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Thread: Crimp or Solder

  1. #1
    Senior Member Brett's Avatar
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    Crimp or Solder

    Don't know if this has been covered but I thought it would be an interesting topic

    Got this from another topic and thought I'd start a new topic here so the other post doesn't get high jacked.

    I mean no harm Peter, its just your post got me thinking about it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Peter View Post
    I soldered all mine.

    Here is a tip if you don't have a crimper, cut a suitable size nut, e.g. M8, nut in half though the wide part parallel to the flats and use the two halves in a vice.
    Tried to find some scientific research on it and found this. Also comments were made that all automotive wiring connections(racing and street) are crimped

    http://rolanday.net/how-to-crimp/

    The majority of posts say to crimp. Comments on soldering say the connections are brittle and prone to failure.

    I have to confess my first wiring harness for the car had all connections soldered. My thinking was that solder was better, but after reading many articles on the subject I guess I was wrong.
    So when it comes to making the new harness I'll crimp all the connections

  2. #2
    Senior Member Phill's Avatar
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    I always assumed soldering was best but also discovered the general consensus is to crimp. Which is probably just as well as crimping is a lot easier and quicker than soldering. I made up my harness by crimping all the connections, and providing you get a good quality crimping tool it's relatively painless
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    Crimping all the way in any environment that has vibration, the point where the solder meets the loose copper will start to fracture over time. Even PCB's in cars have edge connectors or crimped plugs.

    Dirk

  4. #4
    Senior Member Brett's Avatar
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    Well since I plan to crimp all the fittings now I decided to do a search for crimpers. I have one but for the size of the project I thought I'd see whats out there and maybe get a better one.

    Well I got schooled on crimpers.

    When I did a search for crimpers the first ones to pop up were the old school ones. The newer versions did even come up. In one of the articles I found they gave a few web sites to check out and then I crossed over to seeing the good stuff.


    didn't realize there was such a wide variety of crimpers specific to an application or to a specific connector, and the cost,,,WOW!.
    I even had to do searches for the connectors that they were calling out so I knew what they were talking about.

    Thinking of getting this one, and this was a cheap one
    https://www.dmctools.com/oscar/catalogue/gmt232_2077/

    Some of the connectors they listed put the old plastic insulated connectors to shame. I can't imagine using those any more after seeing whats out there now to replace them.

  5. #5
    ***Euro-Nova Supporter*** Peter's Avatar
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    I agree crimping is the way to go, I mealy stated that I soldered mine (past tense) and after 20 years it is still soldered, it depends on the way it's done, so many add solder by touching it to the iron and flowing onto the joint rather than heating the joint and touch the solder to the joint to flow.

    I have several crimpers ranging from Ethernet , telephone, insulated (closed barrel) and none insulated (open barrel), . ratchet and none ratchet. which with strippers, cutters etc make up a whole draw in my tool chest.

    The quality of the connection is of major importance, cheap, usually shiny ones, are rubbish and pull off and usually come with the cheaper tools. Dull, thicker sleeves normally indicate a better connection. I have over 300 connectors left over from my accessory fitting days but never it seems the ones I need.

    I think Lauren will agree the colour coded, plastic sleeved, crimp on connectors were developed for space by AMO in the 50s (and later by Cannon Bros) as soldered joints could harbour air bubbles that could blow in a vacuum. The crimped on connecters provided a far better joint.

    Before that it was none insulated open barrel (curl over) or solder.
    Last edited by Peter; 31-10-2020 at 11:00 AM.
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  6. #6
    I asked professional harness shop and was told they use solder 90% of the time and only crimp 10% in specialty applications. They also shared their technique which a followed and had excellent results. I built two Subaru harnesses and they looks awesome. Crimping also requires staggering of joint so that you don't end up with localized bulging.

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    I am using Crimps on my build - previously I was 100% Solder.

    You need to get the correct Crimpers for your chosen connectors;
    I am using uninsulated connectors (i.e. connectors are all metal - no built-in plastic sleeve) the thinking is that after crimping you can check the joint to ensure that the 2 sides of the connector have properly folded-in on the wire strands.

    Then you can slide over you own insulating sleeve or apply the shrink wrap etc.
    I use a drip of ACF50 to protect the joint in exposed areas.

    All the above was suggested to me by someone on this forum - proved to be good advice.

    As someone new to Crimping I have found it to be tricky. I do test crimp on scrap wire in some cases to ensure the crimp 'seals' correctly on the given wire. This isn't helped by the fact that I have used thicker gauge wire than is necessary in places (you might be surprised to see how thin 20amp car wire is). Crimping doesn't cope well with mis-matched crimps/wire, whereas that is not an issue for soldering.

  8. #8
    I crimped, then soldered the connector and the wire where it was crimped on the last loom I built. No joints failed but it was a long slow time consuming process. After reading everything I'm going down the crimping only route on modifications to the new loom. Good to hear all the different perspectives and experiences.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Brett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve View Post
    Crimping doesn't cope well with mis-matched crimps/wire, whereas that is not an issue for soldering.
    To solve that issue Subaru feeds the wires all the way through the connector so you end up with one size/guage

    PA310001.jpg

  10. #10
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    In the photo isn't there still a weak spot where the copper exits the metal crimp on the wire strands? (which would be the same as if it was soldered) This would also be worse if the insulation went all the way up to the crimp in the photo. Not sure I would be happy with that crimp example, but that's just my opinion!

    It is also said that you should not twist wires before crimping.

    Don't crimp connectors rely on including a part of the crimp to secure around the isulation? (unless you are looking at multi pin connectors)

    Addition of heatshrink sleeving may also help with support?

    some good do's and don'ts here https://www.lsxmag.com/tech-stories/...ing-a-racecar/
    Last edited by MartinB; 01-11-2020 at 11:00 AM.

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