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...because I hate crimpers - I'm just not very good with them! This will be for small electronics projects carrying small loads (5V/12V / 3-5As).

It will be to connect on wire end to another. They must be able to connect/disconnect. Normally 2/4/6 wires to link. The dupont equivalent would be:

enter image description here

Thanks

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    \$\begingroup\$ I would advise you try to get better at crimping--it's easier than you think if you get a proper crimp tool (try the "crimpall" tool from Paladin/Greenlee), and it's more reliable long-term than a soldered connection. \$\endgroup\$ – Hearth Jan 10 at 15:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ Apologies - dupe deleted. Thanks @Hearth, but I'm really looking for a soldered solution. \$\endgroup\$ – stigzler Jan 10 at 15:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ I feel your pain! But does this answer help at all? \$\endgroup\$ – Paul Uszak Jan 10 at 17:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ The reason you are having trouble is probably because you are using crap crimping tools. \$\endgroup\$ – DKNguyen Jan 10 at 19:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ Where cables have to be made in-house, I have tried to design such that I can construct the cable from individual female-female pre-crimped wire assemblies, and matching shell/housings. Molex now makes many pre-crimp wires available for common connector families like SL, picoblade, Mini-Fit (jr), etc \$\endgroup\$ – Pete W Jan 10 at 22:16
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I resisted crimp technology for many years, preferring solder because it was more "professional", until I saw good evidence of the superior reliability of crimped connections.

Nevertheless, if you have a strong preference for soldering, I suggest you search using the keyword "solder seal". You'll find a huge number of connectors available. This image is just from one example product example

solder seal example

Most of these are "butt" connectors designed to connect two wires coming from opposite directions. If you need to add more wires to the connectors, just use a larger size that can accommodate 2, 3 or 4 wires in the connector barrel. If you want all the wires to come in from the same direction, just leave the other end of the barrel empty or cut it off.

Edit: you've clarified now that you want pluggable connectors, not permanent splice connectors, so I tend to agree with the other responders.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Ah yes - thank you for taking the time to answer. I was lacking in detail in my original post, apologies. I need them to be able to connect and disconnect. I'll update my question. \$\endgroup\$ – stigzler Jan 10 at 17:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ Please provide a link or citation for the graphic you copied into your answer. We want to be sure to give credit to the original creator. \$\endgroup\$ – Elliot Alderson Jan 10 at 21:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ElliotAlderson I initially hesitated to provide a link because I didn't want to recommend a specific vendor. I stand corrected and have added the link. \$\endgroup\$ – Mark Leavitt Jan 10 at 22:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ Usually someone will say "this is just an example" and if you don't use the product name and gush about how great it is I don't think anyone will object. Thanks for adding the link. \$\endgroup\$ – Elliot Alderson Jan 11 at 0:10
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PCB Pin headers?

I have used 2.54 pitch male and female pin headers during prototyping for years. If I feel like some vibration resistance / "reliability" I use a bit of tape or crimp tube.

There are thousands of options, both in size and design. I use the most simple 1x32 strips and cut off as much as I need.

These fairly reliable, but if I need to connect/disconnect allot, or actually need the connector to work more than 5 feet away from my solderstation I use pluggable terminal blocks with ferruled cable. It is much more bulky though.

If there is something pluggable in the end product it is a crimped connector. Always. Crimped connectors are mechanically far superior to solder connections.

If you are struggling with crimping, then make sure you have the correct tool. With the correct tool crimping should be easy, but if you try to crimp with pliers or other shenanigans it will be impossible to get a correct result.

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I have a couple of designs in production were we've had issues with poor crimps. While generally speaking I agree with others who have said "get better at crimping", here's what we did as a work around which works fine:

Buy pre-made cables and cut them, then solder and heat shrink. It's time consuming, and more expensive, but it provides excellent reliability and sidesteps the crimping issue.

I would NOT recommend those butt splice connectors in another answer. I used to rave about how convenient they are, but since then I've had several of them fail and cause serious issues. The problem with them is they can sometimes look like they have a good solder joint internally, but then they fail, and you cut them apart and it turns out the solder hasn't really wetted to both wires. I only recommend standard solder and heatshrink now, and if you need water proofing there's heatshrink with internal adhesive (similar to hot glue).

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So I am interpreting this as options that don't involve crimping. I take it you don't insist on soldering.

Insulation displacement connectors (IDC) are an option for small gauge signal connections. As long as you use the appropriate wire they work pretty well. For example the CR series from JST interconnects with PH series connectors which are very common. When people say "JST connector" they are probably talking about the PH series.

The way these work is you just shove the wire (without stripping the insulation) into the connector and the little teeth on the connector cut through the insulation and make contact with the conductor.

http://www.jst-mfg.com/product/detail_e.php?series=38

These may not work for wire-to-wire applications.

You can also often buy pre-crimped wires for pretty low cost (check aliexpress, amazon, ebay, etc). You can just keep a supply of them on hand in a few different lengths and trim them to length as needed, or use them full length if they need crimps on both sides.

If you are designing boards, you can consider using screw terminals or push-in terninals instead of headers to make things easier.

Another no-crimp and no-solder option is wago luminaire disconnects. Not exactly what you are looking for but could be of interest. https://www.wago.com/us/wire-splicing-connectors/luminaire-disconnect-connector/p/873-902

The last possibility I can think of is the wire-to-wire lever connectors. I am not sure if any big brands produce these. This link is likely to go bad over time but I think if you search for "wire-to-wire lever connector" or something similar you might find them. These seem to have no UL or other safety/compliance ratings. So probably best to use them for low power low voltage DC only.

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