Midwest Puddle Pirate
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Gardner, KS
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While I have always preferred a nicely soldered connection, I will say that my mind has been changed (and not by this discussion). I friend brought his '32 ford hotrod into my shop for an intermittent no stall/no start. When the problem occurred the fuel pump was not running. After much hair pulling I traced the problem down to a connection he made by soldering 3 wires together. The wires were first twisted together in such a way as to make a strong connection even without soldering. Then they were soldered. The solder was shiny and bright, and none of the wires were the least bit loose. When the problem occurred I could touch this connection and the fuel pump ran again. I replaced the solder connection with a crimp connector and the problem was solved for good. The solder connection worked perfectly for 2 years before the problem, and I still can't tell you what was wrong with it. It looked great to me.
I'm sold. I don't solder anything together unless there's a very good reason to do so.
Its a bunch of hogwash - crimps fail just as much as one does that is soldered. There is no such thing as a perfect solder job as nor is there the perfect crimp. What protects the connection is the shrink tubing. A few things to consider:
1. crimp is a mechanical connection only.
2. solder is chemical connection if done properly.
Neither of the two work properly without concerns for connectivity and prevention of corrosion.
None of the two account for the type of connections being used. I have said this time and time again - soldering is a great agent for connections and the result is often stronger than the gauge of wire required to connect. Heat shrink connections offer that mechanical buffer that is all. Crimp - solder, do both - the weakest point will still be the quality of connection or quality of the wire. Just that simple. A boats electronics - the wiring doesn't move or get stressed out any more than a car does - seriously. If you have a boat that flexes that much then stop putting electronics ins a West Marine dinghy.
The factor in longevity is preventing corrosion from the latent salt air. Whether you crimp or solder - its the application of covering to prevent intrusion of elements that defines the bond. Just like you can't take a LCD and place in the cockpit - you first have to do some sealing to marinize it...I've seen both suffer death throws... try hard enough you make even the most respected solution fail..
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John USYacht 27 "Cora Lee"