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Crimping Might Have Prevented RTX 4090 Adapter Meltdown: Report

Igor’s Lab (opens in new tab) has published an article discussing a potential solution to prevent Nvidia’s 16-pin power adapter from damaging the GeForce RTX 4090, one of the best graphics cards on the market. According to Igor Wallossek, the publication’s editor-in-chief, the solution could be to crimp the connectors, not solder them, since soldering introduces unwanted heat into the connector itself.

Wallossek contends that soldering is the arch-enemy of the 16-pin power connector. Soldering causes several problems that he says can lead to structural failures within the connector. His list of potential issues includes rigid tinning and soldering a stranded wire that is already under tension, processing a stranded wire in a way it will unravel and break, and more. But, one of the biggest problems is the soldering process, where air bubbles can form during the process, leading to corrosion.

Ideally, Wallossek believes that the manufacturers should crimp the individual wires in the 16-pin wiring harness, which eliminates all the potential issues involved in the soldering and introduces better structural integrity of the wires.

Igor’s Lab says an excellent example of a proper 12VHPWR wiring harness is the one that be quiet!’s Dark Power Pro 12 power supply uses, where two 12-pin plugs convert to a single 16-pin power connection. Each wire consists of very flexible 18AWG cables – which will result in cooler temperatures of the wire itself, and each connector has a total of six 12-volt and six ground wires each. Connecting the two 12-pins from the PSU to the 16-pin that goes into the graphics card is a crimped connection maintained on each cable, where wires from the 12 pins get connected and translated into a single wire.

Wallosek says be quiet!’s design represents one of the safest methods of building a 16-pin wiring harness; the wires are highly flexible and large, which will reduce heat build-up in the wires themselves and also allow users to manipulate the wires freely without significant risk of damaging the connector or the wiring harness itself. Also, the move to crimp the connections removes any thermal or corrosion problems that might occur from soldering.

The solution applies specifically to a 16-pin wiring harness and not Nvidia’s power adapter, but the methods implied could easily be used on Nvidia’s adapter, particularly that of crimping the connections instead of soldering them.