How to: Rewire Speed Control

Words: Peter Vieira

3 steps to like-new

Of all the “pro” features to trickle down to “sport” speed controls, external solder points for the motor and battery wires are probably the most useful. You can cut the wires as short as you like for a custom installation, and then simply replace them when you move the speed control to a new vehicle that requires different lengths. If a wire is damaged, you don’t have to make a hack-looking splice—just replace the whole wire. The catch? You need a little soldering-iron savvy to do the job. Don’t worry; it’s easy!

You'll Need

> 40W (or higher) pencil type soldering iron
> 60/40 rosin-core solder
> Paste flux
> 14-gauge wire
> Wire strippers
> Third-hand tool


Remove the old wire

Clip the wire into the third-hand tool so the bottom of the solder tab is facing you. Lift the speed control slightly, so there is tension on the wire. Touch the tip of the soldering iron to a piece of solder to “wet” the tip, then touch the tip to the wire. As soon as the solder liquefies, it will release the wire, and the tension on the wire will pull it out of the tab.

Melt a little solder onto the tip of your iron to help flow heat into the joint.

Lift the speed control slightly to tension the wire as you heat the joint. If the solder doesn’t melt and release the wire in a second or two, the soldering iron isn’t hot enough.

Once the wire is removed, its hole will likely be filled with solder. That’s normal; resist the urge to drill it out!  

Give yourself a hand

Don’t have a third-hand tool? Just wrap a thick rubber band around a pair of pliers to spring-load the jaws. It isn’t quite as handy (no pun intended) as a third hand, but it will get the job done.

Prepare the new wire 

Cut the wire slightly longer than you think you’ll need, and use the wire strippers to remove about 3mm of insulation from one end. Twist the exposed strands together, then dab them with flux. Hold the tip of the soldering iron to the strands, and then feed in the solder. When the strands are coated (“tinned”) with solder, stop. Additional solder will only flow under the insulation and make the wire stiff.

Trim the wire at least 1 inch longer than you need.

Strip the insulation and twist the wire strands together tightly.

A dab of flux will help solder flow onto the wire.

Tin the wire with solder, but don’t overdo it.

Getting wired

Now that you know how to replace your speed control’s wires, there’s no excuse for not having a superclean installation. Here are some tips to help you get your wiring wired.

Not too tight! You want the wires as short as possible to minimize electrical resistance, but leave enough slack to absorb chassis flex. You don’t want a crash or hard landing to break the solder joints.

Twisting fights glitching. If you’re having trouble with radio glitching, and you’ve already made certain that the motor has the correct capacitors on it, try twisting the motor wires together. It just might cure your glitch!

Save your wires. If you transfer your speed control from one vehicle to another, save the wires from the vehicle that’s getting shelved. When it’s time to put the speed control back in, you won’t have to make up a new set of wires.

Install the wire

Clip the new wire into our third-hand tool—close to the wire’s tinned end. Hold the speed control so the open solder tab is against the wire (don’t worry if the hole in the solder tab is plugged by a web of solder). Melt a little solder onto the tip of the iron and then touch the iron to the tab. When the solder liquefies, the wire will slip into the tab’s hole. When you see the solder on the tab and the tinned wire flow together, the joint is complete.


Apply gentle downward pressure as you heat the solder tab.

When the wire pokes through, remove the iron and hold the speed control steady until the joint cools.

There you have it—fresh wires for your speed control. This is Novak’s new XRS reversing model.







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