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Wiring my Wings - Strippers, Crimp Tools, Connectors

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wsimpso1

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I know mechanical stuff, but when I went near wiring, I nearly lost my mind. So many choices and hardly any way to know the difference when looking at them on line... I sure can use some guidance from folks who have been through it. Yes, I have looked through everything I can find already present in the forum. been to Prowireusa and Wirecare and CrimpTools and a few other sites... Overwhelming.

Sat through Jim Weir's talk - OK, label numbering schemes, cool; use labels and clear shrink sleeves, cool; Jim talked about cheap connectors, and I have stuff in the wing joint and under the cowling that will get wet, so I think I really need sealed connectors. Do I? If yes, which ones work great in planes? Which tools to work with them? Please recommend brand and part numbers, as there are LOTS of tools out there to sort through.

Sat through Ausman's talk - OK, different missions drive different schemes, bought his book; he likes D-Sub connectors but they look like they are for dry places only - what is the experience with them? Recommends we use machined barrel connectors, cool; He recommended we buy ratcheting crimp tools, pin removal tools and Stripmaster;

The endurance and sports race car guys like the Delco Weather Pack and Deutsch connectors and they run in the rain, sounds good, but... Anyone have experience with them in airplanes? Which ones work great in planes that fly through wet clouds? Which tools to work with them? Please recommend brands and part numbers.

I just ordered Nuckoll's book on Wiring. In the meanwhile I have found so many choices, and can only seem to tell that some stuff costs less than others.

Strippers - some folks like the Stripmaster others claim they nick wires and cause failures... Which ones (brand and part numbers please) work great and do not nick wires?

Crimp tools - Which ones? Is ratcheting essential? IF ratcheting is essential, which tools do the job well? Brands and Part Numbers please.

Labels - Which ones? There are labels that you can print and put clear shrink wrap over, and there are the markers that mark shrink wrap stuff. The ones out on the wings and under the cowl are going to get wet and they need to be durable. Which ones of each type are resistant to stuff like lubricants and detergents and water? Again please recommend brands and part numbers that have worked well for you, so I can do what you have done...

Thanks in advance.

Billski
 

Aerowerx

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....Crimp tools - Which ones? Is ratcheting essential? IF ratcheting is essential, which tools do the job well? Brands and Part Numbers please....
I have never wired an airplane, but have done electronics for many years. So my recommendations....

Racheting. Yes. A crimp connection works by squeezing the wire with a certain amount of force. The only way to ensure this is to use a ratcheting crimp tool. Make sure it has the correct bit size for the pins. And make sure the pins are the correct size for the wire. And yes, they are expensive. I can't recommend any specific ones because I have been away from that kind of work for a long time but 'Amp' comes to mind.

Use stranded wire. The crimp connectors work better with it. Also, if you happen to nick a solid wire, that is a failure waiting to happen. If you nick a strand in a stranded wire you still have the other 6 (7 strands is common) to rely on.

Stress relieve or support the cable so there is no vibration possible at the connector. Any vibration will eventually cause a failure.
 

Hot Wings

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My ratchet crimper is similar to Blane.c's, nearly 20 years old and still working just fine. Ratching is IMHO required. I required it of my underlings when I wired firetrucks. Any brand of ratcheting crimper similar to that one should work just fine.

Deutsch connectors are high quality, require a high dollar radial crimping tool for some styles, are kind of fiddly to work with, and are probably overkill for EABs. We did use a bunch of them on the firetrucks but they have a different operating environment. The standard Molex connectors, with a bit of dielectric grease, IMHO, should be good enough for most locations. They require a different style style crimper, and the cheap ones do a really lousy job.

For crimp on terminals I use the ones with heat shrink jacket. Makes the assembly pretty bullet proof. The only down side is that you can't use them with PVC insulation because of the heat required - normally a small propane torch. Tefzel and Teflon both are OK. The firetrucks used Tefzel. I used a lot of Teflon for Halliburton lab equipment. Kapton? Might work too. If you go the shrink insulation route don't get a crimper that punches one side. That defeats the purpose of the heat shrink.
 

blane.c

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I have already ordered his book, but he has not sent the PayPal invoice... I shall have to be happy with his downloads for a while.

Does he name brands and part numbers for all the stuff I am interested in? If yes, cool...

Billski
I have his stuff in the manila envelope he mailed it in twenty odd years ago, not sure what is happening now that it is computer. But there is a lot of good information that works on cars and boats and other stuff too.
 

pictsidhe

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Water and electricity get along much the same in the air as on the ground. Car or boat type stuff is therefore a good source. There is aviation stuff which can save you some weight. I'd be sorely tempted by the wire. It is lighter and mostly importantly, more abrasion resistant than automotive wire. You can find part spools on ebay. I'll try to remember which types to suggest.
Good crimp tools are expensive and designed for production. You need to be able to assess the quality of each crimp so you could get away with a Chinese cheapie and toss it when you have wired your plane and it is worn out. I'm a big strong ape and still grunt when using non ratchet tools. Avoid them. Some of the ones for heavy lugs use multiple leverage and are useable. For big welding and battery cables etc, I would improvise. Drill a lug sized hole in a piece of hardwood. You want a tight fit. Slice wood in half so you can lay the lug in. A very blunt cold chisel and hammer will then crimp it just as well as a high dollar hydraulic crimper. Yeah, it takes longer than a proper tool. But not as long as driving to someone to do it for you.
I have used coloured heat shrink bands to code wires. Regular heat shrink cut into short lengths. If I am making a loom with multi connectors, masking tape and pen as temporary marking.
 

Himat

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A look at what modern cars use may be a start?
At least on some cars the wiring is durable and can withstand 20 years on the road in wet, dusty, hot and cold weather. As for DSUB connectors, there are good and bad ones of them, depending on the manufacturer. Less to hook up instruments that do have these connectors I would probably not use them. I do find the combination of crimp pin and DSUB connectors fiddly.
 

Himat

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A look at what modern cars use may be a start?
At least on some cars the wiring is durable and can withstand 20 years on the road in wet, dusty, hot and cold weather. As for DSUB connectors, there are good and bad ones of them, depending on the manufacturer. Less to hook up instruments that do have these connectors I would probably not use them. I do find the combination of crimp pin and DSUB connectors fiddly.
 

BJC

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Hot Wings

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^
Those strippers are what I use. Yes, you can nick a couple of strands if you are in a hurry. Minimal attention to the process is all that is required.
 

proppastie

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all good answers....most certified I am acquainted much like your Piper have simple ring terminal on the buss, and non-watertight connectors in the panel or under the cowl. Your cockpit should be water tight. My strobe on the tip has a molex often used on a computer power supply, it too is inside the wing and for the most part water tight. The removable splices have "hand shake" connectors with shrink and 2 wire ties. Perhaps you are over-thinking this.
 

wsimpso1

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AeroElectric.com is some website. Way cool stuff thanks. I have his book on the way.

I have decided that I can not pigtail the wiring and plumbing across the wing join and have any belief that it will be reliable. Gonna use a couple Deutsch connectors (easy and only slightly more bulky than eight (!) of those fragile looking handshake connectors), a BNC pair, a couple tiny little tube unions, two fuel line unions, and a connector for the capacitative fuel gauge.

Some pin squeezers for PIDG and Deutsch pins, a BNC squeezer for each of RG58 and RG400, and a high zoot wire stripper or two are in my future. And I will have MORE COOL TOOLS!

Bills
 

Bill-Higdon

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Plus 1 for the BandC ratchet crimpers for PIDG terminals. No, ratchet action is not necessary, but it insures a proper compression every time. BTW, I recently saw a You Tube evaluation of a similar crimper. The critiquer crimped the terminal backwards, but never mentioned his error.

Use PIDG terminals everywhere possible.

Stripmaster http://www.idealindustries.ca/products/prodSelect.php?prodId=45-097&div=3&l1=wire_strippers&l2=stripmaster&l3=45-097 Yes, it is worth the price.


BJC
These were and still are in the Army Helicopter Armament Repair tool kit
 
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