What’s The Difference Between A DIY And Commercial Wiring Harness Prototype?

If you are working on a project that requires a custom wiring harness, it can be tempting to have a go at building your own DIY harness prototype.

But there are many important differences between a prototype which is built to simple test functionality and one that has been built to commercial standards by a professional.

As experts with over 30 years of experience, QCC Custom Cables have completed countless wiring harness projects and prototypes.

In this blog, our experienced team will give you an overview of the differences between a DIY prototype and a commercial prototype.

DIY Prototype

A DIY wiring harness prototype, in most cases, will give you the bare minimum for checking what does and doesn’t function.

Such a prototype could be made using twist-on wire connectors, zip ties or even electrical tape to hold things together for initial development and testing.

This may be all you need for a quick project that is simple to manage, where all you need is a one-off prototype to get things working.

However, if yours is a more involved project that will be developed over time, a DIY prototype may cause unnecessary frustration and expense.

The prototype might work when it’s tested, but it may not be made from the correct robust components and assembled precisely. This means it’s very likely that it won’t continue to work.

Once you’ve put your prototype away on the shelf and come back to it later, you could very well find that there’s a problem. Now you’re basically back at square one.

The more complex the project, the more confidence you get from a commercial prototype.

Consider that in a complex wire harness there can be between 50 to 100 wires and double the amount of pins that need to be attached to each end. Then there could be 30 to 50 different connectors terminating the loom.

All of these connection points make it difficult and highly time consuming to trace a problem to its source if there is an issue, especially if you don’t have the right testing equipment.

A DIY prototype in this situation can give you many unnecessary problems with red herrings and multiple faults. What you think could be a continuity, resistance or a short circuit issue could actually be an entirely different problem all together.

You can spend a lot of frustrating hours trying to get the prototype to work properly. And as we all know, time is money.

If building a wiring harness is not your core business, investing in a commercial prototype from the get-go will almost certainly save you time, money and reduce risk in the long run.

Commercial Prototype

A commercial prototype is one that is made professionally by an expert custom cabling manufacturer. It will be fully tested to all appropriate standards and guidelines.

During the design stage of the prototype the experiences and “lessons learned” from the wiring harness consultant can add value in many ways. Suggestions can be made and modifications can be included before manufacture to ensure optimum performance whilst utilising space and material efficiently.

The prototype will consist of high quality and robust materials, which have been correctly crimped and soldered to industry standards.  This removes the variable of any potential physical problems occurring with the prototype.

In addition, a commercial prototype will come with documentation confirming that it has passed the passive testing phase. This allows for full traceability and the comfort of knowing that the prototype will work first time, every time.

Once the prototype has been completed, you can confidently test it out in the field and continue on to the next phase of your project.

Handing over the process of making a prototype to a professional relieves you of the stress and responsibility to get it right.

This frees up your time to get on with work that you are the professional in.

Moving from a professionally made prototype to manufacturing the “real thing”, is a much smoother process than coming from a DIY prototype. Minor modifications to the original design due to testing results can be very easily.

To Wrap Things Up

So as we’ve discovered, you can save time, money and reduce risk in the long run by getting a professional to make a commercial quality prototype.

If you have a project that requires a custom wiring harness, call the experts at QCC Custom Cables.

Our team have the expertise and access to the right equipment to deliver a workable solution for you, in full and on time.

For more information and advice, click here to contact QCC Custom Cables.