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Bullet connectors, crimp or solder...?
#799065 02/22/20 11:31 pm
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I need to replace the plastic connectors in the headlight shell of the T-140-V as they are prone to becoming compromised, overheating etc... 

My usual purveyor supplied me with a bag of replacement male bullets and female bullet connectors. 

Now I have soldered some connections on the bench but these will need to be done in place, in the headlight shell. 

The original bullet connectors all over the harness appear to have been crimped.  Are they soldered as well...?  
Wondering if there is a specific style crimping tool to crimp these or in fact, do I solder them...?  

Thanks much,
Rob

Attached Files Mk III wiring (5).JPGNew bullet connectors (4).JPG

"They told me I was gonna have to work for a livin' but all I wanna do is Ride" - Jackson Browne

Current:
'75 T-160 Trident, '78 T-140 V Bonneville, '71 T100R Daytona, '13 Electra Glide, a garage full of Guzzis, '88 Honda Hawk GT, '89 Hawk GT, '84 RZ350 KR, 1978 Yamaha XS650, 1969 Dalesman Trials etc and a '73 MGB for good measure... smile
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Re: Bullet connectors, crimp or solder...?
Robert Dentico #799069 02/22/20 11:59 pm
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Originally Posted by Robert Dentico
The original bullet connectors all over the harness appear to have been crimped.  Are they soldered as well...?


No.  


Originally Posted by Robert Dentico
Wondering if there is a specific style crimping tool to crimp these or in fact, do I solder them...?


https://www.classicbritishspares.co...nector-crimping-tool-900269-hex-cbs-0394

Cheaper alternative
https://www.vehiclewiringproducts.co.uk/p-273-bullet-crimping-tool

Re: Bullet connectors, crimp or solder...?
Robert Dentico #799070 02/23/20 12:08 am
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If you want easy, better, faster and don't care about original try these;
https://www.posi-products.com/index.html
I replaced all the connectors on my 72 over twenty years ago.


1968 T120R
1972 T120RV
Any advice given is without a warranty expressed or implied.
Re: Bullet connectors, crimp or solder...?
Robert Dentico #799083 02/23/20 1:33 am
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My preference is crimping. I went the solder route once and didn't like it. Unless you're a crackerjack solderer and you have the right equipment, soldering those bullets can be problematic. I won't bore you with the details here.

Note that there are two types of those terminals; one type is "solder only". So if you're going to crimp, make sure you have the right type of terminals.


Mark Z

'65(lower)/'66(upper, wheels, front end, controls)/'67(seat, exhaust, fuel tank, headlamp)/'70(frame) A65 Bitsa.
Re: Bullet connectors, crimp or solder...?
Mark Z #799088 02/23/20 2:21 am
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Originally Posted by L.A.B.
Originally Posted by Robert Dentico
The original bullet connectors all over the harness appear to have been crimped.  Are they soldered as well...?


No.  

Originally Posted by Robert Dentico
Wondering if there is a specific style crimping tool to crimp these or in fact, do I solder them...?


https://www.classicbritishspares.co...nector-crimping-tool-900269-hex-cbs-0394

Cheaper alternative
https://www.vehiclewiringproducts.co.uk/p-273-bullet-crimping-tool



Thanks,
The first option seems to be out of stock and the second is from the UK and I do not know whether they ship to the US, I'll inquire.




Originally Posted by desco
If you want easy, better, faster and don't care about original try these;
https://www.posi-products.com/index.html
I replaced all the connectors on my 72 over twenty years ago.


I used those on an alternator upgrade on a Guzzi a few years ago, nice stuff but a bit large, I want to stuff all these in the shell. Besides I have already purchased the bullets.

Thanks


Originally Posted by Mark Z
My preference is crimping. I went the solder route once and didn't like it. Unless you're a crackerjack solderer and you have the right equipment, soldering those bullets can be problematic. I won't bore you with the details here.

Note that there are two types of those terminals; one type is "solder only". So if you're going to crimp, make sure you have the right type of terminals.


Exactly my concern, I would need to make a Helping Hand to hold the bullet or wire or both... interesting.

Plus I do not know whether these are solder only or whether I can crimp them, take a look at the photo in the first post, they look to be fairly thick walls, I'll measure them in the morning. The supplier did tell me that they were solder type in a one word reply when asked.

I looked around at hardware supply places on line near here and I may go see if I can find something locally, take a bullet with me to see if it will work.

Thanks,
Rob


"They told me I was gonna have to work for a livin' but all I wanna do is Ride" - Jackson Browne

Current:
'75 T-160 Trident, '78 T-140 V Bonneville, '71 T100R Daytona, '13 Electra Glide, a garage full of Guzzis, '88 Honda Hawk GT, '89 Hawk GT, '84 RZ350 KR, 1978 Yamaha XS650, 1969 Dalesman Trials etc and a '73 MGB for good measure... smile
Re: Bullet connectors, crimp or solder...?
Robert Dentico #799093 02/23/20 3:51 am
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Hi Rob,

Originally Posted by Robert Dentico
The supplier did tell me that they were solder type

The picture of the bullets on your bike now shows two hex. crimps, one next to the wire insulation, the other part-way along the bullet. Your new bullets couldn't form the crimp next to the wire insulation properly and I'm doubtful they could form the crimp part-way along correctly too. frown

In addition, the internal diameter of the new bullets is too large for crimping on the wires on your bike.

Originally Posted by Robert Dentico
I looked around at hardware supply places on line near here and I may go see if I can find something locally,

Originally Posted by Robert Dentico
My usual purveyor supplied me with a bag of replacement male bullets and female bullet connectors.

Ime, you are highly-unlikely to find the correct bullets anywhere, and your "usual purveyor" has been pretty useless. frown

Regrettably, you can't simply crimp on any old bullet. The correct crimping tool collapses correct bullets only a certain amount, that amount should form an interference-fit between the crimped bullet ID and the wire conductor (not insulation) OD, the fit tight enough to prevent the wire pulling out of the bullet when you try to pull a bullet out of a snap connector.

The correct-looking crimping bullets are available in the US from British Wiring - http://www.britishwiring.com/Crimping-Bullet-for-14-Strand-PVC-Wire-p/c314.htm

However, the "14 Strand" are modern metric strands; if your T140's wiring harness is original, it'll have Imperial Standard Wire Gauge strands, which are slightly smaller than modern metric; collectively, the wires' conductors are smaller enough that bullets sized for modern metric conductors don't make a tight-enough interference-fit when crimped and wires do pull out of bullets when you're trying to pull the bullets out of snap connectors. frown

Crimp-on bullets for original Imperial SWG wire haven't been available for decades. frown If your T140's harness is original (or an old replacement that still has Imperial-size wires), I'd advise against trying to change the bullets unless you're changing to completely-different connectors. Fwiw, ime the problems you detailed in your first post ("they are prone to becoming compromised, overheating etc.") are just the old snap connectors, rarely/not the bullets. Try replacing just the snap connectors and see if the problems go away; worst-case, all you've wasted is a little time before replacing all connectors with something completely different?

Otoh, if your bike's harness is a new enough replacement that it does have metric-size wires, in addition to the bullets, British Wiring also sell both the crimping tool and the "closing tool" - http://www.britishwiring.com/Tools-s/42.htm.

Hth.

Regards,

Re: Bullet connectors, crimp or solder...?
Robert Dentico #799094 02/23/20 3:55 am
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"I looked around at hardware supply places on line near here and I may go see if I can find something locally, take a bullet with me to see if it will work."

British Wiring in Bally, PA. has it all: https://www.britishwiring.com/

Oh... I see now, this has been covered above.


Last edited by Mark Z; 02/23/20 3:57 am.

Mark Z

'65(lower)/'66(upper, wheels, front end, controls)/'67(seat, exhaust, fuel tank, headlamp)/'70(frame) A65 Bitsa.
Re: Bullet connectors, crimp or solder...?
Robert Dentico #799095 02/23/20 4:09 am
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I just finished reading Stuart's reply. Hmm, yes, the i.d. of the terminals can be a problem. I recall that the fellow at British Wiring said they had at least two different sizes though, so it may be prudent to call and ask.

Good advice about just replacing the connectors if you can. The metal inside them corrodes and loses its resiliency after a while; new ones work much better. Using dielectric grease on the new ones will extend their life.

If you do wind up soldering, one technique for keeping the wire in place is to push the wire out through the hole in the end of the terminal and splay the ends. After soldering, snip off the excess wire.


Mark Z

'65(lower)/'66(upper, wheels, front end, controls)/'67(seat, exhaust, fuel tank, headlamp)/'70(frame) A65 Bitsa.
Re: Bullet connectors, crimp or solder...?
Robert Dentico #799113 02/23/20 11:11 am
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Originally Posted by Robert Dentico
The first option seems to be out of stock and the second is from the UK and I do not know whether they ship to the US, I'll inquire.


The links I posted were only examples.

http://www.britishwiring.com/product-p/bw-ast23.htm

Re: Bullet connectors, crimp or solder...?
Robert Dentico #799123 02/23/20 2:28 pm
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1968 T120R
1972 T120RV
Any advice given is without a warranty expressed or implied.
Re: Bullet connectors, crimp or solder...?
Robert Dentico #799125 02/23/20 3:03 pm
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Bullet connectors are quite elegant when you think about it - they're compact, simple, and, in my experience, highly reliable. Of course I don't live next to an ocean and my Bonnie lives in a nice dry workshop.

The problem with soldering bullets is that if too much solder is applied it runs down the strands and effectively turns the stranded wire into solid wire. The solid mass is way more prone to breaking off than strands due to vibration stresses at the point where the wire enters the bullet. That's how I see it anyway.

Mark Z's tip on splaying the ends of the strands at the tip of the bullet and then cutting them off afterwards is a good one and works well whether you are crimping or soldering or both.

I made my custom harness with bullets and I crimped them first and then applied the tiniest amount of solder possible to the tip of the bullets and the protruding wires before snipping off the excess wire. This provides the benefits of good electrical and mechanical connections, and strands of wire to absorb vibrations where the wire joins the bullet. In my experience, new bullets take the solder very well.

I'll be over at my workshop later today and I'm going to crimp a British Wiring bullet onto a 14-strand conductor in the original imperial wiring harness for my '69 Bonnie. I'll report back.

Cheers!


Bruce Miller
aka The Hermit
The Bonnie Ref: https://www.hermit.cc/tmc/om/manual.htm
Re: Bullet connectors, crimp or solder...?
Robert Dentico #799132 02/23/20 5:22 pm
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Hm, I’ve always soldered mine. I have always assumed this makes a better and more lasting connection but it does take a bit more time. Melt a touch of .060 resin core solder to the end of the wire first to tin it, then put bullet in a shallow 3/16 hole drilled in a scrap 2x4, insert wire, apply solder gun to the plug to heat, and hold solder against it at top until it runs into the plug. Done. The scrap 2x4 is a lot cheaper than the crimping tool.

I’ve soldered headlamp leads in place that way. It helps to have a helper to do that, but I’ve also done it alone, the small scrap 2x4 holds things.

When you have new or cleaned plugs and connectors, put a little dielectric grease on each one before reassembling to help prevent corrosion and keep the problem from coming back.

Although I’ve never tried that, I sort of like the idea of trying replacing the connectors first, assuming the crimped end of the wire and the crimped plug aren’t internally corroded enough to create resistance. I suppose you could measure the resistance with your multimeter, and maybe clean the old bullet with OOO fine steel wool?

Re: Bullet connectors, crimp or solder...?
Robert Dentico #799172 02/23/20 11:02 pm
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Crisis averted... Soldering the bullet connectors. 

I had made more of this than I should have, not knowing just which way to go regarding crimping or soldering I went out and made up one test soldered connection.  It came out better than good so I did three of them in the headlight. 
All good.  

Thanks for the input from you all, great idea to push the wire through the end of the bullet and splaying the ends, helps considerably to help keep the bullet in place while soldering. 

Much appreciate the assistance from you all. 

Best,
Rob

Attached Files Bullet splayed.jpgBullet connectors (3).JPG

"They told me I was gonna have to work for a livin' but all I wanna do is Ride" - Jackson Browne

Current:
'75 T-160 Trident, '78 T-140 V Bonneville, '71 T100R Daytona, '13 Electra Glide, a garage full of Guzzis, '88 Honda Hawk GT, '89 Hawk GT, '84 RZ350 KR, 1978 Yamaha XS650, 1969 Dalesman Trials etc and a '73 MGB for good measure... smile
Re: Bullet connectors, crimp or solder...?
Robert Dentico #799178 02/24/20 12:16 am
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CORRECTION TO EARLIER POST

In what I originally posted here I said that I had successfully crimped contemporary bullets (as supplied by British Wiring) on imperial conductors (an original 1969 T120 wiring harness).

When I went over to the shop today I realized that the harness laying on the bench, the one I used for my bullet experiment, was NOT the original, but a British Wiring reproduction! No wonder those conductors went in so snug and crimped down so tight.

When I retrieved the original harness and crimped a #14 bullet onto one if its 14-strand conductors I discovered that:

A) The wires did not fit so snugly in the bullet, they were actually quite loose
B) It didn't take too much of a yank to pull the strands right out of the bullet.

Which is exactly what Stuart said in his post above

Apologies for confusion I created. Thanks to koan58 for heads-up.


Last edited by Hermit; 02/24/20 11:01 pm. Reason: Correction to my erroneous information

Bruce Miller
aka The Hermit
The Bonnie Ref: https://www.hermit.cc/tmc/om/manual.htm
Re: Bullet connectors, crimp or solder...?
Hermit #799193 02/24/20 1:26 am
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.
those soldered connections look like hell ... thought the may last a good many years .

the wire should be tinned first , as lurker suggested ... and then the insulation goes up .. half way , or more ... inside the bullet .
the pre-tinned wire end supplies the bulk of the solder needed ... and just a smidge more is added after the solder re-flows
with the application of the solder iron .

tinning first controls how deeply the solder wicks to the wires insulation .
you dont want solder wicked up to where it will stiffens the flexibility of the wire strands .

your solder connection is probably fine ... but with how the wire is stripped to far , you've lost the strain relief
of the insulation being inside the bullet . ( that shrink wrap thats already coming off ...isnt necessary if done correctly )

Re: Bullet connectors, crimp or solder...?
Robert Dentico #799194 02/24/20 1:28 am
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mmm... your empirical evidence seems contrary to some other very assured advice. Interesting! and thanks for the effort.

(Hermit's post I was referring to)

Last edited by koan58; 02/24/20 1:33 am. Reason: to make clear attribution
Re: Bullet connectors, crimp or solder...?
Robert Dentico #799201 02/24/20 5:28 am
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One of the problems I encountered in soldering was, in trying to keep a bit of insulation inside the terminal, on a couple of terminals I inadvertently melted some insulation and thus contaminated the solder joint. What was particularly insidious about this flaw was that it took a couple of months for the joints to fail, and when they did it was difficult to find the points of failure.

This was probably due to a not-hot-enough iron, and staying on the terminal too long. Again, avoidable if you know your soldering beans.

You can also do what Rob did and substitute shrink tubing for the insulation. (Rob, that IS shrink tubing and not electrical tape, right?)


Mark Z

'65(lower)/'66(upper, wheels, front end, controls)/'67(seat, exhaust, fuel tank, headlamp)/'70(frame) A65 Bitsa.
Re: Bullet connectors, crimp or solder...?
Mark Z #799221 02/24/20 2:31 pm
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Originally Posted by Mark Z
One of the problems I encountered in soldering was, in trying to keep a bit of insulation inside the terminal, on a couple of terminals I inadvertently melted some insulation and thus contaminated the solder joint. What was particularly insidious about this flaw was that it took a couple of months for the joints to fail, and when they did it was difficult to find the points of failure.

This was probably due to a not-hot-enough iron, and staying on the terminal too long. Again, avoidable if you know your soldering beans.

You can also do what Rob did and substitute shrink tubing for the insulation. (Rob, that IS shrink tubing and not electrical tape, right?)



Hey Mark,
Same here, I was worried about contaminating the solder with the insulation so I kept it back just enough to ensure that I would not chance it. Hence the reason for the shrink tubing to both seal the end of the bullet and act as a bit of a strain relief... hopefully. I trimmed that end that looks like a bit of foreskin...

These connections are in the headlight shell and really not much movement in there plus I think I will bundle and tie them together. There is the bent tab restraint that captures the bit of wiring as it enters the shell as well.

Best,
Rob


"They told me I was gonna have to work for a livin' but all I wanna do is Ride" - Jackson Browne

Current:
'75 T-160 Trident, '78 T-140 V Bonneville, '71 T100R Daytona, '13 Electra Glide, a garage full of Guzzis, '88 Honda Hawk GT, '89 Hawk GT, '84 RZ350 KR, 1978 Yamaha XS650, 1969 Dalesman Trials etc and a '73 MGB for good measure... smile
Re: Bullet connectors, crimp or solder...?
Robert Dentico #799258 02/24/20 9:00 pm
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there is a fair amount of vibration all over the bike .
those new soldered bullets could last forever ... or not .
thinking about the the possibility , as you have done , is a good step .

there is more than one way to skin a cat ... those foreskinned bullets loose points
for appearance ...

( a tip that no one asked for )
the insulation over the wire can be stretched and compresssed ... up to a point .
and it will eventually return to its natural length .
i use this to an advantage when soldering bullets

how i solder a bullet .

the wire can be stripped , to say 1/4 "
tinned for 3/16" ... ( old wire may need cleaning to expose fresh copper )
the tinned end in then pulled out of the insulation ... so 3/8" of wire shows .
insulation during soldering is just barely engaged inside or at the edge of the bullet .
tinned wire end is snipped so only 1/16 sticks out
bullet soldered... only a dab of solder added ... when tinned-end re-liquefies ... completely covering the end of the bullet , making it gas tight
... and then the compressed insulation is pushed back fully inside the bullet .

Re: Bullet connectors, crimp or solder...?
Robert Dentico #799259 02/24/20 9:19 pm
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Seems to me the most problems I've had with wires breaking from the vibration are the ones to the taillight. I ended up just splicing the wires and getting rid of the bullet connectors there altogether.
I try to strap down any loose wires and connectors. It strain relieves them and reduces problems from fractured solder joints.
Perhaps there is no perfect solution. The Japanese bikes went to very small diameter wires and tiny, jewel like connectors with no solder joints at all. Seems to work pretty good.
But I think crimped connectors aren't any more reliable than soldered ones. They can corrode and have high resistance. I'm chasing one of those now on my Honda. When it gets wet, the motor cuts out and that can be very risky. I'm not interested in riding in the rain at the moment and won't wash my bike until I find the culprit.
Unfortunately, I live in a place where it is raining somewhere every minute of every day.
Ride fast and dodge raindrops!
Cheers,
Bill


Bikes
1974 Commando
1985 Honda Nighthawk 650
1957 Thunderbird/T110 "Black Tiger"
Antique Fans: Loads of Emersons (Two six wingers) plus gyros and orbiters.

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