T-tap connectors...can they be trusted? - Kawasaki Vulcan Forum : Vulcan Forums
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-03-2019, 07:49 AM Thread Starter
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T-tap connectors...can they be trusted?

I recently purchased a "smart brake module" which flashes the brake light when it detects engine braking (using accelerometers to detect deceleration, after checking the brake light signal wire), what-fer to reduce the chances of someone running up my tail pipes when I'm not using my brakes to slow down. It came with t-tap connectors to hook it into the brake light harness, but I'm weary of them causing issues down the road; like just falling off, or even worse, breaking through the wires and causing me to lose all tail/brake lights. Therefore I'm considering soldering the wires together instead.

Does anyone have any thoughts/experience with these types of connectors?
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-03-2019, 08:13 AM
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I have used them in the past on difficult to spice into wires, (truck wire loom) like any connection a straight solder is preferable but require more cutting and permanent modifications to your loom.

A t tap by design spices into the wiring; the biggest issue is corrosion and thermal runout( the separation from the spade connector and the wire).

Before any modifications are done make sure that a change in the length of your wiring or resistance will not affect your ecm or light input.

The best solder method in this case may be an in-line strip and spiral wrap.


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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-03-2019, 08:31 AM Thread Starter
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That's the kind of splice I was thinking, I feel like there's less risk of screwing up that way, and they don't give you much spare length on these harnesses.

How do you think I could check for resistance issues with light output before installing?
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-03-2019, 11:08 AM
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Don't worry about wire length.
This isn't a highly sensitive device or it couldn't work with all the vibration on a bike!
It would take many, many feet to add any noticeable resistance.

You can even solder/add on wire to the modulator wires if needed so you can locate it where you want to.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-04-2019, 02:45 AM
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Never had any probs with those connectors. Soldering is better, yes, but sometimes, when you know, the day will come to remove it, not so useful. I just wrapped the whole connector in good duct tape and . . .


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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-04-2019, 05:14 AM
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I highly recommend you do not use T-Tap/Bayonet splices on your bike.

By design they cut through the insulation and CUT into the wire. This creates a weakness in your wire. Any vibration can further break our weaken the connection causing intermittent problems.

They also expose your wiring to the elements causing corrosion which will ultimately destroy the wire. Once it starts corroding it can change the resistance values unpredictably.

On a motorcycle I recommend using environmental splices. They solder the splice and heat shrink it against the elements at the same time.

When you make a splice in the wire bundle it is acceptable to add a three inch maintenance loop to facilitate putting in a splice. Just fold it back into the bundle, wrap with some spare wire loom and secure with a tie wrap or two. You won't change any resistance values enough to make any difference.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-15-2019, 07:41 AM
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They cannot be trusted long term.

Connectors can be harder to find but my preference would be to make a plug-in Y-cable. Eastern Beaver has a pretty wide selection of motorcycle connectors.

Barring that, barrel/butt splice crimps for breakouts in the harness covered with dual wall (hot melt adhesive lined) shrink tube. Solder is a 3rd recommendation for me just because I've seen some pretty poor soldering. Practically anyone can get a reasonable crimp done...although I've seen some sketchy crimps too. LOL.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-15-2019, 09:16 AM
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[QUOTE=RastaPasta;3012374]I recently purchased a "smart brake module" which flashes the brake light when it detects engine braking (using accelerometers to detect deceleration, after checking the brake light signal wire), what-fer to reduce the chances of someone running up my tail pipes when I'm not using my brakes to slow down. It came with t-tap connectors to hook it into the brake light harness, but I'm weary of them causing issues down the road; like just falling off, or even worse, breaking through the wires and causing me to lose all tail/brake lights. Therefore I'm considering soldering the wires together instead.

Does anyone have any thoughts/experience with these types of connectors?

After the obvious bulb failures, relay or switch issues, overloads and corroded or "fried" improperly installed accessories: Many of the electrical repairs I had to make were corroded or poorly applied T-tap or butt connectors. T-taps are especially suspect under dashboards and with almost all "in-store" installed aftermarket electronics, purchased from auto accessory retailers. They work at first, but in time, these connections can fail. The shrink tube type butts are better and easy to use.
I think nothing compares in permanence to solder and shrink wrap insulation (competently done - Finding a bad soldering job is a pain-you suspect all connections when you follow someone who couldn't solder!).
I like to disconnect the battery ground, before any electrical installation or repairs.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-15-2019, 10:44 AM Thread Starter
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[quote=Hathaway;3026590]
Quote:
Originally Posted by RastaPasta View Post
I recently purchased a "smart brake module" which flashes the brake light when it detects engine braking (using accelerometers to detect deceleration, after checking the brake light signal wire), what-fer to reduce the chances of someone running up my tail pipes when I'm not using my brakes to slow down. It came with t-tap connectors to hook it into the brake light harness, but I'm weary of them causing issues down the road; like just falling off, or even worse, breaking through the wires and causing me to lose all tail/brake lights. Therefore I'm considering soldering the wires together instead.



Does anyone have any thoughts/experience with these types of connectors?



After the obvious bulb failures, relay or switch issues, overloads and corroded or "fried" improperly installed accessories: Many of the electrical repairs I had to make were corroded or poorly applied T-tap or butt connectors. T-taps are especially suspect under dashboards and with almost all "in-store" installed aftermarket electronics, purchased from auto accessory retailers. They work at first, but in time, these connections can fail. The shrink tube type butts are better and easy to use.

I think nothing compares in permanence to solder and shrink wrap insulation (competently done - Finding a bad soldering job is a pain-you suspect all connections when you follow someone who couldn't solder!).

I like to disconnect the battery ground, before any electrical installation or repairs.
I did end up tossing the supplied connectors in the trash and soldered/shrikwrapped instead. It was my first solder job, so it's a bit ugly but it's solid (bigger da gob the better da job!).
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-15-2019, 11:09 AM
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Yeah, it is an acquired skill, but well worth learning. One thing that may help: get your iron(or gun) fully hot and melt a small amount solder onto the point ( called tinning the iron). Periodically clean the point of the gun or iron, and apply fresh tinning. Works nicely. Good 2 Go!
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