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Soldering vs. Twist Connectors on Radio Harnesses & General 12v Electrical

Discussion in 'Audio & Video' started by BartMaster1234, Dec 6, 2016.

  1. Dec 6, 2016 at 5:23 PM
    #1
    BartMaster1234

    BartMaster1234 [OP] American Auto Horns

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    I have my aftermarket radio wired up to the factory harness with Posi-Twist wire connectors. It's a little crowded behind the radio trim, so I was thinking of eliminating the nuts and soldering the harness instead.

    Does soldering/using wire connectors produce an adverse affect on the quality of the sound system? Should I keep the wire connectors, or solder and use heat shrink?

    One more question.

    I have a CB radio powered by an extra power outlet that I stopped using since I put an iPod interface in its place. I cut the factory power outlet connector off and directly used a wire nut to inter-connect the CB radio in-line fuse/positive and negative to the existing +-12v harness. What is the correct procedure for splicing 12v power? Is using a posi-twist connector acceptable, a wire-nut, or should I just solder it?

    In the manual for my CB radio it says that I have to connect the negative of the radio directly to the vehicle chassis. Right now I have the negative cable of the CB radio spliced to the existing +-12v power outlet wire. Should I ground it to the chassis, or will the ground wire of the power outlet suffice?
     
  2. Dec 6, 2016 at 7:34 PM
    #2
    steveo27

    steveo27 Ask me about my weiner

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    The same shit everyone else has.
    Keep the wire nuts VERY far away from your truck. Do it the correct way and solder/heat shrink everything
     
  3. Dec 6, 2016 at 11:03 PM
    #3
    SlowComa666

    SlowComa666 Well-Known Member

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    if it's power wires use good crimp connectors and heat shrink. if it shorts to ground the wire will go before the connection, unlike solder. that wire should be fused as well.

    speaker level, solder and heat shrink is fine. massive amperage to subs/amps? i would crimp.
     
  4. Dec 7, 2016 at 6:50 AM
    #4
    rob feature

    rob feature Tacos!

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    No. They both do the same thing although soldering, when done properly, is more secure. That said, I'm a commercial installer by trade (we do a LOT of soldering) and I always use crimp-on butt-splices for behind the dash harness work. The ONLY time I solder in a vehicle is when I want to make sure the connection won't come undone by itself in a location that's difficult to access - like in a door. That said, there is nothing soldered in my doors right now. There is nothing soldered in my truck at the moment. Push-ons are serving me well.

    While soldering can make a difference in some applications, this isn't one of them. A solid butt-spliced connection will do just fine, is much faster, and much less work. And it's hard to burn things with a crimper.

    You can leave the wiring like you have it unless you're experiencing noise. If you get any sort of noise from it, ground it to the frame. Better yet use one ground location for everything (at the battery is the best but not a step most are willing to take). Oh, and for splicing, you can use a tap, butt-splice, solder, or any other way you feel comfortable. Err, if you're comfortable with wire nuts don't use those. Get them out of the truck. Likewise don't twist & tape - that's not much better than wire nuts. Most other methods are acceptable as long as you aren't exposing or putting strain on wires and they won't come out with a reasonable amount of force. I'm partial to butt-splices for pretty much all of the above, but that's mostly because they're cheap, quick, work well, and almost never fail when installed properly. They're also easy to troubleshoot as you can get a MM probe up in the jacket without damaging anything.
     
  5. Dec 7, 2016 at 7:51 AM
    #5
    BartMaster1234

    BartMaster1234 [OP] American Auto Horns

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    I ran my Kenwood KSCSW11 powered sub 12v directly onto the positive battery terminal and I grounded it to a bolt behind the driver's side kick panel. Do I need to run a relay with it? It doesn't draw much power, I think the max is around 150w. It's an all-in-one so it has the amplifier built in. The manual wanted me to connect it to the fusebox, but I opted for the battery.
     
  6. Dec 7, 2016 at 7:54 AM
    #6
    BartMaster1234

    BartMaster1234 [OP] American Auto Horns

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    The AM/FM radio has a little noise, when I don't have anything playing but the system is on, I can here sort of an electrical buzzing. It's very faint, but there.

    I just installed my CB but haven't tuned the antenna yet. Is it normal not to hear anything at all come out of the speaker when I haven't tuned the antenna yet? I don't hear static, noise, voices, or anything. The manual wants me to ground it to the chassis, but I grounded it to the power outlet negative. My mistake might've been not grounding it to the chassis.

    So in general, a butt splice for 12v electrical is the best way to go?
     
  7. Dec 7, 2016 at 8:10 AM
    #7
    rob feature

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    Does it change with engine RPM? Is it something new? If you answered yes to either of those, you have a ground loop. You know what to do.

    In a sense, yes, but that depends on how you define 'best way to go'. A good solder job will be the least likely to fail in a stress situation and the least likely to introduce any resistance, but takes time and it doesn't hurt to know what you're doing. It's a trade-off for your time. If you define 'best way to go' as something that takes into account the effort and time required to do something then maybe. If 'best way to go' means absolutely no compromises, then solder everything that doesn't need a quick disconnect. In all other cases butt-splices and appropriate cable management should suffice.
     
  8. Dec 7, 2016 at 8:14 AM
    #8
    BartMaster1234

    BartMaster1234 [OP] American Auto Horns

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    I just installed a brand new stereo system, new speakers, head, etc. I've never kept the radio off when I'm driving, I'll have to have a listen. I believe that it doesn't change, it's just a very faint buzzing noise. The radio is simply grounded via the factory wiring harness as indicated in the manual.

    I actual fabricate/refurbish electronics for a living, so I do lots of soldering. I might just go ahead and solder everything and add some heat shrink.
     
  9. Dec 22, 2016 at 10:41 AM
    #9
    kcalhoun27

    kcalhoun27 Active Member

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    simplest way to make sure you get a good connection that wont fail is cross twist and heat shrink. what that means is, put the heat shrink over one side, strip the ends, cross them like an X, then fold them, so they are facing back towards themselves, then twist the wire back around itself. Once you set the heat shrink, youll have a hard time pulling them apart even if youre trying to, never mind vibration doing it. dump the butt connectors, twist caps, and solder; this is the easiest way by far!
     
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  10. Dec 23, 2016 at 8:27 AM
    #10
    fergsonfire

    fergsonfire Electrical Guru

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    Dear god kill it with fire! No twist connections in a vehicle, ever! That's how fires start (audioholic/former firefighter)
     
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  11. Dec 23, 2016 at 8:46 AM
    #11
    127.0.0.1

    127.0.0.1 AKA ::1

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    exactly

    if you twist them, you install shrink, --solder them--, slide the shrink over, melt it

    never ever just hobo twist it and bury under shrink, that is crap and will fail/spark.cause problems

    if you don't want to solder, you use crimps, taps, butts, or positwists and the ones exactly for the wire gauge size you want


    all the stuff here is what you can use... as well as posi-locks or solder/shrink wrap

    https://www.waytekwire.com/products/1422/Terminals-Connectors/

    do NOT use home electrical wire twist caps, those cannot stand up
    to vehicle vibrations. they work fine inside house walls where there are no vibrations


    if you need to solder in the vehicle you can use gas powered irons just
    don't burn your truck down....these work great in the field

    http://www.homedepot.com/p/Butane-Powered-Soldering-Iron-LSP-25/203457011
     
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  12. Dec 23, 2016 at 8:56 AM
    #12
    kcalhoun27

    kcalhoun27 Active Member

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    Well, 15 years of stereo installs without a single of your guaranteed fires says otherwise, but i will concede that you can do it however you want and i will do the same. Im guessing that youve misunderstood My explanation, as an aside. That being said, on airplanes, we use butt splices with heat shrink and thats good enough for flight so im sure theyre good enough for a truck
     
  13. Dec 23, 2016 at 9:06 AM
    #13
    127.0.0.1

    127.0.0.1 AKA ::1

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    butts are different that what the other poster said about twist and shrink.
     
  14. Dec 23, 2016 at 9:32 AM
    #14
    STOCKTRD

    STOCKTRD Well-Known Member

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    The connectors that he linked are not home wire nuts. They are posi-locks. These are sold on Crutchfield and alot of people use them on stereo installs. As far as solder VS crimp/butt splices. Soldering, if done correctly will give you a better connection than crimping, especially on speaker connections. But soldering takes longer and is usually done wrong. Butt splicing/crimping is way faster and easier to do. As kcalhoun27 said butt splices are used on aircraft in certain systems. But audio/video and antenna connections are almost always soldered to provide a "cleaner" connection. I have attended several soldering classes, one that is actually used to train NASA technicians, and most of the people who solder are doing in incorrectly, myself included. Thats why I always crimp/splice. Its easier and faster. But if you want to solder than go for it. Hope this info helps you out.
     
  15. Dec 23, 2016 at 12:42 PM
    #15
    fergsonfire

    fergsonfire Electrical Guru

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    Crimping provides positive lock. Most twist connectors will come undone with time. Fortunately the navy paid for me to go through 6 weeks of electronics technician maintenance school so my soldering is on point. I would not use posi-locks because while they do not guarantee connection as the wire must touch the center pin. Crimp (butt) connections mechanically push the metal against the wire. My personal order of good connection is solder, crimp, get someone else to do those. A clean electrical system is arguably the best thing you could have on install products.
     
  16. Apr 26, 2020 at 2:51 PM
    #16
    Travis17

    Travis17 Well-Known Member

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    They make butt splicers the have solder in them too. So with a little butane torch you can crimp, solder and heat shrink all at the same time!
     
  17. Apr 26, 2020 at 2:57 PM
    #17
    destin_meeks

    destin_meeks I used to fix people's crappy stereos

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    Holy hell of a thread revival
     
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  18. Apr 26, 2020 at 3:47 PM
    #18
    BartMaster1234

    BartMaster1234 [OP] American Auto Horns

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    Funny because last week I actually ripped the stereo harness out and cut all the twist connectors off. I soldered all the wires and wrapped it in Tessa tape to save room.
     
  19. Apr 26, 2020 at 4:49 PM
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    shane100700

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    You used them?! :eek:
     
  20. Apr 26, 2020 at 5:03 PM
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    shane100700

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