I’m a big fan of modular connectors. Nothing bugs me more than having to desolder or otherwise put in a bunch of extra work to undo a permanent wiring connection before I can even start to fix something. In the case of my headlights, over two years ago I used crimp connectors to wire up the bulb sockets.
This worked pretty well for awhile but I found that perhaps the crimps weren’t 100%. Road vibration would occasionally cause a bulb to loose contact. Obviously this was not ideal, so I decided to ditch the crimps and just solder the wires together. But that brought me back to the whole “I don’t like permanent connections” thing. So I got an idea.
When I hardwired my tail lights I decided to use some module connectors I saw on Amazon. These particular ones used pins that you crimped onto the end of the wires on one side and complementary receptacle on the other. They worked fairly well but I found that the wires liked to pop out if moved around too much. This was because the crimp connectors were quite flimsy. I suppose I could (and perhaps should) have soldered them in place, but I didn’t. Over time wires began coming loose. I decided that soldering would be the best way to prevent this in the future, but I didn’t want to use those same connectors. Instead I opted for a different style – an IP65 rated threaded barrel type. The IP here means “Ingress Protection” and the 65 rating means it is designed to keep out dust and low pressure sprays of water. For my purposes this is just fine. I bought a 3 pin version for the headlights and a 5 pin version for the tail lights.
There’s not much to say about the process other than I soldered one side of the pair to the bulb holder and the other side to the wires coming from the car. Each solder connection was given a short length of shrink tube for insulation and then the whole bundle was covered by a larger diameter of shrink tube. The most challenging aspect of this was finding a good place to put my soldering iron station so it wouldn’t fall off the car. Also note my home made “helping hands” I used to hold the wires in place while I soldered them. Nothing but the best for me!
And there it is, done. I didn’t feel like shortening the connector pigtails, so perhaps they’re a bit longer than they need to be. That shouldn’t present a problem, and I can always zip tie them into a loop if it does end up being an issue.
Next up is the tail lights.