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Old 11-20-2007, 04:33 PM   #46
trscott OP
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A Tee splice...

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Originally Posted by Bimble
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?
This is certainly another area that is prone to debate. I used to prefer something like you suggest (without the liquid tape, more about that shortly), on the basis that I didn't want to cut the original wire if I didn't have to, but have evolved to preferring to cut the wire and then use the splice I've detailed above with the third wire just twisted together with one of the other two. This allows a couple things: First you can get heat shrink onto the joint and I really like heat shrink. Second, if you need to lengthen the wire as you tee into it, you can easily do so.

The trouble with the liquid tape is that it is difficult to insure a uniform or minimum thickness everywhere. Liquids tend to flow so they are deeper in the valleys and thinner on the peaks. This is exactly contrary to what is needed. Tape materials tend to insure a minimum thickness and heat shrink actually thickens as it shrinks. The dielectric (insulative) capability of a material is a direct combination of the characteristics of the material (electron mobility) and its thickness.

If you really want to solder a Tee splice without cutting the original wire, here are two methods I have used:
1) If the original wire is longer than needed and has some slack to it, you could remove a double length section of insulation and double it over, then treat that as one wire, and splice it to your Tee wire using the method that began this thread, and heat shrink as usual.
2) If you don't have any slack, you could do as you suggested, but instead of liquid tape, I would wrap with approved electrical tape and then maybe add a wire tie to keep the tape from unraveling. The vulcanizing tape may be another good solution, but I can't say I've used it enough to know how it would hold up over the long term.
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Old 11-20-2007, 06:17 PM   #47
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Mostly on topic....

So ... what about friction tape??

Is this a dinosaur? I always seem to have a roll or two laying around, but ... damned if I ever use it.

Is it a good thing to throw on after you've soldered, shrink-wrapped, and (possibly) electrical taped??
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Old 11-20-2007, 08:19 PM   #48
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Friction tape...

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Originally Posted by NBeener
So ... what about friction tape??

Is this a dinosaur? I always seem to have a roll or two laying around, but ... damned if I ever use it.

Is it a good thing to throw on after you've soldered, shrink-wrapped, and (possibly) electrical taped??
Well, how shall I say this...?

Take a clue from how often you use it...?

I like heat shrink. Maybe the best invention to come to electronics since the transistor. It won't unravel, it doesn't get sticky and gooey when it gets old, it can shrink down to an air-tight seal. It comes in many colors so you can color code things, and it comes in many sizes. You can get varieties that will shrink 3 to 1 or more. You can even get a marine grade that is lined with a heat glue to help make a water tight seal around irregular shapes.

As for the friction tape, I don't know, put it someplace you need friction? If you want to keep errant electrons in line, there are better products for the purpose today. Hey, I like old cars and swing music from the fifties; I can remember when we used cotton to insulate wire, and I've seen houses plumbed for gas lamps in the hallways and bedrooms, but not everything old is a real good idea today.
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Old 11-20-2007, 11:48 PM   #49
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These heat shrinkable cable splicers are pretty cool too.

http://www.maplin.co.uk/Module.aspx?...6860&doy=20m11


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Old 11-21-2007, 05:57 AM   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trscott
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.
I had no intention of arguing against the technique you show here. I've used it or VERY similar and know for a fact that it's good. Sorry if I gave that impression. I was just throwing out another option.
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Old 11-21-2007, 06:02 AM   #51
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Originally Posted by Gramps
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?
These do almost demand a heat gun with a round diflector. You also must heat them somewhat slowly (very very hard with a torch) so the solder inside can rise to the correct temp without burning the insulation (shrink).

If I understand your question correctly, you overlap the ends without twisting them.
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Old 11-21-2007, 10:25 AM   #52
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Cheers!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Virtual Rider
I had no intention of arguing against the technique you show here. I've used it or VERY similar and know for a fact that it's good. Sorry if I gave that impression. I was just throwing out another option.
No offense taken, nor intended. Just saying that "agency approval" doesn't necessarily mean very much. I have seen lots of cases where someone like the UL or the FAA or the FCC will "approve" something for reasons that seem good to them, but verge on the lunatic from another point of view. Very often, as I tried to say, I believe this is the result of trying to come up with a "foolproof" method. If you have to restrict yourself to things that a "fool" can't screw up, you often throw out the "best" method which might require a bit more skill.

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Old 11-21-2007, 02:40 PM   #53
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Excellent tutorial!

I learned to solder 20 years ago in the Air Force, and have used it successfully for years. I still prefer it in most applications.

Jim
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Old 11-22-2007, 08:14 PM   #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trscott
...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...
Years ago I picked up a tip from a Motorola technician on prolonging the life of soldering station tips. I had been having trouble with them becoming oxidized and pitted after several weeks of continuous use, and then needing replacement.

Simply tin the tip so it's thoroughly coated with solder prior to switching the soldering station off. Also, if it's going to be idling for an extended period, tin the tip prior to setting the handle down.

He was right. Tips used to last a few weeks for me; the time jumped to a few years.
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Old 11-23-2007, 06:38 AM   #55
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Why is it that the solder wont stick to the tip sometimes when
I am trying to coat/tin it. Is the iron too hot or something?
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Old 11-23-2007, 02:17 PM   #56
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Old 11-23-2007, 02:46 PM   #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scrubs
Why is it that the solder wont stick to the tip sometimes when
I am trying to coat/tin it. Is the iron too hot or something?
The tip must be 'clean' which is why a wet sponge is used to wipe the tip before solder is melted on it. You could also use a jar of flux paste but a wet sponge is quicker.

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Old 11-23-2007, 06:00 PM   #58
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having trouble tinning the tip...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scrubs
Why is it that the solder wont stick to the tip sometimes when
I am trying to coat/tin it. Is the iron too hot or something?
Usually a failure to accept solder is a function of oxidation. If it isn't too bad, you should be able to boil it off with a wet sponge, if it is worse than that, a good flux pot can do wonders, but if it is real bad, you can be stuck with filing it off to bare metal. The real key is to keep it tinned. Every time I solder a joint, I wipe the tip off on a damp sponge before putting it back in the stand, and I frequently re-tin it in a flux and tin pot mounted to the iron stand.

The cause of excessive oxidation may well be an iron that is idling too hot for too long, so the heat can be a factor, but not directly the cause.
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Old 11-23-2007, 08:11 PM   #59
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TRSCOTT great thread
When there is time that is the way to go
In the field I do use crimps with heat shrink on them though

I have a question though ? Why use two pieces of heat shrink ? And looks like your useing single wall ?

Here at work everything gets just one layer of double wall and we haven't had any issues. And I really don't want to talk about some of the lengths we go through to make an add on splice without cutting the orginal wire and still useing heat shrink
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Old 11-23-2007, 08:25 PM   #60
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double wall vs single wall

Quote:
Originally Posted by the kaz
TRSCOTT great thread
Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by the kaz
When there is time that is the way to go
In the field I do use crimps with heat shrink on them though
I agree, crimps are a great field expedient.

Quote:
Originally Posted by the kaz
I have a question though ? Why use two pieces of heat shrink ? And looks like your useing single wall ?
I have actually never used the double wall, although I am sure it would provide the necessary dielectric thickness. The one advantage of using two layers of single wall, as I pointed out in the tutorial, is that by making them different lengths, you can get a bit better strain relief to protect the wire against breakage if it has to endure flexing. If it won't get flexed, I don't suppose there is any difference using the double wall.

Quote:
Originally Posted by the kaz
Here at work everything gets just one layer of double wall and we haven't had any issues. And I really don't want to talk about some of the lengths we go through to make an add on splice without cutting the orginal wire and still useing heat shrink
In an industrial environment the criteria for selecting a solution isn't always relevant to our needs. Anything that saves labor is attractive when labor costs what it does today. But if I am doing my own work, I have the luxury of not worrying about the time it takes.

Cheers!
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trscott screwed with this post 11-23-2007 at 09:08 PM
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