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Weather proof/Corrosion proof connectors

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Weather proof/Corrosion proof connectors

Old 06-13-20, 07:42 PM
  #1  
boomhauer
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Weather proof/Corrosion proof connectors

I have a dynamo hub that lights up my bike and powers my phone. Every couple years now i have to fiddle with the wire connectors that junction to my lights and phone. It seems to be corrosion related.
I've tried conventional Aluminum connectors (22 gauge male/female) and sprayed them periodically with cleaner and protector before wrapping them in electrical tape.
I've also tried wire nuts.
All connectors are in seat post bag jerry-rigs to my steering tube, so out of the rain.
The things that I tried don't seem to be permanent. I hate fiddling with stuff.
I'm willing to upgrade to some gold plated connectors and or any other weather proof connectors.
I ride everyday. Sometimes in the rain. I also tour once or twice a year (not that seems to make any difference).
I've shopped on line but their seems to be too many choices.
I guess I'm being lazy and hope to hear from someone that's had success.
I think the next thing I'm going to try is heat shrink tubing.

Last edited by boomhauer; 06-15-20 at 10:35 PM.
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Old 06-13-20, 08:05 PM
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I use an old school circa 2011 E-werk and Son28 with Edelux lamp.
Living coastal for most of its ownership, the usb plug plug (the most exposed one in the setup) goes rusty and needs replacement every couple of years.
Not a problem as sjscycles.co.uk carries the replaceable cables for not much money.
https://www.sjscycles.co.uk/search/?term=ewerk
I don't bother trying to mitigate the corrosion, merely keep a few spares of the only one which seemingly goes rusty.
https://www.sjscycles.co.uk/dynamos/...r-plug-to-usb/

I wonder if your aluminium connecters might be an issue.
Aluminium touching steel is the reason boats have zinc blocks to combat electrolyses if memory serves.

Last edited by rifraf; 06-13-20 at 08:11 PM.
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Old 06-13-20, 08:23 PM
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I don't know the specifics but sounds like you have wires you are attaching together with various methods and they are not reliable. Solder and heat shrink is the answer. Adhesive lined heat shrink is even better. If you do not want to mess with soldering, a reasonable alternative are solder seal connectors like these

https://www.amazon.com/120PCS-Solder.../dp/B07S62KYSL

I picked that brand and link at random. I've used the same on exposed trailer lighting for years and much better than anything I've used other than soldering and heat shrink manually. Just my 0.02 with them.. I have better luck using those connectors with an actual heat gun vs a pocket lighter or a micro butane torch with a heat deflector tip. I think the later two get things too hot too fast.

If you are dealing with jacks and plugs you are trying to seal and not wires, strategic placement of dielectric grease around the connector may help.

Last edited by u235; 06-13-20 at 08:53 PM.
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Old 06-13-20, 09:16 PM
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After advice from RGMN on this forums, I apply Nyogel 760G to all connections and life is good.
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Old 06-14-20, 12:47 AM
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Haven't tried these myself, but a Cool Tools recommendation is for 3M Scotchlok Butt Connectors.
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Old 06-14-20, 01:54 AM
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Lupine uses scotchlok for connection of their e-bike taillight, so it can't be totally unreliable. You might take a look at the coax plugs offered from schmidt/son. I don't use them, but JaccoW has them if i remember correctly, maybe he can give you some infos on the corrosion resistance.
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Old 06-14-20, 03:06 AM
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Solder the wires together.
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Old 06-18-20, 05:28 PM
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Originally Posted by polyphrast View Post
Lupine uses scotchlok for connection of their e-bike taillight, so it can't be totally unreliable. You might take a look at the coax plugs offered from schmidt/son. I don't use them, but JaccoW has them if i remember correctly, maybe he can give you some infos on the corrosion resistance.
I didn't even see a mention, just happened to drop by this thread.

I use and have used the SON Coax plugs, Supernova gold plugs and normal B+M connectors in all kinds of weather. None of them have failed yet *knock on wood* but for ease of installation I like the SuperNova best. The SON coax models are nice but a pain to solder.

Check this post to see how I installed them on my commuter and this one for my rando bike.
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Old 06-18-20, 06:21 PM
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There are connection greases that you can get in the electrical section, but I like dielectric grease since I have it around for working on cars. It doesn't take much.
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Old 06-18-20, 09:16 PM
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This has an overview of connector lubricants with NyoGel 760G claimed to be the choice of most automotive manufacturers.
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Old 06-19-20, 10:48 AM
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Go down to your local auto parts store and get some dielectric grease. Nyogel seems a little pricey to me.
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Old 06-20-20, 12:29 PM
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For bikes, I just connector pins and sockets, and don't bother with connector housings/shells.
It tends to look like this after some heatshrink tubing is put over the pin and socket...



These connector pins and sockets are from Amphenol, and the part number is shown in the photo. I know they can be purchased from Digi-key (digikey.com).
These are used in construction equipment and are pretty reliable. The nickel plating makes them resistant to corrosion and fairly tough.
If you want to use a proper connector housing, Amphenol makes a somewhat smaller series of connectors called ATM that will save a little space...
https://www.amphenol-sine.com/pdf/cat...SERIES-ATM.pdf
These are also available from Digi-key. For instance, this is the kit for the two pin plug...
https://www.digikey.com/product-deta...216-ND/4415000

Steve in Peoria
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Old 06-20-20, 01:01 PM
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Originally Posted by boomhauer View Post
I think the next thing I'm going to try is heat shrink tubing.
Probably a very good idea. Connectors are typically rust-proof, so you problem would likely be (1) poor connection between wires and terminals; (2) the wire themselves corrode.

You may want to tin the tips of your cables, and properly crimp your connectors (essential on blue-water boats). Heat-shrink tubing sounds like a good idea as well. If there's a boat store/marina in your area, you could pay them a visit.
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Old 06-20-20, 01:41 PM
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If you rarely need to take the connection apart this lasts about forever. Tin the copper stranded wire end with solder, 6mm or so. Find some small gray or blue wire nuts. Get some dielectric / silicone grease. Grease the inside of a wire nut, insert wires, twist together. Clean off grease, wrap sparingly with electrical tape. If you don't have to take connection apart the solder the wires, grease and nut.
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Old 06-20-20, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by gauvins View Post
Probably a very good idea. Connectors are typically rust-proof, so you problem would likely be (1) poor connection between wires and terminals; (2) the wire themselves corrode.


You may want to tin the tips of your cables, and properly crimp your connectors (essential on blue-water boats). Heat-shrink tubing sounds like a good idea as well. If there's a boat store/marina in your area, you could pay them a visit.
Never tin the wire prior to crimping in the contact. This guarantees you will not get a gas tight crimp. And get poor electrical contact as well. If you feel you need to solder the wire to "seal" them do it after crimping, not before. Or just use blocked wire and not worry about it.
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Old 06-20-20, 04:55 PM
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Originally Posted by RGMN View Post
Never tin the wire prior to crimping in the contact. This guarantees you will not get a gas tight crimp. And get poor electrical contact as well. If you feel you need to solder the wire to "seal" them do it after crimping, not before. Or just use blocked wire and not worry about it.
Marine cables/wires are typically tinned in order to prevent corrosion. Lead is a very ductile metal (more than copper) that crimping will easily mold. See here for West Marine advisor on electrical cables. Notice that the label "Marine grade cable" applies to tinned cables.
​​​​​​
​​​​
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Old 06-20-20, 07:33 PM
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Originally Posted by gauvins View Post
Probably a very good idea. Connectors are typically rust-proof, so you problem would likely be (1) poor connection between wires and terminals; (2) the wire themselves corrode.

You may want to tin the tips of your cables, and properly crimp your connectors (essential on blue-water boats). Heat-shrink tubing sounds like a good idea as well. If there's a boat store/marina in your area, you could pay them a visit.
Originally Posted by gauvins View Post
Marine cables/wires are typically tinned in order to prevent corrosion. Lead is a very ductile metal (more than copper) that crimping will easily mold. See here for West Marine advisor on electrical cables. Notice that the label "Marine grade cable" applies to tinned cables.
​​​​​​
​​​​
Originally Posted by grizzly59 View Post
If you rarely need to take the connection apart this lasts about forever. Tin the copper stranded wire end with solder, 6mm or so. Find some small gray or blue wire nuts. Get some dielectric / silicone grease. Grease the inside of a wire nut, insert wires, twist together. Clean off grease, wrap sparingly with electrical tape. If you don't have to take connection apart the solder the wires, grease and nut.
One of the stupid things in electrical - tinning stranded wire and tinned wire are 2 different things.

Tinned wire has a tin coating on the copper conductors to help prevent corrosion. But tinning the end of a stranded wire means applying solder to keep the wire strands together. Marine grade cable, per the link, typically uses tinned copper, meaning the copper conductors have a tin coating. They are not soldering the ends.

If you are making a crimped connection the design of the contacts assumes there are gaps between the individual wire strands in cable. If you "tin" the wire by adding solder you fill these gaps, and the connector crimp will be over-stressed, will not provide the designed compression, and will likely crack.

In addition "tinning" the wire is likely to create a stress riser that will crack and cause the conductor to open when exposed to vibration. Few people are skilled enough to properly solder wires. On our engineering vehicles we only allow a few, select technicians who have been properly trained and certified to solder wires, otherwise we see wiring failures at solder connections. Even our trained technicians have a joint fail, although far less frequently. 30+ years of experience has shown me time and again that crimp connections are far more reliable than soldered connections.
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Old 06-20-20, 08:07 PM
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Lightbulb

the Schmidt folks have some very nice shop tools such as crimpers and now a whole set of minitureized co-ax plug connectors
and their co ax cable..
https://nabendynamo.de/en/products/wiring/ yes, as mentioned in OP heat shrink tubing is good a Heat gun works great on it.
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Old 06-20-20, 08:38 PM
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Originally Posted by steelbikeguy View Post
For bikes, I just connector pins and sockets, and don't bother with connector housings/shells.
It tends to look like this after some heatshrink tubing is put over the pin and socket...



These connector pins and sockets are from Amphenol, and the part number is shown in the photo. I know they can be purchased from Digi-key (digikey.com).
These are used in construction equipment and are pretty reliable. The nickel plating makes them resistant to corrosion and fairly tough.
If you want to use a proper connector housing, Amphenol makes a somewhat smaller series of connectors called ATM that will save a little space...
https://www.amphenol-sine.com/pdf/cat...SERIES-ATM.pdf
These are also available from Digi-key. For instance, this is the kit for the two pin plug...
https://www.digikey.com/product-deta...216-ND/4415000

Steve in Peoria
Deutsch makes the original version of these. When their patent ran out a few years back Amphenol, Molex, and a few other jumped in with copies of these. Some work better than the Deutsch, most don't. Amphenol, when they originally came out, used spiral wound wires on the sockets that worked like a Chinese finger trap. For a high vibration environment this style contact works MUCH better than the bifurcated spring contact used on the Deutsch. I believe Amphenol quit making them due to the higher production costs.

If you use the DTM bodies there are a few things to keep in mind.
  • The seals on the connectors are sized for SAE J1128 cable, GPT insulation. If you use something other than SAE J1128 GPT in the connectors you need to check that the seals will work with your wire. Too large of diameter and it will rip the seal, too small and it won't seal properly.
  • The DT/DTM/DTP style connectors (I'm using the Deutsch nomenclature as that is what I'm familiar with. The Deutsch are also available from Digi-Key.) require a straight run of wire entering into the connector. If the wire bends too close to the connector it will stress the seal and cause a leak. Typically in situations where you might have the wire bending close to the connector you should use a version with a shrink boot adapter on it as this forces the wire to be straight as it enters the connector. The other thing this helps with is if you get a lot of rapid heating/cooling cycles (think of taking your bike inside after riding on a winter day) the pressure changes inside the connector can force the seals out before the pressure differential vents thru the wires. The shrink boot adapter also prevents this from happening.
  • The DTM and DTP style connectors are preferable to the DT. Both have the connector body seal on the pin side while the DT has the seal on the socket side. On the DTM and DTP the seal is static, while the DT the seal has to slide into the mating connector. This makes the DTs much harder to mate and unmate, and risks damage to the seal. If you must use the DT, use the -P012 enhanced seal version. This holds the seal much more firmly and reduces the likelihood of damage.
If you are making single connections Deutsch makes a single connector body called a Jiffy splice. I believe Amphenol makes something similar. These seal single connections very well, and are easy to disassemble if you use machined contacts. But they do require a tool to remove the contacts, and they are larger in diameter than using heat shrink.

If you do decide to use the Deutsch contacts check the pricing on the Ladd Inc/TE website. Their pricing is often substantially less than Digikey or Mouser.
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Old 06-21-20, 08:16 AM
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Originally Posted by steelbikeguy View Post
These connector pins and sockets are from Amphenol, and the part number is shown in the photo. I know they can be purchased from Digi-key (digikey.com).
These are used in construction equipment and are pretty reliable. The nickel plating makes them resistant to corrosion and fairly tough.
I
When using similarly looking connectors on a bike, I ran into the problem of them slipping out of each other due to wire weight and vibration. There are similar connectors around with a ring spring around the pin,

https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B00T5SW7FE

but they slip out too, and occasionally the spring gets crumpled forcing you to change the connector as a penalty for trying to close it. Yes, you might get a housing, but there are issues with these: weight straining the wire, bulky size, potential need to synchronize wires and plan ahead that is somewhat uncharacteristic of a bike that is in a permanent prototype state. I resort to a velcro sleeve for keeping connectors together, but is a bit of a pain.

German manufacturers seem to favor spade connectors that have a potentially stronger holding force due to asymmetry and large connector area, but that force is often uneven and at times the connectors are hard to pull apart,leading to wire breaking. For me the connectors on a bicycle continue to be on the messy side.
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Old 06-21-20, 09:28 AM
  #21  
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For permanent connections these waterproof butt connectors solder with just a heat gun. harbor freight often sells heat guns for as little as $8, amazon has them for $15

https://www.amazon.com/Sopoby-Connec...tronics&sr=1-5

for something removable these look like a good deal. These have pigtails soldered on so you can easily splice them in with the butt connectors above. if you can solder than buy the ones without pigtails and solder your wires right to the pins.

https://www.amazon.com/LanHong-Water..._t3_B01A6LTK44

A thin coat of dielectric grease on assembly means you will never have another corrosion related issue again. I put this stuff on the base of household light bulbs so they don't get stuck in the fixture, useful to have.

https://www.amazon.com/Permatex-2205...sr=1-5-catcorr

Last edited by Pop N Wood; 06-21-20 at 09:44 AM.
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Old 06-21-20, 11:39 AM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by RGMN View Post
Deutsch makes the original version of these. When their patent ran out a few years back Amphenol, Molex, and a few other jumped in with copies of these. Some work better than the Deutsch, most don't. Amphenol, when they originally came out, used spiral wound wires on the sockets that worked like a Chinese finger trap. For a high vibration environment this style contact works MUCH better than the bifurcated spring contact used on the Deutsch. I believe Amphenol quit making them due to the higher production costs.

If you use the DTM bodies there are a few things to keep in mind.
  • The seals on the connectors are sized for SAE J1128 cable, GPT insulation. If you use something other than SAE J1128 GPT in the connectors you need to check that the seals will work with your wire. Too large of diameter and it will rip the seal, too small and it won't seal properly.
  • The DT/DTM/DTP style connectors (I'm using the Deutsch nomenclature as that is what I'm familiar with. The Deutsch are also available from Digi-Key.) require a straight run of wire entering into the connector. If the wire bends too close to the connector it will stress the seal and cause a leak. Typically in situations where you might have the wire bending close to the connector you should use a version with a shrink boot adapter on it as this forces the wire to be straight as it enters the connector. The other thing this helps with is if you get a lot of rapid heating/cooling cycles (think of taking your bike inside after riding on a winter day) the pressure changes inside the connector can force the seals out before the pressure differential vents thru the wires. The shrink boot adapter also prevents this from happening.
  • The DTM and DTP style connectors are preferable to the DT. Both have the connector body seal on the pin side while the DT has the seal on the socket side. On the DTM and DTP the seal is static, while the DT the seal has to slide into the mating connector. This makes the DTs much harder to mate and unmate, and risks damage to the seal. If you must use the DT, use the -P012 enhanced seal version. This holds the seal much more firmly and reduces the likelihood of damage.
If you are making single connections Deutsch makes a single connector body called a Jiffy splice. I believe Amphenol makes something similar. These seal single connections very well, and are easy to disassemble if you use machined contacts. But they do require a tool to remove the contacts, and they are larger in diameter than using heat shrink.

If you do decide to use the Deutsch contacts check the pricing on the Ladd Inc/TE website. Their pricing is often substantially less than Digikey or Mouser.
Neat!
I didn't realize that Deutsch had a patent run out. I just thought Amphenol bought the business or something.

I'm retired now, but spent many years working with the Deutsch DT series at my job. Not a bad compromise between quality and cost. "Good enough" for most applications on the construction equipment gear that I was designing. As you note, the regular DT bodies expect fairly thick insulation in order to seal properly. There's no way I'm using wire this big on my little bike lights! I'm happy enough to just put a little heatshrink around the contacts and wire, avoiding bulky wire bundles on the bike.

I'll have to check out the other sources of the DT inspired connectors.

Steve in Peoria
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Old 06-21-20, 11:57 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by 2_i View Post
When using similarly looking connectors on a bike, I ran into the problem of them slipping out of each other due to wire weight and vibration. There are similar connectors around with a ring spring around the pin,

https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B00T5SW7FE

but they slip out too, and occasionally the spring gets crumpled forcing you to change the connector as a penalty for trying to close it. Yes, you might get a housing, but there are issues with these: weight straining the wire, bulky size, potential need to synchronize wires and plan ahead that is somewhat uncharacteristic of a bike that is in a permanent prototype state. I resort to a velcro sleeve for keeping connectors together, but is a bit of a pain.
I haven't used these little banana plug style pins myself, but know that they are used by a number of individuals on their bikes.
Regarding the problem of wire weight pulling the pin and socket apart, that suggests two possible causes.
The first would be insufficient or inconsistent spring force in the contacts. I'm accustomed to buying connectors (and parts) from well known manufacturers, and they have pretty high standards for quality and consistency. It might be worth looking at the DT style pins and sockets as an alternative. They cost a little more, but if they last a long time, it's not a bad deal.
The second potential cause is that the connectors shouldn't be supporting the wire weight. As a rule of thumb, wires (or wire bundles) should be supported at regular intervals in order to avoid putting strain on the wires, especially at the connectors. I try to support my light wires every 6 to 8 inches or so.

I will say that some of the connectors in my bike light wires are to allow "frequent" disconnection, such as at the hub dynamo. Other connections are intended to make it easier to assemble the lighting system and will only be take apart every year or two. For this group of connections, I like to put a dab of dielectric grease on the pin/socket junction, and then use a bit of electrical tape to wrap it up and seal it up (sort of).
For example, in the photo below, I've wrapped up the pin & socket for the tail light connection and zip-tied it to the Tubus rear rack. Of course, this is a tail light that I made, so it doesn't use the spade connections that seem to be the norm for commercially made lights.



Steve in Peoria
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Old 06-21-20, 02:24 PM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by steelbikeguy View Post
I haven't used these little banana plug style pins myself, but know that they are used by a number of individuals on their bikes.
Regarding the problem of wire weight pulling the pin and socket apart, that suggests two possible causes.
The first would be insufficient or inconsistent spring force in the contacts. I'm accustomed to buying connectors (and parts) from well known manufacturers, and they have pretty high standards for quality and consistency. It might be worth looking at the DT style pins and sockets as an alternative. They cost a little more, but if they last a long time, it's not a bad deal.
The holding force of those popular pins is quite high when you try to separate them by hand, but I think that the problem is in the fact that when they start separating it just progresses in one direction. There is no return force any type, just resistance to pulling apart, i.e., friction somewhat amplified by that spring collar there. I will likely look at these other as well, but my hope is not high as I already tried several getting to nowhere.

Originally Posted by steelbikeguy View Post
The second potential cause is that the connectors shouldn't be supporting the wire weight. As a rule of thumb, wires (or wire bundles) should be supported at regular intervals in order to avoid putting strain on the wires, especially at the connectors. I try to support my light wires every 6 to 8 inches or so.
In some vertical wire runs you have nothing to grab, except shift and brake cables, but these move too. Below is a photo with wires held to cables and connectors secured with my cocoons. The connectors are the miniature banana types. The cocoons consist of velcro hoop collars on both connector sides, wrapped around with a velcro hook sheet. You can see there that the banana connectors try to separate and are only prevented from doing so with velcro.




Originally Posted by steelbikeguy View Post
I will say that some of the connectors in my bike light wires are to allow "frequent" disconnection, such as at the hub dynamo. Other connections are intended to make it easier to assemble the lighting system and will only be take apart every year or two. For this group of connections, I like to put a dab of dielectric grease on the pin/socket junction, and then use a bit of electrical tape to wrap it up and seal it up (sort of).
For example, in the photo below, I've wrapped up the pin & socket for the tail light connection and zip-tied it to the Tubus rear rack. Of course, this is a tail light that I made, so it doesn't use the spade connections that seem to be the norm for commercially made lights.
There are many things you may want from connectors, including ease of separation, ease of provisional in the field repair if something goes wrong, availability of the particular connectors later in time, etc.
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Old 06-21-20, 03:57 PM
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steelbikeguy
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Originally Posted by 2_i View Post
In some vertical wire runs you have nothing to grab, except shift and brake cables, but these move too. Below is a photo with wires held to cables and connectors secured with my cocoons. The connectors are the miniature banana types. The cocoons consist of velcro hoop collars on both connector sides, wrapped around with a velcro hook sheet. You can see there that the banana connectors try to separate and are only prevented from doing so with velcro.
the velcro doesn't look terribly bulky. Not a bad solution.
I normally just place connectors near the headlight, tail light, and dynamo. I can normally keep the wires tied up to the bracket that the item mounts to. If you don't need to make a disconnection at these vertical runs of wire, maybe you can move the connectors near the lights?


Originally Posted by 2_i View Post
There are many things you may want from connectors, including ease of separation, ease of provisional in the field repair if something goes wrong, availability of the particular connectors later in time, etc.
indeed... it's all a matter of trading off the priorities and making compromises between them.
I haven't thought much about field repairs. I solder the wire in my connector pins and use heatshrink to provide strain relief (i.e. keep them from flexing near the area where the solder has wicked up the wire strands). This, along with good support of the wires, has provided very reliable wiring.
I should say that I've worked with electronics and wiring for most of my professional life, and have seen a lot of failures at connectors. Some were my fault, I have to admit. That was where I learned about the damage from overcrimping a wire in a connector pin or terminal lug.
Properly done, wires and connectors can be very reliable.
For hobbyists, it's not easy to learn all of the lessons that I've learned the hard way. Some of the consumer grade connectors tend to promote bad practices and the use of marginal materials. No question that it can frustrating to put something together that works well.

Steve in Peoria
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