Protecting crimped electrical connections - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-02-2014, 09:22 AM   #1
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Protecting crimped electrical connections

When I brought our ParkLiner down to the factory a few weeks ago, one of my concerns was crimped electrical connections under the trailer being unprotected. Crimped connections are fine inside the trailer, that I am not worried about, but for my brakes? To make a long story short, the owner of the company told me he is not concerned with this.

This morning I did the 1st coat with liquid electric tape. This is wonderful stuff for crimped connections exposed to the weather, such as under our eggs. Is a very viscous, sealing, non-conducting goo that wicks into vacant spaces, like the ends of a crimped connection. This stuff sets up pretty fast too, plus remains elastic over time.

Here's some before and after pics:

Shower pump:





Starboard brakes:





Port side brakes and trailer lights (this is particular problematic, as you can see they're using 10/12 gauge yellow connectors for 14 gauge "y" connections; this leaves a "big" hole on the single wire side, easy to fill with water and goop and disintegrate from there):

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/d...psf591146e.jpg



Liquid electrical tape is cheap compared to the cost of having things fail because they're not protected. You can be as messy as you want - it makes no difference as long as you get the ends of the connectors sealed. Having said that, I try to NOT be messy, but in cramped spaces, it's hard not to be if you want good coverage.

By the way, most of the disintegration comes from the steel inside the connector rusting and failing such that wires easily pull out.

I did the 1st coat earlier, and will do the 2nd either later today or tomorrow morning. I'm not in any rush.

Frank
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Old 08-02-2014, 12:29 PM   #2
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There is a huge difference between crimp connectors . 3M and T&B crimp connectors are made in the USA and cost $20 to $40 for a box of 50 , The ones sold to the general public are often cheap copies from China with poor or no plating on the metal parts and are insulated with a low grade of vinyl . In exterior or wet applications we applied shrink tube over the crimp connector . The shrink tube had hot melt silicone on the interior of the tube which melted /sealed the splice when heat was applied to shrink the tube . This type of shrink tube was approved for underground applications and was manufactured by 3M
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Old 08-02-2014, 12:45 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steve dunham View Post
There is a huge difference between crimp connectors . 3M and T&B crimp connectors are made in the USA and cost $20 to $40 for a box of 50 , The ones sold to the general public are often cheap copies from China with poor or no plating on the metal parts and are insulated with a low grade of vinyl . In exterior or wet applications we applied shrink tube over the crimp connector . The shrink tube had hot melt silicone on the interior of the tube which melted /sealed the splice when heat was applied to shrink the tube . This type of shrink tube was approved for underground applications and was manufactured by 3M
I'm well aware of everything you say Steve, but don't know how it relates to these cheap general connectors that either needed to be replaced, or better yet, simply sealed with liquid electric tape.

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Old 08-02-2014, 12:59 PM   #4
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I'm well aware of everything you say Steve, but don't know how it relates to these cheap general connectors that either needed to be replaced, or better yet, simply sealed with liquid electric tape.

Frank
My point was that manufacturers even the ones who make our beloved fiberglass trailers often cut corners in the wrong places . I am not faulting you for trying to improve a bad situation only questioning why the manufacturer put you in that position . At least Parkliner used crimp connectors . I have seen several trailer brake connections done with wirenuts which were not approved for damp/wet locations and a glob of tape.
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Old 08-02-2014, 01:30 PM   #5
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I simply never use crimp connectors, all wire splices should be soldered and heat shrink tubing, that way you will never have a problem with the connection. Even if you need a spade or ring terminal, take the connector, remove the plastic, solder the terminal to the wire and heat shrink the solder joint.
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Old 08-02-2014, 01:38 PM   #6
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And you can still make those soldered connection repairs on the road. I have a butane powered portable soldering iron (Portasol brand, Amazon carries kits) that has multiple tips. Very handy.
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Old 08-02-2014, 02:17 PM   #7
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I have crimp connectors with built in heat shrink on them plus some solder in the middle that melts when you're heating the connector. It is discouraging to see those cheap connectors exposed to the weather. I have used the liquid tape at times and have had good luck with it. It is also possible that the crimp tool may penetrate the outer coating on the connector allowing moisture in at that point. I was told that type of crimper was not the best to use (Ryder tech trainer). In the long run I've found no "for forever" solution, just do the best you can to prolong the life of the connector and keep it where it can be found later if there's a problem.
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Old 08-02-2014, 02:35 PM   #8
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Solder Works

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian G. View Post
I simply never use crimp connectors, all wire splices should be soldered and heat shrink tubing, that way you will never have a problem with the connection. Even if you need a spade or ring terminal, take the connector, remove the plastic, solder the terminal to the wire and heat shrink the solder joint.
We were still dip soldering electrical connections in residential work when I was an apprentice . Most Electrical Inspectors do not allow solder as a means of connection . The code requires all splices to be mechanically & electrically secure before soldering and using a crimp connector or wire nut after soldering often violates the UL listing of the crimp connector or wire nut . Crimp connectors which are soldered only and not crimped also violate the code and their UL listing. Soldered connections are often brittle and do not always function well in high vibration uses . I am not knocking your solder and shrink tube connection but to say there are no problems or failures with solder connections is false. There are many reasons that solder connections are not commonly used in electrical wiring any more ,cost being only one of them . How many electrical connections in your automobile are soldered ?
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Old 08-02-2014, 02:46 PM   #9
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I hear whatyou are saying Steve, and in residential electrical where solid wire is used rather than stranded wire vibration and breakage is an issue. There are still solder connections in cars (I am a mechanic) but most wire splices are high pressure wire-on-wire connections (which can still give problems). Yes I agree, crimp the terminal then solder but even you have to agree that providing a soldered connection where there is no chance of corrosion is a far better solution.
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Old 08-02-2014, 04:28 PM   #10
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I can weld all day long, but have never been able to solder an electrical connection, and trust me, I have tried it many times. Yes, you an get all sorts of fancy crimp connectors nowadays, but I have a boat trailer I've had for 10 (or more) years with plain cimp connectors and well applied liquid electrical tape. For my money, it's tough to beat. Wicks in, and even when dry, stays flexible. I've been using it on all my stuff since I first discovered it in the mid-80's. YMMV.

Frank
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Old 08-02-2014, 04:30 PM   #11
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Would using powerpole connectors be better than using butt connectors?
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Old 08-02-2014, 04:32 PM   #12
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Fill the crimp connector with dilectric grease befor you crimp. Crimp only once because a second attempt will loosen the first one.
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Old 08-02-2014, 04:49 PM   #13
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My understanding of dilectric grease ( from Wiki ) is that it is an insulator, not a conductor. You don't want to get it on the electrical contacts.
Proved that to myself when I got my tail light working again by wiping off the dilectric grease my buddy had applied. It's good for the rubber boot on a spark plug, for instance, as long as you don't get it on the contact.
So, I don't think I'd fill the crimp connector itself.
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Old 08-03-2014, 06:30 AM   #14
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I just use bare crimps and marine heatshrink. I have no use for crimps with the cheesy plastic sleeve.


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