I have a question about what tools do I need for wiring. I am planning a panel upgrade in the future. I'm collecting all the parts and tools I will need ahead of time. I have bought the hole knockouts for the 3/18 and 2 1/4 inch holes. I also bought a dimpler for flush riveting. Question is, what type of terminal crimper do I need to buy and where, (Aircraft Spruce) or somewhere else. Also I want to have some wire on  hand. What size , type of wire do I need?. And also terminals. Is there a kit you can purchase with the terminals you will need for an aircraft. Or do I need to buy individual terminals ? Any help would be appreciated cause I'm new to this and would like to have everything I need before I start. Thanks. 

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If you're new to aircraft electrical systems and wiring, the first thing you need is Bob Nuchols' Aero Connection book.  It'll likely answer 90+% of your questions, but this is not to discourage you from asking questions on the forums, but rather, it might help you ask more specific questions and get better answers.

As far as connectors, there are many sources, but B & C Specialty Products sells a connector kit that will have most every connector you'll ever likely need.  Pricey, but they are aviation-quality connectors (AMP brand) and it's priceless to have a kit assortment on-hand and not have to wait for shipping each time you need a connector!  I built my plane 8 years ago and I still occasionally fish a connector out of that kit!

B & C also sells quality crimping and wire stripping tools - you'll never regret using a quality tool vs a cheap-o.



(not affiliated with B & C, just obviously a satisfied customer!)

Thanks John, I have read some of Bob Nuchols Aero Connection. And that kit from B & C Spec Products is just what I was looking for. Thanks. 

Hi John, I suggest you watch the www.steinair.com videos, as per sample here https://youtu.be/f8DCvBV2V4M

Thanks John

That was very informative. I've got a lot to learn before starting this upgrade. I want to do it right. Thanks. 

I came across this website that is very informative about crimping terminals, and the tools needed. Yes I know it is for Marine. But he states there is really no Marine grade. Just high quality stuff like in aerospace uses. I learned alot from the site. https://marinehowto.com/marine-wire-termination/

The Titan crimper and strippers worked great for my entire build. I used the pidg terminals from aircraft spruce. They have the advantage of crimping both the wire and the insulator. 


I have seen so many aircraft wired with automotive connectors. I just don't get that. A small fire in an aircraft can be fatal.  How many pennies are you saving by putting dozens of cheap wire connectors? And putting dozens of potential electrical problems.  Planes are not cars.  They are subject to tremendous vibrations and shocks that cars never see. 


I won't use automotive connectors in the plane. I have found that the automotive connectors that I have are way too flimsy. They bend easily, and the crimper don't always crimp too good. Sometimes you can pull the wire out without really trying. That's why I need a good crimper and AN quality terminals. I'll check out the crimpers on Amazon. 

Hi John,

You are smart to pre-plan the wiring, connectors, tools and wire. It is important you follow aircraft standards for these and DO NOT use automotive grade terminals that have only a crimp onto the wire strands and no support for the wire insulation.

Two brands of aircraft grade terminals are: Sta-Con and Amp PIDG from either aircraft or electrical suppliers. Use a ratcheting crimper that gives you a good crimp and learn how to use it. Draw out your circuits and plan for either fuses or breakers. I am wiroing my Zodiac CH 650B panel now and am using the mini automotive fuses. They save a lot of space and weight over breakers. If you go this route, get the mini fuses that have an LED in the fuse that lights to identify a blown fuse.

Get some lacing cord and see a You tube video of how to lace up your wires into a bundle to avoid  vibration flexing. Several wiring books are good - especially the one by Nuckols. I found that Spruce was an easy source of the correct aircraft wire in the size the circuit load needed. Good Luck!  Larry Zepp, Zodiac 650B  N22LZ


Thanks for the reply. Much work to do and every suggestion is welcomed. 


Check out the EAA "Aircraft Wiring Guide" book.


Thanks Earnest

I just ordered the book from EAA. I also have ordered the DVD from Jon Croke, (HomebuiltHelp.com). And I've downloaded the pdf files from Bob Nuchols. That should keep me busy

for a few days reading all this. 

All the suggestions are excellent. I would add one more - consider taking the course offered by the EAA on aircraft wiring. They have courses on sheet metal work, fabric work, electrics, all kinds of stuff. I took the wiring course several years ago to refresh my memory and it is excellent.

Right now Coranavirus considerations may have those workshops canceled (they are up close and personal and excellent) but maybe things will open up in time for you to take one when it comes through your area. The EAA rotates the courses around the country during the year.



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