Motorsport Electronics & Wiring

Electrical issues are one of the hardest things to diagnose. They can ruin a track weekend and cause you to miss precious test sessions and even a race.  While re-purposing old harnesses and "Radioshack" quality components are cheap, they are not recommended for trouble free operation of your track car, in fact it pretty much a guarantees you will have electrical troubles. On the other end of the spectrum, professional wire harnesses using Deutsch Autosport connectors with Resintech RT125 sealed Raychem boots are expensive, require very expensive tooling, and fortunately aren't required to ensure trouble free operation of your car's electronic devices. 3DM has put together a basic guide for what we call "Club Level Motorsports Wiring" to assist you in getting your electrical devices up an running trouble free without breaking the bank. This guide is ever evolving so please check back regularly or sign up for our newsletter for update notifications.

 

Wiring Guide Overview

It is important to note that this guide is not the definitive guide for Motorsports wiring. Motorsports wiring can be very complex and expensive. The goal of this guide is to give you a perspective on the components and best practices of how to economically wire up your vehicle for your own club level Motorsports activities.

You have probably heard this phrase before... "Mil-Spec" and you will see it used throughout this guide. Describing something as "Mil-Spec" makes components sound expensive and unobtainable but in reality it is just a way of ensuring products meet certain requirements, commonality, and reliability. Don't be afraid for your wallet when you see something described as mil-spec, it is actually a good thing as it means that the component or the way something is assembled will likely be high quality, durable, and provide trouble free service leading to less money and time spent fixing problems.

We will first go over all of the various components used in constructing wire harnesses and then go over best practices of assembling wire harnesses to connect and control electrical devices.  


Wire Harness Components

Deutsch Connectors

These are an environmentally-sealed connector designed specifically for cable to cable applications on the engine or transmission, under the hood, on the chassis or in the cab. On signal level circuits in harsh environmental conditions, where even a small degradation in connection may be critical, the Deutsch DT Series general purpose connectors will provide the reliability and performance at the lowest cost. The DT Series come in 3 connector size options:

DT - 'Standard' - Capable of 13 Amps per Circuit
DTM - 'Mini' - Capable of 7.5 Amps per Circuit
DTP - 'Power' - Capable of 25 Amps per Circuit

Binder Connectors (AiM Data Acquisition)

If you want to make your own extension cables for AiM Data Acquisition systems you will need to know how to assemble these connectors. There are two types found on Aim Data Acquisition Systems:

Series 719 - Snap Together
Series 711 - Screw Together

Wire

There are a few basic types of wire for Motorsport use:

Basic Stranded Wire: Hook up wire
Unshielded Twisted Pair: UTP
Shielded Twisted Pair: STP
Battery Cable

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Looming

Typically available in 2:1, 3:1 and 4:1 shrink ratios

Standard Heat Shrink
Chemical Resistant Heat Shrink
Adhesive Lined Heat Shrink
Heat Shrink Boots

 

Terminals

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Power Distribution: Switches, Breakers, Power Distribution Modules

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Wire Harness Assembly

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Wiring Tools

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Best Practices

Crimping vs soldering :https://temcoindustrial.com/product-guides/tools/crimping-tool-selection-guide

battery cable to starter separate from computers and sensors.