Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Project-Zero: Dealing with crappy spade terminals.

 In the process of fitting the chassis harness to the car, I've run into issues with of the crimped spade terminal slipping off the wires while handling them. The issue is entirely with the style of insulated crimp terminal that whomever built the harness used. In my experience this style of terminal is just unreliable: it's impossible to know if you've gotten a good, positive crimp on the conductor and sleeve. I've had more of these slip off of wires than I care to try to remember, including the two from last night. 

In the course of my work last night I replaced all of these fugly crimp terminals on the rear lights of my car with proper open barrel terminals and HST insulation. Open barrel crimps are vastly more mechanically secure: they grip both conductor and wire sleeve and since they're not blind crimps, you can actually inspect that they've been done correctly before you slip a little bit of heat shrink tubing over the terminals to insulate them.

Examples of open barrel terminals. Photo hosted at

Using them is a little more but the results you get for the few extra operations per terminal are, in personal experience, 100% worth the effort.  Time is a trade-off for stronger, smaller, and more reliable terminal connections that I'm willing to make almost every single time. And frankly, they just don't look as janky.

Open barrel female spade terminal. Get the by the truck-load on Amazon. They're super inexpensive.

Brake light switch on my Zero. Unfortunately my red HST doesn't have quite the shrink factor of my black HST. Still good enough to insulate the terminal, though.

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