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Old 26-01-2015, 23:06   #91
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Re: Batt To Inverter Cable Length Question

Lloyd,

Title 46 isn't mandatory for recreational vessels. Even for commercial vessels it isn't mandatory for battery circuits.

Title 46 CFR 183.130 says:

Quote:
(b) A vessel with an electrical installation operating at less than 50 volts may meet the requirements in 33 CFR 183.430 instead of those in 183.340 of this part.
That section explicitly allows alternatives to UL cable.
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Old 27-01-2015, 00:59   #92
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Re: Batt To Inverter Cable Length Question

As Codified by By the Authority Vested By Part 5 of the United States Code 552(a) and
Part 1 of the Code of Regulations 51 the attached document has been duly
INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE and shall be considered legally
binding upon all citizens and residents of the United States of America.

E-9 DIRECT CURRENT (DC) ELECTRICAL SYSTEMS ON BOATS
Based on ABYC's assessment of the state of existing technology and the problems associated with achieving the
requirements of this standard, ABYC recommends compliance with this standard by August 1, 1991.
E-9.1.
E-9.2.
E-9.3.
PURPOSE
These recommended practices and engineering standards establish the requirements for the design
and installation of direct current (DC) electrical systems on boats.
SCOPE
These recommended practices and engineering standards apply to direct current (DC) electrical
systems on boats which operate at potentials of 50 volts or less.



Quote:
Originally Posted by transmitterdan View Post
Lloyd,

Title 46 isn't mandatory for recreational vessels. Even for commercial vessels it isn't mandatory for battery circuits.

Title 46 CFR 183.130 says:



That section explicitly allows alternatives to UL cable.
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Old 27-01-2015, 06:29   #93
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Re: Batt To Inverter Cable Length Question

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Originally Posted by transmitterdan View Post
If you want to be pedantic about it (and insurance companies and surveyors do) ..........
When I work on my boat (or my house), I am most concerned with the quality and safety of my work. I don't work to please the regulating bodies, I work to please myself. But; part of that "pleasing myself" is meeting or exceeding the requirements of the regulating bodies.

In the situation being argued here, I use approved "Boat Cable" because it's what is called for and the best material for the job. I don't care that it may cost a few dollars more than welding cable or automotive cable. It's my boat and it's me and my family riding and sleeping on it. I spent many thousands of dollars to buy it and I spend a lot to use it. A few extra dollars on the proper materials is insignificant.
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Old 27-01-2015, 10:08   #94
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Re: Batt To Inverter Cable Length Question

Looks to me that there is a standoff here, at least with some of the contributors. All good comments though and valid concerns and thoughts given. Very healthy. I will politely continue to disagree with some of the comments though.

Personally, I would be fine with any cable that meets or exceeds the standards discussed. Note that standards are not necessarily requirements. They are minimums for me though. I have replaced too many wires that were either the wrong choice of wire and/or wrong care in installation. One of the scariest was when I and a few others roared out of an anchorage in Mexico to rescue a boat which had left about 15 minutes earlier.

It had a fire on board in the engine space. He got the fire under control by stopping the motor and using a fire extinguisher. We used our dinks to tow him back to a slip in the marina nearby. His alternator cable had overheated to an extreme degree. The insulation was completely burnt off and the resulting fire had burnt several other wires - basically his entire engine harness and some other small power cables.

To say he was traumatized would not be an exaggeration. He could have lost the boat or he or wife could have been severely injured or have died. I don't know what "standard" his cable was as it was burnt beyond recognition. It was not welding cable or boat cable since the wire diameters that made up the cable were too big and thus the cable was not a flexible type. It was an older boat - about the same age as my new/old boat.

Luckily I had a pretty extensive kit of wire, parts, and cables (I had hoped to make some money in Mexico doing work on other boats). I replaced all the damaged wire but he had to deal with the scorched wood and smoke damage. I don't know if they cut short their cruising plans but I never ran in to them again. Also, he was not a cheapskate and his boat was maintained to a high standard. I don't know who installed the wire that burnt but it probably was not him.

I have seen several fires first hand in our marina here in Washington but am not a fire investigator and have not heard what specifically sparked these fires. But most were complete losses and I know that most were electrical by general reporting. One, however, was from leaving a bundle of oily rags on deck.

The type of cable used on these boats may not have had anything to do with these incidents, but I have personally seen too many boats with poor, deteriorated cables which could easily have caused fires.

And, as noted, a label stamped on a wire jacket does not mean that specific wire meets the standard referenced. I try to buy only cable by manufacturers that I, and professionals, have used in their work. It seems to me that one of the posters has a deeper seated feelings about the expense of parts labeled "marine" with high associated costs. I have similar feelings as to "why does every marine part have to be so flipping expensive?".

But I go ahead and buy the marine rated gear (at the lowest cost I can) because I have seen hundreds and hundreds of cases, not only with wire and cable but other gear, where the non-marine gear failed quicker. I don't like constantly cleaning rust off of bad s/s (especially if it is still labeled marine at a high price). I also do not like to buy anything made in China. Sometimes I buy the most expensive gear for some critical items, or just because I like it (I dearly loved the Andersen winches I bought that went with my previous boat).

P.S. I have never made an extra nickel personally by using the higher priced wire. If a customer brings his/her own wire I am OK with that provided it is boat wire. I will not install non-boat wire, ever. If the owner wants it he/she will have to put it on themselves. Same for friends and their boats that I work on for beer.

And go ahead and see if you save any money by sourcing some high quality locomotive cable much cheaper overall than you can through a boat supply or Amazon for that matter. But compare apples to apples. Include shipping as it is a huge part of the cost of heavy copper wire. But I think I mentioned, it is extremely difficult to buy exactly the length you need since it is almost impossible to measure correctly so you will have to go back and order more still (usually in full rolls) at much more hassle (unless you are not close to a marine supply). So buying online works sometimes and sometimes not.

But price it out and go with what you want. It's your boat and the Coasties are not going to write you up for not having the recommended cabling. Your insurance company might have an opinion but in my experience the people that go too cheap on systems go cheap on insurance too. Personally I wouldn't want to be moored next to a boat with poor quality cabling. Not saying any of the commenters here would go that cheap. It seems to me to be more of a stand against the high price of marine gear in general and not a cheap approach to maintaining their boats (per se). Unfortunately many who rant the most about the high cost of materials tend to do work on their own boats without having a clue as to how to do it safely. This is NOT intended to be a slam on any of the contributors to this thread. Just my actual observation with some owners.

That's my rant and I am sticking to it.
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Old 27-01-2015, 11:55   #95
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Re: Batt To Inverter Cable Length Question

My standard exactly.

I tell every customer that I do my work, as if my life depends on it.

Because you and your family's life will depend on it.

Lloyd

Quote:
Originally Posted by rwidman View Post
When I work on my boat (or my house), I am most concerned with the quality and safety of my work. I don't work to please the regulating bodies, I work to please myself. But; part of that "pleasing myself" is meeting or exceeding the requirements of the regulating bodies.

In the situation being argued here, I use approved "Boat Cable" because it's what is called for and the best material for the job. I don't care that it may cost a few dollars more than welding cable or automotive cable. It's my boat and it's me and my family riding and sleeping on it. I spent many thousands of dollars to buy it and I spend a lot to use it. A few extra dollars on the proper materials is insignificant.
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Old 27-01-2015, 15:13   #96
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Re: Batt To Inverter Cable Length Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by rwidman View Post
In the situation being argued here, I use approved "Boat Cable" because it's what is called for and the best material for the job.
Actually, it is not the best material - there are certainly higher quality ones that could be used. You have simply chosen what you feel is the minimum for the job. Therein lies a lot of grey area - as is being discussed here.

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Old 27-01-2015, 16:30   #97
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Re: Batt To Inverter Cable Length Question

There are many wire types not marked "Boat Cable" that are vastly superior to PVC insulated boat cable. To wit this is "Boat Cable":

http://www.awcwire.com/productspec.a...tm-bare-copper

It appears to meet the minimum requirements under US federal regulations for recreational boats.

But the locomotive cable with heavy EPDM rubber jacket is superior in many ways to that boat cable. It's problem is it doesn't say "Boat" on it.

I think some comments in this thread have been misconstrued. No one has suggested that anyone should cut corners so as to put their boat in danger by using inferior wire. As someone earlier said boat fires are way too common and way too destructive to take chances.

But I see what I believe to be a truly dangerous view littered through this and other threads like it. That so long as the cable says "Boat" on it somewhere then nothing bad will happen and your job is done. This is simply not true. Many boat fires are caused by poor termination (bad crimps, loose hardware, incorrect hardware, wrong hardware stackup, etc.), wire overheating due to undersized wire, poor plugs and sockets (e.g. 30A twist locks), lack of proper support and chafe protection and other installation and maintenance mistakes. I am willing to speculate that most electrical fires on boats involve wire with "Boat" written on it. Meanwhile, I have yet to hear of a single fire where the proximate cause was wire that didn't have "Boat" written on it and no other mistakes were made.

Earlier there was a discussion of a burned up wire connected to an alternator. This is an all too common problem. There can be multiple causes of this but one very common cause is the hardware stack-up used. Take this one that I found randomly on the internet (http://www.zrd.com/pd/cfan.jpg). This is pretty scary to me but you will find things like this and much worse on many boats. Everyone reading this should go take a picture of the back of your alternator(s) and then study it. If you don't know it has been done right show the picture to someone who does know. And keep monitoring the back of the alternator every time you check the engine oil. Signs of overheating normally show up long before it actually fails.

This thread could do with some practical examples from our experts on how things like this should be done right. That would do a lot more educating than arguing about whether "Boat cable" is the best wire in the world. We do a disservice to other readers by arguing arcane issues when boats have been burned by everything but these arcane issues. For my part in that nonsense I apologize.
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Old 27-01-2015, 16:45   #98
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Re: Batt To Inverter Cable Length Question

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Originally Posted by colemj View Post
Actually, it is not the best material - there are certainly higher quality ones that could be used. You have simply chosen what you feel is the minimum for the job. Therein lies a lot of grey area - as is being discussed here.

Mark
Not at all the "minimum for the job". Boat cable is approved and appropriate for the job.
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Old 27-01-2015, 16:48   #99
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Re: Batt To Inverter Cable Length Question

I don't know how "locomotive cable" found its way into this discussion. Probably someone trying to impress people with their knowledge".

However, the next time I find myself wiring a locomotive, I will be sure to use locomotive cable. When I find myself wiring a boat I will use boat cable.
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Old 28-01-2015, 11:28   #100
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Re: Batt To Inverter Cable Length Question

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Originally Posted by rwidman View Post
I don't know how "locomotive cable" found its way into this discussion. Probably someone trying to impress people with their knowledge".

However, the next time I find myself wiring a locomotive, I will be sure to use locomotive cable. When I find myself wiring a boat I will use boat cable.
Maybe you and I don't know what locomotive cable is.

If they know something I don't, I'm thankful to the info. if expressed such that it is understandable to my dumb ass. I am taking it is referring to cable use on diesel electric power.
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Old 28-01-2015, 12:14   #101
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Re: Batt To Inverter Cable Length Question

For those who judge a product by what someone decided to print on the label, I'd suggest you save yourself some time by first just going to the "Made in....." line and if you see the word China anywhere on it you can basically skip reading the rest of it. It all may, or may not, be true or relevant to what you are trying to determine.

Copper is copper. Everything else on it is wrapping and markup. Writing "Marine" or "Boat" on the wrapping is one way to increase that markup. I'm not going to scrutinize the scruples of the inscrutable, but hey, I'm just saying. These guys ship us toys with toxic paint and pet food with poison in it. Ya know?

In any case, after reading all this and looking at costs to import copper, I've decided it's more cost effective and smarter for me to just build duct work over the batteries and vent them out of the engine rooms entirely. WAY cheaper. And easier.

This also has benefits in eliminating the gassing products of the batteries from contacting other stuff in the engine rooms, and probably should have been done years ago. Two 12 volt muffin fans and some plywood and 4" aluminum dryer vent. hey presto, bob's yer uncle and all that. My acid days once again behind me.
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Old 28-01-2015, 12:20   #102
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Re: Batt To Inverter Cable Length Question

Locomotive cable is a class of cables sort of like "Boat" or "Welding" cable is a category. The standards are different because some things are more important on a locomotive. Notably, locomotives use a lot of very large flexible cables. As inverters become more common boats need ever larger cables. Locomotive cables are about 40% less cost for same AWG and with better specifications than "Boat" cable. The reason for this is pretty obvious. Locomotives use a lot of big cable so the volume is higher. Also, railroads don't accept higher prices just for a label as the boating industry does. Railroads are for profit companies and they control their costs by specifying high quality wire and they buy enough volume to keep costs down. But anybody can buy the same cable and benefit from the cost savings.

I asked whether or not a particular locomotive cable was good enough to satisfy ABYC? No one could tell me what technical requirements the cable did not meet except it doesn't say "Boat" on the cable. It sort of augered in after that.
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Old 28-01-2015, 12:28   #103
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Re: Batt To Inverter Cable Length Question

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In any case, after reading all this and looking at costs to import copper, I've decided it's more cost effective and smarter for me to just build duct work over the batteries and vent them out of the engine rooms entirely. WAY cheaper. And easier.

This also has benefits in eliminating the gassing products of the batteries from contacting other stuff in the engine rooms, and probably should have been done years ago. Two 12 volt muffin fans and some plywood and 4" aluminum dryer vent. hey presto, bob's yer uncle and all that. My acid days once again behind me.
Wait a minute - wasn't this about wiring an inverter? How did it morph into venting battery spaces? That doesn't require wire at all except for some low amp fans.

Make sure you use certified marine plywood, tinned aluminum marine dryer vent, and marine-grade ignition-protected muffin fans.

Use any old wire you like for the fans.

If you spend less than $1,000 on supplies, you are irresponsible and putting yourself and others at risk. You should probably hire a professional to shop for you here. Be sure to ask for his accreditations.

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Old 28-01-2015, 12:41   #104
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Re: Batt To Inverter Cable Length Question

Calm down. I'd already planned to stencil "Marine Duct, UL Approved, USCG recognized" on the plywood. I read that it increases the resale value.

As for the fan cable, I planned to play Susan Tedeschi's "Locomotive" when I ran it. Will that meet the YMCA standards?
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Old 28-01-2015, 12:51   #105
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Re: Batt To Inverter Cable Length Question

To be sure about it, I would follow Tedeschi with Jethro Tull's "Locomotive Breath", the Grateful Dead's version of "Big Railroad Blues", Grand Funk Railroad's "The Loco-Motion" (you get a two-fer there), and end with Kraftwork's "Trans-Europe Express".

It won't fully satisfy the guys here, though, unless you pay a certified marine musicologist to make the mix for you.

But seriously - wasn't this about wiring an inverter? What is the whole ducting thing now? A separate issue?

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