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Old 07-02-2016, 01:53   #1
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Terminating Tip for Corroded Wire

The other day I had to re-terminate a corroded wire - you know, the one where the surface of every copper strand has turned black.

We know the correct procedure, replace the wire

In this instance, this was not an option (at this time), it had to be terminated and it had to be perfectly serviceable for the next couple of weeks / months.

Now I hate doing second rate work and I hate even more working with corroded wire.

Crimping didn't seem to be the best option under the circumstances and soldering was impossible due the corrosion. Did I mention, I only had an hour or so to do the work and it was after hours

So…..

I soaked the end the the wiring in a 20% solution of phosphoric acid for 5 minutes and then cleaned the strands with scotcbrite. Then rinsed with running water for 5 minutes. After that it soldered perfectly well.

Perhaps I could have crimped the now clean wire end but I was concerned about the possible acid residue and the fact the wire strands were weakened by the acid bath. Anyway, it was soldered and tightly constrained - as it was in a dynamic environment. I am sure the acid will eat away at the rest of the wire but it is scheduled to be replaced as soon as practical - say inside 3 months.

The take away is that phosphoric acid (rust convertor) will clean up corroded copper pretty quickly and pretty well.
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Old 07-02-2016, 02:32   #2
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Re: Terminating Tip for Corroded Wire

Acid core solder will do it also,but will eventually corrode.
Sometimes,we have to do temporary patch repairs-but a permanent repair should be put on the to-do list.

Cheers/ Len
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Old 07-02-2016, 05:11   #3
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Re: Terminating Tip for Corroded Wire

Being as careful as possible is always a good idea when making a connection that you know from the start is a temporary repair. But there are those times where you will just have no choice but to make due. I'm sure the debate on your repair could go on for pages, but if phosphoric acid works as a temp repair to make a better electrical connection then that's what you do. My fast repair kit has an assortment of Rescue tape, two sizes of Clamp Tite's and (GASP!) wire nuts. It's not always the graceful art of sailing. Sometimes it's the art of getting home.

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Old 07-02-2016, 05:37   #4
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Re: Terminating Tip for Corroded Wire

Wottie

Thanks for sharing! Don't you think that the water rinse stopped the acid reaction? Or a 2nd option procedure= neutralizing soak?

I mean, I'd still replace it, but your schedule seems excessively urgent???

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Old 07-02-2016, 08:55   #5
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Re: Terminating Tip for Corroded Wire

Ospho use to be available. Basically phosphoric acid used to harden rusted metals to stop the rusting and harden the existing rusted areas so they can be painted. Almost impossible to find nowadays. Great stuff.
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Old 07-02-2016, 09:08   #6
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Re: Terminating Tip for Corroded Wire

ohm the wire and if its zero your good to go
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Old 07-02-2016, 09:26   #7
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Re: Terminating Tip for Corroded Wire

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Originally Posted by Wotname View Post
The other day I had to re-terminate a corroded wire - you know, the one where the surface of every copper strand has turned black.

We know the correct procedure, replace the wire

In this instance, this was not an option (at this time), it had to be terminated and it had to be perfectly serviceable for the next couple of weeks / months.

Now I hate doing second rate work and I hate even more working with corroded wire.

Crimping didn't seem to be the best option under the circumstances and soldering was impossible due the corrosion. Did I mention, I only had an hour or so to do the work and it was after hours

So…..

I soaked the end the the wiring in a 20% solution of phosphoric acid for 5 minutes and then cleaned the strands with scotcbrite. Then rinsed with running water for 5 minutes. After that it soldered perfectly well.

Perhaps I could have crimped the now clean wire end but I was concerned about the possible acid residue and the fact the wire strands were weakened by the acid bath. Anyway, it was soldered and tightly constrained - as it was in a dynamic environment. I am sure the acid will eat away at the rest of the wire but it is scheduled to be replaced as soon as practical - say inside 3 months.

The take away is that phosphoric acid (rust convertor) will clean up corroded copper pretty quickly and pretty well.
As a community service you should ask admin to delete this entire thread, less some amateur thinks this is a good idea (repairing non-marine grade wire that a) should never have been used on a boat and b) has outlived its useful life..
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Old 07-02-2016, 09:34   #8
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Re: Terminating Tip for Corroded Wire

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ohm the wire and if its zero your good to go
How does on "ohm" a wire?
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Old 07-02-2016, 09:34   #9
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Re: Terminating Tip for Corroded Wire

If admins deleted hack advice, the Internet would be barren
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Old 07-02-2016, 09:35   #10
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Re: Terminating Tip for Corroded Wire

In such a situation, might it make sense to soak the part of the wire which had been acid treated, in an alkaline solution, in order to terminate the chemical reaction. Prior to rinsing everything well with water?

Also, what about cutting the corroded wire back a bit. Then doing an in line splice. Followed by attaching a new end fitting?
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Old 07-02-2016, 09:39   #11
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Re: Terminating Tip for Corroded Wire

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.......... Also, what about cutting the corroded wire back a bit. Then doing an in line splice. Followed by attaching a new end fitting?
Provided he had the correct wire and splice available, that would have been the best plan.

Personally, I would not have soaked the wire in acid, I would have cleaned it mechanically. And I would not have soldered it, I would have crimped it.
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Old 07-02-2016, 10:18   #12
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Re: Terminating Tip for Corroded Wire

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If admins deleted hack advice, the Internet would be barren
And "perfectionist" posters would have nothing to criticize

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Old 07-02-2016, 10:18   #13
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Re: Terminating Tip for Corroded Wire

Marine grade vs. regular wiring? In most of the world, no difference. Copper wire much better than aluminum wire or tin wires, which you find often in Asia. Otherwise its the connections and terminal points treatment that makes the difference between marine vs. regular wiring. Gauge is very important and most folks simply do not have the right gauge for most of their wiring. Also polarity and grounding are two areas often overlooked, even in production boats like Hunters and that french thing.
Wiring is fairly easy to learn, but learn it you must if you are going to do any electrical repairs on your boat. And sometimes like the OP, you are going to be stuck with an inferior situation and do the best you can.
Remember, anything more than 2 amps can kill a person. 10 amps is as good as any electric chair and will kill quickly. 30 amps, and you got the potential to be killed even if your not touching the wires. Thus, a GUI for the entire boat is essential, if not for each device.
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Old 07-02-2016, 10:22   #14
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Re: Terminating Tip for Corroded Wire

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If admins deleted hack advice, the Internet would be barren


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Marine grade vs. regular wiring? In most of the world, no difference...
Tinned vs not.
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Old 07-02-2016, 10:59   #15
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Re: Terminating Tip for Corroded Wire

Well, we just got some more "hack advice".
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