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Old 03-11-2010, 06:59 PM   #1
CamaroDreams07
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T-Tap question

So I'm new to the electrical world, can any of you guys tell me some more about t-taps. I guess they cut the insulation for you right? What happens if I want to remove one? Can I do that and just put some tape over where it was? Or is it unsafe to remove this after youve done it?
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Old 03-11-2010, 07:30 PM   #2
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T-Taps do indeed pierce the insulation, then allow the insertion of a male spade. Removing one is just as easy an installing one, a small blade screwdriver will do the trick, and it shoudln't leave any exposed wire. If it does, and that's a possiblity, a small piece of tape will indeed work. Yes, it's safe to remove anytime you need to.
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Old 03-11-2010, 07:39 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CamaroDreams07 View Post
So I'm new to the electrical world, can any of you guys tell me some more about t-taps. I guess they cut the insulation for you right? What happens if I want to remove one? Can I do that and just put some tape over where it was? Or is it unsafe to remove this after youve done it?
here is a pic of one in use.

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Old 03-11-2010, 07:42 PM   #4
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In the aftermarket install world T-tap is a 4 letter world, if a shop uses them I would run as fast as you can way.

If you look at the T-tap it has a slot in the metal that is what cuts the insulation so it will touch the wiring. BUT if you look at the size of the opening and then look at the diameter of the wire the T-tap actually cuts about half of your wire that you are taping on to. SO your 12ga wire is now 20ga wire. Also they are a bad connections prone to resistance, which in turn makes heat and that can melt the wire.

If you want to do it correctly and not void warranty. Use a military connection. What it is you strip back the insulation around the wire take a flat blade screw driver or pick took in the middle of the exposed wire to form a hole in the middle of it and stick the wire you are wanting to add on through it, then press down the factory wire around the ohter wire and wrap the add on wire around the factory wire. I know it sounds complicated but its not. If you want to go a step farther which we do on every install at my shop is put a bit on solder on it and wrap with electrical tape...

That is the best 100% connection.
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Old 03-11-2010, 08:09 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by strauchpete View Post
In the aftermarket install world T-tap is a 4 letter world, if a shop uses them I would run as fast as you can way.

If you look at the T-tap it has a slot in the metal that is what cuts the insulation so it will touch the wiring. BUT if you look at the size of the opening and then look at the diameter of the wire the T-tap actually cuts about half of your wire that you are taping on to. SO your 12ga wire is now 20ga wire. Also they are a bad connections prone to resistance, which in turn makes heat and that can melt the wire.

If you want to do it correctly and not void warranty. Use a military connection. What it is you strip back the insulation around the wire take a flat blade screw driver or pick took in the middle of the exposed wire to form a hole in the middle of it and stick the wire you are wanting to add on through it, then press down the factory wire around the ohter wire and wrap the add on wire around the factory wire. I know it sounds complicated but its not. If you want to go a step farther which we do on every install at my shop is put a bit on solder on it and wrap with electrical tape...

That is the best 100% connection.
I'm not looking to start an argument, but to say shy away if a shop uses these is not correct. That is your opinion and I respect that. I have used them with not one failure in over 20 years. And I am a retired Aircraft Mechanic, Military at that. These can be used without damaging the wire if you use the correct size tap. However, you need to pre strip the wire thus giving the wire strands room to compress into the slot. You are correct that one of the best connections is the military connection with solder. To take that one step farther you should cut the wire, insert a piece of shrink wrap about 1.5 times the length of the splice on the wire, then 1-braid the wires back together and then solder, or 2-use a butt splice solder joint. Slide the shrink wrap over the splice and heat it to shrink it to create a sealed connection. But each to their own. It does sound like you do quality work by using your described method.
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Old 03-11-2010, 09:22 PM   #6
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Sorry but I have been doing electrical mechanics on cars for over 10 years now. I would NEVER NEVER NEVER use a T-tap, since you said you know about electrical say you have a 1 volt drop over the T-tap connection, which is very likely with them since they are not a good connection where there is very little surface to surface contact.

With a 1 volt drop over a lets say 20 amp circuit, that means that a it would be 20watts.
And its not turning into motion, or light, that means it goes into heat, and 20 watts of heat is alot.

And just like your picture that you shown above you have about a quarter of an inch of bare metal, showing at the top of the T-tap, I know I would not want hot wire bare metal under my dash.

I mean Im not trying to be a dick or anything but the quick way is not always the best way, I know that my car is the 2nd most expensive thing that I own and I dont want to take and short cuts on it.

And last thing dealerships would be more likely to say if there is an electrical problem to say it is because of the T-tap then if it was military connected, soldered, and taped.

To each there own, just my opinion.
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Old 03-11-2010, 09:34 PM   #7
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The reason I'm asking is I'm wondering if the t-taps and harness included with my AAC DRLs would be safe to use. I have those in hand right now and I'm waiting oon my adaptive harness to come in. So would you say the adaptive would be safer since it doesn't tap any wires directly?
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Old 03-11-2010, 09:56 PM   #8
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which ever way you decide to do it,be sure and disconnect the battery.you don't want to short something out.i have 45 years experience in the electrical field.main issue ,is just make sure you have a good connection.
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Old 03-11-2010, 09:59 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by strauchpete View Post
Sorry but I have been doing electrical mechanics on cars for over 10 years now. I would NEVER NEVER NEVER use a T-tap, since you said you know about electrical say you have a 1 volt drop over the T-tap connection, which is very likely with them since they are not a good connection where there is very little surface to surface contact.

With a 1 volt drop over a lets say 20 amp circuit, that means that a it would be 20watts.
And its not turning into motion, or light, that means it goes into heat, and 20 watts of heat is alot.

And just like your picture that you shown above you have about a quarter of an inch of bare metal, showing at the top of the T-tap, I know I would not want hot wire bare metal under my dash.

I mean Im not trying to be a dick or anything but the quick way is not always the best way, I know that my car is the 2nd most expensive thing that I own and I dont want to take and short cuts on it.

And last thing dealerships would be more likely to say if there is an electrical problem to say it is because of the T-tap then if it was military connected, soldered, and taped.

To each there own, just my opinion.

Your are correct, The bare wire was taped up after I took the pic. I would never leave a hot lead unprotected. It was just when I took the pic.
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Old 03-12-2010, 06:54 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by strauchpete View Post
Sorry but I have been doing electrical mechanics on cars for over 10 years now. I would NEVER NEVER NEVER use a T-tap, since you said you know about electrical say you have a 1 volt drop over the T-tap connection, which is very likely with them since they are not a good connection where there is very little surface to surface contact.

With a 1 volt drop over a lets say 20 amp circuit, that means that a it would be 20watts.
And its not turning into motion, or light, that means it goes into heat, and 20 watts of heat is alot.

And just like your picture that you shown above you have about a quarter of an inch of bare metal, showing at the top of the T-tap, I know I would not want hot wire bare metal under my dash.

I mean Im not trying to be a dick or anything but the quick way is not always the best way, I know that my car is the 2nd most expensive thing that I own and I dont want to take and short cuts on it.

And last thing dealerships would be more likely to say if there is an electrical problem to say it is because of the T-tap then if it was military connected, soldered, and taped.

To each there own, just my opinion.
I don't disagre with you on that being a better connection, but for a light load, small amp draw, short time "on" cycles, low resistance use, this will work with more than acceptable results. No, you are absoutley correct, I would never use this type of connection on heavy or high cycle time unit connections. Then I would incorporate a relay or other bussed/fused power source for that kind of need use. I'm just saying these can be used if they are used it the proper maner.

Oh, It was never about speed or being quicker or easier.

Good debate here though. No insult was ever taken, just for the record. Simply a disagreement in methods, manner of use, and use of materials.
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Old 03-13-2010, 08:58 AM   #11
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I'll join the NO t-tap side. T-taps create mechanical damage to wire strands. At first maybe a few strands, add some vibration and more strands fail. It's a great way to effectively turn your wire into a smaller gauge and create intermittent connections and opens down the road.

If you must tap into the harness then minimize connections, strip and solder. It's more work but you can do it and forget about it. If possible use a pair of male/female connectors and build a tee assembly to leave the harness untouched.

Tip number two - don't stretch your electrical tape to breaking point it at the end of a wrap. Cut it and you will get better adhesion.
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Old 03-19-2010, 09:22 PM   #12
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Agreed with the NO T-tap solution, they are a good quick fix but definatly not good for reliable long term connections for the reasons above. great points and im glad there are experienced people on here that are able to explain that. I agree they are not the worst connection but if you love the car you are doing work on enough there are better more reliable ways.

soldering and stranding wires together (for lack of a better word) is the proper way making sure after youve made the connection that you properly insulate them is the best route. Some shops will try to convence you to use t-taps because it is easier and faster for them and if you have any problems with them they will be far enough down the road it will be harder for you to hold them responsible for it. Best way is doing it yourself or paying for the time it takes for a shop to do it the right way, because it does take longer, even then there are alot of wrong ways to solder, so make sure the shop is not only willing to do it but that they have experience in it and im sure Jarhead and strauchpete could better explain that to you also.

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Old 03-19-2010, 09:46 PM   #13
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T-taps, when used correctly, are fine. Should make a nice, gas-tight connection.
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Old 03-20-2010, 12:32 AM   #14
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I am in the no T-taps crowd as well. too many situation seen where they DO cause problems.
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Old 03-21-2010, 05:15 PM   #15
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T-taps, when used correctly, are fine. Should make a nice, gas-tight connection.
Not sure what you mean?
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