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Re: Solder vs. Crimp (a long and opinionated reply)
In a message dated 5/9/1999 John Cunningham <firstname.lastname@example.org> 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?