the ultimate electrical splicing post

Discussion in 'Electrical & Stereo' started by ttocs, Oct 17, 2015.

  1. ttocs

    ttocs Legend

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    there are literally thousands of ways to connect or splice two wires. It can get confusing for even a seasoned tech so I though I would go over a few things.

    First - WHAT NOT TO DO! Just like there are a million ways to do it right, here are 3 million ways to do it wrong or "rig" it up. Hopefully after this you will not need to make something work and will have a little better knowledge of what to do.
    T-taps.... These were made by manf basically to make the first installer happy. I say the first installer as he doesn't have to strip a wire or nothing just snap the t-tap over the wires and its done. That it until its not done. A few hot/cold cycles that every car goes through and the tolerances were not as tight so when the 2nd installer(year or two later) is searching for electrical gremlins that this piece was causing. You can imagine how frustrating it is to spend an hour or more checking every little thing, swapping out hardware to see if that fixes it, until finally you find that little t tap pos. I know one installer that on a site has the tagline "T-taps make my ass bleed"
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    They are different colors to allow for different gauges of wire which I hear is the worst mistake made. I have hear installers say that they have used them for years and never had an issued but you will never find them in my car.


    This one is made to clip onto a wire and then you can use an insulated spade connector to connect/disconnect Again a super easy/neat/clean install that will again fail down the road.
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    The problem with T-taps(assuming they are on the right size wire) is that after a few hot/cold cycles that a car goes through they do not fit as well and will end up not making the connection necessary.

    crimp connectors have been popular for a long time and as log as they are used correctly they can be a nice and easy connector for spots needed inside the car as they are not water proof unless you get an upgraded version. They go from ring termianls Spade terminals, space connectors, the list is nearly endless. The biggest mistake people make with crimp connectors is using a bad crimper, using the wrong size connector for the wire or just putting to many wires inside of it.
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    This is an assortment of connectors you can get. Again the colors designate what size wire you are supposed to use depending on the wire used. The red butt connectors are made to connect to 18 awg wires, the blue 16, the yellow is 14. Now if you have 3 18 awg wires to connect and you want to use a butt connector you can twist two of the wires together and crimp them inside a blue connector and crimp them down. Now this will leave you with a difficulty idea of how to get the 18 awg wire to fit the 16 gauge connector with only one wire. This time strip 2x as much as you usually do and then bend the wire in half so that it is now 2s as thick. If you can give it a couple of twists it will help but this will allow you to do what was needed.

    Another cool crimp connector I use often is the insulated male/female spade connectors. These allow you to be able to disconnect the wire if needed. They are really nice if you have a set of power wires for example as you can swap them so that you have the male spade on one side and then a female spade on the other. Throw some heat shrink on them or a couple wraps of tape and you do not even have to worry about connecting them backwards.

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    this is an example of a crimper that you may very well have in your toolbox, and should never EVER EVER EVER EVER use as a crimper. They are ok wire strippers and who doesn't love the red/white/blue colors but there are better tools to strip wire for that job as well.
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    If you want the tools the pros use its called a Klien style crimper that you can find at home depot but they are in the back electrical tool section not in the regular tool area. I have two in my box and have seen some guys with 5 although the first 2 he had for a LONG time and were not so functional.
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    Anyone want some custom length spark plug cables? I did and got this ratcheting crimper for it. The one I got is the brand accell and has held up nicely. It came with 4 different sets of jaws to do different cables. But if you do not want to buy the crimper and want a custom set of cables hit me up.
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    So now that we have covered the easy way, lets get onto the best way to do it. Soldering. A soldered electrical connection will almost always be both more sound electrically speaking and stronger as long as it was all done right.

    This is one of the most basic solder connection with the wires twisted together and then soldered and ready for insulation

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    This is a different and better way of doing it in most cases. The advantage here is that it keeps the connection straight to take up less space. The other advantage of this style is that when the wire gets pulled the stress of the pull is spread across the entire solder joint. The soldered connection above if it gets pulled all the strain of the pull is concentrated on the bottom of the connection and is more prone both to breaking or if the insulation over the bare copper is weak it can pull through it and short out. The only down side on the one below is that you need to be sure that you have a piece of heat shrink on one of the wires to cover it after it is soldered.

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    How could I do all this and COMPLETELY forget about military splicing?!

    Military splicing has been around for a long time and its based on the idea to get the job done and get going. To do a military splice you start by stripping 1/2" of insulation on a wire in the middle of the insulation. Then you poke a hole through the wire and then strip 1/2" of insulation off of the end of another wire and then poke it through the hole you made in the middle of the other wire. Now wrap the wire around and be sure to insulate it with some tape. The only other piece of advice is to take a wire tie/zip tie and cover both of the wires just before the splice is made.

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    So after you do most of these instructions you need to insulate the connection to protect the circuit attached to that wire. There are more then a few ways to insulate your wires and some are better then others for sure, some are also more expensive.

    Tape is probably the most often used and certainly the easiest to find. My only recommendation to this is DO NOT buy cheapest electrical tape you can find at harbor freight. Most shops carry 3m super 33+ because its good for hot weather, good for cold weather and lasts longer. Some of the really cheap crap you find is not worth it. I keep my eyes open at home depot because they will run specials were you can get a roll for less then a dollar and when that comes out I stock up.

    After tape there is another bottle I use for insulation occasionally call liquid tape. This is just as it sounds, its a black pudding like liquid that when it dries it insulates. I have not played around with this much to tell as far as hot/cold temps but so far the little bit I have used it its worked well although it can get messy

    Another thing that probably isn't used much is silicon tape. Its expensive as all hell(20/roll) but it volcanizes on its own so that you can stretch it out and then press it onto the next layer and it will bond to it and become one piece.

    Finally there is heat shrink. There are a number of different types depending on what you are doing and some are cheap and some are not. Now for heat shrink you will need to be sure to get a size that will fit your wires. If you get it too big its not going to work, too small and you will still not be happy. Some of the thicker pieces can get expensive pretty quick but often they have an adhesive inside that will melt and actually seal the connection.

    break time....
     
  2. g36 monkey

    g36 monkey Moderator Staff SN95 Supporter

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    Very helpful! I need to learn soldering lol
     
  3. ttocs

    ttocs Legend

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    also please feel free to point out typos or err's or anything eles you would like to see on it.
     
  4. g36 monkey

    g36 monkey Moderator Staff SN95 Supporter

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    This was very well written, if I see any issues on your articles I'll just ghost edit typos so you don't have to worry about it. Cool?
     
  5. evilcw311

    evilcw311 Most Evil Mod! Staff Member Staff

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    Awesome job Scott!!!!


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  6. 96blak54

    96blak54 Legend

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    Ive always called the T-taps, scotchlocks....pure junk!

    Excellent write up!
     
  7. ttocs

    ttocs Legend

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    soldering is not all that hard and is a great tool to have in your box. Most people mess up thinking they need to heat the solder first. What you want to do is get some solder on your iron, then touch the area you want to solder to. When it gets hot enough the solder on your iron will run onto the wire or part you are working with. I will put it on my list of vids to do.

    Thank you sir. I still feel like something is missing but dunno. If anyone has any other ideas of informative write ups that could help throw the ideas out there.
     
  8. evilcw311

    evilcw311 Most Evil Mod! Staff Member Staff

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    Scott maybe add a part about the different heat shrinks and when/how to use them.

    They go with any proper wiring job.


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  9. CC'S95GT

    CC'S95GT Legend

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    Another awesome "how to".
     
  10. lwarrior1016

    lwarrior1016 Moderator Staff SN95 Supporter

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    If you have a single larger run of wire and need to make multiple splices in to that wire, maybe like powering fuel injectors, would the military splice and then solder suffice?
     
  11. ttocs

    ttocs Legend

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    each connector has its time and place. In reality all the ones I showed(with the exceptions to the ones I showed to never use) are all acceptable connection methods although some will work better then in others.

    The military splice is really just supposed to be a minimalists approach on how to make a connection. I can't tell you a single time where it was recommended to military splice that for me it just was not any harder to do it standard style and solder it. I ALWAYS SOLDER..... If the time came up that I didn't have solder and needed to fix a bad connection then I would do the military splice till I had enough time to do it the way I like. As for multiple runs on a single wire I would not go with the military splice and would go with a standard soldered connection. Its just safer... Now you mention about the injectors for example. If I am not mistaken there is one common wire between all of them and one per injector. For the common wire between all 16 yes you could use the military splice here perfectly.

    Hope I answered them all and did not make any new ones. Let me know if I did.
     
  12. evilcw311

    evilcw311 Most Evil Mod! Staff Member Staff

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    When doing remote starts I always did the military splice with solder. Then use some good tape and voila!!!!

    This is just a personal preference.


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  13. ttocs

    ttocs Legend

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    somehow I forgot to mention that on the few occasions I have done it I put a wire tie around the two loops so that they could not simple be pulled apart.