Wiring Safety - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV

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Old 08-19-2006, 07:32 AM   #15
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Trailer: Casita 17 ft Spirit Deluxe
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Test after test has demonstrated that crimp connections for wiring are more reliable than solder connections. The problem with solder connections is they are highly susceptable to corosion and vibration.

The entire aircraft industry, both commercial and military depend on crimp connections. If the industry could find a way to crimp printed circuit board connection they would use it there also.

CD and Joyce Smith - Lily, Violet, and Rose
1999 Casita 17' SD - "The Little Egg"
2007 Escalade - 6.2L V8 - 6L80E Trans - 3.42 Diff
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Old 08-19-2006, 07:34 AM   #16
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What Donna said.

the crimp tool that dealerships and repair companies use for the GM style weatherpak connectors costs 250.00 us, and it is indeed a special quality tool, it is called a controlled cycle crimper, meaning you cannot over, or under crimp the connection, every one is the same. (I have one)

most standard crimpers are not this kind of quality. hovever there are still different levels of quality even in cheap ones. I would advise you to stay away from all in one tools, like crimper/stripper/boltcutter combos.
they may be ok for the first few crimps, but wear out quick, and are not high quality.
if you want crimpers buy a pair of crimpers, that do insulated and uninsulated connectors.
that is all they should do.
the same goes for wire strippers; just for stripping.

Crimp connections can last forever if done right, so can solder connections.

the biggest thing is::


if you are going to rush or do a half job, don't bother doing it.

Practice makes perfect. if you are unsure, try working on scrap pieces first.

rant now off. Have an enjoyable day.

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Old 08-19-2006, 08:49 AM   #17
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On August 17th, Per Walthinsen said:
I replaced the entire run of incredibly thin 14 gauge with the recommended 8 gauge and yet I measured the same (voltage) drop.
In this case I would check two places for voltage drop. The first is the connector to the tow vehicle. Most are subject to very poor environmental locations and as consequence of road splash all of the connections (wiring side and trailer side) get very corroded. The plug on the trailer pigtail isn't much better, being exposed to the weather all of the time; make certain connections are clean there also.

The second place to check is where the trailer charge line attaches to the battery. I don't need to go into how little time it takes for these connections that are probably right at the battery to get corroded. Don't forget to check the negative (ground) connections as well.

Using Ohms Law and doing the math, 12 volts and 1.4 ohms results in an 8.6 amp current flow. It also results in about 100 watts of heat. I just checked the specifications on my Scamp's 'fridge. It is rated at 120volts and 1.2 amps, or 144 watts. On gas, it is rated at 1000 BTU's input, or about 300 watts. It is little wonder why most RV 'fridges work best on gas!

Finally, I've never seen more than 7 or 8 amps come in on the charge line from the tow vehicle. Even with brand new trailer connectors and a brand-new tug, it is hard to get a significant amount of power from the tug to the trailer.

Let us know what you find.

-- Dan Meyer
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Old 08-19-2006, 10:25 AM   #18
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Thanks, Dan!

Your calculations resulting in 100w for the element jogged my consciousness, because the element is supposed to be 125w. I incorrectly quoted the Dometic spec to be what I found: 1.4 Ohm. It is indeed supposed to be 1.1 Ohm. Doesn't help when I quoted a false spec, does it?

Aside form rechecking the element specs and contacting Dometic for comment (and perhaps a replacement), I should note that all the checking I did was with the tow vehicle not connected, just two fully-charged, almost new group 31 batteries with the converter both off and on-line.
The element appears to be quite inadequate all by itself. Your point is well-taken about the line from the TV, and I am planning to review the wire gauges and replace whatever is undersized, but it doesn't appear that that is the fundamental problem at this time.
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Old 08-19-2006, 04:35 PM   #19
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BTW, thanks to Byron for pointing out the different insulations used in automotive and household wiring -- I hadn't been aware of that.
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Old 08-21-2006, 07:55 AM   #20
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A properly done crimp connection is reliable. Soldering done by somebody that doesn't know how to properly solder might or might not be a reliable connection. Every connection in your automobile is a crimp connection. I think that says something about crimp connection reliablility.

Soldering is not rocket science, but it take practice and a bit of knowledge.
I did a bit more checking on the internet and the following site does an excellent job showing the proper way to solder connections splicing wires- right and wrong. Of interest, Toyota Motor company in their shop manual recommends using both a barrel crimp and solder for wire splices.

The box crimp connections used by most shops to splice connections don't make a strong reliable connection.
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Old 08-21-2006, 09:03 AM   #21
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I did a bit more checking on the internet and the following site does an excellent job showing the proper way to solder connections splicing wires- right and wrong. Of interest, Toyota Motor company in their shop manual recommends using both a barrel crimp and solder for wire splices.

The box crimp connections used by most shops to splice connections don't make a strong reliable connection.
There's some misconceptions on that web site. The reason they gave for not using wire nuts is one. Wire nuts work well in an environment where moristure is unlikely. My Scamp came from the factory with some connectes using wire nuts. I installed a propane detector and used wire nuts. Proper size and properly tightened they won't work loose.

Soldering - As I stated before to get a good solder joint takes a lot of practice, other wise it's hit and miss. You might do ok, you might not. The second thing the wire becomes brittle, I think I said this before, at the ends of the solder flow. As a professional that works electrical stuff every day the most common failure is solderjoints. Any wiring solder joint where the wires can and do move will fail, it's a matter of when.

As for the practice of soldering crimp joints. I know that one truck manufacturer does that. However it's not a good practice for several reasons. The reason they can get away with is the people doing the soldering are professionals when thousands of solder connection in resume.

As stated other places a proper crimp connection is the most reliable, tests have proven that over and over and over, etc. Also somebody mentioned a couple types of crimpers. The ones that require you to get enough crimp before the it will release are best. In my office I probably have 6 or 8 different crimping tools. None will allow an under crimp or an over crimp. [b]The crimp connector has to be the right size for the wire you're using. This is one mistake often made. Usually a connector that's made for a larger wire.

Back to solder connections for a second. You can improve the life of a solder connection by using 2 layers of shrink tubing, with one layer being shorter than the other. The short piece should extend at least 1" beyond the solder connection on each end the long at least 2". This will provide some strain relief so the joint won't break as soon as it would otherwise.

Byron & Anne enjoying the everyday Saturday thing.
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