Electrical connectors vs soldering

I still haven’t gotten my X-Carve yet (July 1 order date…), but I’m planning the assembly. When it comes to limit switches and spindle control, are there any electrical connectors that can be used instead of soldering? Or is it really just easier and no big deal to do the soldering and get on with it?

I’ve never actually done soldering before, being just a woodworker. But I do think I want the limit switches and the spindle control, so I’d like those connections to be made.

The soldering is really quite simple, particularly the limit switches. The only spot that might give you trouble would be the soldering of the headers to the G-shield, I would think. It’s not a particularly tough thing to do, though, so I wouldn’t worry. Read up on appropriate methods first, and you’ll do fine.

I think small, crimped quick-disconnects can be slipped over the microswitch terminals.

@StevenPaxman, I’m not real good at the soldering thing myself, but I found it was the way to go. @DanBrown was right in that for me, the toughest part was soldering the headers to the g-shield. I couldn’t find female connectors small enough for the microswitch terminals, at least not locally. I didn’t really want to solder direct to the microswitches, but in the absence of really small terminals, I went ahead and did it. I originally put crimp connectors on all of my other wires, but I found that they didn’t always crimp well on such small gauge wires and a few pulled out before I ever finished building the machine, and the plastic around the terminals also got loose once crimped and made it look really sloppy. So, I took ALL of the terminals off and started over. I pulled the plastic insulators off, crimped the connectors on, hit them with some solder to make sure they didn’t come loose, then threw some heat shrink on them. It cleaned up really nice, and I am confident in my connections now.

I used 18-gauge insulated fork connectors for all of my wiring onto screw terminals, except the ends going into the connectors at the G-shield end, and the limit switches. Limit switches were soldered directly, and the wires going into the screw-down contacts on the plugs, etc, were twisted and tinned to prevent any stray wires from escaping and causing shorts. I used standard crimping pliers, oriented so that the punched dent was away from the visible side, and my connections were all solid enough that I could not tug them loose. No trouble so far!

I also used crimp connectors, even on the homing switches. At some point I may convert the homing switches to limit switches which are usually NC instead of NO so I wanted to be able to switch over easily.

@LarryM Do you have a link to the connectors you used online somewhere? I’m not super familiar with the various types of electrical bits available, being a woodworker. But if I were pointed in the right direction, I’m a pretty handy guy, so I think I could figure it out.

The crimp connectors that I got do not fit the switches that Inventables sells with their “Limit Switch” option. The connectors that I got are just a little too small. If you are careful you can make them fit on the tab of the switch.

I ordered switches and connectors for my future limit switch mod and the connectors that I bought fit those switches perfectly.

If you want to try to force fit the connectors I can get you the part number.

If I hadn’t already built the X-carve I would have just used my new switches. If you want to do it that way I can get you the part numbers for the connectors and switches.

Since others had problems with spindle noise I bought shielded cable for my homing switches.

Actually, it depends entirely on the type of terminal. Both automotive and MIL-spec terminations may call for crimped, soldered, or crimped and soldered depending on the application. The catalog and associated literature will call out what is required.

With AMP-style solderless crimp connectors the correct procedure is to throw them as far as you can and get something decent. You can go through various online tutorials to know more like-


In most cases the most important thing is using exactly the specified crimping tool for the terminal style and gauge. A crimped and soldered terminal connection is generally better than crimped alone, except most people don’t know how to solder properly and use too much. The solder then wicks up the braid, hardening the wire and making it prone to breakage

For those who don’t want to solder onto the gshield, I purchased a screw shield for my arduino off of eBay. It Did not require any soldering to the gshield or the arduino. Taking this route does make the housing and fan obsolete that comes stock with the Xcarve, so arrangements for cooling will need to be modified. A bonus to adding the screw shield, there is a larger gap for more airflow between the arduino and the gshield.

For the limit switches I found some really small spade connectors at the local electrical supply shop. They fit perfectly on the switches’ tabs. This came in handy when I broke a switch on the Z axis just like everyone does, and rather than have to cut and resolder the new one, it was a screw-on affair.

I’d have liked to have found those! Our local shops’ smallest options, unfortunately, were way too large for the job. Mine are soldered directly. All the motor wiring, etc is done with screw-down forked connectors, but the switches had to be soldered. Was kind of a pain when I sent a jog for the Y-axis to the Z a while back. Facedesk Fortunately, I’ve now added soft limits to the Z that catch the most absurd sends, although I can still step it right through the switch MM at a time. Crunch-oops

The connectors are from a company called NTE, model 76-NIFD22-110.
That stands for “Nylon Insulated Female Disconnect for 22ga wire, .110” size." I don’t know what the 76 is for.

Their website is http://www.nteinc.com/terminals-and-connectors.php?a=2710
but you have to look up the part on a .pdf sheet and I guess order over
the phone or head into your local electronics shop.

These electronics suppliers don’t like doing business
online apparently.

This should not happen. Did you home your machine first? If you don’t home your machine then 0,0,0 is not set properly. When I step my machine by 1 mm increments soft limits alarm at the switch. I haven’t tried smaller steps, but I will next time I’m at the machine.

My machine IS homed, of course. But I’ve had mixed results with soft limits if I set them to actual dimensions of the machine. On my X and Y I have them set a few inches short. On the Z, every time I’ve tried to set them exactly, they error out with any command sent. I have it set for 4" now, which seems to be the smallest I can go without getting random errors, and that catches any big motion that I intended for X or Y but sent to Z instead. So far I’ve been fortunate, and with some care in my work I haven’t managed to slam any more of them! I have nine more switches standing by. lol

I think you have a problem with your machine. This should not happen.

Possible, but it’s working well as-is, so I just don’t muck around with it.