Melting wires

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WarIsOver
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Melting wires

Post by WarIsOver » Feb 13, 2018 3:57 pm

I know I've been putting the 1,5kW motor under a bit of a heavy load but how can it be that the yellow wire hasn't gotten any damage?

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Re: Melting wires

Post by amberwolf » Feb 13, 2018 4:22 pm

THe yellow one is probably ok because it likely had a tight nut and good connection (low resistance).

The others probably had loose nuts, so poor connections and high resistance.

Problem with this kind of connection is if the nuts aren't vibration-proof, they can work loose over time on anything road going, so no matter how tight they started out, they may not stay taht way.

If they aren't all the same kind of metal (everything in the stack) then you can also get galvanic corrosion from moisture, and that can sometimes work things loose too.

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Re: Melting wires

Post by WarIsOver » Feb 13, 2018 4:36 pm

Thank you for the analysis. I too thought that the connectors are to blame because the wires are all fine further away from the box.

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Re: Melting wires

Post by WarIsOver » Feb 13, 2018 4:39 pm

I'd like to change the connector. What would be good for this purpose? XT60 is only for two wires... :)

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Re: Melting wires

Post by e-beach » Feb 13, 2018 4:51 pm

Like AW, my first thought is a poor connection. I would also check the connectors and crimping. My second guess is that the yellow wire was made of better copper. Just a better wire. My third thought is if your phase is off somewhere, or maybe you have a week fet or something that is putting more stress on the two phases that got hot.

I usually solder all the wires I can because of the potential of connector failure. If I go with connectors the one's I feel best about are bullet connectors. For phase wires, 5mm at least. 6mm are probably better. Easy to solder, and then shrink rap to keep them from coming apart.

These kind:
Bullet Con.jpg
Bullet Con.jpg (33.13 KiB) Viewed 414 times
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Re: Melting wires

Post by teklektik » Feb 13, 2018 5:18 pm

WarIsOver wrote:
Feb 13, 2018 3:57 pm
...how can it be that the yellow wire hasn't gotten any damage?
If you examine the damage closely, you will see that the heating is not in the wire proper (no melted insulation) and not in the bolted connection (no discoloration in the bolt or plastic insulator block), it's in the crimp. The discoloration in the ring terminal starts at the terminal crimp where things are melted and fades away towards the bolt.

For some reason that we can't see because the heat shrink didn't melt, the yellow wire had an effective crimp whereas the other two did not. Looking at the visible crimps in the two melted wire runs, there is really no useful crimp - the sleeve is just folded into place over the wire and really is pretty ineffective.

The crimp should be broad and completely crush the ring terminal sleeve with the wires inside into a solid block of copper with a gas-tight seal. You need a much better crimper (ratcheting, etc). Use the more expensive thicker copper terminals as well - not the cheap thin junk.

crimpNG.jpg
crimpNG.jpg (249.53 KiB) Viewed 409 times

There is nothing wrong with bolted connections - they were the standard in the automotive industry for the better part of a century and are still used where high currents are present. They are essentially impervious to vibration and make an excellent electrical connection as long as the underlying bolt has a shoulder against which the ring terminal is tightened or the housing is bakelite (hi-temp and doesn't flow under pressure to allow things to loosen). The only reason they are not prevalent in ebikes is because of the size and inconvenience. If you can afford the space, keep on using them, but get your connectors attached to the wire properly.
Last edited by teklektik on Feb 13, 2018 5:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Melting wires

Post by Voltron » Feb 13, 2018 5:20 pm

Just about anything is better that those yellow terminal blocks. I've seen so many of those melt down. Bullet connectors, Anderson Power Poles (not the generic copies) or just straight crimping them together all will be better than the yellow block.

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Re: Melting wires

Post by Chalo » Feb 13, 2018 5:51 pm

To me, it looks like it's all about the crimp job and not the terminal blocks. I reckon a bolted joint will always be more conformal than a plugged one.

No matter how thin and tawdry the ring terminals are, they're bigger than the PCB traces and FET legs we all use and depend on. So I doubt that's it.
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Re: Melting wires

Post by Voltron » Feb 13, 2018 6:02 pm

Yes, it could be that those yellow blocks go hand in hand with the terrible poorly plated tiny ring terminals. But if you assume the crimps were all about the same quality (not a great assumption) then seems like how tight the nut is staying could have a lot to do with uneven heating. Modern gold plated plugs are pretty water proof these days too. Hard to keep humidity out of the blocks in wet weather. During heavy heating and cooling cycles maybe springy connectors are better?

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Re: Melting wires

Post by Philaphlous » Feb 13, 2018 7:47 pm

I just glued two sets of Deans connectors together...quite easy, then soldered the 3 phase wires to the deans...done...

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Re: Melting wires

Post by e-beach » Feb 13, 2018 8:53 pm

I don't know why people relay on crimps anyway. It is such a spotty connection style. Solder it! Even if it is crimped I solder it to make sure.

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Re: Melting wires

Post by Voltron » Feb 13, 2018 9:00 pm

Sometimes solder can wick up the wire strands and make a hard spot that after the wire is flexed a lot breaks the strands, and uncleaned flux can hide down in the wire... properly done crimps have proven to be a hard to beat method, but like most things, dependent on the right tools and technique.

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Re: Melting wires

Post by spinningmagnets » Feb 13, 2018 9:09 pm

I've read that crimps can withstand a level of heat that would re-melt a soldered connection. However, my personal opinion is that no joint should ever get so hot that any solder that is present would be damaged.

I'm not sure on the specifics but...it's also bad to get copper extra hot (hardening? Brittleness? Oxidation?).

I'd bump up the size of wire for as much length as you can easily reach, and use brand new connectors that are also one size larger. Wire and connectors are cheap, and my time is valuable to me...I don't like breakdowns.

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Re: Melting wires

Post by e-beach » Feb 13, 2018 9:31 pm

Solder melts at about 370°F (188°C) If your connectors are that hot, you have a problem. And yes, solder can harden a bit of the wire, but lo less then the crimp. Wires often fray at the end of a crimp thereby lessening the conductive capability of wire. I have seen that more often then with soldered wires, or soldered bullet connectors.

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Re: Melting wires

Post by Voltron » Feb 13, 2018 9:43 pm

Everybody has their own favorite techniques of course. Some of it is application specific too... I make a lot of boat wiring harnesses, and the boat wiring codes are anti solder for some connectors. Then there's other ones like assembling the sevcon multi pin connectors where you can't really solder them and still have the pins fit in the plugs reliably. But they have the special terminals and crimpers, with tabs that grab the insulation on the wire for stain relief.
I think I got my anti solder bias from all the customer batteries I've seen killed by a simple broken off soldered balance wire or BMS wire.

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Re: Melting wires

Post by amberwolf » Feb 14, 2018 12:58 am

teklektik wrote:
Feb 13, 2018 5:18 pm
If you examine the damage closely, you will see that the heating is not in the wire proper (no melted insulation) and not in the bolted connection (no discoloration in the bolt or plastic insulator block), it's in the crimp. The discoloration in the ring terminal starts at the terminal crimp where things are melted and fades away towards the bolt.
You're right, but I can't see that in the tiny thumbnail (even if I enlarge it locally) that shows up in the OP's post. If the link in it is supposed to go to a larger image, it doesn't for me (just a blank page with various script errors).

If the image had been attached to the post directly where I could view the full size version, I might've been able to see that. ;)

So, to the OP, I'm sorry about the misdirection of where the problem lies.

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Re: Melting wires

Post by Voltron » Feb 14, 2018 7:18 am

Actually, the two bolts with the hot wires are highly discolored compared to the other one... I'm still going with simple loose nut causing things to get hot.

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Re: Melting wires

Post by dogman dan » Feb 14, 2018 7:54 am

I like to bet both problems existed. a bad crimp caused the nut to heat, loosening it.

Go with the big fat bullet connectors IMO. Because you likely are not an expert crimper. If you were, I'd suggest something like a 45 amps Anderson, but with 6 sets of connectors. Each crimp then carrying half the load.

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Re: Melting wires

Post by liveforphysics » Feb 14, 2018 8:10 am

e-beach wrote:
Feb 13, 2018 8:53 pm
I don't know why people relay on crimps anyway. It is such a spotty connection style. Solder it! Even if it is crimped I solder it to make sure.

:D
Solder conducts like crap in your joints making hot spots that if stressed melt and flow places they can short out on things.
Solder in the wire strands means broken wires if you bend them a few times.
Soldered joints can not match the electrical impedance of a proper cold-forged crimp joint, nor the mechanical strength (because the solder itself is low tensile strength, and when wicked into strands creates stress riser failure points.)

Solder is a mega-fail for performance EVs, but is better than most of the garbage insulated crimp connectors and crimpers you can buy at a hardware store. Any useful crimp joint will be non-insulated, and require a real crimper to cold-forge.
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Re: Melting wires

Post by e-beach » Feb 14, 2018 10:31 am

@ WarisOver, How many amps do you think you were pulling through your connector?

Oh, and what gauge are/were your burnt wires?

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Re: Melting wires

Post by Raisedeyebrows » Feb 14, 2018 12:33 pm

liveforphysics wrote:
Feb 14, 2018 8:10 am
e-beach wrote:
Feb 13, 2018 8:53 pm
I don't know why people relay on crimps anyway. It is such a spotty connection style. Solder it! Even if it is crimped I solder it to make sure.

:D
Solder conducts like crap in your joints making hot spots that if stressed melt and flow places they can short out on things.
Solder in the wire strands means broken wires if you bend them a few times.
Soldered joints can not match the electrical impedance of a proper cold-forged crimp joint, nor the mechanical strength (because the solder itself is low tensile strength, and when wicked into strands creates stress riser failure points.)

Solder is a mega-fail for performance EVs, but is better than most of the garbage insulated crimp connectors and crimpers you can buy at a hardware store. Any useful crimp joint will be non-insulated, and require a real crimper to cold-forge.

Glad I read this thread, I'm going to cease adding solder to my crimp joints and invest in a better crimper. Been using one of my grandpa's old crimpers (decent, he was a master electrician back in the day) but I'm going to get myself a ratcheting crimper and redo all my connections with quality bullet connectors.

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Re: Melting wires

Post by 999zip999 » Feb 14, 2018 1:02 pm

So crimp and solder is worse then just my crimper ? I do not have a hydraulic crimper.

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Re: Melting wires

Post by wturber » Feb 14, 2018 4:27 pm

999zip999 wrote:
Feb 14, 2018 1:02 pm
So crimp and solder is worse then just my crimper ? I do not have a hydraulic crimper.
Do a search on crimping. There are some good posts on the topic.
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Re: Melting wires

Post by liveforphysics » Feb 14, 2018 6:13 pm

999zip999 wrote:
Feb 14, 2018 1:02 pm
So crimp and solder is worse then just my crimper ? I do not have a hydraulic crimper.
Yes, your joints are more failure prone than if you just crimped them correctly alone. Solder is how to lose at joining wires.

This is my favorite of the smaller wire cheap crimpers (it's a knock-off of a $500 Nichifu crimper design and works about identically).

https://www.amazon.com/1-25-16mm%C2%B2- ... dpSrc=srch
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Re: Melting wires

Post by Voltron » Feb 14, 2018 6:27 pm

Little ones for little pins...
crimpers.jpg
crimpers.jpg (125.86 KiB) Viewed 223 times

And big ones for battery mains...
bigcrimpers.jpg
bigcrimpers.jpg (110.57 KiB) Viewed 223 times
...like these for some circuit breakers.
circuitbreakers.jpg
circuitbreakers.jpg (111.92 KiB) Viewed 221 times
Last edited by Voltron on Feb 14, 2018 6:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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