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Old 21-04-2012, 10:59   #1
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Connection between mismatched wire sizes

I am doing a bit of rewiring. I have some pretty heavy duty wire that I'm using to make the long runs around the cabin of the boat but when I bring it to an accessory that of a vastly different size I'm unsure of the "preferred" method to join the two.

I know I could put buses or blocks everywhere but that seems a bit much. Is there any other way to do this properly?

An example, I've run 10g duplex to my Fusion 200ra stereo and the power leads for it are like 16g or smaller. I can run wire to new LED lights (I have a spool of 14g laying around.) The LED leads must be 22g or something small like that. Same thing with the new LED anchor light, very small wire but the mast wire is much bigger.

How are you making these connections?
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Old 21-04-2012, 11:01   #2
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Re: Connection between mismatched wire sizes

Use a reducing crimp connector. I'm pretty sure Jamestown carries them, but Google will find them.
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Old 21-04-2012, 11:08   #3
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Re: Connection between mismatched wire sizes

If you can't find the reducing in-line connectors, the closed end type might work for you.
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Old 21-04-2012, 11:13   #4
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Re: Connection between mismatched wire sizes

Fold the bare smaller wire back on itself one or two times to get the bulk of the smaller so the crimp splice has something to bite onto. May not be the 'approved' way to do it but it works.
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Old 21-04-2012, 11:24   #5
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Re: Connection between mismatched wire sizes

Use adhesive shrink ring terminals -- properly crimped -- and small terminal blocks.

Bill
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Old 21-04-2012, 12:02   #6
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Re: Connection between mismatched wire sizes

Do like the previous owner of my boat did. Just twist the two wires together by hand and tape it up with some electrical tape.
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Old 22-04-2012, 07:08   #7
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Re: Connection between mismatched wire sizes

As Hud suggested:

“Buchanan” Splice Cap Crimp Terminal c/w Splice Cap Insulators
IDEAL INDUSTRIES, INC. - Buchanan Splice Cap Crimp Connectors
IDEAL INDUSTRIES, INC. - Buchanan Splice Cap Insulators

Or “IDEAL” Pre-insulated Crimp Connectors
IDEAL Pre-insulated Crimp Connectors
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Old 22-04-2012, 07:21   #8
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Re: Connection between mismatched wire sizes

Quote:
Originally Posted by roverhi View Post
Fold the bare smaller wire back on itself one or two times to get the bulk of the smaller so the crimp splice has something to bite onto. May not be the 'approved' way to do it but it works.

I approve of it, it is an accepted wiring practice in the equipment industry.
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Old 22-04-2012, 07:30   #9
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Re: Connection between mismatched wire sizes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Target9000 View Post
I am doing a bit of rewiring. I have some pretty heavy duty wire that I'm using to make the long runs around the cabin of the boat but when I bring it to an accessory that of a vastly different size I'm unsure of the "preferred" method to join the two.

I know I could put buses or blocks everywhere but that seems a bit much. Is there any other way to do this properly?

An example, I've run 10g duplex to my Fusion 200ra stereo and the power leads for it are like 16g or smaller. I can run wire to new LED lights (I have a spool of 14g laying around.) The LED leads must be 22g or something small like that. Same thing with the new LED anchor light, very small wire but the mast wire is much bigger.

How are you making these connections?
10Ga to 22 Ga is a big difference. I would take a second look at what you're trying to do. Yes, minimizing voltage drop is a good reason to go up a guage or two, but a 22Ga is for a device that uses very little current.

10Ga sounds like a little overkill. For best results I would run one 10Ga to each end of the boat, put in a terminal block, and run 18-20Ga to each device. That should be more than sufficient.

For the stereo, if it is one of the megawatt systems, a big capacitor right at the stereo will take care of any big power draws, (they sell them in custom stereo shops, or walmart these days).
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Old 22-04-2012, 07:58   #10
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Re: Connection between mismatched wire sizes

It may be overkill, but I put the terminal strips everywhere!!
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Old 22-04-2012, 08:18   #11
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Re: Connection between mismatched wire sizes

I like to use Anderson Power Poles for DC connections above the water line.
THE BIANKA LOG BLOG: TOOLS OF AN ELECTRIC SAILOR: Anderson Powerpole Connectors
You can use a 45 amp crimp for 10 Awg wire and it will mate with a 15 amp connector that uses a 20 Awg wire. They both use the same housing size too. Plus you can also easily make mult cables to branch out for other devices now or in the future.
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Old 22-04-2012, 09:38   #12
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Re: Connection between mismatched wire sizes

If you want to run a 10 AWG to a 20 then there really is no choice other than to use a terminal block. You are not going to get a 10 AWG connector to grip 20 AWG wire very well.

If it is a smaller difference in wire gauge, for example like going from a 10 AWG to a 14 or 16, then use a 10 AWG (yellow) butt connector and put the smaller 14 or even 16 AWG on the other end of the butt connector. If the smaller wire will double back so you can get two thicknesses in there, then do it, so that the crimp is not trying to grab a smaller amount of wire than it was designed to grab.

Although it is not the most elegant way of doing it, you could step down your butt connectors from yellow to blue down to red.....just hide it so nobody sees it!
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Old 22-04-2012, 19:51   #13
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Re: Connection between mismatched wire sizes

Quote:
Originally Posted by capn_billl View Post
10Ga to 22 Ga is a big difference. I would take a second look at what you're trying to do. Yes, minimizing voltage drop is a good reason to go up a guage or two, but a 22Ga is for a device that uses very little current.

10Ga sounds like a little overkill. For best results I would run one 10Ga to each end of the boat, put in a terminal block, and run 18-20Ga to each device. That should be more than sufficient.

For the stereo, if it is one of the megawatt systems, a big capacitor right at the stereo will take care of any big power draws, (they sell them in custom stereo shops, or walmart these days).

This is very true, however... For instance the wire running up our mast is 10g and the old anchor light used/needed that big wire for such a long run. The new LED anchor light we got from Bebi is comically small in comparison. It seems nutty to rerun the mast wire.

I'm liking those crimp caps that Hud and Gord showed, never knew such a creature existed. I suppose if you crimped and then used adhesive heat shrink over it would hold up pretty well.
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Old 22-04-2012, 20:04   #14
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Re: Connection between mismatched wire sizes

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Originally Posted by thinwater View Post
Use a reducing crimp connector. I'm pretty sure Jamestown carries them, but Google will find them.
Google "step-down butt connector" and you'll find them.. They usually only step down one size though and occasionally you can find two sizes...
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Old 22-04-2012, 20:05   #15
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Re: Connection between mismatched wire sizes

If the mast wiring is not tied off you may be able to pull it out with the smaller gauge wire connected to it. It should be too hard to determine. Weight aloft is not a good idea.
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