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Re: Solder vs. Crimp (a long and opinionated reply)

In a message dated 5/9/1999 John Cunningham <johnc@together.net> writes:

<< 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'? >>

I have yet to see the latest QQ thanks to slow mail service. I have my 
opinions on both methods of connections however.

Soldering makes for a good electrical connection but is not intended to be a 
mechanical connection. Therefore one must provide mechanical strain relief to 
the soldered connection, especially when working with stranded wires. 
Heatshrink and tie-wraps work wonders. What can happen is vibration can cause 
the wire to break at the connection if proper steps to strain relief are not 

Crimping is most popular because it is fast and (somewhat) reliable. The best 
crimps I am aware of are those intended for the marine industry. (Maybe there 
are better ones from the avionics industry?) These are crimp splices which 
are integral with heat shrink and become water proof once heated after 
crimping--they are expensive too.

Crimping "fuses wires together"? Hmm...try telling that to a marine 
electronics installer. If not properly waterproofed the "fused wires" are 
notoriously vulnerable for developing corrosion between them inside the 
crimp. (Hello Audi cripped hot wire under carpet???)

My biggest problem with crimped connections is to do with workmanship. Same 
can be said for soldered connections. Bad crimps have wires that come loose 
and/or corrode. Bad soldered splices can fracture at the end of the solder if 
the wire is allowed to flex at that location.

What do I use? On my sailboat I tend to opt for the marine grade waterproof 
butt splices. In my car I tend to go with solder and heatshrink for the 
smaller gauge wires. Both are acceptable IMO, and again, in both cases 
workmanship counts for far more than the process. How's that for waffling?

Mike Veglia
87 5kcstq