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Old 10-04-2010, 15:30   #1
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Electrical Crimp Connectors

Man I hate crimp connectors! For the most part I find them un-trustworthy for the wire staying well attached. I think I'm going to just start soldering and shrink tubing everything. I'll leave enough extra wire to be able to redo the connection once in a while. For the circuits that need to be disconnected frequenently I think I'm going to put a small terminal block there, but of course that involves a freakin crimp connector so maybe I'll just be sure to leave lots of extra wire.
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Old 10-04-2010, 15:57   #2
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I know what you mean, I don't really trust them either- I've used tons, but seldom on things I own.
Just remember that when you heat your shrink tube, you could also remelt your solder joint (no, I didn't do it!).
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Old 10-04-2010, 16:12   #3
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Please try them with a good ratchet crimper before you pass judgment.

Neither the USCG, NEC (National Electrical code), or AYBC approve solder alone for connections, because it can melt. Crimps have been proven.

I just finished a 1-year warm salt spray chamber test for Practical Sailor, using several different types of wire. I couldn't MAKE a crimp fail, and there were 225 connectors in the test. Using a quality ratchet crimper they are effectively welded. Further, if you can EVER pull the wire out without breaking the wire or the connector, you are using a poor crimper.

Non-ratchet crimpers are scrap metal, IMHO.

Please, try again with the correct tools. They really do work.
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Old 10-04-2010, 16:23   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thinwater View Post
Neither the USCG, NEC (National Electrical code), or AYBC approve solder alone for connections, because it can melt. Crimps have been proven.

I just finished a 1-year warm salt spray chamber test for Practical Sailor, using several different types of wire. I couldn't MAKE a crimp fail, and there were 225 connectors in the test. Using a quality ratchet crimper they are effectively welded. Further, if you can EVER pull the wire out without breaking the wire or the connector, you are using a poor crimper.

Non-ratchet crimpers are scrap metal, IMHO.

Please, try again with the correct tools. They really do work.
Exactly.
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Old 10-04-2010, 16:26   #5
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Amen. But, you gotta do them right, and you can't do them without the proper tools.

BTW, since I tend to use adhesive shrink wrap even over 3M heat shrink connectors, I've come to like double-crimp connectors for many jobs. With, of course, the proper double-crimp tool. Then, put adhesive heat shrink over them for good measure!

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Old 10-04-2010, 16:43   #6
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The problem is it is impossible to tell if the crimp is good or bad without destructive testing REGARDLESS of what tool one chooses. Conversely, if you properly mechanically connect the wire before soldering, then solder and cover with heat shrink tubing, you know it is a good connection because it has both a mechanical and solder bond.
If the solder connection melts, you have bigger issues to worry about.
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Old 10-04-2010, 17:22   #7
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More to the point.
When you solder a wire joint, you are defeating the purpose of the flexible fine gage multi strand marine grade wire that you should be using.

After soldering, the joint is brittle and prone to fatigue failure.
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Old 10-04-2010, 17:39   #8
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I would suggest making ~ 100 connections and seeing if there is a failure.

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The problem is it is impossible to tell if the crimp is good or bad without destructive testing REGARDLESS of what tool one chooses. Conversely, if you properly mechanically connect the wire before soldering, then solder and cover with heat shrink tubing, you know it is a good connection because it has both a mechanical and solder bond.
If the solder connection melts, you have bigger issues to worry about.
There won't be. And yes, you can tell; the main function of the ratchet in a ratchet crimper is that it doesn't let go until the stroke is complete. But this is not my discovery; it is the shared finding of industries, insurance companies, and governing bodies.

Yes, I have made poor crimps with cheap tools. Please, throw the non-ratchet crimpers away.
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Old 10-04-2010, 17:42   #9
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Solder can easily melt-out without a fire.

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The problem is it is impossible to tell if the crimp is good or bad without destructive testing REGARDLESS of what tool one chooses. Conversely, if you properly mechanically connect the wire before soldering, then solder and cover with heat shrink tubing, you know it is a good connection because it has both a mechanical and solder bond.
If the solder connection melts, you have bigger issues to worry about.
All it takes is a shorted appliance and a faulty breaker. Solder does not need to be very hot to become weak.
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Old 10-04-2010, 17:50   #10
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I have done thousands of crimps with non-ratchet crimps. Some non-ratchet crimpers are garbage and some are perfectly fine. The biggest problem are the ones that wear out at the tools pivot point leaving a larger gap as the tool wears or those crimps whose gaps are too large to begin with. You also have to know how much pressure to apply...just enough so you do not destroy the insulation. It also helps to leave a tiny amount of wire sticking out the end so that you know with certainty that you put enough wire in there to begin with. For crimps that have a dead end, you have to make sure you are mashing the wire into the crimp pretty firmly as you are tightening down on the crimper.

On inspected passenger vessels, the CFR'S do not allow soldered wire connections because solder melts so relatively easily which could cause all kinds of other problems.

Properly done, crimps are very reliable.
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Old 10-04-2010, 18:13   #11
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No issue here - good terminals and good crimp tool. Vaseline inside, glued heat-shink on the outside. No problem ever.

b.
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Old 10-04-2010, 18:19   #12
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I'm having a hard time believing soldered connecions just melting. I would tend to believe if they melt there was a bigger problem already.
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Old 10-04-2010, 19:07   #13
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In any properly fused circuit, the fuse will blow (read- melt) far sooner than any solder.

If you have a "shorted appliance and a faulty breaker", think about it - in that case, you'd WANT the solder to melt! The alternative is an electrical fire.

For my purpose, a mechanically fastened and soldered connector is double the protection on one simply crimped.
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Old 10-04-2010, 19:29   #14
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I believe wiser heads than ours have researched this.

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In any properly fused circuit, the fuse will blow (read- melt) far sooner than any solder.

If you have a "shorted appliance and a faulty breaker", think about it - in that case, you'd WANT the solder to melt! The alternative is an electrical fire.

For my purpose, a mechanically fastened and soldered connector is double the protection on one simply crimped.
We are going in circles.
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Old 10-04-2010, 19:39   #15
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Mechanical & Solder

My bilge pump connections keep giving me problems until I started crimping, soldering and shrink wrapping. No problems any more.

I really do not see the need to do this for areas that are not highly corrosive though.
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