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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Been researching on ideal connections to replace my Accord's dead indash CD Changer. Got a great deal on the Sony XPLOD 540UI with speakers but not planning on installing the speakers just yet.

I got the Soche harness and also got the Sony harness. All colors match so all I gotta do is solder the same color wires on both harnesses and I'd be golden.

I have extensive audio experience but its a couple of decades old and from abroad. We always used to solder the joints and cover 'em with electrical tape but it seems here folks use the heatshrink (heat shrink). Is using heat shrink an absolute must? Can I get away with just using electrical tape or will there be problems due to extreme sways in temps (winter v/s summer)?

I did find a good discussion on soldering v/s crimping so I figured I'd start a chat on heat shrink v/s electrical tape.

http://www.odyclub.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=24033&highlight=heatshrink

:)
 

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dv, I'm a solder-the-splices guy, like you. Not a fan of crimping if I can possibly solder instead. I did an almost complete re-wire of my boat a short while back, along with installing extra pumps, switches, lighting, charging system to keep a 12V and 24V system going, plus a hydraulic-on-electric jackplate. My strategy for total moisture-proofing:
-- I'd slide a bit of heat shrink tube on one wire
-- Join splice with solder
-- Coat soldered splice with a thin bit of liquid electrical tape...let dry
-- Slide heat shrink tube over splice...heat to shrink

That said, I don't go to such measures inside the Ody. When I did ckonarske's OEM foglight mods (#1 on wife's, #2 on my Ody), I just soldered and taped. Since I secured the affected bundles with zip-ties, the black vinyl electrical tape, even if if lost some of its grip during a hot Oklahoma summer, was going to stay put. All of the affected wiring for these mods is inside the cabin.

I'd definitely do the liquid electrical tape with heat shrink for any wires in the engine bay or areas not inside the climate-controlled areas of the Ody.

OF
 

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In the old days we used electrical tape but it was a much better quality. Today after a short time it becomes wery sticky. In the field we always used crimp connections with some shrink tubing. The key is NEVER solder the ends of the stranded wire then crimp. We had to change 100 amp plugs on a whole product line because the manufacturer soldered the ends of the wires then crumped in the plugs. After a few months the terminals would just disintegrated.
Back to the car radio. It isn't in a hostil environment so I wouldn't try to make it water tight. I would crimp and cover with shrink tubing. It will be quicker, easier and no mess from the electrical tape.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks guys. Still looking for more feedback. :)

OF, I hadn't even heard of liquid tape. Now, I will look up that. But if I am buying something, I just might buy the heat shrink. I just came back from the shack. They don't have a roll of heat shrink tubing. They have the pre-cut assorted sizes. So, I am gonna have to order some from Amazon I suppose as I refuse to darken the doors of a BestBuy unless they're losing money on a deal and I am sure they'd take me to the cleaners for a roll of heat shrink tubing that is if they carry some.

WW, I have a crimper and also have crimps on hand and can get the job done but I too have my doubts on crimping. Granted I haven't used too much crimping so I might be doing it wrong to begin with but I am good with soldering so I am more comfortable with the soldering gun.

That said, is a regular hair dryer adequate for heat shrink tubing or do I need a heat gun as well?
 

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For my jobs, I use solder and heat shrink - it's secure & cleaner overall, but it does take more time (but not a lot) than crimping. Crimping is more likely to fail when wires are moveable, but that's not likely in your situation.

I haven't used a hair dryer, but I guess it could be done with enough time (just the heat is not focussed, so may take a while to get it hot enough). I use a disposable BBQ lighter and it works well.
 

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All of the connectors locked into plugs in an automotive wiring harness are crimped. It's proof that a proper crimping tool and connectors to fit into the tool can do the job for many years in a high vibration environment (like an engine bay).

That said, I have to agree with pvp, too...for splices, I'd rather solder and protect the splice rather than use crimped insulated connectors. Protection can be with either liquid electrical tape, or tape, or heat shrink, or liquid tape & heat shrink....it's all depends on the environment.

WW is right...electrical tape was much better "back in the day". I still have a half roll of 3M electrical tape from many years ago, and this stuff will not slide off or unravel when temperatures rise. Nowadays, currently available tape just quits in rising temps and leaves a sticky mess that won't allow new tape to adhere.

A hair dryer held up close will do the job with heat shrink. So will a lighter, but be careful when using one...it's easy to over-do it, so much so that the heat causes the heat shrink tubing to contract so vigorously that it splits! Now, you have a "heat shrink hot dog bun" instead of a heat shrink tube around your solder joint.

Liquid electrical tape is not required inside the car's cabin area. Also, because of the high VOC solvents in it, once you open it up, it has a limited life unless you can crank the lid down very tightly after use.

OF

EDITED so as not to sound like I'm stepping on another post
 

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I never had any luck shrinking with a hair dryer but I always had a heat gun available. You will have to test the tubing you get with your hair dryer to see if it will work. As for crimp vs solder it is just a matter of what you are comfortable with. I wouldn't use liquid tape as you run the risk of thin spots and also the mess if you need to take it apart. Liquid tape is good for its purpose like the underground splices they made on my phone lines to seal the moisture out but you don't need that protection in a car unless you are worried about getting cought in a flood.
 

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Yes, liquid electrical tape only for moisture-proofing. I guess I made it sound like you could use that stuff only by itself. WW is right...I once had a thin spot on Moby Dick (my bass boat) while using liquid electrical tape by itself, and it grounded & shorted. I was trying to avoid replacing or properly repairing a chafed wire. I ended up fixing it the right way, by cutting out the bad section and splicing in new wire with solder, liquid electrical tape, and heat shrink to protect it all.

OF
 

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I've always done solder and tape. I used it for the 15 years I did car stereo work and just continued on with it. Heat shrink is better and I have used it for larger connection but I'm just so much faster with tape that I stick with it. If you want good electrical tape get 3M Super 33+, it stays flexible and sticky, not like the standard cheap UL list stuff. I finally ran out of the case I had left over from work and had to find it at Lowes the other day.
 

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3M Super 33+...that's the stuff, with the Super 33+ logo on the inside of the cardboard circle. I didn't know Lowe's had it. I just gave up on ever finding it again at the local hardware store.

OF
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Well, Greg here convinced me to just go ahead. I still could NOT get the radio in as I had a prior dinner appt. but I did finish the harness. I soldered the wires, then individually taped 'em up and then put electrical tape all around the whole bunch and it now looks just like a factory rolled up harness. Now, since I did not have the good kind of tape, I plan on putting zip ties around the start and end so that all of the tape stays in place. :D

Wish me luck with the plug in guys. Hopefully I can swap the radios out Wednesday when I am off and hoping it doesn't light up my wife's Accord as I haven't done this in the last 20+ years. :)
 

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Solder connections can have numerous problems. Solder should never be applied unless you have the wires properly joined mechanically first. It should never be used where flow might be a problem (e.g. under screw connections). And it needs mechanical isolation to prevent fatigue failure (the shrink wrap and tape usually serves that purpose).

These reasons are some of why you'll find crimped connections preferred in most cases and solder avoided.

Sometimes a crimp connection can be used as the mechanical join before soldering but that usually isn't necessary as a proper crimp has sufficiently low resistance and solder use means strain relief needs to be added (shrink wrap, etc).

I often use a silicon dielectric in crimped connections to help reduce any corrosion problems. The stuff is readily available in auto stores for this purpose.

As for hair dryers versus heat guns, hair dryers tend to be quite limited in air temperature output and that may make it difficult to properly shrink the tubing.

The key with either soldering or crimping is to do it right with the right tools.
 

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dvpatel said:
Well, Greg here convinced me to just go ahead. I still could NOT get the radio in as I had a prior dinner appt. but I did finish the harness. I soldered the wires, then individually taped 'em up and then put electrical tape all around the whole bunch and it now looks just like a factory rolled up harness. Now, since I did not have the good kind of tape, I plan on putting zip ties around the start and end so that all of the tape stays in place. :D

Wish me luck with the plug in guys. Hopefully I can swap the radios out Wednesday when I am off and hoping it doesn't light up my wife's Accord as I haven't done this in the last 20+ years. :)
dvpatel - soldering is a good method as long as you can do a good solder job; as for taping it afterwards, unless you use the 3M tape (Home Depot sells them), most brands glue will start to breakup after several hot summers and leave a sticky glue all over the wire; this won't hurt anything but just gets messy if you ever uninstall the unit or have to do any repair; the zip tie method is a very smart thing to do and does work, so you can use it even on the 3M tape; good luck!!

By the way, my preferred method is actually crimping butt connectors, it's clean, simple, fast, and safe; the connection is very secure and you won't have any problems unless you don't crimp things properly; I use to do circuit board repairs so soldering is not a problem for me, but soldering in a car can get dangerous for newbies with dripping solder (need to be careful); I also did 6 years of car alarm install back in the days and never had problems with butt connector crimps.
 

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Radio Install.....I have always used Butt Connectors!!.....Never an issue. I have used both Electrical tape and shrink wrap......No problems with either. When I use shrink wrap..I use a bic lighter.

I've done many installs
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
ody2ody said:
.... but soldering in a car can get dangerous for newbies with dripping solder (need to be careful); .....
I completely agree. But in my case, I was soldering two harnesses together so I was in the comfort of my living room. I did not twist the wires. I just coated the ends with solder and then soldered the two wires with more solder. They are good and secure. :)

Thanks for the feedback guys. My next project will have butt connectors crimped for sure. That would be much much easier anyway. :)
 
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