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Electrical Tape Okay?


Dean123

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Hi,

Well its 2:00am, and another bike enhancement that I thought would take 3 hours is on 6 plus (but whose counting). I am wiring up my Roady2 to one of the cyclegadgets (made by Hoon) clutch mounts on my '04 RT. For 12 volts, I spliced into the front parking light because its switched. I soldered in the power cable and am running the ground back to the battery per instructions I received on an earlier post. Is it okay to just wrap the exposed wire with electrical tape? I have never used the shrink wrap stuff and also I don't see how it would work because there is no way to get it over a "t" splice.

The wires that will be wrapped with electrical tape are under the front tupperware, so I don't think water will be a problem. Any advice appreciated. I saw some shrink wrap stuff recently that does come in a tape. Would this be a good idea? Also, with the shrink wrap stuff, will it shrink if I apply a hair dryer?

 

BTW, I hid the power converter for the Roady2 behind the non-existant speakers. I zip tied the crap out of it because I am paranoid that it is going to fall and foul up the stearing. Anyone else go thru this same type of paranoia. I just could not find another place to attach it. Thanks. Dean

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You're going the right direction with solder; crimp connections may work fine, but I don't trust them not to work loose via vibration.

 

I usually convert my "t" connections into "y"'s, use shrink wrap tubing over the connection, and then zip tie over the "y" to boot. I've also used liquid electrical tape over each end of the tubing, when I'm concerned about water damage. No matter where on the bike a connection is hidden, expect water to eventually find it. The extra hassle in doing all this beats having to de-bug an electrical short later.

 

Electrical tape eventually becomes a greasy mess. I've used it when I was in a hurry (or just plain lazy). Seems like I always end up cutting it off later. I think shrink tubing is definitely the way to go. I keep abundant supplies in my electrical tool box, along with about 10 rolls of electrical tape. (10 rolls, because my son loves the shrink wrap stuff, even though I buy it he routinely uses and it's always "one more trip to the store.." when I need it. With 10 rolls of tape, there's usually one left for me when I have nothing else to work with. grin.gif It's a "personal" problem, but one I'm willing to bear, because my son has developed into quite a good mechanic and handy man - from watching and learning from all his Dad's screw ups. lmao.gif )

 

- Scott

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Yep, Electrical tape is fine, if it is good stuff it will last a long time as it isn't covered with a solvent.

There is proprietry looming tape, but it is mainly unnecessary for mods like this. Looms have been made up with plastic tape for years.

Andy

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I usually avoid tape because as Scott says, in the heat of a bike the adhesive softens, the tape starts to unravel and slip, then just leaves a mess you have to clean up before re-fixing it right.

 

There are good tapes out there, but 99% of the stuff you fin on store shelves is junk.

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My 2002 RT has the same setup you're putting together, only difference is my power is off a Blue Sea fuse box under the seat.

 

The Roady2 slip-fit mounting bracket works fine for a while but eventually vibration will wear it out. Then the radio falls off to (hopefully) hang by the wires until you catch it. Makes for a fun ride the first time! ooo.gif

 

I removed the bracket and just left the cyclegadget mount in place, then used Superlock (super-duper Velcro) to attach the radio right to the bracket. Can get the material from Radio Shack for about $3.50 and you DON'T need to cover the whole contact area -- this stuff is strong! dopeslap.gif

 

I'll have the bike apart this weekend replacing the clutch slave cylinder, so can take pictures of the radio wire routings if you need 'em.

 

Good luck!

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Sidmariner

Call it a hold-over from my marine business days, but I swear by using the best wire and connectors for any additions I make (and I've made a lot). I use marine-grade, tinned-copper wire and either adhesive-lined, heat-shrink crimp connectors (ANCOR or other) or my latest favorite connectors, POSI-LOCKs (Posi-lock,Posi-tap). I seldom if ever use electrical tape, because I believe it gives a false sense of security and hides problems (ever unwrap a connection only to find the inside wet and dirty?).

 

My thoughts are these: your wiring gets a lot more exposure to moisture, dirt and vibration than a car does and thus I would think is more susceptible to corrosion, breaking and shorting. Marine grade wire is tinned to reduce corrosion and is made up of many fine wires rather than a few thick ones. It is more flexible, easier to run through tight spots and, because it is not so stiff, is less susceptible to vibration.

 

Secondly, a soldered connection can be very brittle, and especially so with regular cheap auto wire. When a solder joint cracks it is often hard to see, which means continuity testing is usually necessary to find the short rather than visual inspection. I find the crimp connectors hold best, especially the good ones because they not only crimp, but the heat shrink adheres to the wire cover as well, taking some of the stress off the crimp. The best connectors are adhesive-lined. When heated they exude a small bead of epoxy which completely seals the connector from moisture.

 

The Posi-tap and Posi-lock connectors are fabulous, especially when your are dry-fitting an installation for test. Connections are solid and you can disassemble the installation easily if you've messed up. I just installed a complete alarm system with siren, tilt sensor, proximity sensor, ignition interrupt and light flashing relay. A lot of connections, wire extensions and taps had to be made and, sure enough I goofed on a couple. The Posi-taps made it easy and quick to adjust.(http://www.posi-lock.com/ ...I do not hold shares!)

 

Finally, heat shrink tubing is available in adhesive-lined and non adhesive-lined forms in whatever dimension, length and color you desire. When heated, it shrinks to 1/3 of its diameter, making a tight, neat and water resisitant connection. The color-coding is great, for times when you want to distinguish one wire run from another (in my case my two sets of auxiliary lights and the alarm system are distinguished by color at the light and again at the switch end.

 

I save my electrical tape for household wiring and wrapping my hockey stick in an emergency.

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Thanks. Great advice! I'm off (after work) buy some wiring supplies. Dean

 

If not too much trouble, photos of junction box, wiring to Roady would be fantastic. Thanks again.

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Back in my younger years when I did a short stint as an Electrical Maintenance Apprentice for Pratt & Whitney Aircraft. I had a wise electrician tell me: "If your going to use electrical tape ONLY use the Scotch/3m stuff all the other stuff is garbage". 35 years later I've been still using his advice. He was right.

Henry

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You're going the right direction with solder; crimp connections may work fine, but I don't trust them not to work loose via vibration.

In that case you had better not ride a motorcycle. Your bike is full of crimped connectors.

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You're going the right direction with solder; crimp connections may work fine, but I don't trust them not to work loose via vibration.

In that case you had better not ride a motorcycle. Your bike is full of crimped connectors.

 

like this one?

 

P6050141.jpg

 

 

I'm thinking that it was the wire crimp that caused this failure but perhaps the wire was also overloaded which would have added to its failure.

I doubt that vibration had much to do with the failure however.

 

The best electrical tape that I know of is Scotch 33™ (3-M)

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DavidEBSmith

I like the stuff that's called "cold shrink wrap tape" or "self-sealing tape" or something similar. It's a rubbery plastic tape that doesn't have adhesive, but is self-adhering. You wrap it tightly around itself and it bonds to itself in about 24 hours. I have some on the fog light connections on my bike that is still sealed after several years of being out in the wind and rain and heat and cold.

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ShovelStrokeEd

In re crimp vs solder, for a motorcycle, go with the crimp. Take a look at the back of a panel for an airplane some time. You'll see all sorts of connections back there with great strain reliefs on them and seals and every stuff. Each one of the pins in those multi-pin connectors has a crimp joint. Reason is simple, solder flows right on up the wire and makes the wire brittle and prone to breaking. Properly done crimp connectors, which have one portion of the crimp on the wire and a second on the insulation provide their own strain releif and the wire isn't brittle.

 

Amphenol is probably the most well known name in that field although there are others. When in a high vibration enviornment, crimp is the way to go.

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DavidEBSmith

I think a lot of the problems people have with crimped connectors comes from using the wrong connectors, tool or method. Cheap connectors are often made of metal too thin to crimp properly. Cheap tools don't allow you to make the crimp properly. I use a ratcheting crimp tool that forces you to make the crimp tight enough. Finally, with most auto-type crimp connectors, you're supposed make two crimps, one on the wire and one on the insulation for mechanical support.

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Sidmariner

Agree completely. There's a reason for the color-coded dots on the end of wire crimpers. You have to use the appropriate colored slot for the size of crimp. If you do a lot of crimps it's worthwhile buying high end ratchet style crimping pliers. You won't overcrimp and damage the heatshrink or wreck the wire.

 

The photograph shows a good example of what I was getting at earlier. Cheap automotive untinned wire is in use with a cheap bare crimp connection. Good wire and a quality heatshrink/adhesive-lined crimp connection would probably not have failed like this.

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I think a lot of the problems people have with crimped connectors comes from using the wrong connectors, tool or method. Cheap connectors are often made of metal too thin to crimp properly. Cheap tools don't allow you to make the crimp properly.
I agree. A proper crimp connection (using quality materials and the correct tools and techniques) is extremely reliable and in high-vibration environments preferable to solder, but that is not often the case with cheap consumer-grade products. Considering the above, for typical 'driveway' work a solder-and-shrink tube splice may well be much more reliable than an auto-parts store crimp splice. (Of course there's a lot of overlap here depending on who is doing the crimping and/or soldering and what materials are being used.)
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Sidmariner

Look for "self-amalgamating tape" or "rubba-weld" tape. It's very popular in the sailing community for wrapping shackles, turnbuckles and other rigging. You're quite right. After a few weeks the tape melts itself together and provides nice water-resistant protection.

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Two things I did with my wiring which have been worthwhile are: locating all fuses within the fuse box and, making all but one fuse the same type.

 

This photo shows my fuse box loaded up, with the Kisan SM-5 signal canceller in the middle right slot and the 4-slot expansion fuse block in the middle left. My relay and fuse for the Moto-Lights is in the centre rear slot, with the Autoswitch tucked safely below.

Picture004.jpg

 

I eliminated the AGC fuses (glass tube) in my circuits and put in ATC (Auto blade type fuses instead. There are enough empty compartments within the fuse box to do this. It is a huge effort, because the inside of fuse box on the '02 RT is a bitch to access, but in the end everything stays clean, dry and easily accessible. Plus, you only have to carry one style of fuse, the kind available in nearly every gas station on the continent. Of course, you must be aware of the requirements of your equipment. Generally, a fast blow fuse is needed for electronic equipment and a slow blow for motorized circuits. I only need one slow-blow fuse, in my alarm system, but that AGC fuse is easily accessible tucked under the tail compartment.

 

IMG_02081.jpg

 

This shows the little 4-slot fuse block. I used Posi-lock connectors under the block to connect to leads from the battery. If I need to add additional fused circuits there is still a little room in the box. I used Posi-locks inside the box to make the connections.

Picture003.jpg

 

I began this practice on my '86 RS. It has a nice little compartment under the seat in which I could mount a Blue Seas fuse block. A heavy positive and negative lead come straight from the battery to the bus bars on the block and then each every new circuit has a dedicated fuse. This makes add-ons quick and tidy. Note, I'm using 10/2 covered marine-grade tinned-copper wire from the battery and 16/2 or 18/2 wire for my accessories. This wire, with its white protected cover, is available in a wide range of sizes in paired, tripled and multiple strand variations and many colors. If you're just starting a long list of additions it's worthwhile investing in this wire. It will keep your jobs organized and tidy.

IMG_02141.jpg

 

Finally, note the complete absence of electrical tape.

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