[aprssig] 12V Wiring and Crimping

Larry McDavid lmcdavid at lmceng.com
Sat Oct 29 12:35:44 CDT 2011

The most reliable terminal connections are made by crimping, not 
soldering. However, the crimp process requires the correct crimp tool, 
surely not something from Harbor Freight, and correct sizing of 
terminal, wire and crimp tool.

Solder wicks down stranded wire and causes loss of flexibility and 
potential for vibration fatigue cracks in the wire bundle. Soldering a 
crimped terminal is a really bad idea because a correct crimp will be 
"gas tight" and not allow solder to enter the crimp zone; the soldering 
temperature will also relieve the retained stress in the crimped 
terminal material that keeps it gas tight.

There is a great deal of engineering, not guess work, in what 
constitutes a good crimp. Done correctly, nothing is more reliable than 
a properly designed crimp connection.

Anderson Power Pole connectors are nearly universal in the ham and 
emergency communications arena here and are very reliable. The key 
feature that is not appreciated is the spring-steel leaf spring in every 
PowerPole connector that maintains the contact force. But, realize there 
are various *size* PowerPole connector shells and contacts, sized by 
current-carrying capacity. Anderson sells excellent (but, expensive) 
four-indent crimp tools. PowerWerx sells acceptable "B-wing" crimp tools 
for PowerPole connectors. Use of a "F-crimp" tool on a PowerPole 
terminal will distort the crimp end of the terminal and prevent its 
insertion into the plastic shell.

We hams are often casual about making crimps and then complain about 
their performance. We have only ourselves to blame.

Bottom line: crimps work very well but you must have the correct tools.

Larry W6FUB
Retired Molex engineering manager

On 10/29/2011 10:06 AM, Rudy Benner wrote:
> I would recommend crimp and solder. Don’t forget the fusing. Do it right.

Best wishes,

Larry McDavid W6FUB
Anaheim, CA  (20 miles southeast of Los Angeles, near Disneyland)

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