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Which is better? Solder w/ heatshrink or butt splices?

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Jonathan KC8RYW
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Which is better? Solder w/ heatshrink or butt splices?

Postby Jonathan KC8RYW » Wed Jun 21, 2006 9:36 am

I'm going to be making a custom X9000 cable soon, and I wanted to keep the hamsexy factor down. Which is better for splicing two cables together: soldering the wires together, then put heatshrink tubing over them OR useing the plastic butt splices the hardware store sellls?

Also, I've never worked with heatshrink tubing ever... will a hair dryer work? And where's a cheap place to buy heatshrink tubing?

Yours in making a non-hamsexy install,
73 DE KC8RYW
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alex
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Postby alex » Wed Jun 21, 2006 9:57 am

If you want to do it right, I would soder the wires together, and heatshrink the connection. What I would almost do, is then put those connections (that are heatshrunk in to larger groups of 5-8, and heatshrink those together. That way it comes together cleanly, and then you have much smaller groups of wires to deal with than each individual one.

Once complete, put a large piece of heatshrink over the complete setup, you might want to consider figuring out a way to put some strain relief on the connection so that if it is accidentaly pulled in one direction or another, your connections remain.

Just some thoughs.

You can certainly get away with the plastic connectors, but I have found those to be a pain to crimp on, and after a while your hand gets pretty sore from crimping all the connections. I have found that they can also become unreliable after a while.

To each their own.

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Postby tvsjr » Wed Jun 21, 2006 10:00 am

I can't believe you even asked that question. :evil:

Solder and heat shrink, of course. Also, if you use butt connectors, the splice region of the cable is going to be huge in diameter. If you're skilled at splicing, the cable should not gain much diameter using the soldering approach.

Heatshrink can be purchased from your local electronics supply. Radio Shack may carry some (but it'll be cheap :o). You might also check Digikey/Mouser. Personally, I order mine from the same place that I get wire from - although they've got a minimum of 10 feet of one size, so I stock up. If you have a Fry's locally, that would work too. I always stick with the polyolefin stuff... it's more expensive, but the shrink ratio is better and it's considerably tougher.

A hair dryer won't get hot enough. A lighter works in a pinch... avoiding being a cheap bastard and buying a real heat shrink gun ($75 or so) is the right way to do things.

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kb0nly
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Postby kb0nly » Wed Jun 21, 2006 5:03 pm

Solder and heatshrink, always for stuff like that. I have used butt connectors, but not your ordinary cheapos, the type that are made for tough outside/marine use where you insert the wires and heat it to not only shrink the adhesive lined heatshrink tubing but also solder it all at once. Neat how they put those little solder donuts in there that will melt with the hot air gun.

And while working out in the field i have a butane powered soldering iron with hot air and torch tips also, so i can put on the hot air tip and shrink up all the tubing after soldering.
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jhooten
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Postby jhooten » Wed Jun 21, 2006 6:27 pm

Another perspective. Look at a factory built wiring harness for automotive use. No where in the harness will you find soldered connections. Why you may ask? Glad you did.

The heating and cooling of the copper with the addition of the molten metal causes the joint to harden and become less flexable. In a high vibration environment, such as car operated on less than smooth roads, the continious flexing of the joint can lead to further work hardening of the copper and eventually breaking of the conductor.

The most effective way to produce a durable splice of conductors for this type of environment is with a swayging type crimper. Not the crushing plier crimper you find at the discount stores. A non-insulated connector swayged on, then insulated with low temp heat shrink tubing can produce a splice bundle almost as small as a twist/solder/shrink splice. Stagger the splices and you can keep the out side of the completed weather proof splice close to the size of the unspliced cable jacket.

Just for the sake of discussion.

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Postby Birken Vogt » Wed Jun 21, 2006 7:09 pm

I agree that crimping is the way to do it but there is just no way a little guy is going to buy the tooling and terminals that would require just to do one little cable. I assume we are talking about control cable stuff here, sub 22ga size. Soldering and heat shrinking is going to be fine for two reasons. One is that the heat shrink will extend past the solder thus supporting the un-tinned portions of the wire. The other is that the wire will not (I think) be terminated into a block but will rather be a cable on both ends so will be pretty well isolated from vibration directly.

That being said, I certainly do crimp all power connections, speaker connections, and other larger-size connections. With the proper tools of course. I use Amp pro-crimpers on the red blue and yellow style crimps and the "W" style as I call them on the Packard style pins and terminals that have the open wings that get crimped down. Do it the way the manufacturer would have done it is my policy.

Birken

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kb0nly
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Postby kb0nly » Wed Jun 21, 2006 7:29 pm

Another thing you can do for splicing a control cable that i have before is go over to surplus sales of nebraska's website and pick out a matching set of multi pin connectors, that is if they have any in stock, if not you can go over to Mouser or Digi-Key and get a modern equivalent amp brand setup.

I used a large military grade connector pair from SSN once to splice a Spectra cable, it had water proof cable entry seals and o-rings on the connectors mating surfaces. I doubt that splice will ever cause trouble. The pins were d-sub style but slightly larger, i found an amp crimper that did them nicely but each pin required two operations, crimp the wire in place then crimp the strain relief onto the wire insulation.
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KitN1MCC
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Postby KitN1MCC » Thu Jun 22, 2006 1:27 pm

i like crimp my self. i have seen were solder connection on the underside of vehicles with heat shrink they get salt in there and they rot faster than a crimp full of greeeese

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Postby AEC » Sat Jun 24, 2006 12:28 pm

[b]Butt splices work fine if you don't try to over crimp the connection.

I crimp the splice, then flood the joint with solder on both ends, and, depending how large the crimp area is, I use two pieces of heat shrink, the first is slid over the joint and heated with a Master heat gun, and when cooled, I slide the second piece over and heat that.

Double protection for going through firewall grommets, and cables in door troughs, as well as this double shrink helps keep moisture ingress from degrading the connection, and in the rust belt, it keeps the salt off the joints as well.

I don't use bare crimps, I always add solder to the joint to keep maximum electrical contact with the joined cables.

.030 solder works great, melts easily and provides plenty of flow control as well.

Encase all cables in wire loom and you're all set.

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Postby 440roadrunner » Sat Jul 01, 2006 3:36 pm

"Radio Shack may carry some (but it'll be cheap :o)."


I can't believe someone suggested Radio Shack heat shrink. It is "made" from surplus soda straws. It doesn't shrink, it burns. Junk.

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apco25
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Postby apco25 » Sat Jul 01, 2006 6:07 pm

adhesive line heat shrink is the way to go!
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Robert HT220
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Postby Robert HT220 » Wed Jul 05, 2006 1:27 pm

I use the heat shrink crimp splices if the wires are outside the truck. If it's inside I use standard 3M butt splices. Why waste time soldering when you can install those in two seconds? I use a Klein brand terminal crimper to install 'em. They work a lot better than the cheap wire stripper/crimper combos.

Image



EDIT- Yes soldering is the way to go for smaller gauge wires. Thought this was about hooking up power cables. Guess I don't pay attention very much. :lol:

George
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Postby George » Tue Jul 11, 2006 3:32 am

While I agree with both points of view depending upon the application, my question is, what EXACTLY are you trying to do? What is the appication for the custom X9000 cable?

Do you need a long cable or a short cable?

Why the need for a splice?

More information please.

George

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kb0nly
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Postby kb0nly » Tue Jul 11, 2006 7:27 am

I think he's just splicing one that was chopped for removal. Been there done that!
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George
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What radios do you own?: X9000, HT1550XLS, MTS2000, etc

Postby George » Tue Jul 11, 2006 9:19 am

If this is a splice job from a chopped up cable, I wouldn't waste my time.

There are too many perfectly good cables on Ebay for a reasonable price to bother with soldering and taping.

No reliability issues, no potential for miswiring, no problems.

George

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kb0nly
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Postby kb0nly » Tue Jul 11, 2006 10:24 am

I have to disagree on that.. Go do a search, there isn't much for X9000 control cables on there lately, and then ones that are are usually missing the retainer clips on the control head end, the power wires are chopped, etc.

I bought one off eBay a while back and it was a basket case though it looked good in the picture, cracked connector shell, etc.

A properly spliced cable will be just as good as any, it's just a matter of doing it right! And i read back, i guess he was making a custom cable rather than just fixing one that was cut.
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kmoose
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Postby kmoose » Tue Jul 11, 2006 11:10 am

Rather than using solder and heatshrink, you might want to use Raychem solder splices. They are a bit more expensive, but if you want it done right, that is the way to go. The solder sleeve is a plastic "tube" with a ring of solder in the middle of it. You place one wire in each end, overlapping them within the ring of solder, then heat the whole thing. The solder flows and mates the two wire ends, and the plastic shrinks down to provide strain relief for the wires. You will probably need a proper heat gun for these. One way you can keep the bundle from looking pregnant is to stagger the splices, if possible. Here is a link to the splices. The pic is bad, but it gives pricing:

http://www.newark.com/NewarkWebCommerce ... 9J4057&N=0

George
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Postby George » Wed Jul 12, 2006 4:10 pm

I look at it this way...if it's for amateur use, go ahead and splice away.

If it's for public safety use, then replace it with a real, uncut cable. I would trust my life and those providing public service with nothing less.

If it's for my use, I'll find one somewhere and replace the already cut red and black leads because it has been shortened too many times by inexperienced installers for me to use it in one of my large cars.

My time is worth more than the time to splice it and I'll replace the red and black to get it to where I need. The cost is not that unreasonable and I can change out those leads quickly and straighten out the crushed power pins while I am in the cable.

As for head clips, let's keep in mind these radios have been cancelled for over ten years now and you are bound to have some issues with used equipment. I would just keep looking on Ebay and even if the clips are broken off, buy the spring steel retainer clip and go that route. Someone was even selling aftermarket clips on Ebay a while back.

There are plenty of cables out there and I would check them out.

For that matter I think some cables are still available new. I would check MOL for some securenet cables. Also, one can make a long cable from a Spectra cable if you have a special application.

Yes, I am a hardass about some things because I don't have time to do a job twice and I don't have time for failures that can be avoided.

George

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Postby George » Mon Jul 24, 2006 8:10 pm

I don't want to drive a stake in this, but currently on Ebay there are several HKN-4240 type cables, 22 feet in length. They appear to be in good condition. If you need cables, do a search and there you go. Yes, the tabs are missing, but add the spring steel clips and the whole problem is solved.

If you need long cables, this is a good opportunity at a decent price.

No, these are not my auctions, but mention it so others may benefit.

George

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WA3VJB
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Postby WA3VJB » Tue Jul 25, 2006 1:29 am

If you're making wire splices on the bench you've probably got room to maneuver a handheld propane torch.

Setting a profane torch on low works real well on heat shrink, since the low flame pressure makes it more diffuse, and you can see how the stuff shrinks and sets as you go along.

You can get a kit for about $15 at the hardware store, sometimes with an optional wand that distributes the flame more evenly (instead of a pinpoint) and replacement canisters are a few bucks.

Paul/VJB

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kb0nly
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Postby kb0nly » Tue Jul 25, 2006 7:46 am

George,

I can see your point of view, but, where in gods name are you so easily getting those metal retainer clips?

You mentioned a couple times now to "just go buy" them. Well, i know first hand that it's not that damn easy now. I needed a half dozen of them and called Moto, NLA, called at least a half dozen shops that i knew of, in three different states, on the odd chance that they might have had some old stock left lying around, nope none. I put a wanted add up here for a couple months, nothing, watched eBay for the last year for any to show up, got one but paid too much for it.

I'm not saying there isn't someone out there making an aftermarket version, but if there is i have never seen them available for sale. I ended up taking one to a friend that is a good metal worker and he patterned it to make one that sorta worked, just didn't have the right spring to it to hold good.

I finally had to jerry rig a few of them so they could go into service until the clips showed up somewhere. I just finished putting a clip on the last one a week ago, had to buy a complete cable to get that damn clip.
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George
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What radios do you own?: X9000, HT1550XLS, MTS2000, etc

Postby George » Tue Jul 25, 2006 9:48 am

Let me do some research on that.

I have not had a problem getting the clips. Since they are current production on the Astro stuff, they should be available seperately.

My first thought is that Motorola changed the damn part number yet AGAIN! Of course they do that to help us here in the field.

Let me get back to you and the forum on that part number.

REX-1070B

I just called parts ID and they showed over 200 in stock. Now, the list price is $33.00 and that is beyond getting porked but NSO is about 19.00 or so.

Yes, that price is stiff, but they are out there...and out there in price too.

This is one part with Motorola that I cannot defend them on. The cable connectors were questionable in the first place and now the repair kit is without question outrageous.

George

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Postby kb0nly » Tue Jul 25, 2006 10:34 am

That's weird, they must have got more in then. When i called back in January i asked about REX-1070B, that's the part number i have written down here, and they told me out of stock, NLA.. etc..

Guess you have to get the right guy on the phone over there now. And for that price i will engineer something else, whew.
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