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To ttap or not to ttap?


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vitrox 
Copper - Posts: 96
Copper spacespace
Joined: June 10, 2003
Posted: September 14, 2007 at 10:13 PM / IP Logged  

just throwing in my .02...

I live in alaska.  EVERY shop here solders their connections for remote starters. 

Our shop solders remote starters, alarms, head units, amp wiring.. everything that can be soldered is soldered.  I have yet to use a t-tap in the 4 years i've been doing this.  I haven't had any vehicles come back because of a bad connection yet.

Although, if you are going to solder, invest in a good soldering iron.  such as a master butane iron.  1100 degrees will solder almost every wire, except the 8ga+ wires.  For that I have a much larger butane iron that works. Without a good iron you may as well be t-tapping because you are just getting cold solder joints.  You have no idea how many units i've removed that have came from the states that have had cold solder joints.  I could literally just slide the wire around without even heating it.

If you want reliability, solder is the way to go.  Also, anything but shrink tube or 3m super 33+ is a waste of time as far as covering the joint goes.

extreme1 
Silver - Posts: 1,070
Silver spacespace
Joined: February 12, 2003
Location: Canada
Posted: September 15, 2007 at 10:30 AM / IP Logged  
vitrox wrote:

just throwing in my .02...

I live in alaska.  EVERY shop here solders their connections for remote starters. 

Our shop solders remote starters, alarms, head units, amp wiring.. everything that can be soldered is soldered.  I have yet to use a t-tap in the 4 years i've been doing this.  I haven't had any vehicles come back because of a bad connection yet.

Although, if you are going to solder, invest in a good soldering iron.  such as a master butane iron.  1100 degrees will solder almost every wire, except the 8ga+ wires.  For that I have a much larger butane iron that works. Without a good iron you may as well be t-tapping because you are just getting cold solder joints.  You have no idea how many units i've removed that have came from the states that have had cold solder joints.  I could literally just slide the wire around without even heating it.

If you want reliability, solder is the way to go.  Also, anything but shrink tube or 3m super 33+ is a waste of time as far as covering the joint goes.

My weller D650 will solder 8awg but that's about the limit of it. I will burn through a tip every 3 weeks during the winter months.
Shaughn Murley
Install Manager, Dealer Services
Visions Electronics
Red Deer, Alberta
howie ll 
Pot Metal - Posts: 16,466
Pot Metal spacespace
Joined: January 09, 2007
Location: United Kingdom
Posted: September 15, 2007 at 2:22 PM / IP Logged  

Extreme 1 and Vitrox; I agree with everything you've said, for projects I use a Weler Gun via an inverter, but my weller Cordless seems to run hotter!

The downside is that the gun's tips need constant tightening to maintain heat levels and  getting the cordless to even work in winter is a joke!

Also anyone know where I can get Scotch 33+ in UK? The stuff we get through our major factors here is garbage let alone trying to use it in winter, thanks.

init 
Copper - Posts: 93
Copper spacespace
Joined: March 13, 2007
Location: Louisiana, United States
Posted: September 15, 2007 at 7:08 PM / IP Logged  

I wasn't going to add fuel to the flame but since this thread has been revived I'll toss in my $.02.

I've used all 4 different methods of connection, soldering, butt splice, ScotchLocks and T-Taps.  Of all of them, T-Taps are my least favorite.

I can see a situation where T-Taps might be useful, such as a wire that's buried underneath a lot of other stuff that would be a pain in the ass to remove, etc, but I don't beleive wiring a whole system, especially a remote start, with T-Taps is a good idea.

Now, I'm not a professional, and as a result I don't have to worry about turnover rate. For me, I do 1 install maybe every year or so.  But, consider this.  McDonald's serves food fast.  Is it the best quality food?  Most likely not, but it does do the job.  It's quantity over quality.  They get customers in and out fast and make money doing it.

You may be able to do an installation in 15 seconds with T-Taps.  But, if I go over to my friend's house and show him the install I did, and say "It's a little sloppy because I used T-Taps instead of soldering the wires like it should be done" and he peeks under his dash and sees the same T-Taps that his "professional" used for his rs/security, how is he going to feel about the installation that he paid his hard earned money for, when he could have had any one of us do the same for nothing?  If he brings the car to a different shop to have anything else installed, and they don't use T-Taps, they'll probably tell him the same.

The way I see it, you can give a customer a McInstall, but when the customer finds out how it was done and that it could have been done a better way, how is that customer going to feel about your shop?  Even if it isn't warranted, customers and other shops are going to discredit your work, because T-Taps aren't considered a "proper" way of making a good connection.  It won't cast a favorable image of your business.  What's worse is, if the system you installed is having problems because of a faulty connection, and the customer brings it to another shop, they're going to get knocked for T-Taps.

So, my philosophly towards this is "quality, not quantity." Sure, you may be able to make more money with T-Taps, but in the long run the word will spread that--despite wether or not T-Taps are good--your shop is doing poor quality work. And that is the last thing I'd want as a business owner.

As far as T-Taps go, I'm not a real big fan of them, but perhaps I haven't got past the "learning curve." To me, it seemed pretty straightforward: slide the wire into the fork and push down, snap the connector together, crimp the other end on, and snap the 2 connections together.  Even with a strong crimp connection and the connector snapped firmly in place, it seemed that 50% of the connections would later be traced to an issue.  Maybe I'm doing it wrong?  Possibly.  Also, the damn things stick out of the side of the wire and get caught up in everything.

I do realize that I'm "charlie brown" here, so take what I say with a grain of salt. As a customer, however, this is how I feel about the issue.

I'm not a professional.  But I have stayed at a Holiday Inn Express.

howie ll 
Pot Metal - Posts: 16,466
Pot Metal spacespace
Joined: January 09, 2007
Location: United Kingdom
Posted: September 16, 2007 at 5:14 AM / IP Logged  

Init,very very sensible comments, BUT the whole point is making a good physically strong joint with good electrical conductivity, surely that means PROPER  soldering ie enough heat and watch the solder flow into the joint and proper, lasting sleeving whether sleeving or good quality insulating tape.

Hooray I've found Scotch 33+ suppliers in the UK, but $10 per reel? Do a Cat I and R/S and you've shifted a reel!

init 
Copper - Posts: 93
Copper spacespace
Joined: March 13, 2007
Location: Louisiana, United States
Posted: September 16, 2007 at 6:02 PM / IP Logged  

Yes.  Personally I do feel soldering is the best option.   Of all 4 connection types, soldering makes the strongest bond when applied right.  Keep in mind, though, if it isn't done right it can be just as problematic as any other.

I realize that, since I'm not a professonal I may not have the expertise to use and apply T-Taps as properly as the OP does.  I was just giving my opinion on the psycological and sociological impact of T-Taps from a consumer's standpoint.

KPierson 
Platinum - Posts: 3,526
Platinum spaceThis member consistently provides reliable informationspace
Joined: April 14, 2005
Location: Ohio, United States
Posted: October 10, 2007 at 4:23 PM / IP Logged  

Sorry to bring up an old thread, but I just got this Email and I thought I would share:

A customer looking for support wrote:
I feel dumb for sending that email last night. I was using t-taps and they did not get into the meat of the wire. I ended up stripping a piece of the switch harness wires and attaching it the right way. Everything works good now.

Kevin Pierson
profuse007 
Gold - Posts: 2,015
Gold spacespace
Joined: October 20, 2002
Location: Texas, United States
Posted: October 11, 2007 at 12:18 AM / IP Logged  
^that statement doesnt say much since the fact that its not specified the t-tap size he/she used on a certain wire guage.
I am not for it nor against it but from my experiences and testings, it works fine as long as you use the right t-tap size for its corresponding AWG.
Its not the best method for tapping wires in, IMO, but its one of the solution.
theres a shop near my area that uses t-tap on all of the installs to save time and quote customer less. They charge like ~50-75bucks for remote start installation, whereas other places charges 150-200 for RS installation. I had a friend went into this well-known shop and they only charged 50bucks and they used all t-taps. It worked for about a yr until he totaled the vehicle.
What i am saying is that there are competitive shops out there that have used t-taps for yrs and still do.
Houston,TX
"The two most common elements in the universe are H+ and stupidity" (Ellison).
evileagletalon 
Copper - Posts: 65
Copper spacespace
Joined: November 17, 2006
Location: United States
Posted: October 11, 2007 at 1:11 AM / IP Logged  
I used to be all anal like some other installer on here, soldering EVERYTHING, heat shrinking all of the joints, etc.
Now, I use the 3M t-taps. I use the blue 3M t-taps and the light green transparent male spade connectors that go into the t-tap to make the connection.
These connections are actually very tight. Once the connectio is made, you have to tug on the connection pretty hard to get it apart. I hardwire in aftermarket head units on the new Chevys with 3m t-taps. I also use 3M tape to cover up the t-tap connection and keep the harness covered up.
If you're having issues with t-taps coming apart or making a bad connection, you're doing something wrong. Now that I've been using 3M t-taps for head unit installs, alarm/remote starts, etc, soldering and heat shrinking are overkill and not necessary.
What if you need to make a connection on the brake wire on a 99 Mitsubishi 3000GT VR-4? The brake wire is WAY up in the brake pedal assembly, I could barely manage to get 3 fingers up there. I doubt you'll be able to solder the brake wire connection for the alarm/remote start. The T-tap worked flawlessly, and it was done correctly.
KPierson 
Platinum - Posts: 3,526
Platinum spaceThis member consistently provides reliable informationspace
Joined: April 14, 2005
Location: Ohio, United States
Posted: October 11, 2007 at 5:44 AM / IP Logged  

profuse007 wrote:
^that statement doesnt say much since the fact that its not specified the t-tap size he/she used on a certain wire guage.

This is exactly the problem though, that many people misuse them.

I would almost guarentee that the wrong size was used.

I've never had an Email about someone who used the wrong size solder joint!

Kevin Pierson
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