Guide to Common Automotive Electrical Connections | Hagerty DIY

Guide to Common Automotive Electrical Connections | Hagerty DIY

– Hi, I’m Matt Lewis with Hagerty and today’s DIY we’re gonna talk about different ways to connect wires
and why you would use them. So for today’s demonstration
I’m going to introduce you to some of my favorite tools. This one right here, our wire strippers, auto strippers. And these, this is a nice set of crimpers designed for crimping. Butt connectors and different
types of connectors. Finally we have a more
standard wire stripper. I don’t like these as
much as the auto-stripper, but they do a fine job. Personally, I just, I like these better. So we’ll set those aside. Now to start off with any wire connection, what you’re gonna want to do is make sure you have some bare wire showing. Now, especially if you’re working on an older car you wanna make sure that this bare wire is shiny and clean. Often times, you’ll see corrosion and that sort of thing and that can actually add resistance to the circuit. And may cause things to
not function properly. In order to connect these two, something I always like to do with wires is just give them a twist. It helps keep these strands
of this stranded wire bunched together, and it makes it a little
neater when you’re going to connect them. We’ll do the same with our red wire. First way we’re going to connect these two wires is with a barrel
connector, or a butt connector as I’ve heard them called. These are little plastic connectors where on the inside, there’s a
metal tube essentially. And that metal tube is what
connects the two wires. You can see this metal tube
has a split down the middle that’s something to keep in mind. You’re gonna want to orient
yourself with that split. So, we’ll take our first wire. We’ll run it in. Being careful that the
shielding of the wire extends inside of our connector here. We know we have that done well. So what we’re gonna do is I like to take, as you can see there’s the split here on this top. I like to have that facing away. So that when we used our crimper, we’re placing that in the cop, or the bottom. So you can see where it
is here on the bottom. And then when we crimp down. We make a good strong, grab of that wire. Now, we’re gonna do
the same thing with our second blue side. Slide this inside of here. Again, making sure that the shielding on the wire extends
inside of this connector. And crimping it down
like we did with the red. This makes a nice strong connection. That’s just fine for
a lot of applications. This style of connection
connects these two wires, fairly well electrically. Where these don’t work as well is in an environment that might get wet. Outside of the car, under the car, in the engine bay. I don’t like these as
much because moisture and water can get inside. And start to corrode this connection. So these definitely work
well inside of the cab. If you’re wiring up a stereo, that sort of thing. But I’d avoid using them anywhere that moisture could really get to them. If you would like to
use a barrel connector somewhere that susceptible to moisture, they do make special ones that have heat-shrink too, on the outside. So you would connect these, the exact same way we did the other one. With our nice crimper tool. Now that this connections made, you can use a lighter, you can use a heat gun. I have a little special tool here. So this is just a very small butane-style soldering
iron that came with a tip specifically for heat-shrink. And so we’ll just wrap it around. Now the heat from this will shrink down this external tube. And as you can see now. This side is right up
against the shielding of this wire. Not allowing any moisture
inside of our connection. This is gonna be a better situation for sealing up this connection than your just normal plastic style that doesn’t shrink down at all. So this would be okay
to use under the hood, underneath the car, somewhere that is susceptible to moisture. Because it seals off this end of the wire. Now you can buy kits of different types of connectors. This one here. And then this is a much nicer that has the shrink style connector on it. We’ll talk about those in a minute. You can get these at
local hardware stores, at auto part stores, that sort of thing. And it’s nice to have a
variety of connectors. So I like to keep a
couple of kits with me. So let’s say we wanna hook up
to something like a switch. Here I’ve got a pretty standard automotive switch with the spade-style
terminals on the back. They make specific connectors
just to hook to those. This first one here is a
non-shielded connector. You can see the end is just bare metal. And then the same thing
with a shielded end. So if you’re worried
about the switch location and it shorting out or hitting ground or running into other wires, you’re gonna wanna run the shielded one to kind of protect that circuit. If you’re not worried about it at all, this fellow will do just fine. So you don’t have to have a nice set of wire-strippers like these in order to work with the electrical, but I really like these. It gives you a very
accurate means by which to strip this wire. Depending on where you place it, is how much wire is removed. You wanna remove about a quarter inch of shielding when you’re
working with a connector like this. And as I did before, twist it up and then make sure it extends far enough in that your
shielding is inside the shielding on the connector and your wire is extending into the actual terminal section of the connector. And with our shielded connector if you’re worried about shorting out
and that sort of thing, it’s the exact same deal. Insert the wire so that the shield is inside of the shielded connector. Take our crimper and crimp down. And now, simply attach
it to the connection. Now you may be wanting to connect to a post-style terminal like
this ignition coil has. And what you’re gonna
wanna do with those is what’s called a Ring Terminal. These Ring Terminals come
in a few different sizes. Not only are they different sizes for the gauge of the wire
that you’re working on. Small, medium, large. And these colors correspond to the gauge. But also, the size of the ring that you’re working with. So you wanna make sure
that it’s not too big and sloppy on the ring. But it also needs to fit over. So we’re gonna go ahead and select this medium, red-style terminal. Just like before, we’ll
twist off our wire. Slide the terminal over it, get a nice crimp. And we’re gonna be able
to fit this down over, put a washer back in place. And you take down your nut, now you have a nice connection from your wire to your stud. So if you don’t have good space to be working with a Ring Terminal, you do have a few other options. There’s this hook-style terminal, and then there’s this fork-style terminal. And these are useful if you can’t get the nut all the way off or it’s the type of connector that
doesn’t come all the way up. It needs to go under a screw. What you would do is connect onto this. And then you can simply slide that onto your stud and tighten down. Which would make a decent connection. Or like with this hook one, you can get it underneath. That way if this wire does get pulled on it’s still gonna hold. So for our final connection type, we’re gonna be soldering. So here I’ve got a
brand new soldering iron right from the auto part store. Cost about five dollars, comes with a nice little metal stand. Cause it’s gonna get super hot. And then you just plug
it into the wall and wait until it’s hot enough to start melting the solder. It usually takes about
five to ten minutes. Go ahead and just apply some to the tip. You can see yes, it’s
melting on there nice. You got a nice little bit of smoke. So we’re ready to start soldering wires. The solder I’ve brought
today is a 60/40 mix this is 60 percent tin, 40 percent lead. And is a Rosin Core Solder. They make Acid Core Solder, but you don’t want to use that. That’s more for like stained glass work. Electrical work you
almost always want to use Rosin Core Solder. So go ahead and take our two wires, strip ’em back. You can strip it a little
bit more than normal on this one. And I like to twist these two together, make sure they’re nice and twisted. And you wanna make sure you have good penetration of the solder into the wires. Good way I found to do
that is if you heat the backside of the wire
and kind of feed it in to the back of the wire. You’ll see it soak in
and start to take the shape of that twisted wire. If it’s nice and shiny
and it’s taken the shape of the wire, that’s gonna be a nice
good strong connection for these two wires. You can see they’re
really held together with this solder. To finish it off, once this
is cooled down a little bit. What we’ll do is put a shrink tube, make sure to completely
cover the exposed wire. I’m gonna go ahead and use our nice little shrink tube tool. So as you can see with our connector now, the bare wire is completely
covered by a shrink tube. It has been soldered together. And this is a very strong connection. Both electrically and physically. You can’t really pull them apart. This is the best scenario in my opinion for connecting two wires together. But if you don’t have the space, you don’t have the tools, you can use these different
butt-style connectors to get the same job done. Now you may find yourself in a situation where you need to plug
in and unplug a circuit. Whether it’s a temporary
light bar or maybe an external speaker for
hooking up to your car. And what they make for
that type of thing is this bullet connector. And these are nice, because they still make a good connection. Just like our barrel connector did, to the wire. The benefit of this is, you can then plug in when you need it then when you don’t you can unplug it. So if it’s something that you’re taking in and out of the car that needs to be temporary, this is a great solution. If you’d like to learn
more about soldering and get a little more
in depth information. Be sure to subscribe to our channel. Were gonna have a
specific solder DIY video coming out soon. And if you have any questions or comments please leave them in the section below. And subscribe to our channel
so you can see the next video.

38 thoughts on “Guide to Common Automotive Electrical Connections | Hagerty DIY

  • I love wire nuts and electrical tape…they do the job quickly and are easily removed if you don't need it anymore.

  • You wanna know WHY they do videos like this… because there ARE people who couldn’t find there own ass if they were sitting on their hands.
    People new to this.
    Refresher course.
    And those who need a helmet.
    Please do more of these videos. They are out there.

  • does the heat shrink come in rolls of different sizes? reason i ask is i'm in the middle of doing a complete rewire on my '75 cj-5 and it would seem easier to buy it by the roll in different sizes instead of trying to keep up with all those small packages of different size heat shrink tubes.

  • Not to split hairs but the jacket around the wire conductor isn't shielding, it's insulation. Other than that this is a good tutorial for novices. If you're just starting out with soldering make sure you buy the 60/40 tin/lead rosin core solder mentioned in this video, not lead-free solder that you'll also find on the shelves. You might think the lead-free solder is the better "eco" choice but 60/40 solder is easier to work with and makes for a more durable connection.

  • Very well explained and shown. Just a little recommendation: A Western Union Connectiion (sometimes called Bell Connection) is a way better way to solder two wires. At the shown twist-method the wires route into the same direction. One wire has to be bend 180 degrees. The copper might become brittle at this point, when it gets older.
    Three advantages of a Western Union Connection:
    1) The copper is only twisted, but not (over-)bend.
    2) Even the twisted wires are able to take some pulling (before soldering).
    3) The connection is thinner, because the insulated material never runs parallely to the soldered wire.
    Matt talked about a following soldering video. This might be a good chance to show the differences and advantages.
    Cheers, TOBi ??

  • The important thing when using the hook is to have the hook end turn so it tightens with the nut or clockwise. I always use Heat Shrink on all connections. Afterwards I also and a 1 inch piece of rubber vacuum hose or Windshield washer rubber line to cover the heat shrink. WD 40 lubricant will help it slide onto and into place. It makes the connection not only look very professional but will withstand any strain or vibration. When connecting two wires together I make eyes in each and through the two wires connecting or wrapping them tight, then use the Solder, heat shrink and cover in rubber hose. this way it looks better, is stronger and without lumps creating once again a very professional looking finished job. Great video on wiring for beginners saving time… and unlike us old timers, learning all of this from trail and error.

  • Although I don’t do it in my electronics shop class in the early 70s we were taught to use a bit of emry cloth on the bare wire before soldering or add a connection.

  • The outer covering on the wire is referred to as insulation. Shielding is something completely different. You can also use solder paste when soldering wires together so it will clean and flow faster so that you do not burn the insulation also you have to be careful with soldered wires because now it is stiff. If it’s in an area where it’s going to flex there is a possibility of breakage. You can use a conductive gel in those connectors with heat shrink just to be sure you have no corrosion in a wet environment. It also wouldn’t hurt to put a piece of heat shrink tubing over the heat shrink connector. Other than that a good video.
    PS. A good pair of auto strippers are great to have especially if you’re working in a tight area.??

  • Everyone seems to be mad for the content, but im just 19 and im trying to learn as much as I can. This video was really helpful for me 🙂 thank you

  • always put your shrink tube on one of the wires before you solder. you're almost always soldering two wires already connected to other things, and forgetting to put it on there before you complete the solder is just an annoying rookie mistake to make 🙂

  • Love these DIY videos. It might be worth mentioning the two different ways to crimp connectors using the crimpers. There are a "pin/cup" and a "cup/cup" crimping area on the crimpers. Some crimpers have non-insulated and insulated labels on the tool. You appear to be using the "pin/cup" slot for insulated connectors and you run the risk of puncturing the insulation and should be used for non-insulated connectors and the "cup/cup" slot for the insulated ones you show in the video. Hope that helps.

  • As someone who designs automotive electrical connection systems … I would strongly recommend NOT watching this video.

  • I would'nt suggest using the twist splice. My grandpa taught me the way the Western-Union splice and solder wires. Also called the NASA splice.

  • В клеммочку с торца еще немножко литольчику сунуть.. чтоб не отгнил в месте зажима.. а так такие зажими редко пользую.. не надежные они. Скрутка, спайка и термоусадка наше все.

  • For automotive apllication soldering is not the best way of connecting two wires. Especially under the hood or in other places where heat can be an issue. Crimping is much more safer and bullet proof. You can solder inside of the car, on stereo components and such stuff. I don't say it can't be done but crimping is much more safer and practical.

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