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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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Originally Posted by jonplayers View Post
...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.

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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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Old 12-08-2013, 10:04 PM   #29
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The only thing that I have learned from this thread is that everyone knows best.
Well of course, after all:

Best is a person's opinion, based on that person's personal knowledge and experience for a specific situation.
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Old 12-08-2013, 10:05 PM   #30
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The only thing that I have learned from this thread is that everyone knows best.
Well, somewhere between 18 and 8 gauge, un soldered, un crimped, no wire nuts connections should be perfect.
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Old 12-08-2013, 10:18 PM   #31
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Well, somewhere between 18 and 8 gauge, un soldered, un crimped, no wire nuts connections should be perfect.
Hahaha you got it! I don't what the hell to do now. I tried a solder splice on my scare light/handle. It went okay. There is definitely a trick to it.
I will practice a bit before I do anymore.
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Old 12-08-2013, 10:29 PM   #32
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Well, somewhere between 18 and 8 gauge, un soldered, un crimped, no wire nuts connections should be perfect.
Absolutely! Haha. Whatever you end up doing, make sure you have access to fix it later...
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Old 12-09-2013, 06:27 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by HiHoAgRV View Post
Well, somewhere between 18 and 8 gauge, un soldered, un crimped, no wire nuts connections should be perfect.

Quote:
Originally Posted by crabbey1
The only thing that I have learned from this thread is that everyone knows best.
It's good to be able to sleep at night, whatever you do... Zep
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Old 12-09-2013, 08:02 AM   #34
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The only thing that I have learned from this thread is that everyone knows best.
That is almost every thread on this site.
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Old 12-09-2013, 08:09 AM   #35
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All of the splices in my '63 are now inside of plastic boxes with covers on them. I also used wire nuts on everything, 110V and 12V. The original 110v and 12v electrical had twisted and taped splices everywhere behind the inner skin. The 12V side had no (zero, nada, zip) fuses instead using 2 auto reset thermal breakers - one on the charge line from the tow vehicle and another right at the battery.

It doesn't take much effort to make an improvement on that!
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Old 01-25-2014, 04:27 PM   #36
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I have been a volunteer firefighter since moving tot his rural area in 94 and joining the local dept and in this "hobby" I have seen lots of strange stuff thusly when we started renovating a house built in 1855 and wired in the 40s all the cloth wrapped wire came out (6 circuits in 3000' house) with lights on cords suspended from ceiling.

I ran most of the wiring and I have two sets of wire nuts in the entire house where I could not avoid it. Both are air suspended, both are pre twisted and soldered prior to wire nut application and both are taped with +/- facing opposite directions, nuts taped tight and to the line. 12 ga everywhere except overhead lights.

I have been in the attics of houses in the middle of the night where the junction boxes with wire nuts have started arcing and luckily woke the folks up. Looking at them I could tell they were not pre twisted prior to wire nut application, just held parallel and let the nut do the twisting.

Then there are those that were not woke up in time to kill the power and fires started. Looking at those boxes they were done similar. I have never seen a junction box with a proper pre twist of wires before the nuts were applied.

That brings us up to current events. On our 76 Sovereign the front overhead never worked and I finally got around to checking it out and headed off a disaster in the making. I was changing lights out from "issue" lights and replaced them with 18 LED chip lights with 1156 bases and lights would still not work and I figured out the rotary switch and gone South and to my chagrin little wire nuts were all through the fixture.

I determined the hot wire and proceeded to bypass the switch to touch it to circuit and unscrewed a wire nut holding about five wires and under the whole bundle was all corroded green.

I decided right there life was too short to get another rotary switch so I decided to install a 120V single pole commercial switch with a shallow plastic rough box but first I needed to rewire the entire light with a known good wire and properly soldered connections. I cut a length of 12Ga THHN and adjacent to each light I stripped the hot wire, wrapped it around exposed 12 Ga and soldered/taped them properly. The end of the hot wire was put on one screw and the incoming hot wire on the other and all the lights now work very nicely with one switch (rated at 120V) mounted onto ceiling and the effect of the LEDs is there appears to be florescent lights there.

I have been laying in a goodly amount of LED lights, modules, panels, 5 meter strips etc upwards of 10 Watts draw and all these lights come with 22 GA Wire for up to 300 5050 or 5630 LED chips per light! ! ! !

Thusly I am going to use existing 12V wiring in the overhead and the new circuits I will add will be wired to a 7A Astron power supply with junction strips. I will mount it securely where it will plug into box in microwave opening. I found some 22 Ga wire I have a partial spool of that has four conductors so I can run two circuits off each terminal. Stuff is called call #357 and rated at 300V AC and it is heavier than the wires that come on the LEDs.

LEDs are bright so you need to kind of figure how to use them in indirect lighting or with a cover to kill the glare making them into soft lighting. The LEDs listed as warm white give the same color as incandescent bulbs.

I learned a trick from Mennonite Tarp guys in Ohio on trip there in 2012. They use 1"X4" wide strips of vinyl covered fiberglass tarp material as wire hangers so wires on trailers are always just held softly and not tied down where vibration works on insulation. They double the ends back over and use one self tapping metal screw to secure the "stirrup" and run the wires through them. They generate barrels of scrap pieces and any tarp shop would probably give you scraps to make your own hangers. Thusly I have these hangers on my utility trailers as well and inside the bed cover on my pick up.

I am going to run white modules down the outside of the AS and use the door overhead light switch/housing as the power source for the outdoor lights.

Most amazing is a 12 volt wall bracket light I found on ebay. $10.00 delivered, 550 lumens, waterproof outdoor housing, 10 watts and is wired with the fine wire. It can be aimed and secured where you want it. I hooked one up to power supply and knew right then one of these is going on back of trailer as a back up light running a wire from a existing back up down to it.

I too am a avid fan of soldering everything and taping with UL tape as well.

The stop,run and back up lights will also be changed to 18 chip 1156 base LEDs which will most like drop 80% of the load from the AS issue circuits.
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Old 01-26-2014, 07:59 AM   #37
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Took a little research but I finally found a chart on wire and what it will carry. I also measured the factory wiring on the LED lights (modules, strips,panels, wall) I have and ALL ARE WIRED WITH 23 AWG wire and my West Penn #357 22 AWG is rated higher.

The wire was so small there is no writing on the wire and I had to measure the wire thickness to find it was only 23 AWG

23 AWG 0.0226" dia 0.729 amps for power transmission
22 AWG 0.0254" dia 0.92 amps for power transmission

Just imagine 300 LED chips on one 23 AWG wire and be in capacity! ! ! ! !

I have also did some research and 5050 and 5630 LED chips give out the most light and there is a lower number in 3000 range I don't even mess with. Be advised it comes two ways, waterproof and not waterproof so install accordingly.

I am now considering running four hot wires from my power supply and hooking all lighting to one common heavy ground wire that will come back to the Astron and all additional switches will be through 120V 15 amp cap residential wall switches. Of course all connections with these delicate lines will be soldered and taped and protected from vibration/stress.
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Old 01-26-2014, 09:13 PM   #38
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After church today I cruised down to Home Depot and got some shallow rough boxes, allegator clamps, no 6 hex head metal screws and did not get turned on by any wire so I cruised down to Lowes and fell into a clearance of a 500ft spool of shielded.stranded 18/2 conductor color coded red and black for about $66.00 out the door.

18 AWG 0.0403" dia 2.3 Amps power transmission and 31 watts.

It appears to be the same size as standard phone wire which means I will be able to mount it nice and snug with my U shaped stapler for electrical wire installation.

I would not be surprised if my 4 amp power supply would not handle the whole AS LED enhancement program with perhaps one pair forward and one pair run towards aft.
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