Create Waterproof Electrical Connections

Most times when your motorcycle is having problems or has quit running, the problem is traced back to a poor electrical connection. It takes time to trace where that problem is located and could have easily been fixed. Over the years I have seen all kinds of wires connected together using wire nuts and just twisted together with black tape wrapped around them. Many use crimp connector which works fine, but over time the wire can oxidize which will fail in time. Especially in a tropical climate like Thailand…

The soldering method, if done correctly, will be a permanent connection. It is not that hard to do, if you follow these steps for proper joining and soldering.

The tools and supplies needed, are easily found and cost little:
  • Soldering iron; U use a 33-watt unit for most soldered connections but also have a 50-watt unit when connecting larger gauge wires.
  • Wire stripping tool; this is important to not damage the copper strands while removing the insulation.
  • Rosin flux is the only flux you should use when joining electrical wiring. Do not use acid flux because over time it will cause damage to electrical components.
  • Solder; 1.5mm in diameter, tin/lead without flux.
  • Heat gun; I prefer the small ones to get into tight areas and will not get as hot as the larger ones.
  • Heat shrink tubing
The first thing you will need to do is to be sure the tip of your soldering iron is clean. Most times you can plug in the iron and when it gets hot, just put the tip into the flux and when wipe with a damp towel. In some cases of a severely corroded tip you will need to sand it down, flux when hot, and re-tin with solder.

Be sure to properly remove wire insulation with a wire stripping tool. Most importantly, adjust to the proper size wire you are stripping so it won't damage the copper stranded wire. Then, flux wires and twist them together tightly. This assures a good connection of copper to copper while the solder will hold everything in its place. The solder needs flux on it, so re-dip the solder tip in the flux. Heat the wire up so the flux melts through the joint. Too much heat can cause the insulation to burn and the solder to melt too far from the joint. The excess solder and heat makes the wire to be hard and to not bend.

After you made the solder joint connection, it needs to be finished with an insulator. Heat shrink tubing is the way to do it. Be sure that you wipe off any excess flux you used while soldering so the heat shrink tubing will get a good seal. The first piece of heat shrink tubing is just long enough to cover the soldered wires. Use a heat gun because a lighter or small torch can burn the heat shrink tubing and the insulation of the wires. Heat it evenly so it shrinks tightly on the soldered joint. Next, cut a piece of heat shrink tubing longer to be placed over the area and have the ends extend past the first piece of heat shrink tubing. Apply heat to shrink the tubing. This extra layer of tubing will be some extra protection for the connection area.

By following these steps, you will have electrical connections that will not give you problems as you go down the road, no matter how wet or dirty the connection gets….Tag: Soldering Soldering-Iron Electrical Connection Shrink-Tubing Heat-Shrink-Tubing Solder Maintenance Electrical Connections
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