Joining wires...

wiring diagrammes, how to's etc

Joining wires...

Postby Prof » Sun Dec 21, 2014 12:08 am

There are a variety of ways you can join wires on your chopper; twisting them and using a bit of electrical tape... definite no-no except as an emergency fix, commercial connectors including multiple connectors... ugly on a chopper, presoldered slipon joints... good but makes a bulge in your wiring loom, crimp joints... easily fail over time and not waterproof, soldered joints with heat shrink... by far the best, strong, watertight, well insulated, and not bulky.

Here's how to make a long lasting, well insulated, strong, slim joint...

1. Trim back the insulation 15mm with a wire stripper...
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2. Criss-cross bared wires (before you do this, slide on a 30mm length of heat shrink)...
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3. Twist one wire tightly around the other...
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4.Do the second twist. This still needs to be slightly tighter which you can finish with a small pliers...
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5. Get your soldering iron hot, make sure point is clean and has a light coating of solder on it (tinned is correct term). If you simply try to heat the wires with a tinned tip. only a tiny portion of the wire is in contact with the iron and heating will take an age and you may not get enough heat for a sound joint (#2). You need a solder bridge (#1)...
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6. You build a bridge by applying some solder to the tip where it is touching the wire (#1). Then you heat the wire from the OPPOSITE side to the iron. The solder will only melt when the whole set of wires is sufficiently hot. This is important to ensure that the solder is penetrates the entire wire and just doesn't sit on the surface, resulting in a failed join...
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7. Joint partly soldered. This one is a bit untidy and you can do better. Note that solder has fully penetrated, and when finished should not be bigger in diameter than the insulation. Always check that there aren't any small sharp pieces of solder that might wear through the heat shrink...
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8. Heat applied (Heat gun is best, some use a lighter or match) to heat shrink. A strong reliable and insulated joint that is only slightly bigger than the original wire.
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When joining a group of wires in a loom, always stagger the joins. This will avoid a bulge in the finished loom and ensure that wire joins can not short out over time.
Chopit'nrideit... Prof
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Re: Joining wires...

Postby steve » Sun Dec 21, 2014 6:53 am

Solder will certainly provide a good connection with low resistance. Professor is correct in what he is saying. I would like to add another point of view. The main issue with solder joints is that it can be prone to vibration cracking were the solder ends. This is mainly caused if the solder wicks up the wire under the insulation. The heatshrink goes along way to providing support to prevent this. They can also be prone to corrosion is flux is left on. Metho cleans up flux well. I was once a fan of solder joints but now use quality crimps with the correct tool. Having worked for over twenty five years on Aircraft wiring I can say that all Aircraft use a lot of crimped connections to join wires. A college pointed this logic out to me and took some convincing Therefore I have gone away from solder joints and use crimps. Heat shrink will provide additional moisture protection. Aircraft regularly use a tape that when it is stretched it bonds to itself in areas that are classed as swamp areas (undercarriage,wires that are exposed by flight control surfaces and such).

One area that a lot of people go wrong is to use the wrong wire (thick strands are more prone to breakage) and not the correct gauge. Also by not properly supporting the loom and having tight bends. Wires rubbing on sharp edges is also a very quick way to a short circuit.

One last point is a large number of electrical faults are caused by bad earth connections. Corrosion is often the killer here.

I am keen to here other peoples views on wire connections as it is the best way to learn.

Steve
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Re: Joining wires...

Postby Bearcx » Sun Dec 21, 2014 8:17 am

Yeah, I understand your point of view, Steve. I have used 'all of the above' as Prof has written. Solder has always been my favourite joint, but, I still have spade connectors on my car, especially when using relays. I'm guessing if the aircraft industry are using them, they must be OK. :D . As you've said, multistrand wire, good heatshrink, and clean the joint. Also, the fewer joins in the loom the better.
The brave may not live long, but, the cautious do not live at all.
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Re: Joining wires...

Postby Prof » Sun Dec 21, 2014 5:02 pm

Very interesting to hear what you do in air craft.
I've done a series on wiring in Chops'nBobbers and cover some of the points raised. Agreed, soldered joints are prone to breaking where solder ends if not supported. Was going to mention that last night, but was 2am and was getting a bit tired!

Wiring always needs good support; I run the entire looms from component to electrics box in heatshrink. I support loom with thin cable ties (stainless are nicest), often a moulded in piece of tube along the insides of frame members and under the back bone and sometimes inside the frame tubes if they will not cause weakness. Benefits of not running inside tubing is that ties can be snipped to allow looms to be pulled away, for repainting, modifications etc.

It is unwise to bend wiring near a joint. If I think a wire or joint will be under extra stress. eg ring and spade connectors that get disconnected periodically I will reinforce them with two or three lots of heat shrink.

Main problem I've found with crimped joins are the nature of motorcycles (well ridden ones anyway). Rain, grease and dirt are aggressive infiltrators with everything being open to the weather. Vibration, both engine and road are another challenge to wiring integrity... hyence my preference for soldered, heat shrunk joints.

I've never cleaned joints with metho, but will do it from now one... thanks.
Chopit'nrideit... Prof
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