Heat-Shrink Wiring Repair

A quick little fix to repairing wires

Making a properly soldered electrical connection involves several steps. You've got to clean and strip the wires, slip on a section of heat-shrink tubing (positioning it far enough from the joint so that the heat from the solder gun won't shrink it prematurely), solder the connection and then activate the heat shrink with a heat source. This can be difficult, especially if you're trying to make the connection by the side of the road. Wouldn't it be nice if you could combine several of the steps to make the job that much easier?

Heat-shrink wire repair
I prefer a fan splice for this sort of connection, but a twist works almost as well.Photography by Mark Zimmerman
Heat-shrink wiring repair
Slip the connector over the splice, apply a little heat, and you're good to go.Photography by Mark Zimmerman

The solution is to use a combination heat-shrink/solder connector. These connectors combine a small piece of heat-shrink tubing with a ring of low-temperature solder. You slip one over the splice and then heat it, preferably with a heat gun, but anything from a torch to a lighter will work just fine. As the heat shrink contracts, the solder will melt, securing and sealing the connection. These things are sold in just about every auto-parts store in the world, and a dozen of them should take up no more space in your saddlebag than a pack of chewing gum. In the shop. I’d recommend using a heat gun, but in an emergency situation, you can always flick your Bic, so long as you take the proper precautions.


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