[SOLVED] Heat shrinking header pins

I'm doing a home automation project and want to know the best way to secure wires to pins.

*** Solved: I'm opting for home-made Dupont pins. Cheap, and secure enough for my needs. Check out this YouTube vid - the guy nails it: Custom Cables & Guide to Crimping Dupont PCB Interconnect Cables - YouTube ***

Different circuits will be mounted in wall back-boxes NEAR mains so I want to ensure all connections are insulated and very secure.

My gut reaction is:

a) components requiring access (buttons, PIR, rotary encoders) can be screwed into the wall plate directly, soldered to wire and use heat-shrink.

Or should I aim to mount all wall plate components onto a PCB, then mount the PCB onto the plate?

b) components such as temperature sensor in ceiling box can be soldered to CAT6 wire and heat shrink used around the connections.

If so, can I use one heat shrink wrap for all 4 pins of a digital sensor or will this bend them together? Should I heat shrink each pin separately? The pins are very small!


Are my ideas above sensible, or am I missing some tricks?

Heat shrinking a group will bend them together. For convenience I bodge low voltage
connections with hot-melt-glue (not robust at high temperatures of course). Don't
combine this with heat-shrink though, it will just melt and get squeezed out!

If you can arrange for panel-mounted connectors to solder direct to a PCB it will be
much quicker to assemble, note, and more reliable (hand-soldering wires to connectors
isn't exactly fun and it carries the risk of dry joints).

Mark, thanks for the advice.

Re "panel mounted connectors", are they those small plugs and sockets with e.g. 2 rows of 10 pins? I've seen that a lot in appliances so I guess that's the "best" way of doing it.

My next 2 questions in that case:

1/ How on earth do you make sure all the buttons, sensors, and displays line up depth-wise. e.g. making sure one button doesn't stick out too far in comparison with another rotary knob?

2/ I'd love to design PCBs and have them made. I'm only making around 5 or 6 panels. Are there cheapo kits / software you can get, or would I be better to drill the holes manually? (Hope that's not a silly question)

If you put heatshrink over multiple wires, you sleeve each wire/ connection individually with thin "spaghetti" first.

Telecoms use heatshrink with hot melt glue lining the inside to completely seal and waterproof junctions.

hazymat:
1/ How on earth do you make sure all the buttons, sensors, and displays line up depth-wise. e.g. making sure one button doesn't stick out too far in comparison with another rotary knob?

Careful choice of components.

hazymat:
2/ I'd love to design PCBs and have them made. I'm only making around 5 or 6 panels. Are there cheapo kits / software you can get, or would I be better to drill the holes manually?

Chinese fab shop such as "Itead". Send a Gerber file generated with a popular (free) CAD program and they do board, holes, plate-through, solder mask, graphic overlay according to the file. Quite cheap.

Thanks Paul B

Just discovered the joys of homemade Dupont connectors.

Whilst they are not as secure as my initial post suggested I required, I think they are secure enough, better still they are adaptable, and cheap when you make them yourself!

Check this out: Custom Cables & Guide to Crimping Dupont PCB Interconnect Cables - YouTube