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Old 11-06-2007, 02:09 PM   #16
VonHelm
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Well done, TR. I have been thinking about putting together this exact same posting for exactly the same reasons that you did. You beat me to the draw by about a week. My father taught me to solder when I was in grade school, and our first two color televisions were Heathkits. Remember those?

Here's a trick I use when splicing wires of different diameters. Start by stripping of two or three times the insulation of the smaller wire than you'd normally do. Go ahead and twist the strands, fold the exposed wire in half or thirds, and twist again. This effectively doubles or triples the gauge of the smaller wire, more closely matching the diameter of the larger. Now you just twist your new, fatter "small" wire to your larger like you do in your normal splice and solder.

As for crimp-on ring or fork terminal connectors, I always leave a little copper protruding through the crimp sleeve, and hit it with a small drop of solder after crimping. For anything going directly to the battery terminals, I tin the entire ring connector and then No-Ox everything.

When faced with using el-cheapo brand crimp conectors- you know, the ones that the factory insulation is already loose or crumples when crimped? I go ahead and snatch the insulation off and use heatshrink tubing to complete after crimping and soldering.

Once again, great post!
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Old 11-06-2007, 03:32 PM   #17
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One additional aspect of using flux. In high impedience circuits it will act as a conductor and 'bleed' voltage between the wires if not completely removed. For most automotive and motorcycle circuits this isn't a problem (except for fuel injection computer inputs and outputs).

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Old 11-06-2007, 03:56 PM   #18
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When you've finished soldering the join,slide the soldering iron tip along the wires and then pull it away rather than simply pulling it away at right angles.This will stop those annoying spikes of solder that can pierce insulation(and fingers!)

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Old 11-06-2007, 04:21 PM   #19
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Great write up. I also learn the same method from an old electrician.

One of the possible problems with the Fan method is that you can weaken the strands and strands can break off. Turning your 14 wire into 18 wire.
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Old 11-06-2007, 05:04 PM   #20
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Hey thanks for the great thread.. I used to used a clamp to hold the wires side by side, and just solder them together.

Last night I re-wired by Gerbings jacket to let me run the gloves seperate from the jacket, and used these connections all the way through it.

I really like the resulting joint. Also, for what ever reason, there seems to be much less solder creep up under the insulation. Basically all of it is in the joint where it should be, instead of wicking up the wires.
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Old 11-06-2007, 06:35 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gramps
Hey thanks for the great thread.... Last night I re-wired my Gerbings jacket to let me run the gloves seperate from the jacket, and used these connections all the way through it.
Glad it was helpful to you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gramps
... I used to used a clamp to hold the wires side by side, and just solder them together.
The trouble with that is that you are depending on the solder for strength, and we all know solder isn't all that strong. If you want to convince yourself of that, grab a piece of solder and pull it apart with your bare hands and then try to do the same iwth a copper wire. You really want a strong mechanical connection before you solder and then use the solder to lock it together and keep the oxidation out. Think of the solder as a conductive sealant.

Cheers!
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trscott screwed with this post 11-06-2007 at 07:01 PM
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Old 11-06-2007, 06:53 PM   #22
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Nice writeup tr.

I've been using the fan and twist method for years. Your explanation of the difference between your method and the fan method makes sense to me.

I also like the double layer heat shrink, as it forms a sort of strain relief for the solder joint.

Nice talking to you at M+S thursday.
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Old 11-06-2007, 06:59 PM   #23
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Soldering heat...

Quote:
Originally Posted by talltony
When you've finished soldering the join,slide the soldering iron tip along the wires and then pull it away rather than simply pulling it away at right angles.This will stop those annoying spikes of solder that can pierce insulation(and fingers!)

Tony
If you have your temperatures and soldering iron wattage correct, and solder quickly, you won't find this necessary. This is usually a problem when you are trying to solder something with just barely enough heat, so that you have to heat it a long time. A good solder joint should use enough heat that it only take a few seconds, and then when you remove the iron tip, the solder is still hot enough that it re-flows to its own heat. The "peaking" is a result of barely enough heat so that as soon as you remove the iron, the the solder instantly re-freezes, not having enough heat to stay melted while it re-flows.

Ironically, many soldering problems that seem like too much heat are actually a result of not enough heat. For instance, melting a plastic connector body or cheap thermoplastic wire insulation. If you have an iron that is too low wattage, you will have to hold the iron on the joint so long that the heat has a long time to travel and equalize throughout the parts, wasting a lot of heat getting too hot in the places where you aren't soldering. With a higher wattage iron you can heat up the solder joint much more quickly, get your solder to flow, and remove the iron, before the heat has spread to places you don't want it.

I am not a fan of soldering guns (the big black things that look like a 1950s B movie ray gun and a metal loop for a tip), because they are off until you pull the trigger, and there is no easy way to tell when they have reached optimum temperature.

The ideal iron is a temperature controlled iron with interchangeable tips of different shapes, some even have a dial and a temperature display. But these are pretty spendy. If you do enough soldering to need one of these you probably already have one. The next best is the temperature controlled type with interchangeable tips that have different shapes and use a magnetic effect to control the temperature. I use two of these, one with a large blunt hot tip in it for wires and connectors, and another with a small needle tip of lower temperature for small electronic components. The big advantage of these regulated irons is that they have a great deal of excess capacity so that as you take heat out of the tip, they switch into full power mode and replace that heat very quickly.

Perfectly acceptable also though are the low cost irons that you plug in the wall directly and they have a heater with a set wattage. At least in this case, once the iron heats up, anytime you pick it up it will already be hot. Just be sure you get a big one for wire splicing, probably 35 to 40 watts or more is pretty good, though it has been years since I've used one.

If you do very much electrical work, the imported temperature controlled irons are not that expensive and once you use one, you will never go back.

Donate the big black soldering gun to your local college film department for use as a ray gun in a Sci-Fi spoof (not that I have an opinion on the subject...). Or, if you must use one, get in the habit of counting to yourself before touching your would-be solder joint, to give the gun time to heat up fully. Let it get real hot first, and then get in and out quickly. You will see markedly better results with this technique.

Cheers!
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Old 11-06-2007, 07:01 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VonHelm
As for crimp-on ring or fork terminal connectors, I always leave a little copper protruding through the crimp sleeve, and hit it with a small drop of solder after crimping. For anything going directly to the battery terminals, I tin the entire ring connector and then No-Ox everything.

Good addition. Good idea. Good enough, in fact, that I'll take this advice in the morning.


Got the Centech in place today, and hard-wired the GPS. Got the Terra Nova in place, but didn't receive the "pry bar" for the Hellas (to rotate the lenses for pendant mounting). I'll be dealing with the Hellas tomorrow, setting up the hi and low HID's ... and then taking off for somewhere in the Sonoran Desert for a few.....
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Old 11-07-2007, 11:40 AM   #25
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Hella lens rotation tool...

Quote:
Originally Posted by NBeener
... but didn't receive the "pry bar" for the Hellas (to rotate the lenses for pendant mounting). .....
My Hellas didn't come with the tool for snapping open the lens, but I was able to do it very carefully with a small screwdriver. I would recomend something like a plastic picnic knife. You just have to slide something into that curved notch that looks like a thumb press spot. The lens ring fits into the shell and has snap features that snap out into recesses in the shell. By sticking something in at that curved seam, and wedging it between the lens ring and the shell, you dislodge the snap features and they snap apart. Just go slow and don't force anything and it comes apart pretty easily.

While you are inside, make sure the friction connectors inside the lamp housing are all tight. I found one that was just a bit looser than it ought to be.
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Old 11-07-2007, 03:45 PM   #26
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Many thanks for that. A little visibility into what was inside, and what I was trying to accomplish, was exactly what was needed.

Got the CQ HID's in and working today . May have to let the fogs wait until my return ... unless I get really ambitious after dinner ... and ... that's historically extremely unlikely
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Old 11-08-2007, 08:06 AM   #27
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the only thing I do different is make a "Y" on both leads.
Then I join them where the two (interlocking) and twist.
seems to make a smaller joint.
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Old 11-08-2007, 10:53 PM   #28
BrShootr
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Nice tutorial but how about then you're connecting a wire to a center section of an existing wire in a "T" connection?
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Old 11-08-2007, 11:20 PM   #29
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T connection...

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrShootr
Nice tutorial but how about then you're connecting a wire to a center section of an existing wire in a "T" connection?
There are several ways to do this, but I generally want to get the connection double heat-shrunk aftwards, so in order to get the heat shrink on, I just cut the wire first, strip both ends, strip the end of the new wire, twist the new wire to one end of the wire I cut apart, then proceed as above. Works great. This splice is so good, that I don't mind cutting the existing wire.

You can also remove a section of insulation from the first wire without cutting it, and twist the new wire around that, but then you generally can't get the heat shrink on and you're stuck with tape which is not nearly as good.

If the existing wire has a lot of slack, you can strip some insulation off the middle of this wire, twice as long as a normal splice, double it over so that it is like two wires twisted together (but you never had to cut it), then splice as above with the new wire. But it isn't usually the case that there is this much slack in the wire you are tieing into.
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Old 11-09-2007, 08:43 PM   #30
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Thanks for the helpful tutorial. But since we both have the same bike and you live just up the road from me, I think I'll just stop by your house next time I have a soldering project.
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