Joining wires

JohnW

Too many posts!
You need to get some serious crimping tools. Jaycar, Altronics, etc don't have them. Look on RS components and you'll see they are 400$ and up. That is what the factory uses to get those superb crimps you see. No, they don't use that they use a machine with hydraulic actuation, but the dies doing the actual crimping are probably the same or similar.

Get yourself a Deutsch crimper (from Deutsch or Knipex) they are the cheapest standard of proper crimper. I think I paid just under 300 for mine, but like I said, if you want anything else they are above 400$. Deutsch is good enough for the mining industry so I call that good. Plus you can get the terminals by themselves (see RS Components) in any size you want (check what sizes your crimper will do) and the connectors (housings - plugs and sockets) too. In all sorts of versions, all water proof plus panel mounts, brackets, goosenecks, boots, right angle, straight, flush etc. you name it. They are not cheap but they are forever reliable.

I used to crimp and solder Deutsch , the soldering is contained inside the terminal, the wire has no solder on it past the terminal and the silicone seal serves as the support so if the wire is wiggled and moves, it only moves up to the silicone seal, not behind it where the soldered joint is. I have also used large glue lined heatshrink tube over the plastic casing just to make double sure no ingress of any kind is possible including petroleum derived chemicals of any kind. Works. In recent times I have started to trust Deutsch enough that I don't solder anymore, just crimp and it's done. I also use silicone wire, very expensive but practically impervious to anything except for knife. Won't even burn or melt, so ideal for engine bay wires. For the current they are capable of, size is also better than vinyl insulated. A silicone wire crimped with the correct tool and with sealed Deutsch connectors at both ends will not let you down.

Crimping is not that easy for the home gamer. As I mentioned above, you enter a painful world with cheap crimpers (I have an entire stash of junk) or splash out on something good, but that comes with its own problems. Every car manufacturer has their own terminals, plugs, sockets and it never ends! There's more standards than digital camera .RAW file formats!! Which one to get?! And will you then change all the connectors on the car to that standard? And will you find the terminals?

That is why I chose Deutsch. It's universal, sealed, well represented everywhere, parts readily available, relatively cheap and original crimpers are not a fortune to buy. They are easy to take apart or pull individual wires with terminals on out and put back in with no special tools. Extremely convenient if you know what it means to try and take the wires out of a Toyota or Honda plug. Plus their run of the mill contacts are silver nickel or you can get the top of the line gold ones! Yeah, baby! Don't tell your wife the car is getting gold terminals though.

Which is where soldering comes in. Solder joints are fragile at the transition point between the solder and the bare wire. Copper work hardens easily so if there is a preferred flex point where it will always flex, that point will work harden and break. Soldering creates one such point. The soldered part is stiff and doesn't flex, the bare wire without insulation is now the preferred flex point. Use heatshrink, generously extending either side of the solder joint and you won't have problems.

I used to use a NASA standard solder joint (see here: https://i0.wp.com/cdn.makezine.com/uploads/2012/02/western-union-or-linemans-splice.jpg?resize=514,580) with heat shrink tube. Didn't know it was called that, I came up with it out of despair. Don't worry about the picture being with single wire, it works very well on multistrand.

Silicone wire is probably the best (but the most expensive, of course) here too. It uses so many strands of copper and it is so flexible (ever heard of "wet noodle"?), it is difficult to work harden any particular strand of wire in it simply because there's so may of them and they're so fine. It is therefore unlikely you're going to bend the same wire the same way twice (which is how work hardening happens). It does happen eventually but it will take a long time. If you use heatshrink you will get a joint that will outlast the car and most likely you too.

And if you have solder wick past where you want it to, your technique is not great. I use a high power iron with large chisel tip. I hold it inverted in a stand. Put some solder on it to create a small puddle like a blob and then come in with the bare wire and insert it in the blob as far in as you want it tinned and pull it out. Be quick, not lighting fast but don't dwell. You need to be in and out before the flux loses its efficiency. There will be no excess tin, no wicking no nada. If you have excess tin, refresh the blob, come in with the wire again, the excess will be retained by the blob. If you have sharp spikes you're too slow (left the blob dwelling too long and the flux has evaporated) and/or the iron is not hot enough. Practice.

After that, you can trim it back if needed to how long you want it tinned if you overshot.

And you can crimp it at whatever point you want to crimp it. You can crimp it so the tinned portion doesn't project out of the terminal. And you can add solder to the join after crimping. Again, because the wire is tinned already you can do it in a fraction of a second (tin heats quickly and spreads the heat evenly) and there will be no wicking because the rest of the wire is not hot enough yet to suck the tin along.

I know it's hard when you have two wires barely reaching each other poking out of holes at opposite ends of the dash in the footwell, but believe me, it is possible.

And if it's not possible, just put a connector in line. It will be easier to service!

As for the original post gizmo, I gave up on any auto terminals, just too much trouble. When something needs fixing, it's converted to Deutsch. There are OEM senders, etc that come with their own (generally Bosch) connectors moulded as part of the casing, so I keep a selection of Bosch sockets/plugs for those situations. Bosch connectors are not bad either, so I don't have a problem with those. There are also connectors moulded into globe holders in indicators, headlights and such. If I can solder pigtails I can terminate with a Deutsch plug and pot the soldered end in situ I do that. If not, I don't yet have a solution.
That's all really interesting. I've used a lot of cheaper crimped connections over the years, in ignorance of better ones being out there, and have had the occasional failure for sure. Ditto for soldered joints.

So the Deutsch system looks interesting. I can find "Deutsch" crimping tools on line for prices that range from $44 to $860 however. Plenty of manufacturers offer them. Are the less expensive ones any good - they look the same so use the same crimping system I guess. How to select please?
 

DoubleChevron

Real cars have hydraulics
That's all really interesting. I've used a lot of cheaper crimped connections over the years, in ignorance of better ones being out there, and have had the occasional failure for sure. Ditto for soldered joints.

So the Deutsch system looks interesting. I can find "Deutsch" crimping tools on line for prices that range from $44 to $860 however. Plenty of manufacturers offer them. Are the less expensive ones any good - they look the same so use the same crimping system I guess. How to select please?

That's interesting. I've never had a solder joint fail unless the wire is allowed to move eg: you solder a wire between a bootlid or door ... If you add mechanical movement, the wires will always end up breaking beside the soldered joint. I can't really see this ever happening due to vibration in a normal street car ( I guess anything is possible in a rally/race car).
 

Stuey

Member
I agree three.

John, you don't need an expensive Deutsch crimper. I've used a $70 one (I think it was Toledo branded) and it works really well. My son works on mining plant and has used the workshop sparky's really expensive one and the cheap one produces what looks and feels like as-good crimps.
 

JohnW

Too many posts!
That's interesting. I've never had a solder joint fail unless the wire is allowed to move eg: you solder a wire between a bootlid or door ... If you add mechanical movement, the wires will always end up breaking beside the soldered joint. I can't really see this ever happening due to vibration in a normal street car ( I guess anything is possible in a rally/race car).
Bad wording from me. I've had earth wires break at the end of the solder from temperature sensors fitted to a top radiator hose. Of course is was a few inches of wire, whatever came to hand in the scraps box with green insulation......
 

schlitzaugen

1000+ Posts
Bad wording from me. I've had earth wires break at the end of the solder from temperature sensors fitted to a top radiator hose. Of course is was a few inches of wire, whatever came to hand in the scraps box with green insulation......
Prices have come down a lot. I think something to do with the patent rights, maybe? You can also buy a lot of Deutsch connectors made by no name companies now for pennies pretty much everywhere. Back a few years ago they were very expensive. Mine is this style:

https://www.altronics.com.au/p/t1532-deutsch-connector-crimping-tool/

Have a look at the crimp they produce, it has to end up looking something like this:

https://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/jsMAAOSwm1Nf3Owy/s-l500.jpg

Mine actually does a longer crimp, maybe it has more fingers, not sure, but that's the idea.

Just make sure it comes with an adjuster of depth (it adjusts how far the contact goes into the crimper) otherwise you will struggle to put the crimp where it should go. I think the more expensive ones are better designed and made with better materials, which make the job a lot easier and quicker. I am sure you can dot he same job with a cheaper one, but price reflects quality. They will last longer and wear slower. Maybe not important for the home gamer but rest assured, you can't buy an expensive one and go wrong. That is what you pay for.

Like I said in another thread, my wife paid 1500 bucks to have a wiring loom replaced when only a plug was damaged. We could have bought the most expensive crimper for that money, remade the entire loom and still have money for a beer.

Mine is not a really expensive one (I think I paid about 200 bucks for it some years back), and I have certainly used it so I think it has paid for itself many times over. None of the connectors I installed with it has failed yet and some are pushing 20 years. That's what I wanted from it, so I call that a win.

That is the story with tools. You can buy the cheaper one and it will probably do the job most of the time. Or you can pay for the top grade tool and it will never disappoint you. Ask me how I know.
 

Whippet

Member
I used to use a NASA standard solder joint (see here: https://i0.wp.com/cdn.makezine.com/uploads/2012/02/western-union-or-linemans-splice.jpg?resize=514,580) with heat shrink tube. Didn't know it was called that, I came up with it out of despair. Don't worry about the picture being with single wire, it works very well on multistrand.
Hi. The second image in the link has the end of the wire after twisting around the core, pointing in the incorrect direction. Start at where the two cores first touch and the twisting starts and follow the twists, I thought I was not comprehending it correctly but i am certain it is drawn incorrectly. Anyway I never knew it was called a NASA standard solder joint.
 

PeterT

1000+ Posts
Hi. The second image in the link has the end of the wire after twisting around the core, pointing in the incorrect direction. Start at where the two cores first touch and the twisting starts and follow the twists, I thought I was not comprehending it correctly but i am certain it is drawn incorrectly. Anyway I never knew it was called a NASA standard solder joint.
Indeed, and that is why one occasionally drops out of the sky.
 

Stuey

Member
Mine is not a really expensive one (I think I paid about 200 bucks for it some years back), and I have certainly used it so I think it has paid for itself many times over. None of the connectors I installed with it has failed yet and some are pushing 20 years. That's what I wanted from it, so I call that a win.
You said it was just under $300 earlier in the thread.
 

1972Ren

The Comeback Kid
Like I said in another thread, my wife paid 1500 bucks to have a wiring loom replaced when only a plug was damaged. We could have bought the most expensive crimper for that money, remade the entire loom and still have money for a beer.
So as a matter of interest, given that you have the tools and the skill, why did you pay $1500 for a new loom when you could have replaced a single connector?
 

JohnW

Too many posts!
Clearly I need to do some homework - quite a bewildering array of Deutsch connectors out there....

Thanks to all for the information.
 

DoubleChevron

Real cars have hydraulics
Never use solder in a car. Never use those shitty colour coded insulated crimp joints.

Do it properly with a proper crimping tool and open crimps. Use heat shrink tube to insulate.


AU $2.73 10% Off | 100 pcs/lot 0.5-1.5mm Crimping Button Cold Pressing Splice Electric Wire Terminal Connector Cable Lugs Sertir

https://a.aliexpress.com/_mKvzovz

I purchased some of these ..... And just used them to extend the wiring for the stereo in the shitbox range rover so I wouldn't smash its screen again (when I find the $$$ to replace it).

They are absolutely brilliant. It must be the tidiest looking non-factory wiring I've ever managed. Sure, the wires crimped in ... pull out easily, and they are fiddly. But all we are using them for is to hold the wires for soldering. As a bonus, even using the normal solder I have here... no solder spikes.... and the heat shrink always fits (you don't end up with the soldered wires to big and messy to slide the heat shrink over).

I need to go order some more stuff and stock up on some commonly used connectors. I probably should ahve grabbed this one... maybe the crimping pliers would actually work.

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/100...8#917&&pdp_ext_f={"scene":"23416"}&fromDetail
 

Haakon

1000+ Posts
I purchased some of these ..... And just used them to extend the wiring for the stereo in the shitbox range rover so I wouldn't smash its screen again (when I find the $$$ to replace it).

They are absolutely brilliant. It must be the tidiest looking non-factory wiring I've ever managed. Sure, the wires crimped in ... pull out easily, and they are fiddly. But all we are using them for is to hold the wires for soldering. As a bonus, even using the normal solder I have here... no solder spikes.... and the heat shrink always fits (you don't end up with the soldered wires to big and messy to slide the heat shrink over).

I need to go order some more stuff and stock up on some commonly used connectors. I probably should ahve grabbed this one... maybe the crimping pliers would actually work.

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005003111298122.html?spm=a2g0o.detail.1000014.49.135b7a96WYmngv&gps-id=pcDetailBottomMoreOtherSeller&scm=1007.13338.192131.0&scm_id=1007.13338.192131.0&scm-url=1007.13338.192131.0&pvid=574860ad-8349-4416-802d-52f0258cfc80&_t=gps-id:pcDetailBottomMoreOtherSeller,scm-url:1007.13338.192131.0,pvid:574860ad-8349-4416-802d-52f0258cfc80,tpp_buckets:668#0#131923#20_668#888#3325#15_3338#0#192131#0_3338#3142#9890#9_668#2846#8110#1995_668#5811#27181#48_668#6421#30825#486_668#2717#7563#528_668#1000022185#1000066058#0_668#6808#32773#474_668#3422#30698#917&&pdp_ext_f={"scene":"23416"}&fromDetail
Get some decent crimping pliers and they won’t pull out. You shouldn’t need solder at all :)
 

schlitzaugen

1000+ Posts
So as a matter of interest, given that you have the tools and the skill, why did you pay $1500 for a new loom when you could have replaced a single connector?

I didn't.

My wife did because it happened when I was on an extended field campaign and she needed the car to go to work.

Shit happens. Trick is to learn something from it.
 

1972Ren

The Comeback Kid
Ah ok. Well, I hope what you learnt is that your wife needs to learn to solder.
Did you ever discuss that matter with the criminal that advised her?
 

schlitzaugen

1000+ Posts
Hehehehe. My wife doesn't need to learn to solder, she is doing alright.

We knew she was going to be taken for a ride, but that's the deal when you want to have cars nobody ever heard of and are not at home all the time to fix them. We just didn't know how good a ride it was going to be. After that, I couldn't argue anymore we should keep the car so it was sold. Guy who sold it to us bought it back and honestly, I still regret we sold it. That was a brilliant car.

Truth be told, I didn't suffer so much that time as I did when I had the brakes fixed on my old R12 and a 70$ quote became a 400$ bill for no reason other than the guy doing the job (big national franchise) didn't give a shit about what I told him when I handed the car over. He claimed the brake lines had non standard fittings hence he had to order a custom made set at a local company. That company did a great job, I had nice new stainless steel lines everywhere but the standard fittings on a R12 are the most common metric fittings. They are of course not standard for an imperial brainwashed mechanic.

What I told him when I left the car was that I had a very good s/h full set of lines I could supply if he felt it was needed to replace the lines as well as a set of brand OEM new flexible hoses. Needless to say, he had the flexible hoses made up too. Non standard fittings, you see.

I am not kidding, I thought I would have a stroke. I felt I was losing balance and my eyes blacked out for a second. And the guy was just staring blankly past me as I asked why he didn't call me to ask if it was okay to proceed repeating over and over 400$, 400$, 400$ holding on to my keys as if to say you're not leaving here until you pay 400$. What he didn't know was that I didn't need the keys to start and drive the car so I had for a moment the impulse to get in the car and go and leave him there like the arsehole he was holding on to a set of keys. I regret to this day I didn't do it but I'm ready for next time if any mechanic ever comes anywhere near any of my cars.
 
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