I have a custom fuel injection project. Rather than place the electronics under the hood, I intend to have the ECU mounted inside the vehicle. This brings up some questions. First, is a sealed connector necessary for interior use? I'm on the fence on this since the interior is a somewhat protected space, but reliability is an issue here. The second question is the use of tin plated contacts. I have seen a number of examples of automotive contacts using tin, but I've also seen warnings about tin doing bad things when exposed to the temperature and humidity swings typical in a vehicle.

I'm tempted to just eat the cost of sealed connectors with gold-plated pins. But these add significantly to the cost of the project and it's not clear if it's worth it. Opinions?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Firewall penetrations should be protected to keep an engine fire out of the passenger compartment. Gold-plated might be overkill. \$\endgroup\$ – CrossRoads Jan 14 at 14:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ If it were me, I'd pick at least gold-plated, or sealed + tin plate to avoid oxidation issues from moisture. Both might be overkill for an interior application, but would be the choice for ultimate reliability, especially if the environment is extreme. \$\endgroup\$ – Phil G Jan 14 at 15:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ What I'm seeing is that tin is OK for larger contacts such as those handling power, but not so good for small signal such as from sensors. The caveat is that tin can't be used in high temperature or where it might be subject to vibration. Unfortunately, the vast majority of connectors I'm finding are tin. \$\endgroup\$ – Matthew Lewis Jan 14 at 15:29

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