gives me a few winter months to take my Phantom to my workbench and rip it open and give it a very thorough inspection and make proper modifications.
     
  19. OI Photography

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2013
    Messages:
    5,542
    Likes Received:
    17
    Location:
    Clarksville, TN
    RTV silicone is a material commonly used for that, and I believe some flavor of it is what DJI uses to secure a lot of the wire connections in the Phantom (that Elmer's glue looking stuff you'll find on some of them). I've heard of garden-variety "hot glue" being used as well. The problem is that while they may keep the wire from pulling away completely from the board (or tension from the cable pulling on the solder), they don't necessarily prevent the solder joint from getting compromised due to low initial quality and interfering with proper current flow.
     
  20. Wedeliver

    Joined:
    May 15, 2014
    Messages:
    675
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    Tionesta, California
    ****, over and over I type something and then my fat fingers hit some keys and it all goes bye bye. ****.
    I think what I had typed was I thank you for sharing your creative method of getting a job done. Not speaking to the quality of the job, but I understand it has been working for you, so great. Now the written word sometimes is harsh. It is hard to express emotions when typing and if this discussion was taking place in person the misunderstanding would not happen.

    That said, I wish you the best with your admirable goal of becoming a good pilot and taking pics and videos from this flying machine you have. This winter, when the conditions are not good for flying might be a good time to practice those soldering skills. I for one would be impressed if you did.

    Have fun