I used bullets on my home made wiring harness for my Trident. I work at a GM dealership so I have access to several different crimpers but none made a suitable crimp on the bullets. I ended up ordering the correct crimper from www.britishwiring.com. the proper crimper makes a square looking crimp. I now feel like I should do a proper wiring job on the Bonneville to justify the $55 cost of the crimper.
When given the choice between two evils I picked the one I haven't tried before
I've been rewiring Britbikes since the early 1980's. I was advised to crimp by an old guy in the local Lucas dealership and I've never found an original soldered terminal in a Lucas wiring loom - apparently, soldering makes a stiff section that can fail at some later time due to vibration-induced fatigue.
Luckily, I was able to buy the correct crimping tool for not a lot of money, which makes life much easier. If it's $55 in the US, you might want to look at buying from GB - bothAutosparks (AST1) and VWP (scroll down to TT85) have it for a little less. I know these prices don't include p&p but it might make sense combined with other stuff you'll need; e.g. I also recommend the 'Closing tool' (for pushing bullets into connectors).
There's also a couple of gotchas that being aware of also makes life easier:-
1. Bullets only work with the modern cable dimensions they're specced. for. The commonest cable you'll find in Britbike looms looks very similar to the modern 14/0.30 (14 strands, each 0.3mm o.d.) but each British strand is marginally smaller - 0.28mm o.d. - so a 14/0.30 bullet won't grip properly.
However, if you've a lot of 14/0.28 Britbike cable you want to use, I've had success with some batches of bullets intended for modern 9/0.30 cable.
2. If you've one or two pieces of original 14/0.28 cable with a bullet firmly attached, keep 'em and use 'em to 'open out' sleeve connectors.
If you push your-newly crimped terminals into new sleeve connectors (with your closing tool ), first time you need to pull a cable out again, it can leave its terminal in the connector. However, if you first push your scrap cable and terminals into the sleeve connector and then pull it/them out before pushing in your-newly crimped terminal(s), while the connector will still hold the terminals more than firmly enough, you're much less likely to pull a cable out of its terminal.
Living in probably the worst place imaginable for electrical wiring, I get my share of problems. Dielectric grease for every connection. Don't "open up" any connector which has been greased. They are much easier to insert and remove when greased and you don't want any wires just falling out of their connectors. Connectors need to be soldered and done correctly. Leave no residue of flux behind. Disc brake cleaner works great. Crimp connectors will fail from corrosion before soldered bullet connectors fail from fatigue. Jeez, if it vibrates that bad maybe you should get your crank assembly balanced. Just pay the money and get a harness proffessionally done by British Wiring. These guys are the pros. The biggest problem with British electrics is poor quality reproduction parts in my opinion. The poor reputation Lucas has was earned in a short period of time in the early sixties but at the end of the day, they built to a price and you get what you pay for. Bill Does anyone know how to get rid of this annoying red headed bug-eyed skank and her dippy girlfriend on to top of so many web pages?
Bikes 1974 Commando 1985 Honda Nighthawk 650 1957 Thunderbird/T110 "Flying Tiger" Antique Fans: Loads of Emersons (Two six wingers) plus gyros and orbiters.
Connectors need to be soldered and done correctly.
The last two words being the sting in the tail. Ime, good soldering is a skill acquired after a lot of bad soldering; I've never managed to acquire the skill, but producing good crimped connections takes only good tools and a little common sense.
Originally Posted By: HawaiianTiger
Crimp connectors will fail from corrosion before soldered bullet connectors fail from fatigue.
Mmmm ... In my first rewire, I reused quite a few bits of original cable with original Lucas crimped bullet connections; those connections are now at least 35 years old (the bike's in the garage downstairs), GB is hardly the driest place in the world and, while it doesn't now, that bike's spent a fair number of years beside the sea. Otoh, in the intervening years, I've fixed quite a few failed (admittedly badly-) soldered connections (not mine).
Originally Posted By: HawaiianTiger
Just pay the money and get a harness proffessionally done by British Wiring. These guys are the pros.
True, but, like shel, writing out specs. for all the modified looms I've built would've taken longer than actually building the looms, plus I've never had to wait for someone to 'get round to it'. In any case, as you know yourself, building a loom for a Britbike is hardly rocket science.
Originally Posted By: HawaiianTiger
The poor reputation Lucas has was earned in a short period of time in the early sixties
... and '71 on. Ime, the 1960's stuff Lucas supplied to the British car makers was, generally, much better quality than the stuff they supplied to the bike makers. In 1970, Lucas didn't need to screw around - who were BSA going to go to if Lucas had said, "Nope, this is what you're getting and this is how much it costs"?
I am with Bill. Corrosion is a killer, but more so in certain environments. Not so bad in Carefree, Arizona or even in a few wet climates, but EXTREME when you live anywhere near salt water or ride consistently on wet roads post salting for ice. If you live along the ocean and park your bike in the open (even with an overhead) you will be able to watch the bike melt before your eyes (forgettabout the damn connectors).
Properly soldered connections are preferable for those environments. Soldering is not a difficult skill to learn, just takes a bit of practice. They teach it in Cub Scouts. True that it is a range of skills for different applications, from plumbing to surface mount electronics, but all learnable with just a bit of practice, and inexpensive practice at that. Not like learning to weld! The practice curve ain't as steep. Just persevere and you will be a certified aerospace technician in no time, or the Britbike equivalent.
I reuse Lucas bullet connectors and have a small supply of nos ends 2 ways, 3 ways and multipoint commons.
The looms I've preserved were all soldered originally. Tin the end of a freshly cut and stripped wire, fill the bullet with a good pool of molten solder and insert wire. Let cool, file down any spillage coming out the tip and you are done. Clean all the sleeves and make sure of a good captive fit. It's all about the integrity of your connection.
Didn't do it in Cub Scouts but if you couldn't pull it off in 7th grade Electronics... Mr. York would fail your ass!
Don in Nipomo
1956 Zundapp KS601EL 1960 Greeves Scottish/Hawkstone Velorex 560 1963 BSA Gold Star Spitfire 1964 Triumph T20SM 1965 BSA C15T 1966 BSA VE 1968 Bonham Tote Gote 1969 BSA VS 1970 BSA A65L (with a "Y") 1972 Husqvarna 450 WR 1986 Yamaha TT 225 1987 BMW K75C
hawaiian tiger is precisely correct.what most people dont realize is that you must have UN oxidized parts to join,flux ONLY ROSIN nothing in cans that says danger,should be used, clean terminations such as wire or tabs with ink eraser until shiny metal appears apply flux use 63 -37(prefered) or 60 -40 0nly.only use iron plated pencil iron (for durability) 1/8 '' tip for small wiring
no never met him,but i live in the tropics and have done so for 30 years. i was taught to solder to a nasa spec.i hold an e level certification under the old amrip program from NAVAIR SYS COM. i ve soldered corroded antique wiring on aviation ground support equipment for 22 years i have the references and the certificates to prove it, whats your claim to fame??
Thank you Stuart, Hawaiian Tiger, Duke of Oil, Buckshot1, D. Bachtel, and Jaycee! I'm still leaning towards buying a crimper from British Wiring. I didn't know about the tool that snaps the connectors together. Does anyone solder AND crimp?
there is nothing better than an inter metalic bond, crimped connectors are only an assembly line accessory learn a new skill that will teach you something that will save you money, i will be happy to answer questions!!!
Mark, going right back to your original post above; "I'm going to rewire........etc. Here is my take; don't sue me...... If you are making your own loom, cut out as many connections as you possibly can and wire direct. More reliability, less resistance. Obviously you will need some connectors and soldered bullets are as good as any. Use a weight of wire one up on what is recommended as long as your loom doesn't bulk out in the tight spots. Directly wire the headlight using a 20A wire rather than use relays. Weak point here is the dipswitch - make sure it's ok. The number of fuses you install is your call. My original loom had none at all! Run a spare wire of a completely different colour in each leg of the loom for repairs or for adding that must-have accessory and also run an earth wire in all parts. Don't rely on the frame to provide an earth path. All earths should be grounded locally AND taken back to a common eath point on the fame. If you are doing any electronic ignition stuff make sure you have a short earth connection to the cylinder head. That way you CAN defeat the Prince of Darkness.
mike Member #: 147 1960 T120 Bonneville 1999 H*%^a VFR 800 FI V4 Triton Project (still keeping me sane (Ha-Ha!))
Use a weight of wire one up on what is recommended as long as your loom doesn't bulk out in the tight spots.
As I mentioned in my first post, modern equivalent of original "recommended" is 14/0.30; this is rated for a maximum of 8.75 Amps, so 102 Watts @ 12V, so you can supply anything up to a 100W main beam filament with it, as long as you're using thicker conductor closer to the battery and reg./rect. where the wires are carrying power for more than one component.
That said, if you want to follow Mike's advice, look specifically for 28/0.30 'thinwall'. Wire of this type is used on modern vehicles, has a different plastic insulation (cable feels slightly stiffer than 'normal' PVC-insulated) that makes for a thinner o.d. and allows a given conductor to be rated for a higher current. In the case of 28/0.30 'thinwall', it has a similar o.d. to the 14/0.30 mentioned above (so less likely to "bulk out in the tight spots") and is rated for 25A, where 'normal PVC-insulated' 28/0.30 would have a greater o.d. and only be rated for 17.5A. Also, connectors intended for 28/0.30 will work well with either 'thinwall' or 'normal'.
Originally Posted By: t120mike
Directly wire the headlight using a 20A wire rather than use relays. Weak point here is the dipswitch
Problem with this is do you really want the work of replacing the wires that're actually soldered in the switch cluster?
There is also another gotcha here if you've never replaced an original cluster with a Sparx. Sparx are variable quality - I've one of their clusters that has wires so thin not even 9/0.30 bullets will stay on 'em. Not a problem for me (apart from ensuring my kids didn't hear my opinion when I worked out the problem ) as the headlamp switches only have to carry the operating current to the previously-installed relays but a pita for anyone expecting a simple swap of a new Sparx cluster for a faulty original. And bear in mind a simple return to the seller for another is unlikely to yield a better new one; the batch is likely to be all the same.
Fwiw, both my T160's that I rewired in the early 1980's use Lucas 6RA relays in a direct supply to the headlights; both bikes still use the relays I fitted back then.
Originally Posted By: t120mike
Run a spare wire of a completely different colour in each leg of the loom for repairs or for adding that must-have accessory
Depends if you plan to tape up your new loom after you've built it. Fwiw, I never have done, instead using releaseable cable ties to attach wires to convenient frame tubes and then covering any stretches still exposed when all the bodywork's back on (e.g. around the headstock between the front of the tank and the headlight shell) with flexible convoluted tubing. I use the stuff with the lengthways slit so it can be added after the loom's built and tested and pulled off any time for access without disturbing any connectors. That way I can do repairs and updates as required.
Originally Posted By: t120mike
All earths should be taken back to a common eath point on the fame.
Nothing wrong with this approach but, personally, I didn't/don't like numerous parallel earth cables to a common point so, from the first rewire I did, I used a slightly different system. Individual component earth wires run to an 8-way common bullet connector in the headlight and under the seat (the two concentrations of electrical components), then just one 44/0.30 wire (modern equivalent of Lucas pre-'71 standard) from each of those bullet connectors to an engine head stud. On an electric-start bike like a T160, I then have a starter-thickness cable from an engine/frame bolt to the battery to take care of all earth returns but, on a non-e/s bike, I use exactly the same system but with a 44/0.30 earth wire to the battery from the underseat 8-way bullet connector.