Here's what not to do...

Notarola

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I prefer soldering. The contact area becomes 100% if soldered right. Crimping may have as little as 5% connection at the crimp point. I havent worked out the possible impedance issues due to such a small contact area but in higher power or poor antenna match (450 ant on a 465 signal) the small area would become a hot spot for reflected energy to collect.
 

axel

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A properly crimped connection should be as good or better than a solder joint. If it's done with the right tools, the crimped material will essentially cold-weld together and have great contact, without making things brittle and prone to failure when subject to vibration.

If you're talking about fixed-site installs, solder all you want. But for anything mobile or moving, crimp or clamp/compression is really the only way to go. We've had many failures of various connectors due to wires snapping off at the solder joint.

I have a feeling we're going to get everyone's personal opinion on the topic now :)
 

CQDX

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Agree 100% for not soldering in a mobile environment. When vibration/flexion/motion is involved, the last thing you want is a solid connection like a solder joint. Better to crimp and have a little flexibility.
 

PSEhub

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Am I the only one that still solders and heat shrinks all of my connections? I completely understand the crimping but I have an old school approach to a radio that I install....
No you aren't, crimping any type of splice is banned here. Butt and other splice connectors are 100% banned. Ring terminals are acceptable in limited circumstances.

If you use flux, soldering is pretty idiot proof.
 

Bill_G

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No you aren't, crimping any type of splice is banned here. Butt and other splice connectors are 100% banned. Ring terminals are acceptable in limited circumstances.

If you use flux, soldering is pretty idiot proof.
You obviously have run into poor materials, and poor workmanship. Done correctly, they expedite work and cut costs. YMMV
 
OP
EM36

EM36

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I concur with Bill, I only use nylon and good quality stuff like 3m etc. Soldering does have it's issues, annealing being the biggest with constant vibration. It works. So do scotchlocks LOL for a time.
 

Bill_G

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Case and point on wire crimp technique:
Back in the day, back to the Motrac and earlier, Motorola had orange and green ignition leads on all their mobile products. The fuse holders had crimped connectors made from stamped metal. They were not barrel shaped. They were folded like a U. You laid the stripped wire in the saddle of the U. The crimper closed the top U folding them down to resemble the letter M. That captured the wire, but offered no strain relief. Similar crimps are still used in just about every connector these days.

If you clothes lined the fuse holders, they wouldn't last a year. Tension on the wire would slowly strain and fray it until the last strand broke.
If you tie wrapped them to something so they never moved, you couldn't get to them for service.
But , if you coiled/looped the wire back on itself once tying the coil down and left the fuseholder to hang free, it lasted for years.

They were the worst possible wire crimp ever made. It was all in the lashing technique. Removing strain from the crimps preserved them, and gave them longer service lives.

The same applies to barrel crimps. There is no inherent strain relief. It's just metal to metal. Not only do you need to ensure an excellent mechanical crimp connection, you also need to coil, loop, and lash the wire to remove direct strain on the crimp.

Even on ring lugs and other terminals, it is possible to set the wire so there is no strain on the crimped joint. I consider heat shrink on lugs decoration and color coding rather than strain relief, but many sites require it. I would rather see the state of the joint. IE: fray and corrosion. But some guys are horrible at wire stripping. They can't cut a straight line with a sharp knife for some reason. They gnaw at it with dull side cutters or something. So, it looks nukkin fuggly. Then, they can't control their cut depth. So, they nick the wires leaving a lot of broom in the gap. Then you get to see they used the wrong gauge lug on the wire with an incomplete crimp. Heat shrink hides all their BS, and makes it all pretty ... until it breaks. Heats shrink with glue just lets the intermittent problem hide longer. But, if they had done it right, and tied it off right, it would be pretty, and permanent.

/rant
 

com501

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Whut? You don't strip wire with your teeth like a manly-man? We have a few sites where the site owner requires lacing. Don't forget a wire or you will have to do it all over again....
 

d119

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We have a few sites where the site owner requires lacing. Don't forget a wire or you will have to do it all over again....

Let me guess. You're the site owner?
 

Bill_G

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Whut? You don't strip wire with your teeth like a manly-man? We have a few sites where the site owner requires lacing. Don't forget a wire or you will have to do it all over again....

I've done pretty work (cord lace) aboard ships. Torsional twist of the hull requires all wiring have slack. It's hung on cable saddles, and drapes from saddle to saddle. You do half hitches every two to three inches to keep the bundle intact allowing it to "breathe" (expand and contract). I've seen it in telco CO's, but never had to do it at a LMR site. I don't know if you can get cord anymore.
 

Gtaman

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PPC/Beldon needs to come out with a compression connector for two way apps like the CATV fittings. Just a prep and a snap and in it goes.
 

com501

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I've done pretty work (cord lace) aboard ships. Torsional twist of the hull requires all wiring have slack. It's hung on cable saddles, and drapes from saddle to saddle. You do half hitches every two to three inches to keep the bundle intact allowing it to "breathe" (expand and contract). I've seen it in telco CO's, but never had to do it at a LMR site. I don't know if you can get cord anymore.
 

lubindent

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Ok, so "pardon my french" on this one, I come from the IT world. Why all the hate on butt connectors, and if they are so bad, what is your suggested alternative for use in automotive applications? That is, assuming you don't have the option to run a single strand from point A to point B.

SAE ("Motorola") Connectors?
Anderson Powerpole connectors?
Gardner Bender Male and Female disconnects?
 

Bill_G

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Ok, so "pardon my french" on this one, I come from the IT world. Why all the hate on butt connectors, and if they are so bad, what is your suggested alternative for use in automotive applications? That is, assuming you don't have the option to run a single strand from point A to point B.

SAE ("Motorola") Connectors?
Anderson Powerpole connectors?
Gardner Bender Male and Female disconnects?

It goes to workmanship and style. Properly applied butt splices last for years.

The most common mistakes that lead to short service life are:
Improper crimp pressure - either too loose or too tight - so wire pulls out easily, or wire and/or splice is crushed/brittle.
Improper splice gauge - too large leads to loose crimps (see above), too small leads to broom wire.
Improper wire stripping - either too little or too much - crimp on insulator instead of wire, and/or long exposed wires.
Improper crimp location - crimp under tension, exposed to weather, or laid under carpet instead of cable tray.
Improper crimp tool - self explanatory, and if I need to explain it, you shouldn't be near wire.
Improper crimp lashing - crimps not tied or taped off to remove tension on splice.
Improper crimp count - the number of splices and butt connectors in single strand of wire should be very, very small
 

Bill_G

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Crimping alone holds fine, even with heat cycling...
View attachment 14970

I've seen that kind of mess on light bar wiring, especially back when they were halogen bulbs with motorized rotating mirror arrays. They drew a lot of power, and really stressed every connection running at a scene for hours and hours. You really have to up your game. A mistake can range from a simple failure to a full burn down. Not pretty.

Pictures like this are why crimps have a bad name. But, again it goes to workmanship. Every vehicle in the world is assembled with crimps in their wiring harnesses. If you design it right, use the right gauge of wire for the load, and apply the connector correctly, they work well.
 

RocketScott

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Pretty close. Those are the headlight and clearance light switches on my Peterbilt boom truck. Back when the truck was built the relays on the headlights were only there to switch between high and low beam. All the power for the headlights and marker lights went through the switch on the left

I've rewired the whole engine and about half the chassis harness. It had about 25 years of bubba doing what he could to just get it back on the job
 

WQNV648

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So I got one.
Our auto shop guys will grab sometimes us tow guys if they got an problem they can’t diagnose for a second look. Well, one of the shop techs remembered I am a ham and have a decently outfitted Jeep decided to get my opinion on this.

Customer had new batteries installed on a 2006 GMC C4500 4x4 after her employee left the door open for 2 weeks and flattened the battery. New batteries were put in, runs great. Two weeks later after it was parked for 24 hours, batteries were flat again. Shop charged them up again, starts and runs great, but the shop tech is finding a continuous 3 amp draw when shut down. The truck has a nice PCTel 1/2 wave on VHF mounted on it and the shop tech had a hunch that whatever was connected to it was the problem but there was nothing resembling a radio he could find in the cab.

So I follow the coax from the NMO mount from the fender into the cab, goes under the rear passenger seat to an CDM1550 without a control head. The remote head cable was cut off about 2 feet from the body and has wires exposed everywhere. And the 16 pin accessory connector was hacked off to what ever was connected to it. But the power connector was still plugged in....

I just unplugged it...and oh hey look, the draw went away. Customer said she bought the truck from a 3 truck wood chipping operation out on the Oregon Coast and she knows he “decommissioned” a lot of stuff from the trucks that had to be cleaned up. Only thing I can think of is that for whatever reason, this headless CDM became an zombie radio and was belching out in emergency mode. However the customer told us to remove the radio and I can keep it lol.