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Electrical Connectors - Weather Pack, Metric Pack, Deutsch

Posted by Anders Green 
Anders Green
Anders Green
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Electrical Connectors - Weather Pack, Metric Pack, Deutsch
August 25, 2015 06:45AM
Multiple searches on the topic of electrical and connector here yielded nothing. I think people still build cars that have electricity in them, so, for those people, the following information may be useful.

Anders

Quote
desertspeed33 from pirate4x4
I recently posted this on another forum.

I have been researching different connectors as I have been re-wiring parts of my truck over the past couple of years, and I thought I would share this info as a reference guide to the different kinds of multi-pin connectors that are out there. Hopefully this will save some research time for anyone who is doing some wiring, from light bars to removable dashes, to complete re-wires.

This is certainly not meant to cover every type of connector available, but the most commonly used connectors in off-road with an eye towards availability and economy- Weatherpack, Metripack, Deutch, and Mil-spec or Cannon type connectors. Not all of these would be appropriate for use in a high-end race car, but work fine for must prerunners and builds on a budget.

I will go into more detail on each connector below, but I typically use the following connectors:
Weatherpack- 2-3 terminals, less than 20 amps (LED tail lights, interior lights, etc)
Metripack 280 Series or Deutch DTP- 2-3 terminals, 20-30 amps (fuel pumps, fans, etc)
Deutch DT- 2-12 terminals, less than 13 amps (smaller switch panels, wire harnesses, electronics)
Amphenol Mil-Spec Circular Plugs- 10-60 terminals, 7.5-23 amps (dash harness, engine harnesses, etc)

I have provided links to where I have ordered connectors/pins/tools, etc., but there are lots of other options on where to buy.


Delphi Weatherpack
Number of terminals: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 22
Terminal Wire Size: 22-18, 16-14, 12 AWG
Max Pin Rating: 20 amps
Pros- Inexpensive, water sealed, crimping tool is relatively inexpensive
Cons- connectors are not very compact in larger pin counts, pins are rolled and not solid, limited to 20a max.
Uses: LED tail lights, interior lights, anything with 2-3 pins and less than 20 amps. Once you get above 3 pins, Deutch connectors are much smaller. If you need 2-3 pins and more than 20 amps, go with a Metripack connector.
Ordering: http://www.waytekwire.com/products/2...ck-Connectors/
You need a male connector (Tower), female connector (Shroud), male terminal, female terminal, and cable seal. Female terminals are used with 'Tower’ housings and male terminals are used with 'Shroud’ housings.
Crimping Tool: http://www.waytekwire.com/item/533/C...ED-METRI-PACK/ $22.50
You can buy more expensive crimpers that will crimp both the wire and the cable seal in one step, but these work fine.

Delphi Metripack
150 Series- 2, 3, or 4 terminals, 22-18 AWG, 14 amps max (there is no reason to use these over Weatherpack connectors, so I won’t go into any more detail).
280 Series-
Number of terminals: 1, 2, 3, or 5
Terminal Wire Size: 16-12 AWG
Max Pin Rating: 30 amps
Pros- Inexpensive, water sealed, crimping tool is relatively inexpensive (same tool as Weatherpack), can handle up to 30 amps
Cons- 3 or 5 pin connectors are bulky
Uses: LED light bars, fans, fuel pumps, race radios
Info: http://whiteproducts.com/index.shtml
Ordering: http://www.waytekwire.com/products/1...ck-Connectors/
You need a male connector, female connector, male terminal, female terminal, TPA locks, and cable seals (same as Weatherpack seals).
Crimping Tool: http://www.waytekwire.com/item/533/C...ED-METRI-PACK/ $22.50
You can buy more expensive crimpers that will crimp both the wire and the cable seal in one step, but these work fine.
480 Series- 2 or 3 terminals, 12-10 AWG, 42 amps max.
630 Series- 2 or 3 terminals, 12-10 AWG, 46 amps max.
The 480 and 630 series are similar to the 280 series, but are rated for a higher amp load- I can’t think of anything on a vehicle that would have that high of a draw, except maybe an amp.

Deutch/Amphenol DTM
Number of terminals: 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, or 12
Terminal Wire Size: 22-16 AWG
Pin Size: 20
Max Pin Rating: 7.5 amps
Pros- high quality, connectors are compact for number of terminals, water sealed, solid pins
Cons- crimping tool is more expensive
Uses: LED tail lights, interior lights, electronics, anything with 2-12 pins and less than 7.5 amps.
Ordering: http://www.waytekwire.com/products/1...TM-Connectors/ , http://www.prowireusa.com/c-76-deuts...ctor-kits.aspx , or eBay.
You need a male connector (plug), female connector (receptacle), male terminal (pin), female terminal (socket), and wedgelocks. I find it easiest to order connector kits, which come complete with connectors, pins, wedgelocks, etc.
Crimping Tool: HDT 48-00 http://www.prowireusa.com/p-435-hdt-...rimp-tool.aspx $237.50
Please note that this crimping tool will also work for the Mil-Spec connectors below.

Deutch DT/Amphenol AT
Number of terminals: 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, or 12
Terminal Wire Size: 20-14 AWG
Pin Size: 16
Max Pin Rating: 13 amps
Pros- high quality, connectors are compact for number of terminals, water sealed, solid pins
Cons- crimping tool is more expensive
Uses: LED tail lights, interior lights, electronics, switch panels, anything with 2-12 pins and less than 13 amps.
Ordering: http://www.waytekwire.com/products/1...AT-Connectors/ , http://www.prowireusa.com/c-19-deuts...ctor-kits.aspx , or eBay.
You need a male connector (plug), female connector (receptacle), male terminal (pin), female terminal (socket), and wedgelocks. I find it easiest to order connector kits, which come complete with connectors, pins, wedgelocks, etc.
Crimping Tool: HDT 48-00 http://www.prowireusa.com/p-435-hdt-...rimp-tool.aspx $237.50
Please note that this crimping tool will also work for the Mil-Spec connectors below.

Deutch DTP/Amphenol ATP
Number of terminals: 2 or 4
Terminal Wire Size: 14-10 AWG
Pin Size: 12
Max Pin Rating: 25 amps
Pros- high quality, connectors are compact for number of terminals, water sealed, solid pins
Cons- crimping tool is more expensive
Uses: Fuel pumps, fans, LED light bars, race radios. Similar applications as Metripack 280 series, but more expensive.
Ordering: http://www.waytekwire.com/products/2...TP-Connectors/ , http://www.prowireusa.com/c-77-deuts...ctor-kits.aspx , or eBay.
You need a male connector (plug), female connector (receptacle), male terminal (pin), female terminal (socket), and wedgelocks. I find it easiest to order connector kits, which come complete with connectors, pins, wedgelocks, etc.
Crimping Tool: HDT 48-00 http://www.prowireusa.com/p-435-hdt-...rimp-tool.aspx $237.50
Please note that this crimping tool will also work for the Mil-Spec connectors below.


Milspec, or “Cannon” Connectors

There are numerous companies that make multi-pin circular connectors, and many of them have special crimping tools that only work with their terminals and can get very expensive. After researching a bunch of them and talking with Joey Davitian from ProWire (no, I do not work for ProWire and I am not getting any commission from them, but I have ordered from them many times and they are extremely knowledgeable and helpful), I decided to use Amphenol MIL-26482 Series 2 connectors- they are very common in motorsports applications, they come in a huge variety of configurations, and they use the same pins and crimping tool as the Deutch connectors.

Number of terminals: 3-61, in various configurations
Pin Sizes:
20: 24-20 AWG, max 7.5 amps
16: 20-16 AWG, max 13 amps
12: 14-12 AWG, max 23 amps

Ordering these connectors can be very confusing, and get very expensive. You will probably only need a few of them on your truck at most, so I found it easiest to figure out how many terminals/wire size/amps I need for each plug and just call up ProWire to order a complete connector. They can cost $150 and up, but they should last indefinitely and can be re-used if needed by just ordering new pins/sockets, which can be bought in bulk.

Here is a link to the Amphenol Catalog- http://www.tntc.com/news/Amphenol%20MS3470.pdf

Quote
hotrod.com
Packard 56

The Packard 56 is the grandfather of the modular electrical connector. If the Packard name sounds familiar it's for good reason: the Packard brothers of automobile fame started it in 1890. In fact the Packard Electric Company bankrolled the Packard Motor Car Company nine years later.

In 1932 the brothers sold Packard Electric Company to General Motors who named it the Packard Electric Division. The company released its 56 series as an un-sealed modular system in the mid '50s. The housings come in a variety of configurations, from plain inline connectors to specialty connectors that correspond to various devices, like sending units, flasher modules, ignition switches, alternator plugs, and, certainly most familiar, three-pin headlight plugs.

The Packard 56 terminals fold over the conductor to form a high-pressure crimp that seals the conductor strands as a soldered joint does yet achieves a superior electrical connection than solder can. The terminals also alleviate strain on the exposed conductor with a secondary crimp that grabs the wire jacket. All 56-series connectors use 1/4-inch blade-type terminals that can handle as much as 48 amps continuously. Though the terminals require a special crimp tool, popularity has made powerful ratcheting models refreshingly inexpensive.

Weather Pack

Packard 56 is handy for sure but it has one fatal flaw: it doesn't protect the terminals from oxidation. So in the '70s Packard Electrical Division created the Weather Pack (get it? Weather-resistant Packard).

Though Weather Pack is a modular system it achieved its weather resistance by sacrificing some of its utility. For the most part, Weather Pack connectors are inline exclusively and don't connect to a specific component as Packard 56 can. Furthermore, the seal system prohibits more than one wire from meeting a terminal.

Weather Pack's relatively small surface-contact area limits constant current capacity to 20 amps, less than half the capacity of Packard 56. But the design is more than compensated for by availability: every parts store across the country has Weather Pack service parts. And they're almost insultingly inexpensive if you buy them right.

Metri Pack

Metri Pack represents Packard's second-generation modular connector. The company completely revised the terminal shape to flat blades and rectangular slots and standardized it to a metric format, hence the Metri part in the name. Though every Metri Pack series has a sealed version, some variants trade the sealing component for a smaller package size. Anyway, not every connector needs the sealing capacity.

Like Packard 56, Metri Pack is available in more applications than inline. In fact pretty much all GM electrical components from the '90s onward feature Metri Pack connections.

Metri Pack isn't a connector design as much as a group of connectors based on terminal width. The 150-series connectors feature 1.5mm terminals and handle 14 amps; 280-series connectors feature 2.8mm terminals and handle 30 amps; 480-series connectors feature 4.8mm terminals and handle 42 amps; and 630-series connectors feature 6.3mm terminals and handle 46 amps.

The series uses a separate clip that retains the terminals. This TPA, or Terminal Position Assurance, retains the terminal at pretty much all costs. In fact, it works so well that some terminals lack the locking tangs.

The 280-series Metri Pack is incredibly versatile. Its footprint not so coincidentally matches the blade spacing of many universal automotive components like mini automotive fuses (APM/ATM), relays, and flasher modules, making it perfect for universal applications. In fact General Motors designs its modern fuse/relay panels to use 280-series terminals pretty much exclusively, something that makes them readily adaptable to other applications. Coolest of all, even-numbered 280 electrical connectors can be used as inline fuse holders—caps for two- and six-cavity female connects exist for this specific purpose.

To me, it was interesting to know that those three families had a timeline and evolution, so if you had to "choose between Metri-Pack and Weather Pack" you can understand that one came after the other.

What about PowerPoles? Still great for dry installations, and the main benefits are:
-rated for 10,000 connections (compared to weather pack rated for 5 connections)
-starts at 30 amps and goes up to 150 (compared to 7.5 for DTM or 13 for DT)

Bottom line, it seems like Metri-Pack / Weather Pack stuff is going to work decently well, and it's way better than the spade connectors you may have been using before, and the crimping tool is pretty cheap.

If you want to step up from good to great, Deutsch is your choice, and that crimping tool will run you $150 to $300.



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czwalga
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Re: Electrical Connectors - Weather Pack, Metric Pack, Deutsch
August 25, 2015 07:24AM
I use the weatherpack for my auxiliary lights. I haven't had any issues with them on either car.



I'm also too cheap to buy the crimper. Needle nose and solder.
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Re: Electrical Connectors - Weather Pack, Metric Pack, Deutsch
August 25, 2015 08:31AM
I've used weatherpack for some connectors. I agree, they are bulky with more than 4 pins.

I've also used simple 2, 4, or 5 pin flat trailer plugs for various things. (Like: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0002Q80RW/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_dp_ss_1?pf_rd_p=1944687442&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=B00030COC4&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=0GZ7KGZG1EJ3P4SW3C0Z) Cheap, lots of auto part stores have them if you need a new connector, works fine for less critical things.

I've also used lots of simple crimp spade connectors and put heat shrink over them. Although my bug is a lot easier with wiring than a modern car.
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Robert Culbertson
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Re: Electrical Connectors - Weather Pack, Metric Pack, Deutsch
August 25, 2015 01:37PM
Since the internet ate my last post I'll make it shorter.
Good source on motorsport harness building: https://www.rbracing-rsr.com/wiring_ecu.html

No wire nuts, ever.

I like non-insulated spade and butt connectors. I use staking pliers instead of the standard squish from both sides pliers, much stronger pullout resistance. I finish all my connections with heat shrink to offer protection and strain-relief. Marine grade/ glue-lined heat shrink is the bomb, and offers the best strain relief and corrosion resistance.

Weatherpack is okay. They're cheap and available everywhere. Connectors are pretty bulky and sharp, and they don't seal THAT well.

Deustch DT/DTM is pretty darn good. Better sealing, better connection, better wire retention. You can strain relief the connectors with glue-lined heat shrink for the best sealing and strength.
Crimping pliers are expensive.

Deustch AutoSport (or any AS connector) are amazing. You want a $3k wiring harness, start using these. Small CNC aluminum connectors, shielded, fully sealed, gold pins, super high pin-density. You will need to rob a bank to use these.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/25/2015 01:39PM by Robert Culbertson.
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Re: Electrical Connectors - Weather Pack, Metric Pack, Deutsch
August 25, 2015 05:56PM
I love Weatherpak. The parts are available anywhere, in onesy-twosies from NAPA or in bulk from places like Summit. The connectors are a bit bulky compared to modern things, but this also means that they're easier to fiddle with if and when you need to make a wiring repair. And the crimp tool to assemble them is so generic I saw them for sale at O'Reilly's for $13, they were part of a cheapo duzitall crimp tool that probably is worth every penny.



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Silence is golden, but duct tape is silver.
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Re: Electrical Connectors - Weather Pack, Metric Pack, Deutsch
August 26, 2015 06:51AM
Quote
Robert Culbertson
No wire nuts, ever.

Yeah, those are horrible.

I admit to using them in one place though: the rear turn signals on my dual sport motorcycle. I crash enough and rip them off enough that I wanted something that was "breakaway". spinning smiley sticking its tongue out

Anders



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Re: Electrical Connectors - Weather Pack, Metric Pack, Deutsch
August 26, 2015 10:34AM
Electrical tape



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Re: Electrical Connectors - Weather Pack, Metric Pack, Deutsch
August 26, 2015 11:09AM
I'll add a few notes here, since I've been searching on this topic a bit lately.

- each connector type/brand/whatever is rated from its manufacturer for a certain number of connect/disconnect events.
- support all of your connections: anywhere a wire terminates into something else is a stress point. support the wire (and hopefully the thing it's attached to) a few inches out with a zip tie or something. This prevents the wires from breaking at the connector.

I've read that page Rob posted, and it's like wire harness porn. Sexy stuff, but way outside my budget. Highly recommended reading.



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Re: Electrical Connectors - Weather Pack, Metric Pack, Deutsch
August 26, 2015 01:51PM
Quote
Towona
Electrical tape

Strip wire with teeth,

Spin remaining strands

Twist

Duct-tape

Bit of "black tape" fer looks.
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Re: Electrical Connectors - Weather Pack, Metric Pack, Deutsch
August 26, 2015 02:16PM
For general automotive wiring not requiring weatherpack or other high density junctions these are hard to beat
http://www.shopwurthusa.com/wurthstorefront/Electrical/Connectors/Insulated-Electrical-Connectors/Solder-Seal/c/16040404



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Re: Electrical Connectors - Weather Pack, Metric Pack, Deutsch
October 14, 2015 03:25PM
I can add a little bit to the high-end part of this discussion:

There's the official Deutsh crimper (HDT-48-00 Deutsch Solid Barrel Crimping Tool) which goes for about $265, which squeezes in from 4 points
http://www.amazon.com/HDT-48-00-Deutsch-Solid-Barrel-Crimping/dp/B0075P88IY




There's also the Daniels Manufacturing Corporation with their model AF8.

http://www.dmctools.com/Products/standard_adjustable_crimp_tool.html
http://www.amazon.com/Dmc-Af8-Crimp-Tool-Frame/dp/B00DIQ4BWG


This one is interesting in that it's apparently possible to put a variety of dies in it and crimp just about anything. And it squeezes in from 8 points. This is your MIL spec crimper. Unsurprisingly... it's more expensive, about $400, or $350 from Wirecare.com:
https://www.wirecare.com/dmc-crimpers.asp

DMC seems to be a granddaddy in the area of crimping.

Anders



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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/14/2015 03:39PM by Anders Green.
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Re: Electrical Connectors - Weather Pack, Metric Pack, Deutsch
October 15, 2015 12:44PM
Quote
Robert Culbertson
Marine grade/ glue-lined heat shrink is the bomb, and offers the best strain relief and corrosion resistance.

I second that. I don't use any other kind of heat shrink on any car of mine.



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Re: Electrical Connectors - Weather Pack, Metric Pack, Deutsch
October 16, 2015 09:51AM
Quote
Wedge
Quote
Robert Culbertson
Marine grade/ glue-lined heat shrink is the bomb, and offers the best strain relief and corrosion resistance.

I second that. I don't use any other kind of heat shrink on any car of mine.

The joys of being an industrial electician means oodles of heat shrink 1/8" to 4', and as many crimp connectors, ty-raps and cable as I need. I just do two layers one slightly longer that the first. If I want to be completey anal I have a Brady Printer to hand!



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Re: Electrical Connectors - Weather Pack, Metric Pack, Deutsch
October 20, 2015 05:23PM
I just wanted to add a couple things to this discussion: There are a couple more items that you should consider for people that want multi-connector (4+) and or circular connectors, and that is that AMP has industrial lines (eg CPC Series 1) that are MUCH cheaper than their respective Mil-Spec brothers. They ARE thermoplastic so they aren't the fancy aluminum ones, but they do work, provide some lines that are fairly high power, and are cheaper.

They again are rated for connect/disconnect cycles but can be had with back-shells, bayonet locking or threaded locking connectors. They are VERY similar to the BMW circular connectors. contacts are sourced separately from the connector, and can be had in anything up to gold plated for signal connections.

They are a very good alternative if you are trying to construct a harness but don't want to spend a couple hundred dollars on a complete connector pair.

I echo the comments about the datasheets - check them and love them. They will tell you everything about a connector and its design. Note: You are NOT limited to the power transmission based on wire gauge. You CAN pair two pins to transmit more power than rated. IF you do this, check the datasheet to see what the de-rate is. ie. using 2 pins rated for 15 amps each does not = 30 amp capacity. Also: pins to the outside will handle higher power better (cooling)
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Re: Electrical Connectors - Weather Pack, Metric Pack, Deutsch
October 21, 2015 03:40AM
Quote
Anders Green


This one is interesting in that it's apparently possible to put a variety of dies in it and crimp just about anything. And it squeezes in from 8 points. This is your MIL spec crimper. Unsurprisingly... it's more expensive, about $400, or $350 from Wirecare.com:
https://www.wirecare.com/dmc-crimpers.asp

DMC seems to be a granddaddy in the area of crimping.

Anders

We use these exclusively. But the vehicles are slightly different than rally cars...



Enablers, All of you.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/21/2015 03:41AM by BobOfTheFuture.
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