How to Do a Western Union Splice




Introduction: How to Do a Western Union Splice

About: Mostly, I study chemistry but sometimes I work wood. Also, the game.

This the solder splice that offers the least resistance I've ever found : less than a hundred micro ohms! My Ohmmeter doesn't read less than that, so I'm happy with it.

It's quite easy to do and offers great mechanical resistance for virtually no electrical resistance :)

Step 1: Wire Wrapping

First you want to remove a good 5 cm (2 inches) of insulant on the wires, then twist them on themselves to make a single thick brand.

There's a great scheme here that came from wikipedia and sums up the following:

1) Fold in the middle and give one or two turns

2) Wrap tightly around the other wire using pliers or your fingers if you feel strong today

Step 2: Drown It in Solder

Finally, heat the wires with the tip of the soldering iron and then apply the solder by touching the wires with your soldering wire.

Once the whole thing is soaked in solder, you're done!

You can easily slide on a piece of heatshrink and the splice should withstand the strongest of tugs while guaranteeing incredicle electrical contact.



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    30 Discussions

    Use detail "D" with no solder. IF wrapped tightly, ZERO air will get between the wires (non visible part. Solder WILL provide a Breakpoint - at each end! This splice is well over 100 Years old and works every time - IF TIGHT! There is also a "T" splice also. I have provided many links to this, for many years. Search; "Western Union Splice" and/or "W.U. Tee Splice". Soldering needs to be quick - Use a Weller Expert (model 4100 for example) 100/140 Watt Gun. Clean tip, apply a bit of rosin core solder THEN touch the wire, add a bit of solder. remove gun. Antennas and wires that move or are in Tension, should NOT be soldered! As that is were the break WILL OCCUR. I've used this method - since 1957 - wires are STILL shinny, where they were TIGHTLY wrapped = virtually ZERO OHMS. NASA approved!!!


    2 years ago

    There is also this Heatshrink solder splice connector. Heat shrink tube with solder inside. Only ever used it when I was training 40 years ago.

    Remember to slide enough heatshrink tubing onto one end before soldering, or use heat shrink tape.

    8 replies

    Let it cool before you slide the heatshrink on, otherwise it will shrink before you get it in place.

    Chill bro, this is s a place for learning, and some folks might not think of this little "Gem" that GeoffN4 dropped on us. A lot of folks don't have your years in soldering and electronics, I do, but not everyone has.

    Thank you. Took the words right out of my mouth. I didn't know about this before, but I'm thirsty for knowledge! ? Soldering.....I think in Girl Scouts we used a soldering gun. But for sure once or twice in middle school technology. ? Thanks to anyone with constructive criticism and willingness to share your knowledge. ????

    Wait a second...did you just say that there's heat shrink TAPE? I've only ever seen/used the tubes. Where can I find the heat shrink tape? I prefer the tubes, but there have been a few times when the tape would have come in very handy!

    Nice *ible* by the way!

    Been doing my splices like this since high school ? and that's going back more than just a few decades!?

    Here is an example

    Hadn't seen in a while, but my quick amazon look showed some examples.

    the splice part is easy, but if you dont know how to solder ( like the guy in the pic) youll come up with a cold solder joint, this will corrode!

    I didn't know this had a name! My father taught it to me when I was a child, doing electronics projects.

    This is my favorite splice - it is very strong/secure, very compact, and has the potential for cold welds to be created (you are essentially wirewrapping two wires together) with the solder shielding the splice from corrosion.

    It drives me nuts when people use crimp connectors (escpecially scotchlock splicers) or do a butt splice; strip the ends, put the wires together so they're both facing the same direction and twist them together, so when you lay the line back out, the splice is jutting off to the side (which seems to be the most common method - especially when hacks cut the stock wiring harness to install car audio and alarm systems). Just what the heck are you people doing? Put down that soldering iron, step back from the vehicle and never hack apart a wiring harness again. Ever.

    Also, what John said. Forgetting to slide the heat shrink tubing on before making these splices is the worst!

    4 replies

    This is actually kind of funny to me, I work for the oldest and largest telecommunications company on the internet installation side and scotchlocks are all that are used - primarily because it is a time and weather proofing thing.

    For phone signals, sure. I have no problem with the 110 and similar terminal blocks or even crimp connectors. Phone systems are very low current and there is little risk involved.

    I've seen those crimp connectors misused for power for CCTV and AV systems, in autosound systems, and in higher power applications as well.

    Also when I went to insure a ZR-1 Corvette, the insurance company required me to have an aftermarket alarm installed. They would not insure if I installed it myself (they demanded a receipt, not just a demonstration at an insurance agent), so I had a shop install it. What did they use? Scotchlock splice connectors. Guess what? They killed the car - after a little over a year the computer started acting up, it intermittently would not start, etc. - after ripping out the dash I discovered their hack job. I was pissed - PISSED - that they basically ruined a wiring harness in an exotic car.

    Not defending a hack job by the installers by any means here but, installing any aftermarket electronics in today's vehicles requires specialized knowledge and equipment specifically designed to be compatible. LANs and CANs and PCMs and ECMs and all sorts of relays and computers all interact with each other and are dependent on very precise data and feedback. Tapping into the wrong wire or system can wreak havoc. Not saying you can't install aftermarket electronics but you need to be very careful and do research on the product and the installers.

    KimberlyL45 :

    You could not be more RIGHT.... I hate quick connects. if you're going to do it, work so you don't have to go in a again later and fix your work, or that of some rookie who uses those damnable quick connect plastic crap things.

    Step #1 needs to be slide the heat shrink tubing down one length of wire before splicing them together. I don't know how many times I've forgotten to do that first.

    1 reply

    Me too. appr. 3 times of 10 I forget the shrinking tube.Me worked on industrial & telecom for decades, (now retiered). In the industrial we "allways" used a heatshrink that had glue inside the tube. This glue melted at the same temperature as the shrink, thus giving an absolutely isolation against water and so. Can't find these shrinks anymore? anyone? Course they'll be much more expencive..... but anyway.