During last week’s shopping bonanza, I bought electrical connectors to use for the wing wiring. I decided to go with a product made by Amphenol called Duramate – they are a series of circular connectors available in several sizes and pin configurations that are environmentally sealed, IP67-rated, vibration-resistant, and reasonably priced. Here is link to their product flyer. They use solid machined pins like I’m already using elsewhere; I prefer the reliability of connections made with crimped solid pins rather than stamped pins. Parts for this series are readily available through Mouser.com.
When ordering a connector system like this, there is some effort required to build up a Bill of Materials, since you have to order the connector body, pins, backshell, jam nuts, etc. all separately. I think it’s well worth the effort though, because these connectors are far superior to the white nylon square blocks that are more commonly used. My BOM is at the bottom of this post – note that I ordered a spare receptacle, so that I can wire up a test harness, which is not absolutely required. I also ordered plenty of extra pins – these connectors have 20 pins, which is more than I need, but I wanted to have room for expansion. For example, I may want to install puddle lights in the wings so that I can walk up to the plane at night and be able to see where I’m going.
These connectors are similar in style to D38999 connectors used on big planes and military products, but they are made with a plastic body instead of metal to save some cost. For my application, I think that will be fine – despite being plastic, they were designed for heavy-duty applications like cars, boats, and farm machinery, and rated for 600 connect/disconnect cycles. I will probably use these same connectors when it comes time for the firewall connections.