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Old 22-10-2015, 13:40   #1
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How should I connect wires

I need to replace a bunch of my overhead salon lights. They are integrated 'pucks'. The issue is that the they are led white lights, and i want the model that has white/red. unfortunately, you cannot take the led out, the unit is sealed. They do make the same unit with white/red.

I do NOT want to take down the entire headliner. There are 4 lights tied together off of a single switch (not my design). I would rather each light have a switch, but since they draw 0.18A each, this really isn't so bad...

Anyway, my plan was just to cut the wires from the light and then re attach the new light. Can I do this by crimping, or should this be done soldering. PITA soldering as I have to do this 'in the air'. If by crimping, what type crimp, just a barrel with heat shrink tubing over it? Or is there a better way?
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Old 22-10-2015, 14:07   #2
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Re: How should I connect wires

Just cut and re-attach with a good crimp connector. Take the ones with heat shrink and glue. The crimp connector should be of the right dimension for your wire size. After crimping shrink the heat shrink till the glue comes out with a heat gun and that's all. Good luck.
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Old 22-10-2015, 14:08   #3
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Re: How should I connect wires

Use heat-shrink butt connectors of the proper size. Use a good crimp tool.

Connector: ANCOR MARINE Heat Shrink Butt Connectors | West Marine
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Old 22-10-2015, 14:34   #4
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Re: How should I connect wires

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Originally Posted by jeepbluetj View Post
Use heat-shrink butt connectors of the proper size. Use a good crimp tool.

Connector: ANCOR MARINE Heat Shrink Butt Connectors | West Marine
Thanks. These are still crimp, so I need a crimp tool to squeeze them, correct?
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Old 22-10-2015, 14:41   #5
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Re: How should I connect wires

What I can see on the photo is the cables very thin, maybe only 0.2 mm². Do there exists crimp connectors for those small cables?

You should always use a crimp tool for crimp connectors.
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Old 22-10-2015, 14:44   #6
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Re: How should I connect wires

^^ yes, common usage in communications.
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Old 22-10-2015, 14:50   #7
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Re: How should I connect wires

Good practice for boat wiring is not to solder. Crimping is preferred as the connection is more able to tolerate repeated flexing. Solder will become brittle and eventually snap.

Confession time : I have soldered a couple of small light fittings when they have very thin or short attached wires, but I form a loop in the wires and apply cable ties for strain relief.

The best fix in your case would be heat shrink butt connectors. Most of these need a special single crimper.

Normal insulated (not heat shrink) crimps usually require a double crimper.

Always pull hard on the crimp after crimping (but before heat shrinking) to check security.
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Old 22-10-2015, 20:52   #8
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Re: How should I connect wires

if you want white / red lights you'll probably need a 3rd wire to each light. and color will be controlled by main swtich.
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Old 23-10-2015, 06:57   #9
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Re: How should I connect wires

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Originally Posted by smac999 View Post
if you want white / red lights you'll probably need a 3rd wire to each light. and color will be controlled by main swtich.

There are also red/white led fixtures that will change color by a rapid power cycling.

https://store.marinebeam.com/red-whi...r-dome-lights/


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Old 23-10-2015, 08:01   #10
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Re: How should I connect wires

They look like the same light fittings we have. Ours are connected by spade connecters to the main Lagoon wire loom. If you pull the red and black wire out more you should find the connections, you will find they are connected to a purple(+) and black(-) wire, they usually have a brown sticky substance simular to blue tack to stick the fittings up inside the overhead space.
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Old 23-10-2015, 08:58   #11
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Re: How should I connect wires

As sailmonkey says

"There are also red/white led fixtures that will change color by a rapid power cycling."

I have these and they work. Much easier and cheaper than installing a new fixture.
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Old 23-10-2015, 09:03   #12
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Re: How should I connect wires

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Originally Posted by MarkSF View Post
Good practice for boat wiring is not to solder. Crimping is preferred as the connection is more able to tolerate repeated flexing. Solder will become brittle and eventually snap.

Confession time : I have soldered a couple of small light fittings when they have very thin or short attached wires, but I form a loop in the wires and apply cable ties for strain relief.

The best fix in your case would be heat shrink butt connectors. Most of these need a special single crimper.

Normal insulated (not heat shrink) crimps usually require a double crimper.

Always pull hard on the crimp after crimping (but before heat shrinking) to check security.
I would disagree here.. Some peoples opinion is its bad practice...

However, if done correctly there is nothing wrong with soldering. NASA even supports soldering (IF DONE CORRECTLY). Page 84 in the document
https://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/codeq/doctree/87394.pdf

Personally I use 2 heat shrinks sleeves per solder. The first one is double wall (with adhesive), the second one is longer without adhesive. I do this for strain relief as a solder joint can become brittle. I have done 1000s (maybe even 10s of thousands) of these joints on ATVs, snowmobiles and generators over the years. These are HIGH vibration environments and I have had exactly ZERO failures, ever.

After saying all that.. I would use crimps on the lights the OP is talking about. I might use "Scotchlocks" with built in sealant if I had the right ones on hand.

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Old 23-10-2015, 11:44   #13
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Re: How should I connect wires

since led lights are polarity sensitive, many of the combo red/white just use a switch that is On-Off-On with the polarity reversed between the two "On's" Have to be double ploe double throw switches
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Old 23-10-2015, 12:50   #14
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Re: How should I connect wires

If the wire is too thin for the crimp, you can fold the end a couple of times to make it thicker as long as the heat shrink will still seal it. Not "best" practice perhaps but it still works. You can also use amalgamating tape at times to seal joins. Sometimes you can support a cable against the hull or bulkhead etc with Sikaflex or other sealant. Tape it in place with short pieces masking tape, then put small blobs of sealant every few inches and remove the masking tape when it sets.
Personally I very often solder and heat shrink joins and I've never had one fatigue or fail, and I get the theory that the join is stiffer and may fatigue. Solder does travel into the wires a short distance from the actual join and the cables do need support. Ironically the only failure I can remember having in a boat was a factory crimp to the alternator on a previous, single cylinder engine. (I've completely wired all my boats and a friends boat plus a couple of old cars, and plenty of other things)
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Old 23-10-2015, 12:54   #15
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Re: How should I connect wires

I use Raychem environmental butt splices for all connections. D-436 range.

In Aviation we are taught to only use solder for connections "as necessary" due to vibration, corrosion, etc.... In my personal experience I have never seen a properly soldered join fail.
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