What type of connectors do you use?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    What type of connectors do you use?

    I have been building bike light battery packs for many years. When I first started, the only connector I could find was SAE connectors at a Radio Shack. There are great connectors, but it is hard to find cheap ones, and they seem to corrode after several years of off road riding.


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    Now I am looking into using different connectors. I just woke up and figured out that the RC world usues many different connectors and some look just like the ticket

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    The Tamyia connectors supposedly are built cheap, like a molex computer connector.
    They are just crimped, but you can take them apart and solder the wires.



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    The Dean connectors look nice, but I don't like the exterior pins and the way the wires are soldered to the studs. There's not much to grab onto and pull apart and it looks like even with heat shrink around both wires, it may have wire stress issues.


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    Trailtechs are nice



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    I am leaning towrds the Anderson Powerpoles because they can be joined together and the pins are all enclosed inside the housing. And you can buy packs of these is bulk fairly cheap.




    Curious about what others use and opinions on different connectors.
    Last edited by El34; 05-06-2009 at 09:42 AM.

  2. #2
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    Im going to try and use this for the battery connection to the light.



    I hope it handles the power...

  3. #3
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    I just use the trailtech connectors found here:

    http://www.batteryspace.com/index.as...&Category=1057

    fairly inexpensive, robust, waterproof, and available with lots of cord options.

    other than that, I recommend the Deans connectors. they're quite good, and I've never had a problem with them. the trick is that you need to plug the connectors together when soldering so that the pins stay aligned if you heat things up a bit too much.

  4. #4
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    Deans and some epoxy is a bit better for security and pulling apart
    with some carefull shrink wrapping to hole the epoxy


  5. #5
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    I forgot about the trailtechs.
    My Lume HID came with those connectors.


  6. #6
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    Wasn't there a big thread on this very subject a while back?

  7. #7
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    Don't know, I wasn't here.

  8. #8
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    I've been using the Molex connectors for 2 years. They're the same ones that Turbocat uses and I had them for 12 years without fail. I didn't see any point in changing what's been working. A local electrical store sells the in 10 packs and I picked up the crimp tool that goes with them. I'm sure that there are better connectors, but I've tried to keep the costs down on the projects.

  9. #9
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    I like the Dean's connectors best. I used the Powerpoles, but they are a little too large. You can get a Deans knockoff from Hobbyking for cheap(10 sets for $3) that are grooved for easier unplugging. They call them T-connectors.

  10. #10
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    Aint that a kick in the head

    Quote Originally Posted by troutie-mtb
    Deans and some epoxy is a bit better for security and pulling apart
    with some carefull shrink wrapping to hole the epoxy
    Second the Deans-type connectors + epoxy + plasti-dip



    Oops, wrong Dean. This is right.
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  11. #11
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    The only thing I don't like about the Dean connectors is that they always look hacked together, the wires are not reccessed into a housing and the terminals stick out in the open.

    I need connectors that my customers can assemble and look professional.
    I plan on selling them on my web store along with black/red 18ga zip cord.
    It has to be easy for people to assemble who are not all that technical.

    The Anderson's look way nicer and they can be crimped if someone does not want to solder them.

    Look how clean this assembly is compared to the Deans.


    These connectors are actually smaller than what I was using and so the size is not really a probelm.
    The housing can be shortened up to that small indent for people that want a shorter housing.
    I have a spool of this wire that I plan on selling for use with the connectors


  12. #12
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    hell, you could power up an industrial estate with most of those connectors ....
    .......... what current are we looking at here?
    one, two? maybe 3Amps even .....
    even the deans ultra plugs are rated up to massive 50Amps !!!!!!!

    .
    Anyone looked at, or even considered the deans micro connectors?? .. up to10Amp rating !!!! yes 10Amps
    cute little buggers,
    smooth, firm push fit, .....

    polarized black 2B


    Non polarised black 2NB


    polarized red 2R
    ...Scun.thorpe, UK

  13. #13
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    yeah, the current rating is high on the deans.
    The Andersons come in many sizes, from 15amp to 1000amps.
    The pictures I am showing are for the 15amp connectors.

    One problem I found with cheap molex/tamiya type connectors is that there is a tiny amount of resistance.
    I found that even .1 ohms (1/10 of one ohm) can greatly affect the current flow in a P7 LED.

    The switch, the wiring and connectors in a bike light can drag down your max current from 2.8 amps to 2.3 amps max easily if you have any sort of bad wiring or cheap connector.

  14. #14
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    I like the Deans connectors also.. they work awesome, are cheap, however do look "hacked" together. I also think those anderson connectors kind of look "Hacked" together as well. I think that if you are making lights to sell, something with a nice molded integrated connector with a cord would be the way to go... a red and black wire covered in shrink wrap looks home-made in my opinion (not that it does not work great... just does not look great)

    Anyway, with that said... all my lights have deans with epoxy covered solder joints and lots of gobbed up shrink wrap!!

  15. #15
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    The trailtech connectors definately look the cleanest. I don't care for the coil cord on the ones I have seen for sale. Also, they are very pricey.

    I actually have two things going on in the connector search in this thread.

    First, I am looking to re-do all my personal batteries and lights.

    Second, I have a web store and I want to offer customers a connection system they can put together themselves for reasonable amount of cash.

    They can always get their own Deans, TrailTechs, etc and do their lights with whatever connectors they want to use.

  16. #16
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    I've used both deans and anderson/sermos powerpoles.
    Both work well, 15A sermos are a bit larger than the deans/
    I am mostly using deans (actually a cheap chinese copy) now since I ran out of sermos, though would prefer to stick to sermos since a bit tidier.

  17. #17
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    http://www.batteryspace.com/index.as...OD&ProdID=3234

    I'm using the lockable Trailtechs on one of my helmet light. Cool connector, and it looks quite good, but the downside is that the cabling is so thick and heavy that it adds to much weight to the helmet. It's much better suited for a bottle-mounted battery.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by womble
    http://www.batteryspace.com/index.as...OD&ProdID=3234

    I'm using the lockable Trailtechs on one of my helmet light. Cool connector, and it looks quite good, but the downside is that the cabling is so thick and heavy that it adds to much weight to the helmet. It's much better suited for a bottle-mounted battery.
    Edit: does anyone know if the non-lockable Trailtechs use a ligher cable?

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikerjay
    Wasn't there a big thread on this very subject a while back?
    Sure was....
    http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.ph...est+connectors

  20. #20
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    Sort of, but that thread shows a bunch of coax stuff and connectors I would not consider using. Exept the deans and the tamiya's shown.

    There's a bunch of multi conductor and coax stuff in that other thread, which is fine, but not what I am looking for.

    The connectors I listed above are small - two conductor connectors, which would suit my purpose better.

    I kind of discounted the Tamiya type connectors or any connectors that uses a molex type of pin. Those disk drive type connectors are not really gonna cut it in the long run. Guys that fly the RC airplanes won't use them. Well, the ones that value thier plane anyway.

    I went ahead and ordered a bag of the Andersons and a bag of extra contact pins.
    Should be here in about a week.

    I'll post some pics on my web site of the cable builds.

  21. #21
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    AMP Superseal for me.

    http://shop.aeswakefield.com/amp-sup...male-306-p.asp though I've bought all the bits from Farnell in the UK which probably works out cheaper

    Can't fault them. IP67 rated, locking tabs - top stuff.
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  22. #22
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    I ended up going to a RC connector of the same general vein as the Tamaya, but it was built up as soldered right from the getgo. I like 'em as they give lots of separation between the poles and, from my past RC experience, are not easy to short in the wet (though they are not sealed).
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  23. #23
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    Yeah, the RC world seems to have the exact type of connectors you would want for a high current LED.

    They have to have very low loss connectors in the high end/high current motors.

    I had been searching the web for DC power connectors, and wasn't coming up with much except some stuff that wasn't right for my application. Then I stumbled onto the RC sites and saw what they used.

    Some of the stuff you see guys using in bike lights are audio connectors and not really good enough for high current stuff. Unless you are running lower current LED's that is.

    In the SSC P7's I am running at 2.8 amps of current draw, any sort of weak link in the chain drops your currrent flow, just like there is a resistor in line.

    I was scratching my head one day trying to figure out why I could get the full 2.8amps on the bench with direct soldered connections, then I could only get 2.3amps when I hooked up the switch and battery cable stuff.

    It was a combo of the switch and an old connector wire that I was trying to re-use.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by El34
    In the SSC P7's I am running at 2.8 amps of current draw, any sort of weak link in the chain drops your currrent flow, just like there is a resistor in line.

    I was scratching my head one day trying to figure out why I could get the full 2.8amps on the bench with direct soldered connections, then I could only get 2.3amps when I hooked up the switch and battery cable stuff.

    It was a combo of the switch and an old connector wire that I was trying to re-use.
    What voltage were you running with the .5A loss?

  25. #25
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    My battery pack was 3 x 18650 - 3.7v - 2400mah Li-Ons all soldered in parallel.

    They had a fresh charge and so were around 4.2volts coming off the charger.

    Two 1400ma - 7135 current limiter boards in parallel were hooked up to limit the current on the P7.

    Without curremt limiter boards the P7 was drawing 3.2 amps
    With the boards, direct soldered, no switch, no connectors = 2.8 amps on the button
    With old connector wire harness and a sorry ass switch = 2.3 amps

    the switch was part of it and so was the harness.
    after replacing the switch it got better and then replacing the harness, = back up to 2.8amps

  26. #26
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    Hendo is correct. I have used the Dean's connectors @ 80 amps with no problems. I have used the Andersons at 40 amps, also with no problem. They are great connectors, just a little large. I think the Dean's micro connectors would be great for bike lighting. They may be too small, if that's possible. Might cause a little trouble with a gloved hand.

    I mainly use the Dean's because my batteries already have them attached. They might also be difficult to unplug with a gloved hand.

    And, yes, the Tamiya's are junk. I wouldn't consider flying an RC plane with them.
    Last edited by Hambonio; 05-07-2009 at 04:21 PM.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by El34
    My battery pack was 3 x 18650 - 3.7v - 2400mah Li-Ons all soldered in parallel.

    They had a fresh charge and so were around 4.2volts coming off the charger.

    Two 1400ma - 7135 current limiter boards in parallel were hooked up to limit the current on the P7.

    Without curremt limiter boards the P7 was drawing 3.2 amps
    With the boards, direct soldered, no switch, no connectors = 2.8 amps on the button
    With old connector wire harness and a sorry ass switch = 2.3 amps

    the switch was part of it and so was the harness.
    after replacing the switch it got better and then replacing the harness, = back up to 2.8amps
    I suspected you had a low voltage system. A higher voltage with that .5A loss would get really hot. You were losing ~2W as heat from the resistance in the switch and connector. Not good!

  28. #28
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    yeah, the connector was an old SAE connector cord I found in a drawer and was trying to re-use. It looked fine, but had seen many years of off road use.

    When I looked down into the barrels of the the female ends, you could see that nothing was bright and shiny any more. I tried to clean it, but no good.
    I figured the molded ends had been tweaked around so many times with all the off road full suspension moves that some of the strands may even have broken inside the wire.
    I used to mount my 6 volt halogens and then later on, 12Volt HID battery packs, down in the water botlle cage = lots of wire movement

    Now, with the super small P7 lights I run and the super small 3 or 4 18650 battery packs I run, the battery packs are so small that I can suspend them under the top tube near the headset and use very short wire runs.

    Also dropped about two pounds of weight going from two HID systems to two P7 systems.

  29. #29
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    One thing that is apparently not that obvious, since I didn't get it right the first go around either. A lot of lights get built with short cords with connectors of some sort at the end.
    My last helmet light had a 6" or so cord and a deans connector and the battery had a long cable. This now seems silly in a wow I wish I would have gotten that right the first time sort of way. Now I am going to do just the opposite, A long cord on the light and a very short cord on the battery, thus no connector flapping around and the connector will be down in my pack next to the battery.

  30. #30
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    I've used these on my first 3 lights/batteries/chargers:

    http://search.digikey.com/scripts/Dk...name=SC1202-ND

    Small, waterproof, locking, gold contacts, come in 3-4 pieces you put together as you build. They seem to work great. Not a lot of field experience with them, mainly building them up and connecting/disconnecting. There are panel mt, cable mt, male/female, and so on. I did a panel mt on the light, then 2 cable mts on the cable, then a cable mt on the battery pack.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikerjay
    One thing that is apparently not that obvious, since I didn't get it right the first go around either. A lot of lights get built with short cords with connectors of some sort at the end.
    My last helmet light had a 6" or so cord and a deans connector and the battery had a long cable. This now seems silly in a wow I wish I would have gotten that right the first time sort of way. Now I am going to do just the opposite, A long cord on the light and a very short cord on the battery, thus no connector flapping around and the connector will be down in my pack next to the battery.
    I went short / short on the lead length so if the light is bar mounted, there's enough lead for a stem mounted battery (without loads of lead to stuff somewhere). Or, when helmet mounted, I can add a middle section to put the battery pack in my Camelback.
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  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikerjay
    One thing that is apparently not that obvious, since I didn't get it right the first go around either. A lot of lights get built with short cords with connectors of some sort at the end.
    My last helmet light had a 6" or so cord and a deans connector and the battery had a long cable. This now seems silly in a wow I wish I would have gotten that right the first time sort of way. Now I am going to do just the opposite, A long cord on the light and a very short cord on the battery, thus no connector flapping around and the connector will be down in my pack next to the battery.

    That is a thought I have had recently .a connector in the light is nice and neat but finding a reasonably priced waterproof one is difficult.
    and the space inside the housing needs to be greater.


    so I started putting tails on the lights , Much easier to waterproof the housing.
    but you do have the lesser problem of strainrelief and the cable dieing later

    a lot of the main stream lights have the connections on the batteries . or tails.

    .
    .
    .

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harpoon
    I went short / short on the lead length so if the light is bar mounted, there's enough lead for a stem mounted battery (without loads of lead to stuff somewhere). Or, when helmet mounted, I can add a middle section to put the battery pack in my Camelback.
    I like this option too and went the same route for my handlebars light. The battery could mount either on the stem or routed elsewhere on the frame with an extension cord. I'll probably choose the same config for my helmet light too. Here's the bar light mocked up before I made a neoprene case for the battery:


  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by troutie-mtb
    That is a thought I have had recently .a connector in the light is nice and neat but finding a reasonably priced waterproof one is difficult.
    and the space inside the housing needs to be greater.


    so I started putting tails on the lights , Much easier to waterproof the housing.
    but you do have the lesser problem of strainrelief and the cable dieing later

    a lot of the main stream lights have the connections on the batteries . or tails.

    .
    .
    .
    One thing that occurred to me was that whilst finding waterproof connectors for housing seems to be difficult, another option would be to install and wire up the connector inside the housing then simply encase it in silicone. Thinking this would work for a housing that splits open nicely, like Deesta's Altair, though I've not tried it yet.

  35. #35
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    Unless the connector locks into the light somehow, it would not work for me personally.
    The riding in the Mountains here in NC, USA is pretty vilolent and I have seen many an older plug in type light come unplugged in the middle of a ripping decent.

    Not a pleasant scenario to say the least.

    My lights are so tiny there is only room to have a two conductor wire leaving the light.



    I am hoping to lock down this design soon and also hoping that the housings will be not too expensive to get made. The 24hour racers will enjoy the super small size and puny weight of the light and battery packs.

    If it all works out, the housings and parts will be available for people who want to assemble the Lights/parts themselves. I will not be building the lights.

    I am dumping all my HID's on Ebay in the fall and saying goodbye to HID's and the huge battery packs that came with my Lume and Marwi HID lights.

  36. #36
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    [/QUOTE]


    What is the black connector in this picture?

  37. #37
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    Looks like a trailtech.

    see the picture on page one of this thread.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by El34
    Looks like a trailtech.

    see the picture on page one of this thread.
    Yeah... exactly the same as the pic in the beginning... that connector looks very nice and professional... may not work as well as the deans in the same pic... but it looks 1000 times better IMHO... might be an option for your customers if you can find them cheap enough.

  39. #39
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    Those connectors came on my Lume HID.
    Pics of those lights here.
    http://www.el34world.com/Misc/bike/BikesLights3.htm

    They are nice connectors, but I can only find them in a coil cord config and they are about $10 for a male/Female pair.

    I plan on providing links to them on my web site. That way, DIY's can round up any connector they want to use.

    I am gonna be selling the Dean knocks offs from China and the Anderson 15amp connectors.

    Personally, I am going to convert my lights and batteries to the Anderson's and see how that goes.

  40. #40
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    [QUOTE=El34]Those connectors came on my Lume HID.
    Pics of those lights here.
    http://www.el34world.com/Misc/bike/BikesLights3.htm

    They are nice connectors, but I can only find them in a coil cord config and they are about $10 for a male/Female pair.

    You can get the trailtechs with 4" leads for 6 bucks from batteryspace.com... but the coiled long ones are 10 bucks... kind of a bummer... here is the link: http://www.batteryspace.com/index.as...&Category=1057

    Who makes them? Maybe we can find the distributor. I have contacted multiple distributers looking for something similar, however I need to do an order of like 500 pairs (but the connectors I have found are awesome... and would blow away the trailtechs/etc for about 4 bucks a set) Maybe a group buy or something? If there was interest and I could get rid of 500 sets of connectors that would be great, but a pain in the BUTT!!!

  41. #41
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    I saw those 4" short lead ones.

    The problem I have with those is that one of the 4" ones would probably be fine on the light or the battery, whatever your preference is.

    But then you would have to patch on some another cord to one of them to get a long enough lead to reach your pack, back pocket or water botlle cage.
    I don't like that patched together look.

    Of course some people don't mind and that's their preference, but a manufacturer cannot do something like that, it's looks like a hack job.

    Ideally, one 4" lead and one 18" or 24" lead would be the ticket.
    Both leads need to be straight, no huge coils.

    If you could track down something like that, I would be interested in a quantity of some sort.

  42. #42
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    Yeah, I agree the patch of the 4" cords would look hacked together... and would totally negate using the trailtech ones over the deans connectors...

    One nice thing with all of my builds though... the 4" leads are long enough so I do not have to extend the cables. The batteries are small enough to be mounted on stem and on helmets... I will PM you with details on what I have found on the large quantity things I have looked at! Should be fun!

  43. #43
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    ok, cool.
    I'm gonna be blasting out of here soon, I'll check in later tonight if possible.

  44. #44
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    Yeah, the lack of a straight extension offering is a down-side of the Trail-Tech connectors. I ordered the 4in male/female pair and the 4ft male/female pair so I could mix and match and use the 4ft female cable to run a battery out of my Camelbak up to the helmet. The Trail-Tech cables are much thicker and stiffer than they appear in the photos so I'm questioning the strain they'd pose to head mobility. My NiteRider's straight cable works really well on the helmet and I've never caught it on any branches.

  45. #45
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    I ended up using some instrument cable / wire for my power wire. I put a short lead and RC connector on the battery end and used a console mount RCA on the other. The RCA's are not bad, but you really have to check what the mfgr is doing with them. For mine, I ended up sealing it to the case and sealing up the open end inside the housing. It's not waterproof, but it certainly is water resistant.

    One pointer I'd put in is to make sure you use some heat shrink. The big cable I used made it really easy to get good contact area and will help make sure my connections stay dry and tight.
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    https://www.aerocraftparts.com/ItemF...a-7a78262ac23a

    A little costly $4.8 but 100% waterproof and aircraft grade. Easy to use and can't mess up the polarity when connecting them at night.

  47. #47
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    Those Switchcraft Micro-Con-X ones seem to fit everything people are looking for.

    I used a panel mt on the light so that I can have a variable length cable between that and the pack, thus the batteries and light modules can swap between bars and helmet as needed. They are pretty small. As I recall, the hole is 0.430" at the widest. They say they are waterproof and everything has o-rings. I also used silicone around the hole to seal it up. I wouldn't go dunking it under water, but I think it will be just fine in heavy rain, especially if there's a battery connected up.

  48. #48
    mtbr member
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    Quote Originally Posted by cycleboy
    I wouldn't go dunking it under water, but I think it will be just fine in heavy rain, especially if there's a battery connected up.
    You are right. Most "waterproof" connectors are only designed to be waterproof when they are connected.

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