Automotive wiring has always been a crucial product for electronic wire manufacturers. It has become even more important with the growth and popularity of various types of motorsports.
Fortunately, automotive wiring has had a good track record for the most part. OEM wire manufacturers have been able to create quality and durable wires and products like connectors that can support rigorous racing requirements. One of the major reasons for this quality is the incorporation of military specifications to automotive wiring.
How Mil Spec Wiring Supports Motorsport Activities
Today, electronic systems of motorsport vehicles are considered just as important as the engines. They help keep the driver safe, provide speed and agility, and even help the car adapt to different driving conditions.
Hence, the wiring has to be precise in terms of design, qualitative in terms of materials, and durable in terms of manufacturing. Mil spec wires are of immense help when designing and manufacturing wiring for sporting vehicles.
Classic Example: If you were to look at the wiring and connectors of an established racing automobile, you would find that most of the connector seals would still be in good shape; the wiring would be stark but not cracked, and would still have its flexibility.
Then and Now
Earlier, the wiring design was used to raise the glamour quotient of the vehicle. Designers and engineers would talk about using a variety of complex components and processes like:
Metal shell connectors
Concentric twisting for airframes
This would also lead to high costs and large product warranties. Today, what motorsport OEM wire manufacturers have realized is that the wiring simply needs to perform the tasks it is designed for. They took a cue from mil spec wire engineering, and focused more on factors like reliability, small sizes, light weights, and durability. The main goal was to get the wiring to handle racing environments.
How was it Done?
Wiring engineers looked at specific factors that would hinder the overall performance of racing vehicles, and found a solution for each of them.
Weight: In racing, heavy weight is a car’s biggest enemy. The weight of the car is the determinant for factors like speed and maneuverability. A compact and light weight design helps reduce the weight of the car, and allows the driver to quickly increase and maintain speed. It also allows for improved maneuverability.
Racing vehicle manufacturers utilize a variety of mil spec products to save on space and weight. A few examples include:
o Small sized 30 gauge wires
o Circular connectors for cramped spaces
o Concentric twisting for compact wiring bundles and wiring flexibility
Adhesives: While adhesives are important when using certain plastic components, they can also act as a deterrence since they easily stick to wires, and hinder the function of connectors. Thus, the adhesive creates problems for engineers during repairs and remodeling. A temporary solution for this is using Kapton adhesive tape. It does not leave any residue, and can be used until repairs are conducted later.
Performance: The overall performance of a motorsport vehicle can be improved immensely by utilizing certain mil spec components. A few examples include:
o Protective glue shrunk boots
o Shrink tubing and tube labels
o Service loops for strain reduction
The use of mil spec components has helped racing cars become lightweight, faster, safer, and more efficient. Thus, mil-spec wiring has become an ingenious solution for enhancing automotive motorsport technology.