Wire-Wrap vs. Solder

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
 
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
 
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.
 
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
 
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.
 
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
 
You haven't lived until you have had to trouble shoot an intermittent connection that is vibration or temperature sensitive!!! :bawling:

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

But, on the other hand...........No, your're right, there really isn't anything good about 'em.

We had a big, gaping hole in the wall of our shop where one of our best Techs picked up and threw the D**n device as hard as he could. He'd been on it for a couple days and finally just lost it. The Boss (a great guy) just ignored it, as if nothing had ever happened.

Best Regards,
TerryO
 
We had a big, gaping hole in the wall of our shop where one of our best Techs picked up and threw the D**n device as hard as he could. He'd been on it for a couple days and finally just lost it. The Boss (a great guy) just ignored it, as if nothing had ever happened.

Best Regards,
TerryO

Similar experience - another tech and myself chasing around "ghost" signals that would appear as the ship rolled and one of the screws (propellers) would vibrate the hull. When the vibrations began the "ghost" signals would begin. We were going nuts! Dennis was on the back-plane with one scope lead and I was on the PWB side checking the signal with the other scope lead and Dennis plain lost it and smacked the unit with the plastic end of his screwdriver. The signals jumped and I said - hey - do that again!!! We had a bunch of loose wire wrap connections and a couple of hours of soldering later = problem solved. Sadly - that was just my first experience with loose wire wrap connections.

OTOH - they can really speed up prototype development!!!!