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Soldering together bare wires?

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Old 07-06-2010, 05:34 PM   #1
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Soldering together bare wires?

I recently put some new driving lights up front on my truck (check gallery if interested) and I am having a small issue. Every couple times I turn on the lights, one of my connectons desn't quite do the trick and the bulb wont light. What I have now is butt connectors holding some of the wires together. If I pay with the wire a bit they will light right up. Is there a way that I can just solder them together to make a more true connection there? Also take into account that this connection lies pretty close to right behind the lights so I can't have anything too gaudy if you were looking for other solutions. Also, if I do solder it, how do I cover it up so the elements don't get in? Would liquid tape work...?
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Old 07-06-2010, 05:40 PM   #2
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You can cover it up with "Heat Shrink Tubing". Remember to run the wire through the tube before you solder them together.
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Old 07-06-2010, 05:56 PM   #3
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You could solder and shrink tube it, but crimp connectors should be fine. I would cut out the connector you have and try again. Sometimes those 3.99 wire crimpers don't do a great job.

If you are going to be doing any more wiring on your truck, you owe it to yourself to get a decent crimper and stripper. I believe I paid about 25 bucks apiece for my crimper and stripper. They're Klein brand, I use them all day at work also, no problems in the five years I have had them.

A good quality 3M tape wrapped tightly around all connections should weatherproof them okay, but if you are soldering, I would use shrink tube first. If you can find it, the type with adhesive inside is best. The local NAPA here also carries crimp connectors with shrink tube bonded to them. Just crimp them, then apply heat with a heat gun or match. They are entirely waterproof and will not come apart. That's what my friend who works on ambulances uses. Kind of expensive, about a buck apiece, but he can't afford to have a connection fail.
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Old 07-06-2010, 06:24 PM   #4
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My issue is that thet HID wire is frail that it just doesn't want to stay in the butt connector right...
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Old 07-06-2010, 06:43 PM   #5
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Solder and heatshrink it. Leave about 3/4" of shrink tube onto the insulation.
Crimps are good for interior. Crimp with heatshrink is ok for exterior. There are taps out there with dielectric grease in them.
Solder and heatshrink is still the most secure. Any crap that gets past the heatshrink will have to corrode the whole wire, not just the surface like crimps.
Use rosin flux on the bare wire before you solder, it'll make the solder work better.
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Old 07-06-2010, 06:59 PM   #6
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I didn't realize you were dealing with hids. I think those are much higher voltage after the ballasts also. Definitely solder and shrink tube it. Try to find that shrink tube with adhesive in it.
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Old 07-07-2010, 09:34 AM   #7
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I had to run longer wires for my hid off road lights too. I soldered my connections to make sure nothing gets shorted out.
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Old 07-07-2010, 09:54 AM   #8
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if its too thin of a wire, strip more out and fold it back on itself. then try crimping the bigger mass of folded wire.

soldering would give you the best connection. its simple and permanent for the most part. you can always go back and heat up the joint and pull it apart when the solder gets to melting point again.

aux lights shouldn't be a problem, but when working with vehicle wiring it is smart to use a butane/gas soldering iron not an electric one. the electricity can cause a back feed and damage components.
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Old 07-07-2010, 10:32 AM   #9
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Pretty good explainiation of how to solder a couple of wire together if you don't know how. http://w6rec.com/duane/bmw/solder/
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Old 07-07-2010, 10:41 AM   #10
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I'm an electrical guy and I think crimp connectors are way over rated. They are easier for a novice, but if you regularly plan to do any kind of mods, do yourself a favor and get a soldering iron. Practice on some scrap wire to learn how to use it properly and effectively, it is not hard at all. When done properly, soldering and heat shrink looks much cleaner and professional than crimp connectors, not to mention they are more durable if you do it correctly.

If you're dealing with frail wire, double back the wire and zip tie it to itself to provide some strain relief. Note: even if I use a crimped lug, I tend to use heat shrink around the connector as a second level of protection from the elements.
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Old 07-07-2010, 11:20 AM   #11
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Make sure you use the right voltage rated wire on HID wires. If not, you'll have leakage or shorts.
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Old 07-07-2010, 11:44 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skytower View Post
Solder and heatshrink it. Leave about 3/4" of shrink tube onto the insulation.
Crimps are good for interior. Crimp with heatshrink is ok for exterior. There are taps out there with dielectric grease in them.
Solder and heatshrink is still the most secure. Any crap that gets past the heatshrink will have to corrode the whole wire, not just the surface like crimps.
Use rosin flux on the bare wire before you solder, it'll make the solder work better.
+1 on this, but for external connections I go the extra step and add a coat of liguid tape over the headshrinked ends and the wire. Probably overkill, but the extra 30 seconds and a few pennys seems worth it.
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Old 07-07-2010, 11:46 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asgard View Post
You can cover it up with "Heat Shrink Tubing". Remember to run the wire through the tube before you solder them together.
lol, done that!
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Old 07-07-2010, 11:54 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dangerbird View Post
lol, done that!
Oh, that's not a problem, just take two heatshrink tubes and cut them lengthwise down the center, wrap one around the wire, then put the other on top of that so that the cut end is 180 degrees off of the original tube's cut, shrink that, add electrical tape over that, coat that with liguid tape, then put a coat of engine enamel over the top of that to control rust. There, your done !!

Or maybe it's just, been there, done that to.....
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