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Mike

Solder & Seal Connectors

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Mike

I score low on many things in life, including mechanical aptitude. So when I share new discoveries, I often hear from others, “oh I’ve been doing that for 30 years.” I am willing to risk the humiliation, because I just used a product that I did not know existed until recently. Solder and seal connectors.

 

The concept is pretty simple: you twist together the wires for  whatever you’re connecting, slide the connector over the connected wires, and warm it with a heat gun. The solder ring melts and secures the electrical connection, and the tubing shrinks to create a waterproof splice. Easy and seemingly very effective. 
 

You may now start with the ridicule....

536D5CA9-B10A-4B00-A2DC-BF952ABCEDC3.jpeg

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chrisolson

No ridicule ... never heard of them and I've been a shadetree mechanic for lots of years . 

 

Hope they work ... seems like mixed review on Amazon but mostly based on technique of heating the connector properly.

 

Never could solder worth a crap so  I've relied on this style of crimper for a long time with excellent results.  I also only use bare metal connectors (no vinyl wrap) so I get a nice crimp.

 

738907811_ScreenShot2020-03-22at11_17_25AM.thumb.png.1095012cc74e637fae00937f22b4a891.png

 

Yeah, extra time required to apply heat shrink but then I get to decide exactly how I want the assembly to go together.

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ltljohn

I will start.  We used those in the Navy many years ago, they are great.  The only issue I have seen is that in order to melt the solder you usually end up melting the insulation too so try to concentrate the heat on the splice.  Aircraft use high temperature insulation so it was never an issue.  See how they work and let us know.

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Mike
27 minutes ago, ltljohn said:

I will start.  We used those in the Navy many years ago, they are great.  The only issue I have seen is that in order to melt the solder you usually end up melting the insulation too so try to concentrate the heat on the splice.  Aircraft use high temperature insulation so it was never an issue.  See how they work and let us know.

That didn’t seem to be a problem. I used an electric heat gun with a concentrater attachment and kept it on  a fairly low setting. The plastic shrinks right away, and the solder took about 20 seconds to melt. No apparent damage to the insulation. 

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Michaelr11

These low-temp solder connectors were advertised heavily a year or two ago.  I'm also very bad at using a soldering iron so I bought a small variety box.  So far, just a simple test on a spare wire.  I found the same thing already mentioned.  The heat shrink tightens up early, but you need to keep applying heat to get the solder to melt and capture the wire ends.  Electrical test on the connection was very good and it seems strong.  I wouldn't want the connection to be under constant tension, but I'll use it if I remember that the box is sitting on the shelf.

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Rinkydink

Maybe slide some additional heat shrink on before soldering and even if you had slight insulation damage the heat shrink would take care of it?

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Michaelr11

Waterproof_NoSolder.JPG

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szurszewski

I was helping a friend with some work on a K1200LT last year - I did a bunch of little mechanical things, and generally took things apart, and he did a bunch of accessory wiring. He brought a box of those over to the garage, which was cool as I'd seen them online and was curious about them. I suspect it was technique - and maybe because he was using a microtorch instead of a heat gun - but we had difficulty getting them to melt/stick/adhere without melting the crap out of them (which was a hassle in some places because there was not a lot of clearance around the joints). 

 

I remember after doing several we had at least a few slide apart - after that we tried more heat and had better results, but I honestly can't remember if we kept using them or switched over to positaps/posilocks for the remaining joints.

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dirtrider
5 hours ago, Mike said:

I score low on many things in life, including mechanical aptitude. So when I share new discoveries, I often hear from others, “oh I’ve been doing that for 30 years.” I am willing to risk the humiliation, because I just used a product that I did not know existed until recently. Solder and seal connectors.

 

The concept is pretty simple: you twist together the wires for  whatever you’re connecting, slide the connector over the connected wires, and warm it with a heat gun. The solder ring melts and secures the electrical connection, and the tubing shrinks to create a waterproof splice. Easy and seemingly very effective. 
 

You may now start with the ridicule....

 

 

 

Afternoon Mike

 

No ridicule as a new find posted here is always something to think about & discuss further. 

 

We had a vendor try to sell us (either that exact product or a very similar product) a few years ago. Our instrumentation department quickly talked us out of them due to some underlying issues. 

 

Those things are really no better then just twisting two wire ends together then soldering the twisted joint, then sliding heat shrink over the connection. As was pointed out by our instrumentation department they are even worse than twisting the wires together then soldering as there is no visual way to confirm proper solder penetration & the solider itself  is rather low melting temperature.

 

I guess I don't see the advantage to using a marginal solder joint connector that uses an unverified solder connection & heat shrink all in one. 

 

It seems like a much more secure (& verifiable) to just twist the wire ends together, solder, then use heat shrink over the joint. (personally I won't even do that as I hate plain twisted wires with no splice clip as a securing band )

 

Where I work we can't just twist wires together & solder as that is considered poor  joint  integrity  so all wire joints must be joined with a properly crimped splice clip, then properly soldered (& visually verified),  then covered with sealing type heat shrink (this is positively needed for ABS brake wiring repair, Air Bag wiring repair, inertia sensor wiring repair & all other circuits that are a critical circuit for safety or performance.  

 

Even for a quick field fix those seem to be a sort of a non player as you need a high temp heat gun to make them work. A simple splice clip, crimper tool & a cigarette lighter to shrink the heat shrink would be handier to carry. 

 

   

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dirtrider
2 hours ago, Michaelr11 said:

 

 

Evening Michaelr11

 

If that is just a test wire can you cut the joint open to see if the solder actually penetrated the entire wire joint or if it  just flowed down the outside & maybe  in a couple  of wire strands? 

 

 

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szurszewski
4 hours ago, dirtrider said:

I guess I don't see the advantage to using a marginal solder joint connector that uses an unverified solder connection & heat shrink all in one. 

 

 

Well, I think the advantage is that lots of us probably end up with marginal solder joints regardless, and this is supposed to be convenient - and it's certainly an elegant looking joint from the outside. I'd be all for it if I could get it to work - but that wasn't my experience. 

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MikeRC

 

I have tried them, but ended up adding another layer of heat shrink tubing anyway.  

 

Mostly I use the twist & solder and then one or two layers of (hopefully) waterproof heat-shrink tubing.   I'm always worried about failure at the inflexible/flexible interface - be it the crimp connector/wire or soldered wire/unsoldered wire or insulated wire/heatshrink joint.  So I add some flexible wire cover over if there is space.  Anyway, I assume I need a marine grade solution and try to provide it where I can.  Including the wire.  

 

P4263142.JPG

 

P4263134.JPG

 

Mike C

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6speedTi

This is one informative video. Why not to use these type of solder splices. 

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dirtrider

Evening__

 

For those wondering what the heck a splice clip is-

 

aY80Ekf.jpg

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Michaelr11

Thanks D.R.  very informative.  Never saw a splice clip before.

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Pappy35
4 hours ago, dirtrider said:

Evening__

 

For those wondering what the heck a splice clip is-

 

aY80Ekf.jpg

 

What kind of crimper do you use there Mr. Rider? Should you tin the ends before crimping?

 

Could you tell us where to find sealing heat shrink. I'm uber-anal about wiring and that really appeals to that part of my brain!

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dirtrider
10 hours ago, Pappy35 said:

 

What kind of crimper do you use there Mr. Rider? Should you tin the ends before crimping?

 

Could you tell us where to find sealing heat shrink. I'm uber-anal about wiring and that really appeals to that part of my brain!

 

Morning Pappy35

 

Personally I use an old 'Packard Electric' hand  crimper (probably had that thing for 35 years or more). This covers most of the normal sized splice clips & terminal ends for auto & motorcycle circuit wire sizes. I do have a couple of other (very similar) crimpers & larger crimpers  that have more crimp sizes on the jaws (for smaller wire sizes &  electronics size wires and  for larger higher amp circuit wire sizes) 

 

The crimpers must be sized correctly for the terminal or splice clip used  so it folds  the terminal edges in correctly & tightly. 

 

As for the sealing heat shrink, I will have to look at my supply to see if there are any with names etched on the tubing (my heat shrink is old stock as I have been using the same lots for many/many years now so can't even remember where I got it from.  

 

I have a bunch of different types with some having actual glue lining the inside (works good but is kind of bulky looking after shrinking) & the conventional thin type that is not  real good sealing as it just shrinks down to a thin rubber like coating, then I have the  stuff shown in the picture  that is a thicker wall with the inside forming a weather proof  sealing as it heats & shrinks tightly (it actually oozes a little sealer out each end when heat shrinking) .

 

I do not tin the wire ends before using splice clip as that would make the wire ends thicker so the splice clip would not have proper tension after soldering & melting the tinning. It would also probably allow the solder to migrate farther into the wire runs (to prevent the spliced joint from breaking at the joint due to flexing the solder must not migrate out into the wire run). You want to ONLY solder the splice clip & inside it, NOT far out into the wire itself as that leaves a longer stiff section that doesn't flex properly.  

 

One thing of note here: on most automotive factory wire harnesses & even machine made experimental & one-off pre-production wire harness the terminals are NOT soldered (IF) the harness is machine made using a computer controlled crimping tension & crimp verification. If the splice slip or terminal end is machine crimped to EXACT specs then soldering is not needed. If done with hand crimpers the crimp tension is not precisely controlled, monitored, & recorded  so those are usually soldered.

 

Exception sometimes being any circuit wire that runs (directly)  back to a fueling computer or electronic module from a wet-sensor like coolant sensor or oil pressure sensor as just one solder joint in the wire run prevents the possibility of fluid wicking back up the wire strands & into the electronic device therefore killing it .  

 

7k0eSWQ.jpg

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realshelby

DR, I have that exact crimp tool! My Dad had it, and I think it was likely bought by Western Electric/AT&T where he was an installer for decades. Proof that good quality tools are worth what they cost. 

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dirtrider

Morning__

 

If you don't happen to have a dedicated splice clip handy you can easily make one from about any terminal that has a proper mid section. (just cut the ends off & use the center  section).

 

D0l5rKx.jpg

 

 

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dirtrider
3 hours ago, 6speedTi said:

BMW has these listed on their parts website. See link and it's item #1. There are three sizes. They are not cheap but once you know what they look like you can search for less expensive ones. 

 

Afternoon 6speedTi & others looking at these

 

These are not true splice clips they are basically wire connectors.   

 

They will do the job but due to the wire ends not overlapping in the middle & the outer end ears that crimp over the wire's insulation you end up with a fairly long connection joint, then due to the longish design & the added outer insulation crimps you need to use a longer piece of heat shrink to weather-seal the outer crimping ears so you do end up with a long non-supple wire joint that is difficult to route in tight spaces or bend into a wire harness bundle. 

 

They do work, as they are pretty well designed to be solderless but do give you long stiff connection joints. They also need a proper crimping tool to crimp tightly & securely. 

 

Those used to come in the first BMW service bulletin kits to move the early 1200RT's  ambient air temp sensor from the hot  rear of the motorcycle  to the front where the air temp sensor is now located on the later 1200RT's. They did work OK in that application as the wire splice was made in the middle of a long straight wire run. 

 

Their best use is in JUST joining 2 wire ends together (like lengthening an existing  wire run) as there you basically only crimp the outer ears over a 'single' wire insulation. They are NOT  designed for, or very good at, adding a 3rd wire to an existing wire run (like tapping into an existing wire).  You could probably make them work for adding a 3rd wire but  not real neat & tidy. 

 

These things would probably work pretty good for installing a universal o2 sensor as they can be used solderless, would leave the wire strands open to pass reference air between the joined wires  (again no soldering to block the reference air) & the wire run between the chassis side harness pig tail & the universal o2 sensor pig tail has enough straight section to allow routing. You could put heat shrink over the entire joint & it could still pass reference air. But a true unsoldered splice clip will do the very same thing only with a shorter neater joint. 

 

 

connector.jpg

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Paul De

Interesting and maybe useful if you don't have all the fix'ns to do a proper solder joint. Not sure I would have full faith in that approach though.  In the last 10 years or so, I prefer the the splice crimp & solder approach now that I have a quality crimping tool. The big upside is you nearly eliminate a cold solder joint which can cause problems with some electronic circuits.  

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RTinNC
12 hours ago, realshelby said:

DR, I have that exact crimp tool! My Dad had it, and I think it was likely bought by Western Electric/AT&T where he was an installer for decades. Proof that good quality tools are worth what they cost. 

+1

 

That is the only type of crimp tool I use!  

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Bill_Walker

I haven't seen these before, but I've used similar-looking crimp connectors with "built-in" shrink tubing and sealant and have never had a problem with one.

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Alfred02
On 3/23/2020 at 8:47 AM, dirtrider said:
Quote

....... Our instrumentation department quickly talked us out of them due to some underlying issues. 

 

Those things are really no better then just twisting two wire ends together then soldering the twisted joint, then sliding heat shrink over the connection. As was pointed out by our instrumentation department they are even worse than twisting the wires together then soldering as there is no visual way to confirm proper solder penetration & the solider itself  is rather low melting temperature.

 

I guess I don't see the advantage to using a marginal solder joint connector that uses an unverified solder connection & heat shrink all in one............

 

Didn't find any underlying issues with them. As everybody noticed they can be a bit hard to control until you get the hang of them. I used them for a fair while when I still had to occasionally repair 2way radio/mobile phone kits in our fleet vehicles, usually fixing up faulty installs done by the contractors we use. I use(d) mainly a WELLER gas soldering iron with the heat shrink tip.

By the way, those colour rings in the heat shrink are the portion that make the joint water proof. I have never had one come back due to failure yet.

All my uses were for current ranges up to 10A.

 

   

 

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Skywagon

Hey DR....look familiar...s-l1600.jpg

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eddd

There is a wide difference in quality among the various crimp and solder-less connectors.  Just because they are red, blue, or yellow it does mean they are the same.  In another life I installed all sorts of electronic systems.  We only used the highest quality connectors, terminals, and wiring.  Soldering was also a big part of may installations.  A good solder connection wrapped in premium electrical tape like Scotch Super 33+ will be perfect for many tasks.  If you need a better seal on your connection get some Scotch 70 Self-Fusing Silicone electric tape.  This is what we would used to seal connection on antenna leads on the top of the towers.  
 

 

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AZgman

Western Union splice and (real) solder, thank you!

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