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Solder vs. Crimp

>From: John Cunningham <johnc@together.net>
>Subject: Solder vs. Crimp
>Anyone have contrary opinions to the latest Quarterly article asserting
>'technical inferiority of a soldered joint' over a crimped one?
>Specifically the idea that when crimping 'wires are fused together'
>while soldering 'wires are stuck together'?
>IMHO, that describes some serious crimping tool and a lousy solder

I think they got it backwards - crimped wires are stuck together, soldered
wires are fused together. Sounds like someone at Quarterly hasn't quite got
the hang of soldering yet. Soldering requires a proper mechanical joint
FIRST - it is NOT glue - which is what the "stuck together" phrase leads me
to believe is their (incorrect) viewpoint.

Both systems work, both systems can be made to work well, and both systems
can easily be botched.

Soldering: Takes absolute cleanliness, some degree of skill, the proper
type of solder (rosin core, NOT acid core plumbing solder), fresh supplies,
a source of electicity for the soldering iron or gun, the proper size iron
or gun, some degree of skill, and some degree of skill. Properly made
solder connections are permanent and trouble-free. The problem is that
there are many more improperly made soldered connections - so they give
trouble. Soldering is also not suitable for automotive mass-production
because it is slow, skilled hand labor, and resists automation (yes, I know
about wave soldering for PC boards, but our cars are not flat).

Crimping: Takes a DECENT CRIMPER, somewhat less skill than soldering, is
faster, can be automated more easily, takes a vast box of the correct size
terminals, requires no electricity to do, and is easier to deal with
upside-down on your back under an instrument panel - no hot solder dripping
in your face! Also no fire hazard. Biggest problem with crimping is the
prevalence of cheap crimping tools which DO NOT WORK and give loose,
feeble, troublesome connections.

My personal preference (and YMMV) is for carefully soldered connections
with heat-shrink tubing over them. I have also been known to crimp AND THEN
solder the crimped connection, just to be REAL sure. Both techniques have
tricks of the trade, and both techniques require some skill and practice -
crimping takes less skill and practice than soldering (again, assuming a
decent crimper tool), and is thus probably better suited for someone who
doesn't need or want to do this on a regular, daily basis.

Best Regards,

Mike Arman