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  #11  
Old 08-19-2006
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Crimping should only be done with the proper tools. For a large diameter cable such as a battery cable the proper crimper will have a mechanical advantage such as a screw, lever or hydraulic mechanism to exert enough pressure to insure a good crimp. I have seen for sale a “crimp” device you use with a hammer or mallet. While it will compress the metal of the connector it will not provide a gas tight joint. The ONLY crimp tools I have seen that will perform correctly are professional, heavy duty, tools and are not available from Home Depot, Radio Shack or the like.

I routinely crimped connectors to wire from 24 AWG to 750MCM (cable about 1 ˝” in diameter) and have taught crimping in a manufacturing facility. Crimping is one of the best ways to make an electrical connection.

Crimping IS swaging the wire to the connector. A proper crimp leaves nothing in the joint but metal. In a good crimp, the metal of the wire strands and the metal of the crimp connector cold flow together to eliminate everything else. So if you have room for solder paste you have not done a proper crimp. A proper crimp is extremely reliable under most conditions, definitely under all conditions found on a sailboat.

I suspect that those of you who insist on soldering or think that crimping is not good enough have experienced only poor crimps. Crimping is a skill that would behoove those of you who do your own electrical work to invest in the proper tools and practice, practice, practice. Many maintenance technicians I have met in the auto, marine, or most other general public repair facilities have never had a class in crimping and simply squeeze the connector onto the wire without knowing the why or how of the process. Many also use the tools that you can buy at, you guessed it, Home Depot and Radio Shack. The proper tools should be available on the internet, almost everything else is. Make sure it has a mechanism to insure enough pressure for the crimp, sometimes a ratchet, sometimes a mechanical stop that must come together before the crimp can be considered compete.

If the crimp is in a very moist environment I have been know to put some silicon marine calk inside my heat-shrink tubing as I slide it over the joint. This will waterproof the crimp and prevent water migration along the insulation of the wire. This is functionally the same as the adhesive lined shrink some of the marine connectors have.

I’m not trying to create an argument, just pass on some of my expertise. You are invited to listen or not, that is obviously your choice. I don’t expect to change anyones methods if they “know” better. But please don’t confuse the issue to those who are trying to learn.

Last edited by dave.verry; 08-19-2006 at 08:46 PM.
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Old 08-19-2006
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Guys this is not debatable
Crimping is only suitable for large diameter cable where soldering is not practical or for when a cable is TOO light to solder effectivly.

The rule of thumb from brodcasting is crimp signal and solder power. However heavy DC lugs to terminals such as battries Crimp (Professionally As said) more effectivly than Soldering unless industrial flow or potted solder is available.

Regardless of preference, metals expand/contract at different rates and crimping on light cables ie 4 or 5 amp etc is a bad idea period for something like your bilge pump wiring.

Correct method for soldering this would be to twist/twirl each end to avoid stray ends, then form a loop/ hook in each end, then tin them by applying the iron to the ends. select one and using a hellerman tri expander put a sutible hellerman sleave over one. interlock the two hooks and squeese for mechanical strenght then solder with the iron in the center just long enough to allow additional solder to flow into the hooks but not long enough to DRY the joint. when cool enough to touch, apply hellerman oil and slide the sleave
over the exposed joint. Then support the cable eaither side with P clips for ALL the usual practical reasons.

If You want an alternitive solution, purchase a std domestic junction box, strip the bilge wire ends and twist the paired ends before inserting into the brass and tighting the screw.(ie in from same side as opposed to in on one side and out the other) the advantage is akin to that of a professional crimp in that the screw squeeses the cores tight and the junction box will provide mechanical strenght, support and protection.

In absence of someone who REALLY knows how to solder or crimp, the Junction box Should prove the most robust of any DIY solutions
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Old 08-20-2006
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Apparently, Jorjo seems to think he knows more about boats and the proper wiring of them than the ABYC standards group. Yeah, right...
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Old 08-20-2006
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Sailingdog,

I have long ago stopped trying to change the minds of those who “know” better. Hopefully at least he isn’t working on anyones boat but his own.
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Old 08-20-2006
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True that....hopefully evolution will take its rightful toll and take him out the the shallow end of the gene pool.
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Old 08-20-2006
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I've used some solder/shrink connectors on my boat. Just wondering what the opinions are on these type connectors. If you havn't seen them, it is a piece of thick shrink tube with a band of solder in the middle. The wires are inserted into the solder band from both sides, and the whole thing is heated with a heat gun until the solder melts. The result is a small solder joint encased in a very rigid piece of plastic.

My boat won't be going anywhere that I can't swim to shore from, so I won't be changing the connectors no matter what, just wondering if these sound like good connections.
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Old 08-20-2006
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US27-
I have a couple of boxes of those from 3M, built for use by NASA. In theory they are bomb-proof, gas-tight, totally sealed, but the weak point is the actual APPLICATION process. They are pretty damned hard to use without the matching special heat gun, they will not set up properly over any old heat shrink gun or solder flame--at least not this particular type. You may have something very similar but "different enough" to work better with regular tools.
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US 27,

These are fine for wire to wire connections where the wire will not be flexed. Hellosailor is correct; the problem is heating the joint to the 183 deg C to melt the solder, without damaging the insulation of the wire. Even if you manage to do it, just bear in mind the joint will not be a strong as the wire so protect it from stress. I have never used them, preferring to make my joints in a way that I can inspect them for good solder flow or proper crimp compression. Just remember it is a soldered joint and so is brittle.
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Old 08-21-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog
Apparently, Jorjo seems to think he knows more about boats and the proper wiring of them than the ABYC standards group. Yeah, right...
The ABYC are catering to their constituency I'm afraid - Yachties. Not a group universally renowned for their DIY prowess. Jorjo and others are absolutely right, the most effective way to permanently join an electrical cable to a connector is with a solder-joint. Crimp joints are only used for expediency's sake by OEM manufacturers, and usually for lack of skill, knowledge or understanding by DIYers. Even if a tight crimp is made, contacting clean stripped wire, the surface area for current transmission is unlikely to be as great as with a well-made solder joint. Hence the crimp will warm up, and the moisture in the air (and there will be some present, even if you've subsequently put a heat-shrink covering over the connection) will slowly allow the connection to corrode. Perhaps not enough to stop it working altogether, but certainly enough to impede current flow - causing heating. And hot cables cause fires of course.

A well-made solder joint - by which I mean one made between clean, tinned wire, and a clean connector, with just enough solder applied to allow it to run by capillary action into the joint, and not to "bubble" outside, and which looks shiny rather than dull (a "cold" solder joint) - will eliminate any possibility of moisture ingress into the joint and ensure 100% contact between wire and connector. This is in direct contrast to what a crimp connector achieves.

To quote Tom Cunliffe of Yachting Monthly "crimp connectors have no place on boats".

Finally: Brittleness of solder joints
As to concerns raised here about brittleness of solder joints... it's rubbish I'm afraid - what the correspondents meant to talk about was the fatigue stress-point as the wire which has been rendered solid by the solder (which in any case shouldn't extend beyond 1/8" outside the connector) gives way to the flexible wire. The same situation will be experienced however where the wire exits a crimped fitting. This should be a non-issue in any case. If you have wires flapping around to the extent that fatigue becomes a concern, your problem is that YOU HAVEN"T SECURED AND SUPPORTED YOUR WIRING PROPERLY!!

Never mind what ABYC say, what do navies around the world do?

cheers,

Blue Eagle
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Old 08-21-2006
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If ABYC are catering to their constituency, we would be wise to learn just who supports the ABYC.
Their membership is primarily marine manufacturers, and professional boat repairers. By far and away, boat builders, repair yards and marine surveyors are the biggest users of the ABYC standards. Very few “Yachties” spend the $179 to join, then another $259 to obtain the “Standards and Technical Information Reports for Small Craft “.
It should be noted that the U.S. Code ofd Federal Regulations (CFR-33, etc), and the Canadian Coast Guard “Construction Standards for Small Vessels” (TP-1332, etc) both refer to ABYC standards.
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