Free 173 Best Homemade Tools eBook:  
Become a founding member: 500+ tool plans, full site access, and more.

User Tag List

Page 2 of 2 FirstFirst 1 2
Results 11 to 20 of 20

Thread: One Way To Splice a Power Cable

  1. #11
    Unkle Fuzzy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Near Monkeytown, USA
    Posts
    133
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 72 Times in 42 Posts
    With flux the problem is most chemicals that clean the copper are also corrosive and then need to be washed out, which is pretty much a No-No with an electrical repair.

    173 Best Homemade Tools eBook

  2. #12
    Supporting Member rgsparber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Phoenix, AZ
    Posts
    1,029
    Thanks
    541
    Thanked 2,202 Times in 539 Posts

    rgsparber's Tools
    Quote Originally Posted by katy View Post
    The oxidation of the copper prevents the solder from bonding to the copper, if the flux that you're using removes the oxidation, you're good. Most fluxes only prevent the base metal from oxidizing due to the heat. The copper should be clean before soldering, either chemically, sanding, or scraping.

    https://www.instructables.com/How-to...es-in-minutes/
    Since my solder flows nicely around the copper, I must not have this problem.

    Rick
    Rick

  3. #13

    Join Date
    Jul 2019
    Location
    Ohio, USA
    Posts
    139
    Thanks
    162
    Thanked 71 Times in 40 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by techcollect View Post
    Thanks for this Rick

    The method you show is the prescribed way used by NASA, in house and by their contractors.
    It's been a while since I looked, but I thought NASA required the splice be wrapped with bus-wire before soldering for stability. Regardless of NASA, if these cables handle mains power or decent amount of current, they should be mechanically reinforced before soldering. Crimp is the preferred method, but wrapping with solid wire is acceptable. I have seen, on more than one occasion, over-current melting the solder joint before the circuit breaker could trip. Should the live end of the wire detach and touch something, it can be hazardous.
    While I am at it, tinning wire before crimping, or using in screw clamp connectors is a bad idea, since the solder relaxes and migrates overtime and the joint becomes loose (solder does not spring back and push against the screw, leading to loosening over time).

    However, on low voltage and low current circuits, I do the same thing.

  4. #14
    Supporting Member rgsparber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Phoenix, AZ
    Posts
    1,029
    Thanks
    541
    Thanked 2,202 Times in 539 Posts

    rgsparber's Tools
    Quote Originally Posted by FEM2008 View Post
    It's been a while since I looked, but I thought NASA required the splice be wrapped with bus-wire before soldering for stability. Regardless of NASA, if these cables handle mains power or decent amount of current, they should be mechanically reinforced before soldering. Crimp is the preferred method, but wrapping with solid wire is acceptable. I have seen, on more than one occasion, over-current melting the solder joint before the circuit breaker could trip. Should the live end of the wire detach and touch something, it can be hazardous.
    While I am at it, tinning wire before crimping, or using in screw clamp connectors is a bad idea, since the solder relaxes and migrates overtime and the joint becomes loose (solder does not spring back and push against the screw, leading to loosening over time).

    However, on low voltage and low current circuits, I do the same thing.
    I now see that I caused some confusion when I talked about "power cables". I have changed the title to "extension cords".

    I'm not sure what you mean by "low voltage" and "low current" but my intent was to splice extension cords used in 120V circuits which carry under 10 amps.

    I completely agree about the dangers of tinning wires before crimping or using screw clamps.

    I had not thought about faults causing the solder to melt before the breaker trips. It does surprise me given the large resistance of the extension cord and the low resistance of the splice. Wouldn't the extension cord start to burn first?

    I have never been able to apply heat to a Western Union splice and have it detach unless it is also under a lot of tension. In this case, the wire usually breaks next to the splice. Now, if it was a simple lap joint, it is not to be trusted.

    Rick
    Rick

  5. #15
    Supporting Member jdurand's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    Los Gatos, California, USA & Goryachy Klyuch, Krasnodar Krai, Russia
    Posts
    1,356
    Thanks
    113
    Thanked 687 Times in 388 Posts

    jdurand's Tools
    In our new house I was surprised the electrician could bury junction boxes behind the plaster in the walls. Then he showed a closeup of how the wires were connected...

    One Way To Splice a Power Cable-2020-05-12_wires-2.jpeg

    After brazing they're wrapped with two independent layers of insulation, the lid is put on the junction box and it's covered with "plaster" (more like stucco).

  6. #16

    Join Date
    Jul 2019
    Location
    Ohio, USA
    Posts
    139
    Thanks
    162
    Thanked 71 Times in 40 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by rgsparber View Post
    I now see that I caused some confusion when I talked about "power cables". I have changed the title to "extension cords".

    I'm not sure what you mean by "low voltage" and "low current" but my intent was to splice extension cords used in 120V circuits which carry under 10 amps.

    I completely agree about the dangers of tinning wires before crimping or using screw clamps.

    I had not thought about faults causing the solder to melt before the breaker trips. It does surprise me given the large resistance of the extension cord and the low resistance of the splice. Wouldn't the extension cord start to burn first?

    I have never been able to apply heat to a Western Union splice and have it detach unless it is also under a lot of tension. In this case, the wire usually breaks next to the splice. Now, if it was a simple lap joint, it is not to be trusted.

    Rick

    BY the way, if anyone is looking for the NASA link on workmanship, here it is:
    https://nepp.nasa.gov/files/27631/NSTD87394A.pdf
    Soldered splices start at page 68.

    Other standards can be found here: https://nepp.nasa.gov/index.cfm/5511
    I believe Jon posted a link to NASA standards in one file a while back. HERE IS ONE:https://archive.org/details/nasa-wor...ge/n3/mode/2up


    What I meant regarding low voltage and low current are battery powered type projects, such as an Arduino circuit. Mains circuits have the capacity to supply hundreds, even thousands of amps very quickly during a short circuit. That's why circuit breakers are rated for 10,000A short circuit capacity for home panels and much higher for industrial applications and building distribution panels. Also, conductors experience tremendous forces during a short-circuits due to generated magnetic forces and capable of whipping cables around, hence the requirements for fastening cables at regular intervals and at junction boxes. Solder is much less conductive than copper (by a factor of ~10 if I recall correctly) and in an event of an overload, the temperature of the solder will rise very quickly and can melt. By the way, eutectic solder is used in thermal circuit breaker and melts during an overload, which then allows a ratchet mechanism to rotate and trip the breaker.

    I am not saying that your method will result in a the wires separating, but I would not trust it from burning down my house.
    What is applicable here is not NASA, but NEC code. I am not sure that NEC code allows electrical splices outside of a junction box or without an approved splice device that completely encloses the splice and mechanically secures the cables. There are products like these below that can be used for solid wire in certain situations (such as fished wire in existing building): https://www.homedepot.com/p/NSi-Indu...MS-3/307358485. Perhaps some electricians can shed some light on the NEC code requirements. I worked with industrial equipment twisting wire and soldering to splice is a no no.

    While the western union splice is accepted by NASA, it is used with solid wires. Twisted soldered stranded wires fail quicker than untwisted wires. If you dig in the NASA case files and others, you'll find examples.

    By the way, I love your posts and ideas you publish and always learn something new.

  7. #17

    Join Date
    Jul 2019
    Location
    Ohio, USA
    Posts
    139
    Thanks
    162
    Thanked 71 Times in 40 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by jdurand View Post
    In our new house I was surprised the electrician could bury junction boxes behind the plaster in the walls. Then he showed a closeup of how the wires were connected...

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	2020-05-12_Wires-2.jpeg 
Views:	32 
Size:	108.8 KB 
ID:	38925

    After brazing they're wrapped with two independent layers of insulation, the lid is put on the junction box and it's covered with "plaster" (more like stucco).
    I am surprised as well. Your area must have a different codes that supersedes NEC regarding hidden junction boxes.

  8. #18
    Supporting Member rgsparber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Phoenix, AZ
    Posts
    1,029
    Thanks
    541
    Thanked 2,202 Times in 539 Posts

    rgsparber's Tools
    Quote Originally Posted by FEM2008 View Post
    BY the way, if anyone is looking for the NASA link on workmanship, here it is:
    https://nepp.nasa.gov/files/27631/NSTD87394A.pdf
    Soldered splices start at page 68.

    Other standards can be found here: https://nepp.nasa.gov/index.cfm/5511
    I believe Jon posted a link to NASA standards in one file a while back. HERE IS ONE:https://archive.org/details/nasa-wor...ge/n3/mode/2up


    What I meant regarding low voltage and low current are battery powered type projects, such as an Arduino circuit. Mains circuits have the capacity to supply hundreds, even thousands of amps very quickly during a short circuit. That's why circuit breakers are rated for 10,000A short circuit capacity for home panels and much higher for industrial applications and building distribution panels. Also, conductors experience tremendous forces during a short-circuits due to generated magnetic forces and capable of whipping cables around, hence the requirements for fastening cables at regular intervals and at junction boxes. Solder is much less conductive than copper (by a factor of ~10 if I recall correctly) and in an event of an overload, the temperature of the solder will rise very quickly and can melt. By the way, eutectic solder is used in thermal circuit breaker and melts during an overload, which then allows a ratchet mechanism to rotate and trip the breaker.

    I am not saying that your method will result in a the wires separating, but I would not trust it from burning down my house.
    What is applicable here is not NASA, but NEC code. I am not sure that NEC code allows electrical splices outside of a junction box or without an approved splice device that completely encloses the splice and mechanically secures the cables. There are products like these below that can be used for solid wire in certain situations (such as fished wire in existing building): https://www.homedepot.com/p/NSi-Indu...MS-3/307358485. Perhaps some electricians can shed some light on the NEC code requirements. I worked with industrial equipment twisting wire and soldering to splice is a no no.

    While the western union splice is accepted by NASA, it is used with solid wires. Twisted soldered stranded wires fail quicker than untwisted wires. If you dig in the NASA case files and others, you'll find examples.

    By the way, I love your posts and ideas you publish and always learn something new.

    You really got me thinking about this. After a few false starts, I came up with this argument. If I'm "blowing smoke", please let me know. All of us are smarter than any one of us:

    The worst case scenario would be a fault in the extension cord that is just below the breaker's trip current. A UL approved cord must not cause a fire. My guess is that the heat from the conductors will cause the plastic to melt and cause the conductors to short. This would greatly increase the current and the breaker should trip. In thinking about the heat needed to melt plastic versus the heat needed to melt solder, I expect that the splice will remain sound during this fault.



    As to burning a house down, I recently almost had a front row seat. My neighbor came over and asked me to check out a problem. In the kitchen was a blackened outlet pulled about 6 inches from the wall. All of the plastic around one of the screws was gone. All that was left was the screw and the conductor. A few MONTHS before, she had heard crackling so turned off power and pulled the outlet out. Then she reapplied power because it was essential to the lives of some very expensive tropical fish. Eventually the crackling got worse and she could see a tiny but bright light in this area. The insulation on the attached wire fell off. Hmmm. Maybe something is amiss...

    After removing power and letting it all cool, I gently moved the wire. It was only attached to the screw because it was formed around it. I think the installer forgot to tighten the screw in the first place. That was over 15 years ago.

    I was able to cut off the damaged wire and replace the outlet. I then checked that the current being drawn through this wire was safely below the breaker's trip current. I left after suggesting to her that she hire an electrician to check that all screws are tight so this doesn't happen again.

    Rick
    Rick

  9. #19
    Supporting Member jdurand's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    Los Gatos, California, USA & Goryachy Klyuch, Krasnodar Krai, Russia
    Posts
    1,356
    Thanks
    113
    Thanked 687 Times in 388 Posts

    jdurand's Tools
    I once was asked to look at someone's kitchen outlet for the microwave, it kept having problems cooking.

    I unscrewed the cover plate for a look-see before bothering to turn off the power and ZAP...darkness as the breaker tripped. Getting a flashlight, the outlet wasn't in a box. Just a hole in the wall with outlet hanging off the cover plate. Ok, that explained the larger plate than a normal USA one.

    Fished the outlet out of the wall and on the back was the crumbling remains of brown zip-cord going straight into the wall and to a box on the other side. Opened THAT box and the two wire cord was just tucked under the screws that held the original building wires in.

    I added a box, real 3 conductor building wire and put the wall back together. MUCH better.

    Some wiring jobs are scary, others are worse.

  10. #20
    Supporting Member rgsparber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Phoenix, AZ
    Posts
    1,029
    Thanks
    541
    Thanked 2,202 Times in 539 Posts

    rgsparber's Tools
    Quote Originally Posted by jdurand View Post
    I once was asked to look at someone's kitchen outlet for the microwave, it kept having problems cooking.

    I unscrewed the cover plate for a look-see before bothering to turn off the power and ZAP...darkness as the breaker tripped. Getting a flashlight, the outlet wasn't in a box. Just a hole in the wall with outlet hanging off the cover plate. Ok, that explained the larger plate than a normal USA one.

    Fished the outlet out of the wall and on the back was the crumbling remains of brown zip-cord going straight into the wall and to a box on the other side. Opened THAT box and the two wire cord was just tucked under the screws that held the original building wires in.

    I added a box, real 3 conductor building wire and put the wall back together. MUCH better.

    Some wiring jobs are scary, others are worse.
    That is a mind blowing story!

    Rick



    173 Best Homemade Tools eBook
    Rick

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •