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Old 03-08-2019, 07:17 PM   #1
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Cable lugs - crimp or solder

I posed this question within another thread but it got lost so I’m opening a new thread…

As part of a solar and battery upgrade I’m making all of my own connectors I'm looking for guidance: Crimp or Solder lugs to 4 gauge cable?

I don't have a crimping tool. I do have a torch and have seen on Youtube about using solder slugs which seem to simplify the process. The lugs I've purchased are only open on one end so solder won't leak out.

What's the best approach?
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Old 03-08-2019, 07:23 PM   #2
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Crimp, sealed with adhesive lined shrink tube.
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Old 03-08-2019, 07:38 PM   #3
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Crimp and adhesive heat shrink. I have learned that solder causes the stranded wire to becom stiff at the connection and when the wire bends close to the joint it will eventually break.
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Old 03-08-2019, 08:57 PM   #4
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Crimp tools are not that expensive, I think I got mine online for under $40

https://www.amazon.com/TMS-Hydraulic...ag=googhydr-20
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Old 03-09-2019, 05:39 AM   #5
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Old 03-09-2019, 06:23 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Omnial View Post
I posed this question within another thread but it got lost so I’m opening a new thread…



As part of a solar and battery upgrade I’m making all of my own connectors I'm looking for guidance: Crimp or Solder lugs to 4 gauge cable?



I don't have a crimping tool. I do have a torch and have seen on Youtube about using solder slugs which seem to simplify the process. The lugs I've purchased are only open on one end so solder won't leak out.



What's the best approach?


You can buy the “hammer blow” style crimp tool on Amazon for about $20.00.
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Old 03-09-2019, 06:32 AM   #7
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Solder is a much better electrical connection with less chance of resistance increasing due to corrosion.
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Old 03-09-2019, 06:57 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Adventure.AS View Post
Crimp, sealed with adhesive lined shrink tube.
What he said.
Buying a crimp tool is easy. I got mine at Amazon for $54.
16 ton press. The dies are marked in mm2 (Not AWG) but it's easy to find the conversion. The included dies go up to 300 mm2.
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Old 03-09-2019, 08:40 AM   #9
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"You can buy the 'hammer blow' style crimp tool on Amazon for about $20.00."

And you get what you pay for. It's awkward to use and the resulting crimps are inferior to those made with a squeeze-type tool. Why do all that work and then see your joints loosen and fail?

As for solder--no. I have forty years of experience soldering professionally, but for my RVs I use crimped connectors plus shrinkable tubing. Solder is great for printed circuit boards, but for systems that are going to be bouncing around--boats and RVs--it's a liability. Solder wicks up into the wire beyond the joint and stiffens it. Then sometime down the road, vibration can cause strands to break and the connection to fail. This article explains, and this discussion thread offers some real-world examples. Bottom line: for mobile applications, properly done crimps are more reliable.

Recommendations: for small terminals, FTZ Crimp 'n' Seal, which have their own adhesive-lined shrink tubing. For large terminals, FTZ power lugs (not "starter lugs," which are made of light gauge metal). For cable, Ancor tinned marine-grade cable.

Electrical upgrades are a lot of work, so you may as well do it right. Don't cheap out with bargain-basement tools and auto-store connectors.
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Old 03-09-2019, 09:20 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Adventure.AS View Post
Crimp, sealed with adhesive lined shrink tube.
What they said!
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Old 03-09-2019, 09:30 AM   #11
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Get a crimp tool

For that gage of wire, crimping is the way to go. With the lug properly sized to the wire, and properly crimped, questions about conductivity are moot.
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Old 03-09-2019, 10:25 AM   #12
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Yes, definitely crimp. Out of curiosity I sectioned a hammer crimped joint and it looked almost like solid copper. Then apply some dielectric grease and shrink tubing. A very reliable long lasting connection.
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Old 03-09-2019, 11:24 AM   #13
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Cable lugs - crimp or solder

The idea with crimping is to get a ‘gas tight’ connection. If sectioning it looked like solid copper that’s what you are looking for. This also preserves the flexibility of the wire. Solder stiffens the wire wherever it wicks to, and that is not desirable. Anything in aircraft or spacecraft wiring is crimped for reliability. Soldering wire that is subjected to vibration is flat out a bad idea.

Yeah, I grew up soldering wires everywhere. I learned that was a bad idea and went to crimp only. I may be an old electronic tech, but I learned better methods to terminate wires a long time ago. Do a little research, then crimp everything. Works a lot better.
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Old 03-09-2019, 02:00 PM   #14
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For me all critical connections that run low voltage direct current either fast signal or high current, as in your Solar then any resistance = Losses = Heat.
"Best Practice" = Crimp, Solder, Dielectric Grease, red-black Heat Shrink.
* Now only solder the very- very end off the wire-lug so the cable remains free off solder well into lug to maintain a give nessasary to absorb any vibration, that could under rare extreme contions fail.
* Now a good crimp tool ie with die sets to fit your lug-cables.
Keep our work simple and robust maintance free as none off us have maintance crews at our disposal to constantly inspect everthing, we arn't commercial aircraft carriers.
I have sat in my airstream and walched as a loose wire- lug started smoldering when it got wet.
"Done Once Done Right and Tight"
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Old 03-09-2019, 02:08 PM   #15
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Crimp with a hydraulic crimper ( see amazon) and adhesive heat shrink.
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Old 03-09-2019, 03:13 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Voltair View Post
For me all critical connections that run low voltage direct current either fast signal or high current, as in your Solar then any resistance = Losses = Heat.
"Best Practice" = Crimp, Solder, Dielectric Grease, red-black Heat Shrink.
* Now only solder the very- very end off the wire-lug so the cable remains free off solder well into lug to maintain a give nessasary to absorb any vibration, that could under rare extreme contions fail.
* Now a good crimp tool ie with die sets to fit your lug-cables.
Keep our work simple and robust maintance free as none off us have maintance crews at our disposal to constantly inspect everthing, we arn't commercial aircraft carriers.
I have sat in my airstream and walched as a loose wire- lug started smoldering when it got wet.
"Done Once Done Right and Tight"
Rus


And that is the correct way!
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Old 03-09-2019, 05:06 PM   #17
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I use crimps that have a bead of solder, so after it’s crimped it can be soldered. I always use shrink tubing.
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Old 03-09-2019, 08:13 PM   #18
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I say that both methods work, if you know what your doing. If either fails, it was likely done incorrectly to start with.Knowing what your doing, includes get the right tools of good quality. Neither method will hold up using junk tools, and no practice.
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Old 03-09-2019, 09:14 PM   #19
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In another life, I use to make ground wire kits for vehicles. I've literally built thousands of 4 gauge wire terminals. And I have all the different tools at my disposal.

It somewhat comes down to the lug/terminal type you're using. My preference is the open ones for DIY. Some have a split ring that would be easier to crimp with a large plier, breaking the split and overlapping the crimp. Then with a 1lb propane tank and torch, heat it up for ~5 seconds on highest flame (careful not to heat the insulation), and feed some solder in the open end. That will seal and bond the wire permanently, without impacting any flexiblity on the wire side. Then heat shrink wrap.

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Old 03-10-2019, 06:16 AM   #20
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If you are not opposed to using a hammer lug crimper, I am satisfied with the crimps made by the Temco crimper.

https://www.amazon.com/TEMCo-Hammer-...r=8-3-fkmrnull

Temco also makes lugs and wires.
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