Splicing and soldering off ground wire?

Discussion in 'OnBoard Electronics & Controls' started by Brylk1830, Apr 15, 2008.

  1. Brylk1830
    Joined: Mar 2008
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    Brylk1830 Junior Member

    Hi all,

    Today I finished removing all the wiring at my fuse panel and as I was removing the wiring I had to cut off about 4 or 5 wires that had been soldered to the ground. My questions is is it alright to splice into the ground wire and solder off of it? I'd like to clean up my electrical and figured that this isn't the correct way to do things?
    Being the novice that I am i've done a bit of research on the web and have invested in the 12 volt bible for electronics book but any simply basic tips would be appreciated!
    Also, if this isn't an acceptable method should I now replace the ground wire running to the fuse panel as I start over?
    Thanks in advance!
     

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  2. Tim B
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    Tim B Senior Member

    Brylk,

    I'd personally replace the whole panel with a new one. While you're at it, tie all the negative lines to a bus bar.

    Electrically there is nothing wrong with splicing off an existing negative line, but it makes it a pain to repair or replace later. Soldered-on spade connectors and heatshrink are always good for this type of thing. Even better is to try to get all the wiring in a completely sealed case.

    Hope this helps,

    Tim B.
     
  3. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Your fuse panel appears serviceable, but none of your current connections will survive long, particularly in a salt water environment. Clean all contact surfaces well.

    Crimped and shrink wrapped connections are the best way to go. Soldered connections are subject to fatigue from vibration and corrosion.

    There's two styles of shrink wrap tubing, with and without an internal adhesive. The tubing with adhesive type is much better and of course slightly more expensive.

    Tim's recommendation of a ground bus is a good idea and typical in your application, making additions, subtractions and modifications much easier.
     
  4. Ike
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    Ike Senior Member

    All good advice. I would go with a ground buss that all your ground wires go to. I don't recommend soldering for the same reason Par gave but a lot of people do it. If you do make sure the connection isn't the only support for the wire. Putting supports every so often takes the stress off the connections.
     
  5. TollyWally
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    TollyWally Senior Member

    I am aware of the stated objections to soldered connections. We wouldn't do it any other way on the fishboats. Never had a failure in 14 years fishing in AK. We did a good job securing, bundling, and ziptying our wire. Others milage may vary.
     
  6. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    None of the manufactures, nor the custom builders, plus vessels built to ABYS or EU standards will permit soldered electrical connections. It's fortunate you've have good luck Tolly, but the jury has long since been in, on the ability of a crimped, shrink rapped connection over solder.
     
  7. TollyWally
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    TollyWally Senior Member

    LOL Par,
    As we both well know ABYS standards are arrived at by committee and consensus. It is not a standard of best practice but a legal description that can be defended by attorneys, in a court of law, for reasons of liability.

    Luck has absolutely nothing to do with the reliability of well made soldered connections. Do as you please and advise your clients to adhere to what the lawyers say is best. Myself, I will trust to an older approach chosen not for cost effectiveness but absolute stone cold reliability. It is my firm belief that well secured wiring negates the theoretical possiblity of a vibrational failure and the positive connection created by a well made soldered connection is superior the the faster and easier connection made by a crimped fitting.
     
  8. Ike
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    Ike Senior Member

    With all due respect PAR ABYC does not ban solder. Here's the standard

    11.16.3.7. Solder shall not be the sole means of
    mechanical connection in any circuit. If soldered, the
    connection shall be so located or supported as to
    minimize flexing of the conductor where the solder
    changes the flexible conductor into a solid conductor.
    EXCEPTION: Battery lugs with a solder contact
    length of not less than 1.5 times the diameter of the
    conductor.
    NOTE: When a stranded conductor is soldered, the
    soldered portion of the conductor becomes a solid
    strand conductor, and flexing can cause the
    conductor to break at the end of the solder joint
    unless adequate additional support is provided.

    So you can solder but you need a secondary means of support for the conductor.

    ISO 10133 makes no mention of solder at all.
     

  9. Tim B
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    Tim B Senior Member

    Can I make the simple observation that NO cable should EVER be supported on the connector alone. I know many cables are, but they really shouldn't be.

    I'm sure we've been through the soldered vs crimped argument before (I remember contributing). I'll take a good soldered connection over crimping any day.

    Cheers All,

    Tim B.
     
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