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Old 6th June 2002, 05:09 PM   #1
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Default Wire-Wrap vs. Solder

Does anyone out there use wire-wrap connections in their projects? I imagine that it would not work for large current applications, but could possibly be used for digital circuitry.
Any thoughts?
-Dan
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Old 6th June 2002, 10:49 PM   #2
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Hi Phishead8,

I started my career in computers working on machines that used wire wrapping for awhile. Note, a short while. It was found that the contacts within would eventually rust (one of the tech "fixes" was to solder them!). Also with the increasing speed and sensitivity thereof, noise would get in the way. So... wire wrapping went the way of the Dodo. As far as PCs and minis are concerned, anyway.

Telecommunications and some network (LAN/WAN up to gigabit speeds, though we use fiber for gig speeds) blocks still use punch down, and of course there are those RJ-45 connections, as well as PC card slots (ever hear of CRC and retries?). But for the more important connections solder is still far superior.

For audio, there is little difference, but many (myself included) say that solder is still the better way to go. If it is of any consequence to those who know of him, Dick Sequerra would stand by solder over wire wrap.

Hope this helps
Gabe
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Old 6th June 2002, 10:52 PM   #3
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When prototyping, I usually breakout the good'ole breadboard. As far as doing a full-blown project, I get PCB's made.

Wire-wrapping is only beneficial when prototyping huge digital designs. The switching frequencies should be less than 10 MHz and the wries should NOT be neatly routed next to each other (signal crosstalk). Fast edge switching devices (with sub 100ns edge rates) will cause horrid signal integrity with the wire/lead inductances. This could lead to edge shelving and edge overshoots that could bring your circuit to it's knees! Plus - we don't need to bring up ground-loops and EMI...

This technique is not really used anymore with the new digital systems these days. Clocks are just too fast. Plus, everything is so integrated, there is just no need to go further than breadboarding - if that's even necessary with the simulation tools out there.

Breadboards are easier and PCB vendors are a dime (well, not a dime I guess) a dozen these days. Heck, make your own pcb - Radio Smack has the kits.

For higher current stuff, slap some nails on a piece of wood and go at it - whooo!!

Dave
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Old 7th June 2002, 06:04 AM   #4
alvaius is offline alvaius  Canada
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One other reason that wirewrap was used, and the reason that compression fit connectors are still used in some high rel applications is that they are actually LESS susceptible to very high amounts of vibration and mechanical stress. For this same reason, crimp connections can actually be more reliable than solder. Soldering creates a stress point for the wire making it more susceptible to breaking.

For most of the real world, solder is much easier. As everyone else has stated, high speed or low noise is just not possible with wirewrap.
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Old 7th June 2002, 10:14 PM   #5
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Thanks everyone for replying.

My friend is prototyping a specialized computer for a piece of scientific equipment, and he was describing the ease of the wire-wrap system. I saw him make a connection and and undo it before my soldering iron tip could heat up. It works well for the close proximity and sheer volume of connections that he needs to make. I was just wondering how the audio community views wire-wrapping and I guess I got my answer.
Thanks,
Dan
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Old 25th December 2010, 03:14 PM   #6
T Leung is offline T Leung  Hong Kong
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My 30 years old Pioneer pre-amp had connectivities problems with inter-boards wire-wrap points ( maybe hot/cold joints-I suspect) , I ended up solder all the wire-wrap posts- 20+ . So I think, wire-wrap is not permanent in my case.
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Old 25th December 2010, 11:04 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alvaius View Post

is that they are actually LESS susceptible to very high amounts of vibration and mechanical stress. For this same reason, crimp connections can actually be more reliable than solder.
I was always taught to lace the wire looms to increase reliability with soldered connections.
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Old 18th January 2011, 05:02 AM   #8
T Leung is offline T Leung  Hong Kong
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I mentioned I needed to solder all wire-wraped post earlier and unitl now, around 2 months- the bad connections seem to have disappeared.
Well, my Pioneer C-1500 Pre-amp is a '78 model, weather heating / cooling at the wire-wrap points might result in hot/ cold contact problems but certainly would not happen to soldered joints.
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Old 18th January 2011, 05:49 AM   #9
TerryO is offline TerryO  United States
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I personally hate wire wrap. As it ages, it tends to loosen and if it's a ground connection you can end up with intermitant problems that come up with completely different symtoms each time. IOW: They're a B**ch to troubleshoot. Whatever the savings in manufacturing, is more than offset by the cost of downtime and repairs at a later date.

(Friends don't let friends do wirewrap!)

You asked for opinions, now you have mine...

Best Regards,
TerryO
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Old 18th January 2011, 05:56 AM   #10
49 - for the 18th time - again!
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You haven't lived until you have had to trouble shoot an intermittent connection that is vibration or temperature sensitive!!!

Annnnnnnd wire-wrap is a bad connection just waiting to happen!!!
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