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Old 29-06-2012, 21:00   #31
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Re: Butt connector vs solder

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Originally Posted by psneeld View Post
standards say to also have a mechanical connection to keep things together if the wires get hot enough to melt the solder...
If the wire gets hot enough to melt the solder, you have bigger problems than a mechanical connection...
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Old 29-06-2012, 21:23   #32
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Everything has it's place (crimping, soldering, heatshrinking, etc.). The key, as commented is the quality of the interconnect. My rules of thumb after more thousands over interconnects tgat I care to remember:

1. Big cable (e.g. 8 AWG to 4/0) crimp with a proper crimp tool (ideally one with multiple die sets). Always a good idea to add heatshrink over the wire to connector joint, critically so if it is a butt connector as opposed to a lug.

2. Normal wire (e.g 18 AWG to 10 AWG) crimp with a good quality ratcheting crimp tool (Ideal Crimp Master with appropriate die set). If the area is wet or in any way exposed to moisture ( exterior lazzerettes) the adhesive lined heat shrink crimps are a must. For really wet areas (bilge pumps) use adhesive lined heat shink over connectors for good measure. A good quality heat shrink gun is your friend. For standard interconnects ( interior, non wet areas ) standard crimp connects are fine IF properly crimped (tug test as mentioned goes a long way).

3. For fine wires (24 AWG-20 AWG) solder connections ( properly done with a flux core soder ) then covered with heat shrink provide superior connects to crimps. Again the key is proper solder connection which take practice to flow the solder well so there is good wicking and the insulation is not compromised.

Yes it does take time to do it right, but it pays in a tough marine environment. Hope this helps
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Old 29-06-2012, 22:04   #33
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Re: Butt connector vs solder

Twelve years with a few butt connectors (also soldered), but mostly soldering ring connnectors and wiring on this boat.
Thirteen years on the previous boat, an I've heard no complaints from the previous owner (still cruising in Mexico).
My boat is better than ever, and I've solved several nagging problems such as autopilot sudden course change.
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Old 30-06-2012, 00:59   #34
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Thumbs up Re: Butt connector vs solder

[QUOTE=ExRonin;980622]Everything has it's place (crimping, soldering, heatshrinking, etc.). The key, as commented is the quality of the interconnect.

Takes a very thin layer of oxidation to break a 12v circuit.
Make sure wires are clean before joining.
Check the wire cross section is right for the max current possible since a high current density can result in heating and cooling of the joint that could eventually result in oxidation between the crimp and wires.
Low voltage wires are relatively heavy and need plenty of support.
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Old 30-06-2012, 06:40   #35
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Re: Butt connector vs solder

I have made some of my own heavy cable ends such as you would use for starters and batteries.

I once made a 16 inch wire size like a 4/0 by taking some old 10 gauge multistrand, stripping off the plastic insulation and bundling the wires together into a large bundle.
Slipped a black rubber heater hose over the wire strands.
Took 2 copper pipe sweat fittings 3/4 to 1/2 inch.
Slid the end on first till the end of the copper strands were at the copper fitting end. I think I put the wide end on first which helped to funnel the strands into the narrow end. Cant recall exactly.
Then smashed this flat with a sledge hammer to the proper shape for a terminal end.
Drilled a 3/8 hole for the lug.
dipped the end in a solder bucket to seal the cable end.

Hey it works and has worked for years.
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Old 30-06-2012, 08:26   #36
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Re: Butt connector vs solder

Gee I don't know what your Grandfather smoking has to do with wire conections?? Im sorry for his problems !! but he lasted longer then most and my conections last longer then most also !! LOL just my 2 cents ! and we don't smoke !!
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Old 30-06-2012, 09:51   #37
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Originally Posted by Jbaffoh

And my grandfather smoked for a thousand years and they didn't punch a hole in his trachea until he was 94. But most people succumb to small cell carcinoma much sooner. What's wrong with paying $50 for a proper tool and $0.15 for a proper connector?

Yeah, crappy methods work--until they fail. And they do fail.
Where can I buy a heat shrink, adhesive lined connector for cheap? I'm having trouble finding them at all, and they're well over a buck each!
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Old 30-06-2012, 10:00   #38
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Re: Butt connector vs solder

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Originally Posted by cwyckham View Post
Where can I buy a heat shrink, adhesive lined connector for cheap? I'm having trouble finding them at all, and they're well over a buck each!
and only one way to skin cat
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Old 30-06-2012, 10:25   #39
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Re: Butt connector vs solder

Imho, the adhesive lined version of heat shrink tubing is lined with hot glue.
I've successfully used the non lined version with a quick shot of hot glue just before using a heat gun to shrink the tubing.
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Old 30-06-2012, 11:05   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdowney717
I have made some of my own heavy cable ends such as you would use for starters and batteries.

I once made a 16 inch wire size like a 4/0 by taking some old 10 gauge multistrand, stripping off the plastic insulation and bundling the wires together into a large bundle.
Slipped a black rubber heater hose over the wire strands.
Took 2 copper pipe sweat fittings 3/4 to 1/2 inch.
Slid the end on first till the end of the copper strands were at the copper fitting end. I think I put the wide end on first which helped to funnel the strands into the narrow end. Cant recall exactly.
Then smashed this flat with a sledge hammer to the proper shape for a terminal end.
Drilled a 3/8 hole for the lug.
dipped the end in a solder bucket to seal the cable end.

Hey it works and has worked for years.
Relative to the level of expertise on this forum, I'm far from qualified to support or critique your method.

However, I admire your style and ingenuity!
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Old 30-06-2012, 19:30   #41
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Re: Butt connector vs solder

I got to the boat today and noticed the bilge pump isn't working (I like to put a bucket of hot water down there now and again)

So I took a look at the wiring between bilge pump, float switch, etc and found the following :

Two wires that would pull out of butt connectors with no effort. These were 18 gauge wires in 14/16 butt connectors.

14/16 gauge ring terminals crimped onto 18 gauge wires.

18 gauge ring terminals crimped onto 16 gauge wires.

One connection done with a wire nut.

Loose screws on the bulkhead strip connector.

For heaven's sake, if a job's worth doing, do it properly!

The good news is, the bilge pump is now working better than ever.
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Old 30-06-2012, 19:40   #42
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Re: Butt connector vs solder

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Originally Posted by MarkSF View Post
I got to the boat today and noticed the bilge pump isn't working (I like to put a bucket of hot water down there now and again)

So I took a look at the wiring between bilge pump, float switch, etc and found the following :

Two wires that would pull out of butt connectors with no effort. These were 18 gauge wires in 14/16 butt connectors.

14/16 gauge ring terminals crimped onto 18 gauge wires.

18 gauge ring terminals crimped onto 16 gauge wires.

One connection done with a wire nut.

Loose screws on the bulkhead strip connector.

For heaven's sake, if a job's worth doing, do it properly!

The good news is, the bilge pump is now working better than ever.

You'd be amazed at what I see on a daily basis.. It is not just "solder" issues. I only have to go back to Thursday for the latest..

Owner calls, engine won't start. I get to the boat and find all but one wing nut had vibrated off the batteries. Probably thumb and finger tight. One of the positive cables had also vibrated off the battery post..

I cleaned the terminals, installed regular nuts with lock washers and told the owner what the problem was and that he was fine. I also mentioned his mishap is a prime example of why the ABYC has made wing nuts a non-preferred installation, and why I had removed them and installed regular nuts...

He then asked "why"?? .... Ah because you just paid me to come out here and discover your wing nuts vibrated clean off the battery posts along with the positive battery cable, that's "why".......

The worst ones I see can lead to serious corrosion issues. One I see it all to often, is an energized bonding circuit due to someone trying to use a bonding wire as a neg return back to the batteries... A few weeks ago it was a flat panel TV where the owner ran one red wire to it from the DC panel then tied the TV neg to the Seacock in the head.... But hey the TV turned on and he saved $6 on the neg DC wire............ Doh'....
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Old 01-07-2012, 05:21   #43
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Re: Butt Connector vs Solder

for those who cannot find adhesive lined heat shrink tubing...

Let me google that for you"
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Old 01-07-2012, 05:53   #44
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Re: Butt connector vs solder

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... Solder is great for conductivity...
A general "rule of thumb" is that solder has roughly 5x the resistance of copper.
Copperís conductivity is roughly six times higher than tinís! Fine solder typically consists of more than 60% tin.
Thus, a gas-free crimp connection is always preferable to a solder connection.
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Old 01-07-2012, 06:08   #45
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Re: Butt Connector vs Solder

Solder is great but on a boat corrosion is a problem as most solder has flux which is acid! It will corode over time so use crimps.
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