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Old 20-04-2013, 09:14   #1
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Through Deck Waterproof Cable Fittings

Greetings All,
I've recently ordered some solar panels to install on the hardtop over the pilothouse and have been looking around at the variety of thru deck waterproof fittings for the wiring that would need to come through from the top side. I searched the forums but did not find a previous discussion - maybe I didn't hit on the right keywords. Does anyone have any experience if one particular make/model is better than another? Are they even worthwhile? I have several antennae cables that come through the side of the cabin that I just have sealed with 3m 4000 that stay watertight for years between re-beddings. I'm just looking for the voice of experience as to what works. This will be used in Florida with constant exposure to the sun, heat, and humidity.

Thanks in advance,
Dan
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Old 20-04-2013, 10:42   #2
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Re: Thru deck waterproof cable fittings

The solar panels I ordered have the wire at the center bottom of the panel according to the diagram... (still waiting for arrival -- today or Monday) so your timing on posting the question is perfection. Thanks. (bump, and subscription to thread accomplished)
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Old 20-04-2013, 13:39   #3
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Re: Through Deck Waterproof Cable Fittings

I've used the Blue Sea "Cable Clams" and they do a great job. They come in several sizes.
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Old 20-04-2013, 13:46   #4
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Re: Through Deck Waterproof Cable Fittings

the cable clams are good, so are the rubber grommets. i have used each at differing times on different boats.
i use rubber grommets on this formosa and clams on my ericson..
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Old 20-04-2013, 13:53   #5
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Re: Through Deck Waterproof Cable Fittings

Plastic "through-deck" connectors for wire tend to disintegrate with the sun's UV quite quickly. Here are some metal versions that will last a lot longer from Perko and Whitecap.
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Old 20-04-2013, 15:41   #6
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Re: Through Deck Waterproof Cable Fittings

I have solar panels over the bimini... The wire runs down to the outside of the combing around the cockpit.

I drilled a 1/2" hole and ran the wire through there. To cover the hole I used a small clam shell cowling. No leaks!

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Old 20-04-2013, 16:21   #7
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Re: Through Deck Waterproof Cable Fittings

See also:

Sealing Cable Holes

Running electrical wires through the deck?

Solar Panel Wiring

etc.
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Old 20-04-2013, 17:18   #8
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Re: Through Deck Waterproof Cable Fittings

I bought flexible plastic conduit and plastic fittings at Lowes. Worked a charm. Through deck fittings are the type that fit into the junction box with a hose barb to slip the conduit over. It has been on the boat for a year now with no sign of UV damage. Price is right so will just buy new fittings and replace if UV damage becomes an Issue.

Have used the above pictured through deck fittings in other applications and they have been fine with a single wire like a coax cable. Imagine you'd have to goop these up with sealant to get them to seal with a two lead. The Blue Sea cable clam fittings are great if you have a large end fitting on the wire like a coax connector. You drill a hole the diameter of the wire in the center rubber part. It's already split so you just wrap the rubber donut around the wire and tighten it up.
These fittings are a bit pricey, however.

The metal fittings will only let the wire through the fitting so either have to cut off or not have installed larger end fittings. AS with the above, you'll have to goop up a two wire lead to get them to seal.
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Old 20-04-2013, 23:08   #9
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Re: Through Deck Waterproof Cable Fittings

With the clams, it's possible to run two wires, or a duplex cable through them. You just have to cut the appropriately-shaped hole (or two holes). Goop is probably a good idea, bit if you can size the holes properly the pressure-fit will be watertight.

I've not had the clams degrade in the sun, at least not in the 11 years since I installed the first one. Of course San Francisco is not the tropics.

There are also cable glands designed for utility boxes, and I suspect that these are less expensive than marine products. They don't have the big opening for connectors, etc, but you should look at them:


Here's a link that might help: Cable Glands Information on GlobalSpec
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Old 21-04-2013, 04:44   #10
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Well this is a timely question I am also currently pondering.

I have read s the links too and I suppose my circumstances are different, where as I have 6X twin core 4.8mm2 6mm cables to pass through. One twin core for each of my 6 panels that are running in parallel to 6 MPPT controllers.

So I'm trying to figure out the best way to pass them through and how people route there wires for the top of a Bimini into the cabin.
Ill wait for answers to see if I have to ask questions specifically for my needs. But so far I e looked at all the ole thins mentioned and then some and still am trying to decide the best way to go.
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Old 21-04-2013, 05:57   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mischief View Post
Well this is a timely question I am also currently pondering.

I have read s the links too and I suppose my circumstances are different, where as I have 6X twin core 4.8mm2 6mm cables to pass through. One twin core for each of my 6 panels that are running in parallel to 6 MPPT controllers.
go.
Oooff!! Why not series connect all the cells and get one controller capable of handling the higher voltage? That leaves only one cable to pass through the deck, and five fewer controllers to fuss with.
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Old 26-04-2013, 22:32   #12
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Originally Posted by Sailmonkey

Oooff!! Why not series connect all the cells and get one controller capable of handling the higher voltage? That leaves only one cable to pass through the deck, and five fewer controllers to fuss with.
That's because these panels will sit on top of my Bimini that will 80% of the time have some soft and hard shadows some of them. So the idea is to maximize my shading performance.

Having said that I may change my strategy as I've just tested one of my controllers and its going into standby at 13.4v! It is meant to float at 13.8v so I need to check the other 6. When I let the battery rest the controller still had not gone into charge mode when the voltage was 12.8v so something wrong here. But I think that is for a new thread. Blah!
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