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Old 12-08-2013, 05:46 AM   #15
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I know it is a little more work and it does take some skill to do a proper soldier joint but it will not crack from vibration unlike a joint that is put together with crimp connectors or wire nuts can. Make sure to heat shrink the joints so moisture doesn't corrode the joint and so it doesn't make contact with the metal and cause a short.
I was taught that a "proper" solder joint requires heating the twisted-together wires and letting the solder melt into them, not heating the solder and letting it drip onto cold wires.
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Old 12-08-2013, 06:23 AM   #16
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Thank you good sirs! I just ordered from that web site. Should be here for Christmas!

I ordered 14 gauge for the lighting/fans, and 12 gauge for the water pump/fridge. I also ordered splice clips as well as nylon grommets

.Quick Splices - WiringProducts

I think i just need wire from the battery to the converter now.
Do any of these suggestions, but do not use the quick splices, suitcase connectors, or what ever they are calling them now! I can't believe they still make them. I cannot begin to tell you, the number of times, my hours long diagnostic process ended with me cutting one of these types of connectors out of a circuit and then fixing it correctly. Not only do they usually loose contact to the circuit you are adding, but on a braided wire, they some times cut strands of the circuit you tap in to, and cause resistance problems. Save your self! Don't use those connectors. Hope I was clear.
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Old 12-08-2013, 06:43 AM   #17
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Solder and shrink wrap!

Learning to solder is a quickly learned art that will follow you for a lifetime. Soldering will almost never fail. A proper joint wont crack oxidize or othertwise.
Save yourself any and all misery.
You can find good soldering equipment at any flea market or yard sale.

Here is all the advice you'll need to know.... if it looks good it is good!
Best luck
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Old 12-08-2013, 07:11 AM   #18
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Quote:
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I was taught that a "proper" solder joint requires heating the twisted-together wires and letting the solder melt into them, not heating the solder and letting it drip onto cold wires.
Well said.This is just like copper plumbing most people when learning try to rush the soldier. I personally don't twist my wires together just because it gives you a flatter joint in case you have a tight hole you have to go thru. Different people are taught different ways . A twisted joint probably is less likely to have any issues but like Atomic said if it looks good it is good.
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Old 12-08-2013, 07:39 AM   #19
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Well said.This is just like copper plumbing most people when learning try to rush the soldier. I personally don't twist my wires together just because it gives you a flatter joint in case you have a tight hole you have to go thru. Different people are taught different ways . A twisted joint probably is less likely to have any issues but like Atomic said if it looks good it is good.
Western Union splices are very flat:
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Old 12-08-2013, 08:38 AM   #20
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Old 12-08-2013, 11:00 AM   #21
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Thanks for all the advice!

Thanks for all the advice.

You know the more I think about the more I don't want inaccessible splices.

I should have enough wire to make any splices accessible at the fixtures.

I will not be using those connectors! I ordered them because that is what is in there now. I guess I will pull them off of the running lights. Solder you say!
I have soldered a bit (guitars/plumbing). And I do have soldering guns.

I like the look of the western union knot! With a little solder and a heat shrink tube that should be good.
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Old 12-08-2013, 11:02 AM   #22
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...I am wondering which wire to use for the new LED lighting. Automotive? Primary 12 gauge? I need about 150-200 feet....
Just a reminder of what the question was. In regards to all those members who recommended #10 or #12 wire, I'm thinking maybe they would also recommend a 105 howitzer for deer hunting. Yes, heavy wire is useful and even needed in the high current circuits--(1) converter to battery, (2) charging line to battery, (3) maybe to the water pump [7 amps or so, so #16 is really adequate], and (4) any wire that's in the voltage sensing circuit for a solar charger. Get a grip on Ohm's law--if you're losing less than 1/4 volt, the wire is OK. Most of the LED discs operate on input voltages of 12-35V, but on-disc regulators actually operate the LEDs at 9-10V, so even on a bad day when your battery is low, they are still happy.

I also recommend no splices. Buy enough wire so that splices are not necessary, unless you're splitting the circuit. Rather than splitting, you should daisy-chain between fixtures so that the connection is always accessible.

Zep
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Old 12-08-2013, 11:08 AM   #23
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Just a reminder of what the question was. In regards to all those members who recommended #10 or #12 wire, I'm thinking maybe they would also recommend a 105 howitzer for deer hunting. Yes, heavy wire is useful and even needed in the high current circuits--(1) converter to battery, (2) charging line to battery, (3) maybe to the water pump [7 amps or so, so #16 is really adequate], and (4) any wire that's in the voltage sensing circuit for a solar charger. Get a grip on Ohm's law--if you're losing less than 1/4 volt, the wire is OK. Most of the LED discs operate on input voltages of 12-35V, but on-disc regulators actually operate the LEDs at 9-10V, so even on a bad day when your battery is low, they are still happy.

I also recommend no splices. Buy enough wire so that splices are not necessary, unless you're splitting the circuit. Rather than splitting, you should daisy-chain between fixtures so that the connection is always accessible.

Zep
NO, I agree that a Howitzer would be a little much. I definitely prefer the 50 cal. sniper rifle……..much cleaner and way more accurate!
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Old 12-08-2013, 11:26 AM   #24
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Western Union splices are very flat:
Thanks I have never seen that before. Strong and it will make it alot easier to soldier the connection and looks flat so you don't have a big knot like I have seen on many splice jobs.
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Old 12-08-2013, 12:00 PM   #25
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Protagonist's picture is outstanding. It is the way I learned how to first solder many years ago and then later in life in less critical applications. It's important to understand how soldering works and why. The wrap provides the physical bond, keeping the wires connected. The solder, if done properly, will keep the wires bonded, and should provide good contact and a fair seal. In this situation I would find the heat shrink that is self sealing. It's a little more expensive then regular heat shrink, but together with a good solder job, the connection will last forever.

After learning how to solder, you will never use those "suitcase/3-M" connectors again.
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Old 12-08-2013, 02:02 PM   #26
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Interestingly, automotive standards do not allow soldering. If subjected to vibrations (since most of us don't do a good job of balancing our running gear ;0), the hard spot where the solder ends creates a point where the wire can flex and fail. A proper crimp transitions from super tight to loose, to a point where it no longer touches the conductor, kind of a fillet.

Having said that, I would solder and shrink wrap the few spots where a joint absolutely had to be made.
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Old 12-08-2013, 02:25 PM   #27
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Protagonist's picture is outstanding. It is the way I learned how to first solder many years ago and then later in life in less critical applications. It's important to understand how soldering works and why. The wrap provides the physical bond, keeping the wires connected. The solder, if done properly, will keep the wires bonded, and should provide good contact and a fair seal. In this situation I would find the heat shrink that is self sealing. It's a little more expensive then regular heat shrink, but together with a good solder job, the connection will last forever. After learning how to solder, you will never use those "suitcase/3-M" connectors again.
Right!

Do NOT learn on your Airstream...

So, take a couple of hours and PRACTICE making these connections. You will learn "the touch" quickly. Set up using helper clamps or a vise, or other method to hold joint taut while you practice. Within 4-5 attempts you should have it figured out.

Basically,
1- warm up soldering iron or prep "gun".
2- "tin" and clean soldering tip
3- after twisting wires as flat as possible,
4- stabilize wires so you can apply a little pressure with iron tip
5- "wet" iron tip with a small "ball" of solder
6- touch solder ball to CENTER of the solder joint(heat will generally travel outward in the wire
7- when proper heat transfer occurs, the ball of solder will FLOW onto the joint.
8- immediately feed solder at the iron tip and allow to flow
9- solder can be added directly to the outflow solder as it WICKS along and penetrates the joint.
10- once all wire joint covered, a small amount of solder will be visible in the wires leading to the joint.

Trick: holding iron tip UNDER the joint after transferring the first bit of solder allows the normal convection of heat to heat the wire.

Note: globs of solder MAY conduct, but will heat when enough load is applied. This does NO provide proper mechanical connection at the joint.

Note2: in 45 years of motorcycling, marine, automotive and some aviation repair, I have not had to repair a proper solder joint unless shorted or other misuse. I have repaired EVERY joint made with these "quickee" products. Bottom line, they are quick for temporary, specific use only. If it moves, shakes, rattles, rolls or is subject to exposure to the elements, or difficult to access, they WILL fail on ya.
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Old 12-08-2013, 08:38 PM   #28
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The only thing that I have learned from this thread is that everyone knows best.
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