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Old 13-11-2009, 11:17   #1
R_C
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Connector for 3-4 Wires

What is the ABYC-approved method for connecting 3 or 4 stranded wires? I am familiar with the requirement to use ring terminals and butt connectors with heat shrink tubing on stranded boat wire. But what connector do you use for 3 or more wires? For example, I will be running a boat cable for a new AC circuit into a junction box that will then connect two different loads. In a home, I'd use wire nuts to connect the three hots, three neutrals and the four grounds in a metal box. I know wire nuts aren't allowed and don't work on stranded wire. Do you use crimping end caps for these connections on a boat or is there a preferred connector?

- Rick
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Old 13-11-2009, 11:35   #2
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Yes - a terminal bar. Ideally it is located in a protected enclosure or shielded so that stray objects cannot touch the screws. There are "bridges" sold for the segmented terminal bars that cross the insulated segment wall to join 2 screws together.
- - Be careful with the use of the word "stranded wire". All approved marine wire is made of many more individual strands than household stranded wire. This is for flexibility. Bus bars and solid terminal bars are used to connected multiple marine wires together using ring/loop end terminals.
- - Only SSB HF applications will use flat copper "ribbon" for RF grounding purposes.
- - Tinned marine strands are preferred over plain marine copper strands to help reduce oxidation/corrosion. Nigel Calders Electrical/mechanical boat book describes it all very well.
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Old 13-11-2009, 12:17   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R_C View Post
... I will be running a boat cable for a new AC circuit into a junction box that will then connect two different loads...
... Do you use crimping end caps for these connections on a boat or is there a preferred connector?- Rick
Yes, I often used "Buchanon Splice Caps", and/or the terminal strips osirissail mentioned.

I'm away from my 'puter & can't reply as well as I could in a few weeks. If you still need a detailed answer after Dec. 2, PM me and I'll try my best.
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Old 13-11-2009, 12:21   #4
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A terminal strip or a bus bar is acceptable. On the terminal strips you can use jumpers to connect between the wires or put two ring terminals to one machine screw.
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Old 13-11-2009, 14:06   #5
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Thanks everyone for your help. The terminal strip makes sense and it will be easier to add/remove conductors than it would with a crimped splice cap. What type of box is recommended for the connections? I plan to use a 2-gang box with a commercial grade GFCI receptacle on one side and a small panel-mount SPDT switch on the other side. There should be room on the switch side for the terminal strip. Is a weatherproof box from the hardware store acceptable or is there a better solution? I'd be looking for a box cover that covers the GFCI on one side and the other is blank where I'd mount the switch.

- Rick
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