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What's the preferred method of splicing and joining wires in electronics?

Discussion in 'Electronic Basics' started by [email protected], Feb 15, 2007.

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  1. Guest


    I'm working on a robotics project that often means I have to put
    sensors in weird and wonderful places. Eg - quad encoders on drive
    wheels. The supplied cables are not long enough, and I need to splice
    the 5V and ground to drive 2 of them.

    I've looked in Radio Shack and Fry's and I can find nothing to splice
    the fine wires - I've had to twist them together and cover them with a
    heat shrink sleeve. I keep thinking that there has to be a better way
    - is there some sort of fine crimping tool out there for this kind of

  2. Mr. Wizard

    Mr. Wizard Guest

    If you look in DigiKEy or other electronic vendors they sell crimp
    connectors for splicing wire together. Come to think of it, I sort of
    remember that Walmart automotive sold some kits for doing just that.

    Or similar to what you are already doing, you can always solder the
    wires together and then cover with heat shrink.
  3. Guest

    Thanks - I've found crimping connectors for large wire - 14/16 gauge
    but nothing suitable for fine wires (CAT-5).
    I don't have very good soldering skills, and my attempts at tinning
    and joining were a bit on the "blobby" side.
  4. DJ Delorie

    DJ Delorie Guest

  5. Puckdropper

    Puckdropper Guest

    wrote in
    Radio Shack and other places have telephone connectors. They're little
    buttons that have silicone in them that attaches to the wire and seal it
    from the weather as weal as connecting them. I don't have a link or
    catalog number for you, so you might have to do some digging.

  6. There are crimp connectors for 24 AWG and even smaller wire, used in
    telephone work. A smooth solder joint and some heat-shrink costs less and
    looks better.

    Just practice soldering, remembering that if the solder
    doesn't _wet_ the joint, it's a *bad* joint. Heat the joint first, then
    apply the solder. If your soldering tip is clean and tinned (solder-plated),
    the solder will flow into the joint by capillary actionn. If you find yourself
    trying to smear the solder on, the joint isn't hot enough. One common mistake
    is using a dirty or oxidized tip. The first time you heat up a new soldering
    tip, coat it with solder as soon as it's hot enough, before it has time to
    oxidize. You don't need much, just enough to completely coat the copper.
    Keep a sponge or a damp rag handy to wipe off the crud that builds up on the
    tip. If you're working with plain copper wire, tin the wire ends before
    joining them. It's much easier to solder parts that are already coated with
    solder or tin; that's why most small terminals are plated and why good hookup
    wire is pre-tinned.
  7. Puckdropper

    Puckdropper Guest

    When connecting wire, the physical joint is as important as the solder
    joint. The solder's primary purpose is to increase the surface area of
    contact (as well as act as a glue) between the wires.

    Twisting works, if you've got space for the pigtails. If not, you'll
    need a knot of some kind. (The one that I learned involves bending the
    wire to about 90 degrees where the middle of the joint will be. Then,
    put the wires together at the bends, and twist each perpendicular segment
    around the other wire.)

    Getting a good solder connection takes a while to master. You need to
    make sure you get the joint properly heated, and when that happens the
    solder will flow into the joint. It does take some time to develop a
    feel for this, I found a board I put together when I was much younger and
    was surprised at the poor solder joints. I thought I was pretty good
    then, too.

  8. JeffM

    JeffM Guest

  9. That's the old Western Union splice, developed to securely splice wire
    that's going to be strung between poles. Even if you don't need the
    mechanical strength, it's still the smoothest wire-to-wire joint. If you
    stagger the individual conductor splices, you can use it to splice
    multiconductor cable without an awkward lump at the joint.
  10. Puckdropper

    Puckdropper Guest

    Ah, so that's what that is. Knowledge without proper naming is great for
    practice, but poor for discussing theory. ;-)

  11. john jardine

    john jardine Guest

    Ditto. I know it as the old (UK) Post Office 'Brittania' splice. :)
  12. Electricians know the married joint also. You splice stranded wires
    together, smooth and solder.


  13. Rich Grise

    Rich Grise Guest

    Have you tried one of these?

    With a little practice, and properly tinned wires, they don't even
    really need to be twisted - solder is metal, after all. :)

    You tin the two wires, clip them in the third hand so that the tinned
    ends lie alongside each other, and less than a drop of solder will
    bond them. Then unsolder it, because you forgot to put the heat-shrink
    on the wire, and do it again. ;-)

    Good Luck!
  14. MassiveProng

    MassiveProng Guest

    Refer to IPC-A-610 for all commercially accepted standards for
    splicing wires with solder in small electronic assemblies.

    For power wiring, and dry assemblies, a good anti-oxidant is likely
    called for and a good clamping mechanism (wire-nut).

    Hey, I just thought of a new nym (hardly new, I'm sure).

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