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Soldering vs. connectors

Discussion in 'Computers, Cabling & Other Miscellaneous Hardware' started by nato595, Mar 26, 2013.

  1. nato595

    nato595 Let's do this!

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    It seems that solder is (for some reason) the standard with holiday lighting projects. I am trying to find out what that "for some reason" is.
    Is soldering REALLY that much better than butt connectors, wire nuts, or interconnects?
    It seems that connectors are perfectly acceptable and within building code for high voltage electricity, and even 12V in automotive.
    I am really no good at soldering, that's why I bring it up.
    Is it a continuity issue? According to my multimeter, it doesn't seem like it. Is it a waterproofing issue? If so, can I use connectors and then coat with liquid tape? What if moisture isn't an issue in my scenario?

    Okay, blast away! Thanks!
     
  2. remoteutah

    remoteutah Full Time Elf

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    I am using what is called an "in-line" butt connector. They have little teeth inside the connector that is "supposed" to puncture the insulation, so you are not supposed to have to strip the wires. I still strip them anyways, but before I crimp the butt connector, I slide a piece of heat shrink wrap over one of the wires that is long enough to cover the connector and 2" of wire each way. Once crimped and heated, it makes a fairly smooth and solid connection that is fairly waterproof.
    If you want to insure that it is totally waterproof, use a syringe to squeeze in a drop of silicone on either side of the in-line connector before you crimp and heat shrink
     
  3. fasteddy

    fasteddy I have C.L.A.P Global Moderator Generous Elf

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    The most trouble free way will be the solder way. You can use connectors but i have heard of mixed reports on the success and longevity of this, so if taking the connectors method then make sure you get the correct size for the strip you are using and ensure that you have made it waterproof.
     
  4. GoofyGuy

    GoofyGuy Guest

    Main difference is 1 works without issues the other is a connector.
     
  5. Superman

    Superman I Have C.L.A.P and its very infectious Global Moderator

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    Well said William.
    I have and still do use some connectors and it will always be the first place to go to if there is a problem.
     
  6. Bill Ellick

    Bill Ellick Full Time Elf

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    I guess as a really overly simple explanation I would have to say "Then why don't manufacturers just twist component leads together and not use circuit boards?".
    Actually then you get into things it starts to get into some pretty neat physics and things at the molecular level about connections, which is way over most peoples heads and they really don't want or need to know anyway.
    Connectors can work fine for 99% of the things that you will need to make a connection on without any real problems. But if you are looking at a more permanent, reliable, low resistance, vibration proof (yes up to a point), semi-waterproof connection; you will want to solder things.
    Granted soldering is an acquired talent but so is anything that is worth doing. I like soldering and using heat shrink as my connections are not a source of problems later on.
    Also with the advent of pixels and low voltage yet high current connections on this stuff, the chance of corrosion in a connection using a connector of wire nut can start to cause small problems that may grow with the number of connections you have. A 5 volt pixel string needs good connections to prevent as much voltage drop as you can.
    I have seen twisted connections that will get corrosion on them and start to form resistance in the joint which can lead to problems later on.
    Soldered connections don't have that problem.
    Plus there are always other areas to have problems with like connectors to assemble display items or even electric plugs that can get corrosion from the weather. I like to eliminate as many probable sources of trouble as possible as it saves time when something does go wrong.
     

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