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Old 25-06-2014, 18:35   #61
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Re: Engine starts by itself - Volvo Penta 2030

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Originally Posted by DeepFrz View Post
Skip, you aren't ever going to convince someone that believes in soldering a connection that it isn't a good idea on a boat. We have many threads that show me that. However I am glad you mentioned it because someone else may read it and take your advice and in that way save themselves a lot of trouble.
There are 18 solder joints in that plug. The solder joints didn't fail the plug did.

The only place that solder is acceptable to me is connections to terminals like plugs.

I have a 6-gang Atwood switch panel

Amazon.com: Attwood Toggle Switch Panels with Fuses: Sports & Outdoors

I bought a 3 gang panel the same for my expansion project. The new one has "machine made" production style spade connectors to all the switches. not heat shrink and the spade terminals (6 of them) look like tin.

On the old one (12 connections) someone modified it (or Atwood was doing it right before) to solder joints. BTW the fuses are gang soldered with a bar for supply side and also soldered on the switch side of the fuse. The pigtails out of the switches are only 3# long - too short - to route to the distribution buss so I have to replace them anyway - long winded short I will be soldering the switches in just like the old one.

So bottom line, terminals and plugs can be soldered. Not splices.

(edit - well heck they're sittin' here on my desk so why not a photo?
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Old 25-06-2014, 18:41   #62
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Re: Engine starts by itself - Volvo Penta 2030

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Originally Posted by Ex-Calif View Post
The only place that solder is acceptable to me is connections to terminals like plugs.
That's good, because it is the only way those connections can be made!

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Old 25-06-2014, 18:59   #63
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Re: Engine starts by itself - Volvo Penta 2030

Thanks Dan, for making my point.
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Old 25-06-2014, 20:32   #64
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Re: Engine starts by itself - Volvo Penta 2030

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Originally Posted by CaptForce View Post
You have plenty of great troubleshooting advice throughout the post, but don't ignore the fire risk.

The only time that I've heard of someone's engine starting "by itself" was when some cruising friends of mine woke up at night with the mystery start of their engine and this alerted them to a fire in their engine room!
Yikes!

That's kind of what I was alluding to. Problem sounded like an intermittent short/cross somewhere, and anytime you have something like that you have a potential for a fire.
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Old 25-06-2014, 21:23   #65
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Re: Engine starts by itself - Volvo Penta 2030

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Originally Posted by jimbunyard View Post
skipmac,

I've heard that too, and it makes sense. I've never seen it in any of the boats or vehicles that I've wired, but that doesn't mean it doesn't happen. I've also heard that the flux used is hydrophilic and can induce corrosion, which also makes sense though I've never seen that either. Of course the oldest connections that I have in use here for comparison are only 19 years old, so the jury is still out.

I guess I could be called a soldering advocate mainly for two reasons. The proper tool to make correctly crimped connectors is often not available and people wind up using pliers or those cheap (and sometimes not so cheap) multipurpose crimping tools from
Walmart or wherever. An improperly crimped connection is an invitation to headaches, if not worse.

The second reason is more personal; I have three different sized little rolls of adhesive heat shrink, one of those 'not so cheap' cheap stripper/crimpers, a soldering kit, an assortment of terminals and an inexpensive digital volt/ohmmeter in my 'electrical tool kit' on board, and can be sure of making almost any trustworthy electrical repair or installation with a minimum of 'hardware runs'.

A crimped/soldered/heat shrunk connection has another advantage over a crimped/heat shrunk one. Properly done, solder seals the end of the wire, so if adhesive heat shrink is used over the crimp portion of the terminal and, say, maybe five or six times the diameter of the wire down the length of the wire from the terminal, water in any form is very effectively prevented from wicking. This very morning I finally found an intermittent power supply problem with one of my Garmin instruments; the factory crimped connector on the instrument side of the power supply fuse holder had corroded. There was no corrosion on the part that held the fuse or the fuse itself (oxgarded), and the wire is inside a completely dry cabin. The water causing corrosion was either condensation, or more likely in what seems to me the humidity capital of the world, water vapor, and had worked its way about 4 inches up the power wire.

Also, wouldn't a wire crimped securely enough to ensure that it wouldn't pull out also make a 'hard spot' at the crimp? Just saying.
Hi Jim,

This is one of those issues that many think have some valid points on both sides and come down to which offers the most advantages and fewest disadvantages. And like many other boating questions one side or the other are generally not changing. I fall strongly on the side of crimps, even after hearing all the arguments to the contrary.

Like most boat related questions it has been covered, a few times on the forum. So instead of doing this all over again, if you have a couple of hours to spare here's a couple of previous discussions, one that went 14 pages and 199 posts.

Butt Connector vs Solder

Electrical Crimp Connectors

How do you Crimp #8 AWG Terminals?
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Old 25-06-2014, 22:48   #66
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Re: Engine starts by itself - Volvo Penta 2030

DeepFrz, Ex-Calif

Please convince me. I'm generally openminded, but only 'believe' things that I'm forced to by experiential evidence. As much as possible, anyway.

I arrived at my splicing conclusions splicing bilge pump and trailer light wires on ski and fishing boats (as part of a business), and there is really no way to compare soldering versus crimping in those two applications, because I've never seen crimping last more that 3 years. My own ski boat has the soldered trailer and bilge pump wiring that I put in it when I restored it in 1997. Also completely rewired everything, new gauges, new switch panel, new ignition, new battery, wires and cables all soldered and heat shrunk. All still working (as of last November anyway). To be fair I used the original engine wiring harness and it too is still working ('79 Mercruiser) and I believe they used crimps.

A ski boat is kinda simple with comparatively few electrical connections, so let's go up a level, in both complexity and rigorousness of use.

Between 94 and 96 a friend and I rebuilt/built an offshore 24' fishing boat (now 27', the rebuilding included adding three feet, the only part of the hull that is original is the outer 1/4" - 3/8" (we removed the mostly rotten balsa core and replaced if with Core-cell)), Rebuilt Volvo diesel, jack-shaft, duoprop, the whole nine yards.

Many dozens of 100 mile offshore overnight trips, many more single day any weather outings, one memorable week long trip that started by getting caught on the edge of the tropical storm that formed when the remnants of Ivan looped around back into the gulf. The point being that this boat was run hard and put up wet a lot.

As far as electrical; GPS, fishfinder, VHF, stereo, 3 bank battery charger, electric trim tabs, interior lights, exterior lights, fishing lights, navigation lights, two battery combiners, two battery switches, bilge pump, baitwell pump, tilt and trim pump, three batteries.

All the wiring on all of the above, except for the trim and tilt pump (which has the Volvo wiring), is soldered and heat shrunk. Had this boat out last week, the only thing that didn't work was the GPS (failed crimped connector in a OEM fuse holder, and the starboard nav light (bulb). (But last year on a spur of the moment fishing trip, I ran a new wire for the down circuit in the trim/tilt system because I didn't have time to fool with it. Yes it was OEM Volvo, and yes it had crimped connectors and yes I crimped the connectors on the wire I replaced the bad one with. I was in a hurry. And it's still working but it will be fixed with soldered and heat shrunk female spade lugs at some point.

Oddly enough, the reason I'm even on this thread, is because we used (for convenience as much as anything else) the Volvo engine wiring harness (which uses crimp connectors) and I was responding to the similar autostarting problem Nomad has (or had), and it may turn out that the wiring harness connector is/was the proximate cause in both cases.

But could the ultimate cause be that the (crimped) connections within the connector started corroding, causing heat to build up in the connector, which caused distortion in the connector housing, which allowed arcing in Nomad's case and faulty grounding in mine?

Sounds like a long shot to me too; the age of the parts alone introduces so many variables that the question applied to those particular parts is moot.

But for newer parts it is not.

So again I ask sincerely, convince me. (Thought of another objection to soldering. Slow cooling of copper hardens it, making it brittle. Don't know how valid this is, intuitively it's not because the reverse process (annealing) takes place at higher temperatures (at least double), and longer times (hours) than soldering. But intuition is often wrong.

Also, can either of you steer me to some of the threads on the topic. Did a somewhat cursory search and advanced search but they yielded pages of results. Haven't played with the search tool much.
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Old 26-06-2014, 02:04   #67
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Re: Engine starts by itself - Volvo Penta 2030

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Originally Posted by jimbunyard View Post
DeepFrz, Ex-Calif

Please convince me. I'm generally openminded, but only 'believe' things that I'm forced to by experiential evidence. As much as possible, anyway.
First of all I never join threads to convince anyone one way or another. It really is an uphill and frustrating battle. I will post why I do things the way I do and will challenge stuff that is posted that I believe to be urban legend or factually wrong.

My experience is people hold on to their paradigms tightly - including me - so I am always happy when someone presents factual evidence that shows I have a bad practice.

One can make a good or bad solder joint, one can make a good or bad crimp joint - Let's assume we make good joints. I then thought about why I believe what I believe.

I am always conscious of my long posts because nothing is simple and one liner posts never tell the story so, in honor of Dave Letterman here is Dan's top ten list for not soldering.

10 - I don't have a soldering iron at sea.
9 - tin is less conductive than copper - no need for tin
8 - solder does not seal the joint from water or other contaminants (see attached link) to a solder failure
7 - A bad solder joint is hard to detect without a SEM
6 - A solder joint by its nature is not stronger than a crimp joint
5 - Given the right tools for soldering and the right tools for crimping - crimping is easier
4 - A solder joint is not inherently more reliable than a crimp joint
3 - I believe that at the edge of the hard solder joint to the flexible wire a stress riser can exist that when placed under vibration can allow the wire to fail - i.e. wires don't "fail midpoint", solder joints don't "fail" in the blob- the wire fails "right next to" the solder joint - evidence of vibration induced HCF (high cycle fatigue) failure in the wire in my opinion. And the most likely vibration source in a boat is the engine.
2 - Not soldering is an ABYC standard

and the number one reason for no solder joints?

1 - I was trained and licensed as an A&P and was taught not to and passed a test that said it's not allowed under FAA regulations because of item 3.

I don't think many people know what a good crimp looks like - When done properly you can cut the joint apart and the copper and connector are close to one solid piece. They are literally fused under pressure. Most people think the crimp connector (bad word actually) is like clamping the wire to hold it in place. A better term would be "pressure fused connection" - BTW water doesn't get "inside" a good crimp. The weak point, same for solder joint, is the bare wire between the joint and the insulation of the wire - hence heat shrink need.

Here is a link to an outfit that has it about right -

Cable Crimping - Best Practices - BS7609 | ETS Cable Components

For a standard crimp you can basically dimensional test the crimp and know if you crimped too little too much or just right.

For an "authority" on the matter I hope you'd take NASAs word for it. They spent a lot of your tax money figuring this stuff out. If you want to be a "go to space" quality electrical harness assembler - you'd learn and apply everything in this document.

http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/codeq/doctree/87394.pdf

Note in particular 13.3 - even NASA does allow for solder joints but pay close attention to what they say about supporting the wire and look again at my reason 3.

Here is a link to a lab that tested a failed solder joint - It is hard to detect a bad solder joint and all kinds of contaminants can get into a solder joint - in aviation some would be deadly.

Empfasis - Tin Whiskers: Risks with Lead Free Part I

If you made it this far - None of us are going to the moon and your trailer lights and your boat will be fine if you solder. I have soldered joints on boats and airplanes and I am not dead yet.

Peace all...
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Old 26-06-2014, 05:59   #68
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Re: Engine starts by itself - Volvo Penta 2030

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Originally Posted by jimbunyard View Post
Also, can either of you steer me to some of the threads on the topic. Did a somewhat cursory search and advanced search but they yielded pages of results. Haven't played with the search tool much.
See three links in post #65. One final comment I can add, a number of people that have put way more time and thought into the issue than I recommend using crimp joints. One for example is a member of this forum Maine Sail. Anything he does or recommends has been thought out, tested and verified to a degree surpassed only by organizations like the FAA or NASA.

Marine Wire Termination Photo Gallery by Compass Marine How To at pbase.com

And here is a quote from that section of Maine Sail's web site.

Crimp vs. Solder
This discussion has been beat around the net more than a tennis ball. I think the best statement on soldering a crimped terminal comes from the Senior Product Engineer Tom Michielutti at AMP. AMP is one of the most widely respected suppliers of crimp terminations to the US Aerospace and military sectors. Below is the statement from the senior engineer at AMP. NOT MY WORDS.


Begin Quote:


"Subject: Soldering Crimped Connections & Solder in Crimps


This subject is discussed in AMP’s internal “Fundamentals of Connector Design” course.


Soldering Crimped Connections


In the minds of some customers, fortunately a diminishing minority, the reliability of crimped connections can be improved by soldering. In fact, soldering can degrade the performance of properly crimped connections. Such degradation can arise from the effects of soldering temperatures, the potential corrosion from improper cleaning of soldering fluxes and the effects of solder wicking on the conductors. Solder wicking causes the multi-strand conductors, which have high flexibility and stability against vibration, to become, effectively, solid which degrades both the performance characteristics mentioned. For these reasons, soldering of crimped connections is not recommended.


Should Solder be Used in Crimps?


Crimps are designed to work without solder or solder-dipped wires. Solder present in a crimp changes the deformation, metal flow, cleaning, welding, and residual force characteristics designed into the crimp. Soldering would be an additional heat producing assembly step. Test results show that soldering or solder-dipping wires before crimping does not produce a termination superior to that obtained in a properly applied crimped termination. Some tests specifically show detrimental effects due to soldering or solder-dipping (e.g. soldered crimp terminations can lose some ability to withstand vibrations and flexing, due to solder embrittlement of the copper wire, and/or due to solder wicking up the strand of stranded wire to form a short length of solid conductor near the

termination). The terminated conductor then does not have the flexure strength characteristic of strand wire, and should behave more like solid wire which fails quickly in flexure testing."


The above is a direct quote from AMP.


PHOTO: The cut open pictured crimp was made with the tool on the left in the bottom photo. An AMP yellow PIDG terminal and an AMP crimp tool. This combination is certified for aerospace use. When crimped with a 12 AWG wire it will also withstand at least 190 pounds of pull out force and do so repeatably within a pound or two every single time. This is 80 pounds beyond Mil Spec!!
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Old 26-06-2014, 06:38   #69
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Re: Engine starts by itself - Volvo Penta 2030

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Old 26-06-2014, 07:18   #70
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Re: Engine starts by itself - Volvo Penta 2030

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Engine starts by itself - Volvo Penta 2030

Yea, once the engine starts it has a life of it's own.

And I helped.
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Old 26-06-2014, 16:56   #71
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Re: Engine starts by itself - Volvo Penta 2030

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Originally Posted by TheNomadTrip View Post
Update: I found the wiring harness connections throughout the boat. I tested all of the 16-pins on each connection and all were fine.

Then I think I found the culprit, almost by accident.

On the bottom of those damn relay boxes there's a hidden 16-pin connection. I didn't see it when I was fooling around in there earlier. I only found it when I was looking to test that last piece of the wiring.

Anyways - it's badly corroded, broken, and has clearly been sparking (arching?). Attached are a couple of pictures. Note the broken connection on the male end and the melted areas between pins on the female end.
...
Gotta love those "marine grade" screws on what is certainly a wildly over priced Volvo part. Judging from the distorted screw heads, looks like someone's been in there before.

Looks like a likely candidate in your case. Mine was in good shape.
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Old 10-03-2016, 19:32   #72
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Re: Engine starts by itself - Volvo Penta 2030

Can I add to an older post here. jimbunyard is correct!
I have a client with a KAMD42B series diesel inboards where a prior mechanic had changed out the starter motor and key switch for the same self starting reasons.. Probably a complete waste of time and money and it achieved nothing. The problem indeed lies with the Volvo Penta harness connectors. Both the upper and the lower multi connectors were creating this intermittent problem. Luckily it became more of a constant issue rather than intermittent and became easy to diagnose. The 11 or more wires in each connector are able to short out inside the connector. It is either hollow or cracks internally allowing micro currents to energise the small 12 volt relay that then powers the starter solenoid and starter motor into life. In Volvo's wisdom they located the start wire right next to the main battery feed wire so the short just needs to jump approx 1.5mm or 1/16th of an inch to the very next wire and there starts your motor! The short cut is to remove the Yellow with red stripe wire from each connector and join (bridge) them around each connectors with a heat shrink crimp fitting. Do both and your problem should be solved. A better solution is a carefully cutout the entire connector and crimp/heat shrink connector the whole union. Thus no other wires can short circuit and cause other intermittent gemlins.
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Old 11-03-2016, 05:56   #73
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Re: Engine starts by itself - Volvo Penta 2030

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Originally Posted by kiwisailor View Post
Can I add to an older post here. jimbunyard is correct!
I have a client with a KAMD42B series diesel inboards where a prior mechanic had changed out the starter motor and key switch for the same self starting reasons.. Probably a complete waste of time and money and it achieved nothing. The problem indeed lies with the Volvo Penta harness connectors. Both the upper and the lower multi connectors were creating this intermittent problem. Luckily it became more of a constant issue rather than intermittent and became easy to diagnose. The 11 or more wires in each connector are able to short out inside the connector. It is either hollow or cracks internally allowing micro currents to energise the small 12 volt relay that then powers the starter solenoid and starter motor into life. In Volvo's wisdom they located the start wire right next to the main battery feed wire so the short just needs to jump approx 1.5mm or 1/16th of an inch to the very next wire and there starts your motor! The short cut is to remove the Yellow with red stripe wire from each connector and join (bridge) them around each connectors with a heat shrink crimp fitting. Do both and your problem should be solved. A better solution is a carefully cutout the entire connector and crimp/heat shrink connector the whole union. Thus no other wires can short circuit and cause other intermittent gemlins.
Yes, and I suspect that some of the wires are undersized which is why they melt in the first place.

The way these circuits are constructed (Y/R and R) they can easily short to each other and create an unfused short circuit. I added an inline fuse to mine.

I also now turn my engine start battery switches off when leaving the boat...just in case.
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