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Old 06-28-2020, 02:09 PM   #1
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Stranded wire electrical connections

Just returned from a quick camping trip to the mountains with my son, to get some clean, fresh, cooler air.

I had a small problem with my solar setup and I traced it to a loose connection where my solar panel cable connects to my solar controller. The solar controller has screw terminals, and I've never like screw-down connections on stranded wire since it's not a very secure connection. The cable must have been pulled a little and the connection loosened enough to limit the amount of current I was getting.

I fixed the connection, but I'm looking at options to give a more secure connection. Has anyone used a crimped ferrule or crimped pin terminal on stranded wire?


thanks,
Herb
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Old 06-28-2020, 03:51 PM   #2
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I try to always add a connector to stranded wire when attaching them to a terminal point. Usually crimped ones work fine. Get the ones with built-in shrink wrap if you want to be extra safe.
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Old 06-28-2020, 04:00 PM   #3
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You can get ferrules for this but you'll also need a special crimper. You can get a kit with a variety of ferrules and crimper for $20+ on Amazon.

I did some Googling and there seem to be some differences of opinion on whether or not ferrules are necessary, especially with larger gauge wires. A badly crimped ferrule can be worse than none. There is also the option of tinning the wire with solder but this, too, has its detractors.

Personally I've never used them and haven't had any problems. I'd think the 10 AWG wire typically used in solar installations would be large enough to not need them. I'd re-strip the wire end, install it again and secure it and the other wires so they can't be pulled loose. Periodic re-tightening can't hurt.
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Old 06-28-2020, 04:35 PM   #4
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I would just twist the wires tight and tin them with a solder and soldering gun. This will make the branded wire stiff and solid without adding another mechanical connection that could again fail.
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Old 06-28-2020, 05:51 PM   #5
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Pretty much any crimp on connector, eyes or forks, if properly crimped and supported will be just fine. I worked for years as an electrician on yachts and ships, and followed ABYC recommendations for connections, which allowed crimp on connectors. They pretty much require eyes rather than forked ones, but crimps are fine. There is quite a debate about crimping and then soldering, the detractors feel that the wire can work harden at the junction of the soldered and unsoldered wire and crack, but if properly secured, there shouldn't be any movement.
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Old 06-28-2020, 06:00 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by arctictraveller View Post
Pretty much any crimp on connector, eyes or forks, if properly crimped and supported will be just fine. I worked for years as an electrician on yachts and ships, and followed ABYC recommendations for connections, which allowed crimp on connectors. They pretty much require eyes rather than forked ones, but crimps are fine. There is quite a debate about crimping and then soldering, the detractors feel that the wire can work harden at the junction of the soldered and unsoldered wire and crack, but if properly secured, there shouldn't be any movement.
I think the OP is asking about the terminals that you stick the end of a wire into and tighten down a screw, not the type that would take a fork or eye connector.
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Old 06-28-2020, 06:11 PM   #7
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Quote:
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I think the OP is asking about the terminals that you stick the end of a wire into and tighten down a screw, not the type that would take a fork or eye connector.

Exactly. Stranded wire being inserted into a connector that then has a tighten-down screw to secure the wire.


Thanks for all the inputs everyone. I had already looked at the ferrule crimper on Amazon.





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Old 06-29-2020, 01:07 PM   #8
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I think the OP is asking about the terminals that you stick the end of a wire into and tighten down a screw, not the type that would take a fork or eye connector.
Ahh, my mistake, I should have read the post a little closer.
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Old 07-03-2020, 08:27 AM   #9
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I've probably made 15K and more connections, have also disliked the captured wire end types, especially with stranded wire.

I would highly recommend using BellPilots solder modification or buy appropriate crimping tools along with ring tongue terminals for a good connection. If the ring tongue's can't be used fork tongue's work well IF they have the small upturned end that gives more surface area contact of the terminal to the device's screw hold-down.

S&G Tool Aid makes nice crimping tools---fairly affordable too.
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Old 07-04-2020, 11:47 AM   #10
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So here was my Independence Day project.


Removed the wires from my solar controller. Here's what the 12ga wire looked like when I removed it from the screw-down terminals.



I decided not to reuse the wire leads (cutting off the mangled part, stripping insulation and adding ferrules) since the wires were already a little short, so I built some new ones.
Stripped wire and ferrule ready to be installed.




Freshly installed ferrule (I love when tools do their job really well with no drama)






Anderson PowerPole end of the wires leads:



Completed wire lead with ferrule ends, and PowerPole ends (added heat shrink on ferrule ends for corrosion protection and stain relief):



Solar panel lead (yellow and black PowerPole) and Solar Controller power lead (red and black PowerPole). I keep these leads attached to the solar controller, and then just plug in my solar panel cable (with or without an extension cable) and a short cable from the solar controller to my battery charge controller.



Here's something I did to my solar controller a few years back, but never documented it here. I added rare earth magnets to the base of the controller, so I can "hide" the controller underneath the metal fender of my teardrop camper. This is to shelter the controller from weather (sun and rain), as well as to keep it somewhat out of sight to the casual passerby. In the pic below, I have it mounted to the topside of my fender, but it is always underneath the fender when camped.




[EDIT: Forgot to mention I use this PowerPole lead between the solar panel and the solar controller]






Herb
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