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Electrical... Talk & Q&A! Electrical Q&A.. The shocking truth, tips, tricks & more!

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Old 04-02-2019, 07:13 PM
bob w bob w is offline
Still crazy after all these years!
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Stillwater, MN
Posts: 12,604

Originally Posted by animal View Post
Which version? Posi Lock or something else?
I use what I can get at Amazon. I just use the butt connectors. They are nice for disconnecting a device and pulling the wire through a firewall grommet where sometimes a soldered on connector will not pull through.

For eyelets or other connectors I grind the insulation off and slightly crimp and then solder the connection. I then use a high grade shrink tube over the joint.
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Old 09-30-2019, 08:12 AM
Sniper1 Sniper1 is offline
Join Date: Sep 2019
Location: San Angelo, Texas
Posts: 76

Having been an electronics tech in the Navy and trained in proper connection making I have some input. I use uninsulated connectors. I crimp them, I solder them and I use heat shrink. As I was taught the crimp is for the mechanical connection, the solder is for the electrical connection and the heat shrink provides both insulation as needed and strain relief.

Now you will hear people say you don't need solder for several reasons. Such as it's not needed to prevent corrosion, well that's not why it's used. Or that it wicks up the wire and makes it stiff and subject too breakage. In this case there are two issues, too much solder was used if it wicks up the wire and improper strain relief was used, if any was used.

When you solder you want to use just enough to electrically bond the pieces together. You want to see the strands of the wire and a nice fillet between the wire and connector as applicable. Such as below.

Now to strain relief, most of those telling us to not use solder are electricians. Now electricians are general decent folks they are not experienced in dealing with mobile environments such as a warship, or a vehicle. Where vibrations are plentiful and climatic conditions can vary widely. You use heat shrink as a form of strain relief, OEM's don't but then their connectors have built in strain relief these days. You should also use harness tape to tape the wires together, it not only looks neat and professional but it is also a form of strain relief and use the harness holding clips or add them if you have none.

Now some might point to how the OEM's do their wiring. Which can be a good guide if you understand why they do what they do. They don't generally solder connections in the wiring harness. True, they use crimps because it is cheaper and faster than crimp and solder AND it only has to last till the warranty expires. As for a crimp being corrosion proof,or gas tight. Not in a mobile application. Look at the OEM's connectors these days, they have all sorts of seals and gaskets built in to protect the connection. See below

Now you can get fancy and use Weather Pack connections if you want, I just use what I mentioned with a bit of dielectric grease if necessary. If you want to use those fancy connectors NAPA has a decent online tutorial.

NAPA tutorial

To close, whenever I see this in a vehicle I shake my head.

The problems with this connector are manifold. First the plastic part contributes little beyond insulating and even that can be compromised by an over crimp. Next, even if you believe in the crimp only theory you cannot do a visual of the connection because that plastic bit hides it. They provide no strain relief either. The sole benefit of these are cheap and easy. Not good though.
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Old 10-07-2019, 12:04 AM
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donsrods donsrods is offline
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Join Date: May 2007
Location: fort myers florida
Posts: 10,476

Originally Posted by charliebob View Post
FWIW! Just don't want to get caught up in the endless debate about soldering versus crimping. Never had a solder joint break. But a few projects back, I switched to crimping and shrink wrap. I even found one of the preferred crimping pliers in my tool box, placed there maybe 60 years ago and totally forgotten about!

The solder versus crimp debate will never go away, but I crimp exclusively because I work in the marine industry, and the ABYC (American Yacht and Boat Council) specifies that soldered connections are a no no on any boat, so I do the same thing on my cars.

The reason for their ruling is that soldering uses heat, and heat can cause the wire to become brittle where you solder it. Then it can flex and break with vibrations. I realize there are millions of cars running around with soldered connections, and I see the guys on biker builds and car builds soldering all the time, but I just follow the rules of my industry.

Now, I also use only Ancor brand terminal ends and also their wire. It is marine grade, each individual strand is tinned separately, but it is more expensive than automotive grade wiring and terminal ends. However, some of the wiring on my 27 is 30 years old, and when I redid the car a couple of years ago, it was still in great shape so I reused a lot of it.

As for the pliers to do the crimping, I have a drawer full of almost every wire crimper ever made, even ones with interchangeable mandrels to do different types of crimps. But they stay in the drawer, and I do ALL my crimping with a pair of Channel Lok pliers like these shown below. One section of the pliers is for non insulated end pieces, and the other is for insulated end pieces. It does a great job of crimping and does not stress the wire.

You can see in the second picture how these pliers crimp the end terminals that have insulation on them.

But everyone has their own preferences and ways of doing things, that is just mine.
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Last edited by donsrods; 10-07-2019 at 12:20 AM.
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