Delphi makes several series of modular connectors, I am reviewing the Weather Pack series, not to be confused with Delphi's Metri-Pack lines. Let me just cut to the chase and tell you that the Weather Pack system is awesome. These connectors are affordable, flexible, and as the name suggests, weatherproof. Being a Delphi product they are designed for automotive use so they can withstand the heat, vibration, and the chemicals you might find in and around an engine compartment. Weather-pack connectors are design for 16VDC or less systems, the maximum load rating is 20A per conductor, and the wire range is 22-10 AWG. The connector housings come in 1, 2, 3, 4, and 6 wire in flat configurations, 4 wire in a square, and 5 wire in a round configuration.

 delphi weather pack components

How does the weather pack system work?

Each Weather Pack connection consists of 6 components, a male terminal, a female terminal, a seal for each, along with a tower, and a shroud. The tower and shroud are the male and female housings that hold the terminals. Typically the female terminals are used with the tower and male terminals with shrouds which seems counter intuitive since the towers are the "male" housing and the shrouds are the "female". The terminals and seals each cover a limited wire size and obviously you need to match the terminal and seal to the wire size you are using. However, you do NOT have to match the same size wire on both sides of the connection. For example if you're making a harness for an accessory that has a #16 awg. lead but you are feeding it with a #12 awg. wire it's no problem. You simply use a #16 terminal and seal on one side of the connection and a #12 terminal and seal on the other. This works because the portions of the terminals that interlock when you push the connectors together are the same uniform size, regardless of the wire size they are designed for. This solves a common problem that standard butt crimps struggle with. Never again will you need to fold a small wire over to fill the opening of a crimp barrel that is too big. Another improvement Weather Pack connectors have over traditional crimp terminals is that all the force to push together and pull apart the connectors is transferred directly from the housing to the terminal, and since the housings are large enough to firmly grab it's very unlikely you'll ever pull the wire out of the terminal. If you've ever used ΒΌ" blade-type crimp terminals you know how hard it is to pull them apart without yanking the wire out.

How much do they cost?

To give you an example of how much a connection costs the 6 wire 18 awg. connection I'm making in the pictures that accompany this article costs a total of $3.70. That breaks down to $1.60 for 12 terminals, $0.77 for 12 seals, and $1.33 for two housings. I think that is a great value for a top quality 6-wire connection but that price glosses over the initial expense to get my Weather Pack kit set-up. Each component is only pennies a piece but when they come in bags of 50 and 100 those pennies begins to add up. I spent about $150 to assemble a very nice kit covering the entire range and the basic tools to assemble them. I even bought a convenient storage case to keep all the pieces organized.

weather pack kit weather pack kit

What are they like to assemble?

The connections are a little time consuming to make but my success rate has been 100%. I can't say the same for regular old crimp terminals. A proper crimping too is required for the Weather Pack terminals, not necessarily the fancy $100+ units but you'll need one that has an "m" shaped die to get the proper curling action on the terminals. That curling action sends the wings of the terminal back down into the wire for a good "bite" which ensures good conductivity and firmly secures the wire in the terminal.

crimper die with m profile crimper with terminal inserted

 

You start by trimming to wire to the proper finished length, it helps to mock-up the installation with the connector housings so you don't get unsightly differences in length with a multi-wire housing. I pull the wires all the way thru the connector housing and trim them along the opening of the connector to ensure the wires are all the appropriate length. You have to make sure you place the wires back in the housing in the same order. Once the wire is cut to length place the proper sized seal onto the wire and pull it back about 1/2". Next, strip off 1/8"- 3/16" of the insulation. Using the proper crimping tool crimp the conductor. Next you slide the seal up until it's lined up with the terminal and crimp the seal retainer rings around the seal. The crimp on the seal should not be over crimped. You don't want to deform the seal and create a crease in the seal that might become a path for liquid to enter the housing.

delphi weather pack terminal crimped

Once the terminal is crimped you can slide the terminal into the housing, no special tool needed. Once all the wires are inserted where you want them there is an integral retainer that swings down and clicks into place. The retainer doesn't do much actually because the terminals are retained in the housing by little barbs. Removing the terminals from the housing requires a special tool. With the tool removing the terminals is a snap, allowing you to reconfigure the assembly later on should you want to. 

completed connector completed connector

 

Here is what the finished female housing looks like. In my example you can see I utilized a plug seal to seal up an unused port in the connector. This is about the only time the retain actually has something to do because the retainer is the only thing other than friction holding the plug in the connector.