Electrical improvements – power Part One

This year hasn’t been a good one so far, wasting the summer with too much work, fighting the garden and essential house repairs leaving little time to spend on Dilly. However there have been lots of gigs too so it’s not been all bad. A couple of months ago I cut my hand, not particularly badly, but somehow it got infected and it’s been bandaged ever since, antibiotics were needed at one point when my arm swelled up suddenly. Using tools has been difficult, but somehow I managed to continue playing the bass with homemade dressings of insulation tape.

I’ve managed to get the odd hour in here and there so I’ll summarise the little I’ve achieved so far.

Ebay lug crimping tool

There are lots of people on Ebay selling what looks like the same tool, obviously made in China and presented in a bright yellow case I got one for £20 odd delivered. I am very pleased with it. It supposedly exerts 8 tons of pressure on the lug, not sure how accurate that is, but it creates a lovely hexagonal crimp. Here’s my first effort with 25mm² cable into an 8mm lug:

Ebay crimping tool

I probably stripped a little too much insulation here but I used two layers of heat-shrink to finish the job.

It will even make good crimps on these very thick battery terminals so it’s very useful for making tailored power leads, here I’ve made the positive battery lead, with heat-shrink and convoluted flexible conduit as added protection:

Custom battery lead

To check its tightness I put the lug in the vice and pulled hard on the cable, that’s not going anywhere.

Soldered and crimped connection block behind dash

I am replacing any wire that is damaged, the wrong colour, has been butchered / lengthened etc, with new, continuous cable of the correct colour and current rating, and where possible improving the run. This means that the heavy brown charging cables from the alternator, and to the dash supply had to be replaced. On the diagrams there are a couple of connectors marked with a cross in a circle. These are a crimped and soldered affair and I needed to recreate them…

How it was:

Original Crimped / Soldered connection


Original connection, dissected

I got together my replacement cables, took a lug of the correct size and hack-sawed off the ring, and using my new Ebay tool made a hexagonal crimp:

Modified lug crimped on

I then trimmed off the excess wire, held the terminal in the vice and fed solder into the end, taking great care not to allow solder to run into the ‘flying’ ends which would make the cables brittle:

Trimmed and soldered

I then encased it with a few layers of heat-shrink to give it that familiar home-made, over-engineered, way-too-big look that characterises so well anything that I’ve ever made. Whether it’s made of wood, metal, fabric or whatever, my stuff is either too heavy to lift, too big to fit or too ugly to look at, so why change now…

Heavily insulated!Alternator plug

Rather than the individual crimp connectors that were bodged into place, I purchased the correct alternator connector from Vehicle Wiring Products, soldered the wires in place, clipped the cover on and sleeved the individual wires in heat-shrink:

Alternator plug and 'power / starting / charging / loom'

I had now constructed a section of loom that could be taken outside and hopefully threaded into place. Here we have battery, charging and starter cables including the start wire (white/red) and the brown/yellow from the alternator to ignition warning lamp.

More wiring to follow…

That’s enough for one post so part two coming up very shortly, that will show the battery and starter connections.

Recent gigs…

Meanwhile for musician visitors a few recent gig photos:

My favourite first. This one was part of Sheringham Carnival, depping on bass with Soul Traders in the car park of The Crown, literally a stone’s throw from the beach. Fantastic company within the band and their families, but also nice to see friends Trevor and Tessa, Martin, Muffy, Carl and Cliffy. The ‘outdoor’ bass sound you get on these kind of gigs just can’t be reproduced indoors, it’s the only time I’m perfectly happy with the sound, regardless of instrument or rig selected. Here I used the Hofner with Behringer 350w head and Peavey 4×10 cab. Has Mick the tenor player put on weight? I am there behind him somewhere…

Soul Traders, Sheringham, Aug 2016

With Dirty Dave (The Motives) at Saham Toney, thanks Tracey for the picture. Dave is an absolute guitar genius, almost to the point of madness:

Dirty Dave

And another random one, a wonderful night at Bury St Edmunds British Sugar Club. Gear: Ibanez SR550, PJB flightcase combo with extension cab. Thanks again Tracey:

The Motives, Bury BSSC


  1. Pleased to see you giving dilly some attention boy – we had a great time at the gigs – waiting for the next invite ! From the woodwork student x


  2. Nice over engineering!
    Do you have a link for those not so bad not original crimpers? I’m pretty sure that I’ll be redoing some heavy electrical cables on the Landy (and on other stable mates)…


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