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Offline MaxThePanda

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Electrical connectors: wiring up rally bikes
« on: July 30, 2014, 01:41:00 pm »
What electrical connectors are best used to wire up rally bikes? On my KTM 450 the standard connectors are the pretty cheap unsealed type, but have done a bunch of research and the over-zealous Americans seem to be pretty keen on Deutsch (http://www.wirecare.com/deutsch-connectors-main.asp) or Weatherpack-style sealed connectors (http://delphi.com/manufacturers/cv/connection-systems/weather-pack-connectors/). The Dephi connectors are a bit big for things like indicators, I think - probably why KTM use those tiny orange ones - and for behind the tower where there are quite a lot of wires and plugs.

I've got add full roadworthy kit and a custom button/control setup, not to mention all the nav gear, and this could become an expensive exercise pretty quickly. On the other hand, electrical issues are very easily a serious downfall in the back of beyond, and it would be nice to fit once and forget.

Anyone?

Offline Bram

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Re: Electrical connectors: wiring up rally bikes
« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2014, 10:08:11 am »
I would use electrical connector only where necessary.
Allot of them involve using some type of crimping to hold the wire which creates a hard spot and is prone to break there.
For stuff like indicators and other wires where you don't need a special connection plug, i would just solder the wires together and seal it with heat shrink tubing.
It will minimise the hard points on the wires and the tubing will seal it from the environment.
And best off all is will be dirt cheap.
 

Offline SteveD

Re: Electrical connectors: wiring up rally bikes
« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2014, 08:17:23 pm »
I have a thing about rally bikes (you may have noticed  ;D) and specifically nav instruments and their wiring. Forums such as these give wonderful pictures during Dakar and other big-name events to pour over photos of bikes with the fairings off, exposing the wiring and connectors, ad this is heaven for weirdo's like me.

My conclusion after a few Dakars was that some of the wiring was not done well at all. Some was done really beautifully, some quite well, some shoddy.
So I sent a few PMs to friendly-sounding real riders, and asked their opinions on the matter. First up was Tony Schatt, the designer at RNS, and their rally test rider. He was really helpful, and also not too impressed with some of the "stock" wiring. Either he or his father do all of the wiring on his rally bike.
Next stop was JMo aka Jenny (www.jennydakar.com). She was mega helpful. Her view as that waterproof connectors do help, but are not all that necessary. It is more important to have the wiring done correctly, nothing that can work loose, vibrate off, chaff, short, stretch etc. If you have that right with "normal" connectors, you can get by with Vaseline to waterproof it. The point she made is that pretty much everybody uses a fuse box in or near the tower, and that has very non-waterproof tab connectors, yet they survive just fine. I'm not sure I agree completely, but I definitely agree with the importance of decent looms.

Next stop was ERTF, the guys that so the GPS at Dakar. They use Binder connectors, those little 3 and 4 pin things on a M8 thread. I asked them what the connector failure modes had been on their kit at Dakar. Again they were plenty helpful. Apparently the Binder connectors are extremely rugged, and failures are due to mechanical damage from crashes more than anything else. However, the issue with the Binder connectors is that you either have to order them made up already, or you need very expensive tooling to crimp the connectors. Interesting....

Next stop - ICO. They use the same Binder connectors, and are also very happy with how rugged they are.

Next stop, F2R. They use Binder connectors on the control lines, but Weatherpack on the power lines. They are happy with that choice.

There was then a long discussion, on ADV, about the benefits of crimping vs soldering vs soldering then crimping. It was inconclusive.

So what did I learn:
 - The Binder connectors on the ICO and F2R roadbook can be trusted
 - The Weatherpack connector on the F2R roadbook can be trusted
 - (my opinion, based on aircraft experience) is that connector contacts should never, ever be soldered, only crimped.
 - (my opinion, again) Wires need strain relief, and looms need strain relief, and fastened so that they either don't move, or where they must move, they can move freely with large bend radius
 - looms need to be protected again chaffing, that twirly wind-on protection that you can get from Builders Warehouse works just fine
 - (my opinion, again) - connectors are prone to failure, so don't have them unless you need them. Where you do need them, use decent ones
 - (my opinion, again - this must be getting tiring) Invest in the proper crimping tool for the connectors that you choose, and finally:
 -  you can probably get away with cheapish automotive connectors

To dispel any impression that I know what I am talking about, the last two failures on my bike have been wiring related, so feel free to shoot down/ignore all of the above.
 

Offline pietas

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Re: Electrical connectors: wiring up rally bikes
« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2014, 09:03:12 pm »
Lots of detail here. Thank you, Steve
Groot berge en lang grond paaie
 

Offline MaxThePanda

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Re: Electrical connectors: wiring up rally bikes
« Reply #4 on: August 01, 2014, 12:07:58 pm »
Thanks Bram, and Steve for your long, detailed post. I guess I'm a bit like you - take pleasure in things being done properly and elegantly... always costs me a lot more, and in 90% of cases it's both worth it, I'm sure, but there is a perverse pleasure :)

I did a LOT of research into this. To me the Binder connectors look fiddly and I certainly wanted something that I could put together myself rather than only use pre-made cables. Weatherpack looks awesome, and the Baja Designs Squadron lights I'll be running come with those on already, but they also look quite big, which will be overkill and take a lot space behind the tower and for things like indicators. Deutsch seem to be the most highly recommended, but the crimper tool is bespoke and eye-wateringly expensive.

In the end I decided to go with the Sumitomo MT series http://www.easternbeaver.com/Main/Elec__Products/Connectors/Sealed/SM-MT/sm-mt.html. They seem more compact than the HM series, which is also recommended, but it's all high quality Jap stuff. The unsealed stuff wasn't much cheaper, so why not go sealed?







To make matters simple I ordered everything from Eastern Beaver, and I'm planning on running their simple 3-fuse solution for the tower.



Once can definitely get carried away with all of this stuff, but I think the right approach is to think it through clearly, design a simple and robust system and then implement it in the best way your skills and budget can afford. I definitely want to do all the electrics myself so that I understand the bike fully and can fix in the field.

I'll do a full build thread as soon as I get started and give more detail.

Offline SteveD

Re: Electrical connectors: wiring up rally bikes
« Reply #5 on: August 01, 2014, 12:46:21 pm »
To me the Binder connectors look fiddly and I certainly wanted something that I could put together myself rather than only use pre-made cables.
Agree 100%. Good to know that they can be trusted on the ICOs etc, but not useful elsewhere for mere mortals like us.

Weatherpack looks awesome, and the Baja Designs Squadron lights I'll be running come with those on already, but they also look quite big, which will be overkill and take a lot space behind the tower and for things like indicators.
Also agree. They are beautiful, but BEEG! I left them on the roadbook connector, but that's all.

In the end I decided to go with the Sumitomo MT series
Those look great, and I have seen them quite a lot on pictures of Dakar bikes.

Once can definitely get carried away with all of this stuff, but I think the right approach is to think it through clearly, design a simple and robust system and then implement it in the best way your skills and budget can afford. I definitely want to do all the electrics myself so that I understand the bike fully and can fix in the field.
Amen  :notworthy:
Last piece of advice that I have: don't go with wire thats too thin, not because instruments draw that much current, more because it is more rugged and crimps onto the contacts better.

I'll do a full build thread as soon as I get started and give more detail.
You do realise once you've done that, we're all coming to you to get our wiring done?  ;)
 

Offline MaxThePanda

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Re: Electrical connectors: wiring up rally bikes
« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2014, 02:36:19 pm »
Once can definitely get carried away with all of this stuff, but I think the right approach is to think it through clearly, design a simple and robust system and then implement it in the best way your skills and budget can afford. I definitely want to do all the electrics myself so that I understand the bike fully and can fix in the field.
Amen  :notworthy:
Last piece of advice that I have: don't go with wire thats too thin, not because instruments draw that much current, more because it is more rugged and crimps onto the contacts better.

I'll do a full build thread as soon as I get started and give more detail.
You do realise once you've done that, we're all coming to you to get our wiring done?  ;)


Haaahaha. You should see proof of my soldering/crimping first!

Do you have a source in SA for good quality wire with waterproof/fuel resistant flex covering? The good stuff will stay flexible much longer, I reckon, and less change of corrosion. I'm thinking 16 gauge for most of the stuff and 12/14 for the main power run to the fuse block.

Offline witblitz

Re: Electrical connectors: wiring up rally bikes
« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2014, 07:40:32 am »
I am wondering if I can get the following connector locally. I only need the male side.

 

Offline darthvader

Re: Electrical connectors: wiring up rally bikes
« Reply #8 on: August 22, 2014, 08:07:35 am »
I want as well!
 

Offline Gavin

Re: Electrical connectors: wiring up rally bikes
« Reply #9 on: August 22, 2014, 09:30:33 am »
There is a company here in JHB called Connector technology, they stock all these bits & pieces 
 

Offline N[]vA

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Re: Electrical connectors: wiring up rally bikes
« Reply #10 on: August 22, 2014, 09:32:33 am »
those are great connectors but seriously DO NOT skimp on the heat shrink tubing
So much of win it hurts! ^.^


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Offline Buff

Re: Electrical connectors: wiring up rally bikes
« Reply #11 on: August 22, 2014, 09:46:16 am »
I saw this on the 690 FB page and thought it one of the neatest jobs I've seen.

Present bikes: BETA 300RR, KTM 690, Yamaha WR250F

If you're dumb you gotta be tough !!!
 

Offline tgg

Re: Electrical connectors: wiring up rally bikes
« Reply #12 on: August 22, 2014, 09:10:17 pm »
I am wondering if I can get the following connector locally. I only need the male side.



Those are very similar to the deutz plugs but with different terminals. I have the deutz plugs and they are cheap. The better plugs as in the example are similar to the stuff used in a toyota and most other cars. I am a agent for safestop vehicle safety systems, they use those plugs on all their connections.

They are molex plugs as far as I know.

I could order them if needed. They are fool proof water resistant
 

Offline MaxThePanda

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Re: Electrical connectors: wiring up rally bikes
« Reply #13 on: August 23, 2014, 03:12:08 pm »
That's is the Sumitomo MT series, and is what I'm wiring my bike up with. I sort of regret it - the HM series is better. But you can get them here, even if not in tiny quantities. http://www.easternbeaver.com/Main/Elec__Products/Connectors/Sealed/SM-MT/sm-mt.html

Offline SlŠinte Mhaith

Re: Electrical connectors: wiring up rally bikes
« Reply #14 on: August 23, 2014, 03:20:54 pm »
 :peepwall:
 

Offline Biesie

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Re: Electrical connectors: wiring up rally bikes
« Reply #15 on: August 23, 2014, 08:59:43 pm »
Pop in at topbox. He could have what you are looking for.
 

Offline 2StrokeDan

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Re: Electrical connectors: wiring up rally bikes
« Reply #16 on: August 24, 2014, 07:00:26 pm »
Consider going to bike breakers like Bike Hospital, Ryan's , etc, and getting old wiring loom from written-off Japanese bikes. These have good quality multi-plugs on them and you
can solde them into your system.
The important job of heat-shrink is not so much to keep moisture out, but to act like a brace for the piece where the copperwire meets a soldered joint. The wire is soft and flexible, the solder is not, and the copperwire directly next to the solderjoint is extra soft from the solder heating process. It is this section that needs beefing up to prevent vibration/movement
breaks.
 

Offline SteveD

Re: Electrical connectors: wiring up rally bikes
« Reply #17 on: August 24, 2014, 07:08:54 pm »
What do you think of this, to replace the inevitable mess of fuse boxes, relays, dimmers, flashers etc?

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/hMizEtXfZog#t/70" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/hMizEtXfZog#t/70</a>

http://www.motobrain.net

It looks quite cute, though rather expensive.
 

Offline MaxThePanda

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Re: Electrical connectors: wiring up rally bikes
« Reply #18 on: August 25, 2014, 10:03:03 am »
Wow! That is such a cool thing. Run an iPhone on the bike for RallyBlitz/GPS and you can do away with a bunch of switches too. At $300 it is a bit expensive, but will do away with a lot of wiring, switches and relays, so you'll get a bunch of that back. I want!