Nine top tech tips for wire insulation removal
In this month’s HAKKO Tech Tips, HAKKO has looked more closely at our latest thermal wire stripper, the HAKKO FT-802. Wire insulation removal can be a challenging task, particularly when using traditional cutters to remove the insulation material surrounding the wire. However, using cutters or mechanical strippers can have adverse repercussions, potentially causing damage that can affect the wiring.
Most traditional tools are unable to cut cleanly all the way through, often leaving behind whiskers of insulation or scratches on the wire. These damaged wire cores and cut strands present serious problems that can result in broken connections caused by vibration, expansion, contraction and other external factors.
To overcome all of the common problems associated with using conventional hand tools, HAKKO has developed a thermal wire stripper at the top of its league, the FT-802, a newly launched digital version of the FT-801. The new FT-802 removes insulation cleanly and accurately without scratching core wires and sufficiently meet the demands for precise quality from the military, medical and aerospace industries. So, here’s how to make light work of wire insulation removal using the FT-802.
1. What are the key features of the FT-802?
The FT-802 has been developed for even higher quality, higher output and more precision and has a number of impressive new features that really sets it apart from other wire removal systems. First up, the FT-802 includes a comfortable, new ergonomic grip, making it a remarkably versatile solution for stripping thick wires, superfine wires and single wires without damaging wire cores or cutting strands.
Its’ broad range of capabilities provides advanced flexibility for a whole range of different types of wires. FT-802 also features a space-saving integrated handpiece holder, with a blade storage holder and blade removal plate incorporated into the system itself, so that blades can be replaced in isolation without the need to replace the whole handset.
2. Best performance top tip
Always set the temperature setting to match the type of insulation being stripped as per the guide label provided with unit to get the maximum performance benefits from the FT-802. We highly recommend, if possible, using the new G4 series of precision blades, G4-1602 and G4-1603, which have been designed in conjunction with the new system to prevent potential damage to the internal conductors of the wire.
The new G4 blades are sharper and the positioning of the heater in the handpiece allows for even greater thermal efficiency, for an even cleaner cut.
3. The importance of precision
It is extremely important to strip the insulation in a precise manner to prevent damage to the internal conductors of the wire. This is a pre-requisite for high quality, high reliability applications such as Aerospace, MoD and life critical medical applications.
Failure to meet these standards can lead to weakened soldered or crimped terminations which, when subjected to temperature and vibration, will cause the joint to fail.
4. Full range of sizes
The FT802 has been designed to process a wide range of wires with the G4-1601 straight blades. However, there are two further sets of precision blades, which are ground to accept wire gauges from thick to superfine.
The G4-1602 wire stripper blade is ideally suited to the largest wires AWG 18-28 and for the smallest AWG 26-38, the G4-1603 blade is a perfect solution for high precision, superfine wire work.
5. Blade life
This is a very good question!! Other than in the event of an electrical failure of the tips/cord, it will depend on the type and construction of the wire being processed. To be honest, we have never really seen general wear and tear on blades as being an issue but blades will need replacing from time to time.
6. Blade types
To enable the operator to be fully equipped for every eventuality, HAKKO have created four different types of blade for the FT-802. There is one flat, straight blade - the G4-1601, two precision blades - the G4-1602 and G4-1603, and one knife type blade - the G3-1601, which requires the FT8003 Hand Set (an optional extra).
7. Blade selection
The FT802 unit is compatible with a range of different wire types and applications. The G4-1601 straight blades are excellent for general purpose wire stripping but will only cut the wire insulation for part of its circumference.
If possible, the G4-1602 and G4-1603 precision blades should be selected as these cut the whole circumference of the wire and provide a larger contact area, and consequently greater force, when removing the insulation. For the removal of outer sheathing from co-axial or multicore cables, the FT8003 handset and G3-1601 blade should be used.
8. Going the extra mile
The FT802 is mainly for the finer gauges of single or multi-stranded wires in high reliability applications. However, it could possibly be used for even larger diameter wires but this would very much depend on the size and specification/construction of the wire in question. If you have an extra-large diameter wire in question, then HAKKO can conduct on site trials to ascertain the unit’s suitability in this instance.
9. Further features of the FT-802
Additional features of the FT-802 include a new higher output setting, unlike the FT-801 which reaches 100% of power, the FT-802 has an increased output capacity that can reach up to 120% in parameter settings. The system also features a lead adjuster to ensure accurate and repeatable strip lengths, as well as a programmable sleep mode, with an auto shut off facility, to reduce potential oxidation and extend blade life.
The switchable password feature ensures that unit parameters are only changed by qualified personnel. The settings can be locked with a password and the digital design enables the output temperature to be set to suit the insulation material. This prevents problems such as the inability to strip wire in a single action and stops insulation from sticking to blades due to incorrect temperature.
The FT-802 also has a newly improved handpiece, the FT-8004, which is a modified version of the HAKKO FT-8002 handpiece. The new handpiece hosts a new tweezer construction, which allows for even closer alignment and precision.