How to Repin Marine Electrical Connectors

A step-by-step guide to repinning your boat's marine electrical connectors

How to Repin Marine Electrical Connectors

When small terminal pins in electrical connectors break or corrode, you can fix them. (Tim Barker/)

Most marine-engine harnesses and many electrical accessory wires now come equipped with plug-and-play connectors that help make short work of rigging jobs. These connectors easily snap together or into an electrical port. They can just as easily disconnect by pressing on a small tab to release the snap-lock.

Connectors from companies such as AMP, Bosch, Deutsch, Furukawa, Sumitomo and Yazaki contain multiple terminal pins—female terminals on one-half of the connector, with corresponding male pins on the other half—that are connected to wires and retained within impact-resistant, nonconductive plastic housings. Rubber seals at the wire/pin connection and on the mating surface of the connector help prevent water intrusion and keep corrosion at bay. These connectors are also designed to minimize electrical resistance, which can prove critical in digital applications.

However, sealed connectors are not fool-proof. Wire insulations can chafe and corrode. And in extremely damp conditions, moisture can eventually seep inside the connectors and corrode the terminal pins. If this occurs, you can replace the damaged pins inside the connector, saving the expense and trouble of buying and installing an entirely new harness.

Repinning a connector is an easy job once you have the right terminal pins, wire seals and tools, though it requires patience, good lighting and perhaps a magnifying glass. Here’s how we proceeded after discovering corroded pins inside the female side of a Sumitomo DL 090-series 16-pin sealed connector on the main electrical harness of a Suzuki DF200AP outboard engine.

Skill Level: 2 of 5

Finish Time: Approx. 15 minutes per terminal pin

Tools and Supplies

  • Terminal pins ($0.24 each for DL 090-series female, $0.19 each for DL 090 male, cycleterminal.com)
  • Rubber wire seals ($0.17 each for DL 090-series for 18 to 22 AWG wire, cycleterminal.com)
  • Terminal extractor tool ($7.85, tecratools.com)
  • Terminal pin crimping tool ($33.95, cycleterminal.com)
  • Wire cutters/strippers
  • Magnifying glass
Matching Pins and Seals
Matching Pins and Seals (Tim Barker/)

There are myriad sealed connectors using different styles of plastic housings, terminal pins and rubber wire seals. To find the right items, ask your boat dealer, who might order them for you. In our case, we searched online and found cycleterminal.com. By perusing the photos on the website, we found the same two-part connector, as well as the male and female terminal pins and rubber seals that fit the 18 AWG wire on the electrical harness. Within four days, the parts arrived, and we were almost ready to proceed.

The Correct Tools
The Correct Tools (Tim Barker/)

In order to move ahead, you will also need a couple of comparatively inexpensive tools to repin a connector. One is a terminal extraction tool, a narrow flat blade that inserts inside the small terminal hole and lifts the tiny plastic tab that snaps over the pin to hold it in place. We ordered cycleterminal.com’s ET120 for this. The other tool is a special crimper with B-shaped dies for the bare wire crimps. We ordered the ECT47 to crimp the pins to the exposed wire and crimp the rubber seal to the wire insulation.

Tip: Before creating a final crimp, it pays to get some spare wire (the same size as the harness wire) and a few extra terminal pins and wire seals to practice and perfect your crimping technique.

Pin Removal
Pin Removal (Tim Barker/)

With the two-piece connector snapped apart, use a pair of needle-nose pliers to gently pull out the white plastic secondary retainer inside the plastic female connector housing. This will give you access to the terminal pins within the connector. Insert the terminal extraction tool blade between the affected pin and the small plastic tab holding it in place. Apply gentle lifting pressure to the tab while carefully pulling out the corresponding wire from the back of the connector. It might help to have a friend pull on the wire while you lift the tab.

Read Next: 14 Tips for Avoiding Electrical Problems

New Pin and Seal
New Pin and Seal (Tim Barker/)

If practical, pry away the old crimp to avoid cutting the wire. Inspect the wire for corrosion and fraying. If needed, cut the wire and strip the insulation to expose 5 to 6 mm of bare wire for the new pin. Slide the seal over the wire insulation with the more slender collar toward the bitter end, where it will be crimped in place. The DL 090 pins require a two-step crimp on the bare wire using a 1.25 mm die for a pre-crimp and a 0.5 mm die for the finish crimp. A third 2.5 mm round die is for crimping the seal’s collar to the wire insulation.

Tip: Take note of the orientation of the terminal pin as you pull it out from the back of the connector. This will help ensure that when you insert the new pin, it will be right-side up. Also note if it’s a male or female version, and replace with a like terminal pin.

Insert the New Pin
Insert the New Pin (Tim Barker/)

Gently insert the new terminal pin through the same hole in the back of the connector that the old terminal pin previously occupied. Make sure the pin is in the correct orientation because the top and bottom of the terminal pins are different. Carefully push with your fingers behind the rubber seal while listening attentively for a click inside the connector, indicating that the pin has seated properly. Visually check inside the connector to confirm the correct positioning of the pin. Once finished, snap the plastic secondary retainer back in place.

Source : Boating Magazine More   

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Humminbird Mega Live Imaging

The Humminbird Mega Live Fishfinder scans underwater in real time.

Humminbird Mega Live Imaging

Mega Live Imaging allows anglers to see fish and structure in real time. (Courtesy Humminbird/)

For decades, anglers relied on fish finders with an inherent time delay. Today, however, a new breed of fish finder from brands such as Garmin and Lowrance eliminates the time delay, depicting the underwater world in real time. The latest to join this revolution is Humminbird.

Humminbird’s Mega Live Imaging delivers clarity that’s reminiscent of medical ultrasounds. With fish and structure appearing in real time, anglers can watch fish onscreen as they move about.

Mega Live Imaging employs an optional transducer that mounts to the shaft of a trolling motor. You connect the supplied Ethernet and power cable to a compatible Humminbird multifunction display with no need for a black-box module.

No transom-mount transducer is currently available for Mega Live Imaging, though transom-mount and trolling-motor transducers are available for the Garmin Panoptix LiveScope and Lowrance ActiveTarget live-imaging systems.

Mega Live Imaging is compatible with all Humminbird Apex and Solix MFD models, as well as Humminbird’s Helix G3N (8- through 12-inch models) and Helix G4N (7- through 15-inch models) Mega SI or Mega DI.

You can adjust Mega Live Imaging to one of three modes by manually twisting the transducer. Choose between Down, Forward or Landscape. It provides clarity throughout the entire view, with no gaps in coverage. Maximum range is 150 feet. It scans whichever way you turn the trolling motor.

Read Next: Fish-Finder Tools

The images that emerge are mind-blowing. Bait schools, gamefish and even your lure zoom across the screen. On some occasions, you can even watch a fish strike your lure. The Mega Live Imaging on the MFD touchscreen also lets you mark and save waypoints to return to the spot later.

Mega Live Imaging won the Best Electronics category at the 2021 ICAST fishing-tackle industry trade show held in Orlando, Florida, in July. $1,499 for the transducer package; humminbird.com

Forward scans vertically where pointed.
Forward scans vertically where pointed. (Courtesy Humminbird/)

Fine-Tune Sensitivity

Adjusting the sensitivity (aka gain) of a fish finder is a lost art because many fish finders today boast automatic functions that grant almost hands-off operation. However, you can often improve the view.

“You can almost always get a better fish finder reading by tweaking the sensitivity settings, even when it’s in auto mode,” says Steve Bradburn, fisheries and specialties product manager for Furuno USA marine electronics.

Sensitivity has nothing to do with power, but rather serves to filter the returns like the squelch function on a VHF. As you turn up the sensitivity, it filters fewer echoes. As you turn down the sensitivity, it filters more of the returns.

Down widely scans the water and bottom.
Down widely scans the water and bottom. (Courtesy Humminbird/)

Bradburn offers a method for fine-tuning sensitivity when auto mode is off. Start by turning off the clutter mode and turning up the sensitivity to the maximum (which will likely black out the screen), then slowly, gradually turn it down to clean up the display but still see targets, including fish and the bottom.

The idea is to reach a happy medium between too much and too little sensitivity. “You might want to repeat this process whenever the water depth or target species changes,” Bradburn advises.

Landscape scans horizontally where pointed.
Landscape scans horizontally where pointed. (Courtesy Humminbird/)

Adjustments can also be made in auto mode, but the starting point is different, says David DeVos, senior regional sales manager for Garmin. “Auto gain works really well,” he points out. “But it can be tweaked.”

Start with the sensitivity level preset in the auto mode, then slightly increase or decrease gain to see if the reading improves. “A little bit [of adjustment] goes a long way in auto mode,” DeVos says. “Ultimately, the best way to learn how to adjust sensitivity is to get out on your boat and use it.”

Source : Boating Magazine More   

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