Toyota Tundra Discussion Forum banner
1 - 20 of 51 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
160 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys,
I'm lining things up to do my first aftermarket head unit install. I assume that soldering is the better way of making connections over using crimp connectors. The only thing is, I don't have a soldering iron, and have no experience with them. What would be a good voltage to go with? Thanks!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
214 Posts
If you are soldering, twist the wires together, be sure and heat the wire, then let the hot wire melt the solder.
Pick up some heat shrink tubing as well to cover the bare wire with. Just cut length to fit.
Keep your tip clean or it will start to have cold spots in it after time. no pun intended.
 
  • Like
Reactions: BigRed2007

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,249 Posts
I'm just old school (electronics tech since 1979) and I had accumulated different irons early on that still work great, so I never upgraded to the variable style. Keep the tips clean and shiny, and replace them when they wear out. I have a 25W for light work (small gauge wire or PC boards), a 40W for terminal work with multiple leads or heavier gauge wire, and a 145W/210W soldering gun for heavy work (chassis grounds, large gauge wire). All are Weller units, and I have an additional gun floating around that is a Craftsman 150W/230W unit.

Some basics: good soldering takes practice. Everything must be clean and shiny. Strip and tin your wires before soldering to a pin or terminal. Take the time to make a good mechanical connection (wrap the wire tightly around a terminal for example). Touch the tip of the iron to one side of the joint, and the solder to the other side. Let the solder flow into the connection, and use just enough solder to fill the joint. A good rule of thumb is just enough so you can still see the contours of the wire. Do not move until the solder cools. A good solder joint should have a shiny exterior. If it looks cloudy or dull, you have a cold solder joint which will eventually fail. You'll need to remove the solder, undo the joint, and start over. Continually clean and re-tin the iron tip in preparation for the next connection. Be aware of where that hot iron tip is to avoid burns (when I was young and careless I once leaned over the bench and scorched my right forearm by laying it on the iron) or melting things you didn't want to.
 
  • Like
Reactions: thetastelingers

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
5,324 Posts
If you are soldering, twist the wires together, be sure and heat the wire, then let the hot wire melt the solder.
Pick up some heat shrink tubing as well to cover the bare wire with. Just cut length to fit.
Keep your tip clean or it will start to have cold spots in it after time. no pun intended.
And don't forget to put the heat shrink on BEFORE you solder the wire!!

:banghead:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,249 Posts
Thanks for the tips you guys. What about solder?...I never knew there were so many to choose from!
Get 60/40 rosin core solder. 60% lead, 40% tin with a hollow, rosin filled core. An example is Kester "44"
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,445 Posts
I've been doing soldering for way longer than Red. Was even an electronics trainer in the military.
The problem with soldering is that you have to know how to solder. It is not like gluing something. Thing called cold solder joint. Hard for untrained to troubleshoot. And sometimes it doesn't show up for months or years.
I recently put a head unit in my truck and I used butt crimps. Way easier. It is not a high power wire or critical so why bother if you aren't good at it?
My crimps are as strong as soldering on small gauge wires. And so what if one falls out? you just redo.
I say this as for the untrained, it is way easier.
 

·
F&@k Y'all, I'm from Texas
Joined
·
13,742 Posts
All good advice above.

I keep 2 soldering irons; a 12 watt for circuit boards and an 80 watt for larger wires. I love the 80 cause I can heat up the wires quick, but I don't recommend the 80 watt for others. If you aren't used to it, you will burn something. Both are Weller irons and I wouldn't buy anything else. DO NOT buy those "Cold Solder" irons. They use electricity through the tip and you can and will fry something in the electronics.

For cleaning the tip, a damp sponge will work fine. Just run the tip over the sponge to clean it and then let the tip heat back up before using it. And a cheap bic lighter will work for the shrink tubing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,893 Posts
I hadn't soldered in years... Probably since jr high in any amount of production anyways.

I had to watch youtube, that didn't really help...

Did actually get better after a shot, was shakey and trying too hard.

With that said, it is much easier to crimp. I can and regularly use crimp connections at work and have never had one that I have done come apart or cause an issue. However I have seem many other peoples butt splices come apart and cause issues. I prefer the connectors that have heat shrink pre-attached to the connector. Makes it easier and it is clear so you know if things aren't right before you crimp and shrink...


You can also (many installers actually do this for some odd reason ) do the split/wrap/ball method then heat shrink.

Take two wires, strip, and separate each wire into two halves. Wrap each half of wire to the opposite wire half and twist them, then wrap around the connection in opposite directions... Then heat shrink.

It might sound hokey, but for some reason I have seen people who can't crimp worth a damn actually manage to do the split/wrap ball method. I have also pulled as a test before and never pulled one apart.
 
  • Like
Reactions: BigRed2007

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,445 Posts
Two things to remember about crimps is that you want the smallest one that fits and to squeeze like you are hanging on for life.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
160 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Well, maybe I might just go for the crimp on butt connectors. I had just always thought that soldering was the better and preferred way of doing this.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,513 Posts
Both is the preferred way since the crimp is the mechanical connection and the solder tinning prevents corrosion and oxidization of the connections. It has been argued that merely a solder joint is not "proper" mechanical support for wiring but personally I usually break the wire before I break the solder joint. Especially if we're talking between 14-24 gauge wire. Soldering heavier than say 10AWG starts to get interesting and you would most likely want to crimp and tin especially if it is a high current application.

It's the preferred way unless you do it wrong, in which case the crimp method may be easier to do. Difficult to recommend one or another to a complete stranger without knowing their mechanical aptitude and experience with electronics assembly and repair. I had a previous job manufacturing wiring harnesses and that was quite possibly the best thing to happen to my soldering skills since I got lots and lots of practice. While breathing in lead fumes and all.
If you decide to go with the straight crimp method, just fix the wiring afterwards to avoid vibration to the crimp joints. Leaving them loose behind the head unit flopping around as the vehicle moves can (and I've seen it happen) result in wires falling out. I'd also get a proper ratcheting crimp tool with dies that crimp both the wire and the shield part at once. Not the cheap stamped sheet metal variety. It comes back to right tool for the right job and better results - either you invest in a decent soldering iron or a decent crimp tool. I use both very regularly in my line of work so it's a no brainer to go for the best I can find.
 

·
F&@k Y'all, I'm from Texas
Joined
·
13,742 Posts
Soldering is better and preferred in my book. I almost never use crimps. I see them fail all the time. It's usually the pinched wire that fails, not the crimp.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
303 Posts
Honestly I think you are putting too much into this. Either way you decide is fine. Soldering is not hard. As stated just twist the wire together and then put the iron on one side of the wire and let it heat up for a few seconds and then then put the solder on the wire until it melts and pulls it in. The solder will be drawn to the heat. Practice on similar size wire first if you're worried.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
160 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Both is the preferred way since the crimp is the mechanical connection and the solder tinning prevents corrosion and oxidization of the connections. It has been argued that merely a solder joint is not "proper" mechanical support for wiring but personally I usually break the wire before I break the solder joint. Especially if we're talking between 14-24 gauge wire. Soldering heavier than say 10AWG starts to get interesting and you would most likely want to crimp and tin especially if it is a high current application.

It's the preferred way unless you do it wrong, in which case the crimp method may be easier to do. Difficult to recommend one or another to a complete stranger without knowing their mechanical aptitude and experience with electronics assembly and repair. I had a previous job manufacturing wiring harnesses and that was quite possibly the best thing to happen to my soldering skills since I got lots and lots of practice. While breathing in lead fumes and all.
If you decide to go with the straight crimp method, just fix the wiring afterwards to avoid vibration to the crimp joints. Leaving them loose behind the head unit flopping around as the vehicle moves can (and I've seen it happen) result in wires falling out. I'd also get a proper ratcheting crimp tool with dies that crimp both the wire and the shield part at once. Not the cheap stamped sheet metal variety. It comes back to right tool for the right job and better results - either you invest in a decent soldering iron or a decent crimp tool. I use both very regularly in my line of work so it's a no brainer to go for the best I can find.

Hey, could you give me a link to a good ratcheting crimp tool? I only have one like this:

Irwin Wire Strippers, 8" (2078300) at Aubuchon Hardware
 
1 - 20 of 51 Posts
Top