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Old 11-10-2007, 12:21 AM   #31
trscott OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Makalu
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.
Will work for Single Malt Scotch!


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trscott screwed with this post 11-10-2007 at 01:27 AM
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Old 11-10-2007, 05:11 PM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trscott
snip

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.

snip
An alternative to heatshrink for this, is self vulcanizing tape. This stuff, once stretched, will bond to itself to form a watertight seal and is as effective as heat shrink. I usually add a final layer of electrical tape over the top because it 'slides' better over the stuff next to the splice.

JJ
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Old 11-10-2007, 07:29 PM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnjen
An alternative to heatshrink for this, is self vulcanizing tape.
JJ
That stuff is great. I hate the way electrical tape makes everything so gooey.
(by the way it's also known as self amalgamating tape if anyone is trying to
source any this side of the pond)

Great Tutorial! Very neat and thorough. Thanks

I find 3M Scotchlocks very good for semi-permanant jobs:

http://www.3m.com/product/informatio...ors-Tools.html
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Old 11-10-2007, 08:46 PM   #34
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my experience with a soldering iron lead to this




I have since moved on to these little dudes - you can get them at WalMart and/or Tractor Supply

I would not want to rely on them for a the headlight on an XR650 for a desert run

but for asphalt based applications I have been using these

they work like this


used them to install a car stereo in my 67 Galaxie as well - under dash connections are easy
for a hack like me whose soldering skills are non-existent these are a life saver

they have tap style ones as well

makes tapping into a accessory wire a 10 second job



the watertight ones are new but I have used the non weathertight ones without problem on road bikes for off road stuff I think TRScott's method is the plan

posi-locks are damned expensive though


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Old 11-11-2007, 07:15 AM   #35
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That was an excellent tutorial, trscott.

Stripping the wire is sometimes a problem because the individual strands can become nicked and/or broken. This is especially easy to do with the cheap hand-held strippers that can be bought for a few bucks.

For this reason, I like to use a straight razor blade. My technique is to score the insulation, or cut most of the way through it, around the circumference of the wire where the strippers would normally cut. A slight bend or two to the wire will then cause the insulation to split where the cut was made and then it can be pulled off by hand. No damage to the wire strands this way.

I've also had good luck with the Ideal Stripmaster wire strippers. The cheap look-alikes from Harbor Freight are junk, though, and do not work well.

The military has used thermal strippers with teflon-insulated wire to prevent damage to the wire strands. Not to be used with PVC insulation, as PVC insulation will become highly corrosive if burned.
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Old 11-11-2007, 09:10 AM   #36
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Great thread. I installed the Euro-switch on my 1100 a few months ago and used mechanical crimp taps into the left-hand switch-gear wiring. All worked great until on one very dark night the tap for the aux low beams came loose. An intermittently energizing relay and light in pitch black makes for a nasty headache.

I went back and soldered the connection like I should have in the first place.

Which leads me to my question: I spliced into the side of the stock wire forming a T-connection by exposing enough wire to wrap the end of the relay wire around it then soldered the splice. I used liquid tape to seal it. The finish is a little cobby, but is that basically the proper way to do it?
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Old 11-11-2007, 10:51 AM   #37
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Bimble,

That sounds good except that liquid tape is not that abrasion resistant. I'd just "fold" a piece of elecrical tape over what you have done and call it good, as the tape will not get worn off over time like that "liquid 'lectric tape" can.
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Old 11-11-2007, 05:04 PM   #38
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Make that another reason I'm glad I installed quick-disconnects.

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Old 11-11-2007, 05:18 PM   #39
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Wow, how did I miss this A most excellent tutorial, thanks .

Chris
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Old 11-20-2007, 01:04 PM   #40
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Can I extend this thread with only a slight hijack? Back a page or two, you guys talked about soldering guns and berated my wonderful black 50's ray gun.

Can you also talk about the butane/portable torches? Seems like a very handy tool; any reason they won't do a quality solder job?
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Old 11-20-2007, 01:49 PM   #41
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Here's another good product for splicing...



It's basically a ring of solder inside a piece of heavy shrink tube. The colored rings are also heat-activated glue. A heat gun does all the work. If used correctly, renders a water proof seal.

Before you start the obligatory analyses and critique, they're the ONLY approved splice on many aircraft applications.

Several companies make them. Here's a link to one:
http://www.calcentron.com/Pages/fusi...at_shrink.html
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Old 11-20-2007, 03:21 PM   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Virtual Rider


It's basically a ring of solder inside a piece of heavy shrink tube. The colored rings are also heat-activated glue. A heat gun does all the work. If used correctly, renders a water proof seal.

Before you start the obligatory analyses and critique, they're the ONLY approved splice on many aircraft applications.

Several companies make them. Here's a link to one:
http://www.calcentron.com/Pages/fusi...at_shrink.html


I've never had good success with those, but it may be because I'm using a butane torch instead of a heat gun.

So if they're the only approved method in aircraft applications, what's the approved method for joining the wires before using that thing? Just stick them in over lapping end, or twisting together like Dr. Scott is suggesting in this thread?
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Old 11-20-2007, 03:36 PM   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MuskOx
I've also had good luck with the Ideal Stripmaster wire strippers. The cheap look-alikes from Harbor Freight are junk, though, and do not work well.
Don't remember who makes mine. Grew up in a house where dad had a pair forever, so ... when I started working on auto electrical, I picked up a fairly good pair.

Once you use a pair (agreed: a decent pair), you'll (cliche here) wonder how you ever lived without them. The only issue is in tight quarters, working with existing wiring. It can be tough to get a bite on the short end of a wire.
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Old 11-20-2007, 04:01 PM   #44
trscott OP
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Butane irons, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bigtex
Can I extend this thread with only a slight hijack? Back a page or two, you guys talked about soldering guns and berated my wonderful black 50's ray gun.

Can you also talk about the butane/portable torches? Seems like a very handy tool; any reason they won't do a quality solder job?
Good question...

I was the guilty party raising some concerns with soldering guns. Interestingly I do own and use a butane soldering iron in special circumstances. One reason that I got one is that I also play arouund with amateur radio, and frequently have occasion to be soldering antenna wires out in the yard, or up a tower where power is a major hassle to provide. They have one advantage over a soldering gun in that you can fire it up and set it down while it heats and then when you pick it up you can expect that it is at full power. Plus, my Weller butane does have a variable heat control so that with a little practice you can figure out what temp setting to use for different applications. Also, like a gas cooking stove, you can adjust the temperature pretty quickly.

The major problem I have with soldering guns is that you tend to pull the trigger to heat it up just as you want to begin soldering. True they heat up pretty fast, but you really don't have any very good way to know how long it takes and what temperature you're at. My experience is that I've seen an awful lot of bad solder joints done with soldering guns and I think this is why. You start applying heat to the joint before the gun is hot enough, making it take longer to get hot, so the novice starts applying solder to the gun tip instead of to the joint, ending up with a glob of solder melted over the joint instead of having the solder sucked up into the joint. If this were not bad enough, when you hold the trigger long enough, you now have a very hot joint and a rapidly overheating gun. If the reason the solder isn't flowing is because you have too much oxidation someplace, you are now probably making that condition worse.

That said, it is certainly true that with enough experience you can do a good job soldering with whatever tool you have. With practice I could use a hot pad, a butter knife, and a gas stove, but that wouldn't be my first choice tool for the job.

The best soldering iron, in my opinion, is a "temperature controlled" iron that has the wattage to maintain the desired temperature before and during the process of applying heat to a solder joint. These come in two basic varieties: one type has special interchangeable magnetic tips for different temperatures, and the other type allows selecting the temperature with a dial, with or without a temperature indicating digital display. The latter are really deluxe and universally used in professional electronics manufacturing today, but can be somewhat expensive.

One of the simplest temperature controlled irons uses a thermo-magnetic principle to achieve temperature regulation. (Unless I have the principle exactly backwards...) I believe magnets become weaker at higher temperatures. My older wellers have replaceable tips with a number stamped into the base of the tip to indicate the temperature range 600F, 700F, or 800F. These actually have different strengths of magnetic attraction. The iron handle stem where the tips mount has a heated element which either snaps into contact with the tip to heat it, or snaps open to let it cool, in order to regulate the temperature. You can actually hear it snap as it switches. The beauty of this design is that it will idle under no load right at the desired temperature, and then as soon as you begin taking heat out of the tip to heat up a joint, the iron snaps into high power mode and has power to spare to keep the joint right at the desired temperature. Any unregulated iron has a tendency to either be too hot when idling with no load, which leads to excessive oxidation of the tip, or too cold when trying to heat up a joint.

With a little practice on a variable temp butane soldering iron, you can simulate the effect of a temperature controlled iron by dialing the power down a bit while it is idling in its stand, and then dial it up to the desired power setting just before you begin soldering.

Soldering iron tip maintenance is also important to easy soldering. The tip should be clean and bright. You can get this by cleaning it against a damp sponge often, and re-applying a small amount of solder to the tip periodically. A quick wipe on a damp sponge doesn't really cool the tip very much, but actually steam-cleans the tip as the water instantly vaporizes on contact with the iron and boils off most of the corrosion and slag. There are also very helpful tip re-conditioning pots which have a mixture of flux and solder. These come in a little tin about 1" diameter and 3/8" thick with double sticky foam tape on the bottom so you can stick it to your soldering iron stand. You just stab the tip into the pot, let it melt the solder and flux for a few seconds, and then wipe off the excess on a sponge. If your tip is heavily oxidized and does not look clean and bright after this treatment, you may have no choice but to file or sand the surface down to clean bright metal again. But don't resort to this unless you have to. Good soldering iron tips will have something like iron plating which you will lose when you file it down. If you do file it down to clean metal, immediately re-tin the entire bare surface of the tip with solder to minimize the oxidation process. Controlled temperature soldering irons are far easier to maintain a good bright tip, because they do not tend to overheat the tip while idling.

Again, all of these tools can do fine work in the hands of an experienced user. The key to good soldering is to understand heat transfer principles; heat the joint very quickly, and apply the solder to the opposite side of the joint from where you are applying heat with the iron. A wire splice solder joint should only take a couple of seconds. If the first application does not result in a completely satisfactory solder joint, you are usually better off to let it cool down completely before trying again. If you are having trouble getting the solder to melt with this technique, you almost certainly need a hotter (or higher wattage) iron.

One final comment about butane. I briefly toyed with the idea of adding it to my travel tool kit, but decided that for a field repair, I was completely happy with an electrical first aid kit that consists of: a length of several feet of 16 or 18 gauge wire, a handful of butt splice crimp connectors, some vinyl electrical tape, and the leatherman tool that I always carry. These supplies take almost no space, and can take care of any field repair that I am likely to want to take on in the field, well enough to get me back to a workshop. Even a hidden failed ground connection point could theoretically be troubleshot and fixed temporarily with this. A 12V LED with some short wires attached would also be insignificantly small and could prove pretty useful.
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trscott screwed with this post 11-20-2007 at 04:10 PM
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Old 11-20-2007, 04:23 PM   #45
trscott OP
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Approved methods...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Virtual Rider


It's basically a ring of solder inside a piece of heavy shrink tube. The colored rings are also heat-activated glue. A heat gun does all the work. If used correctly, renders a water proof seal.

Before you start the obligatory analyses and critique, they're the ONLY approved splice on many aircraft applications.

Several companies make them. Here's a link to one:
http://www.calcentron.com/Pages/fusi...at_shrink.html
I am sure these can work fine, but before you put too much stock in what some agency will "approve" remember that their criteria for an acceptable method may be different than ours. They tend to prefer solutions that will be acceptable when applied by any fool (aka, the origin of the term "foolproof"). That may be not be the best method, given some practiced skill and training. Knowing that not all have access to this training, I have tried to offer some assistance in that regard here.

Still, I will not argue that these splices you've proposed, and a whole host of other things like Scotch locks, crimp-ons, and so on may not result in perfectly acceptable connections, but I will stand by the technique I've suggested as my preference for permanent and absolutely reliable connections. In my opinion, the splice I've shown is the best method given a certain level of manual dexterity and practice.
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