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Old 23-03-2015, 09:27   #1
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Corroded cables

Hey guys,

Now that my mast is back in its vertical position, I wanted to refit the cable terminals at the mastbase with new "cable shoes" () as the old ones were badly corroded.

Since I don't have full faith in just crimping these on with a good pair of pliers, I always solder them in the cable shoe with a little bit of tin just to be sure they don't come undone due to vibrations or something.

So I cut the old, corroded cable shoes off, stripped the wire and I was left with a piece of wire that looked quite alright, but had a black look to it rather than a nice copper look. When I tried soldering this, the tin would not stick to it, so I came to the conclusion (sea)water must've gotten in and corroded the wire.

I then left the wire to soak in a vinegar/salt solution, which brought the copper colour back and got rid of the black. It is still impossible to get the tin to stick to the wire though, and I've run out of ideas...

Any clues as to how to get tin to stick to this wire without having to replace it all...?
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Old 23-03-2015, 10:11   #2
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Re: Corroded cables

Have you tried a flux?
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Old 23-03-2015, 10:16   #3
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Re: Corroded cables

Solder makes a hard point on the wire which will cause the wire to break prematurely. Soldering is not better than a proper crimp especially if you use the shrink tubing crimp connectors.
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Old 23-03-2015, 10:22   #4
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Re: Corroded cables



what is the purpose of these wires…. Grounding? I would just get a proper crimper. If you want to solder get some Nokorode flux.

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Old 23-03-2015, 10:27   #5
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Re: Corroded cables

They're just the wires feeding the navigational LED-lights in the top and middle of the mast...
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Old 23-03-2015, 10:32   #6
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Re: Corroded cables

Quote:
Originally Posted by roverhi View Post
Solder makes a hard point on the wire which will cause the wire to break prematurely. Soldering is not better than a proper crimp especially if you use the shrink tubing crimp connectors.
Gently! Gently! We use solder because it's an alloy that melts well below the temperature of the parts to be soldered. Somewhere below 400 degrees F.
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Old 23-03-2015, 11:00   #7
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Re: Corroded cables

It still creates a hard point which is the reason that crimping is better.
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Old 23-03-2015, 12:51   #8
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Re: Corroded cables

Do not solder. Instead, find someone with a proper crimping tool to install the fittings for you. Sounds like the wire should be replaced.
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Old 23-03-2015, 13:41   #9
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Re: Corroded cables

Black stranded wire means it has corroded and needs replacing. If there is enough extra cable you can often cut behind the corrosion and not need to replace the rest of it, but you need to check the other end as well, often when one side goes bad the other end is worse.

As for the connection... The rules say crimp connections only, solder leads to premature failure. But a PROPER crimp is important. Just mashing the fitting with pliers is not acceptable.
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Old 25-03-2015, 02:13   #10
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Re: Corroded cables

Soldering will slow/stop corrosion at the joint, but you can't solder blackened (corroded) copper. You can wire brush the end of the wire until it is shiny again, and solder it after crimping it. If you do solder do not over heat the wire, and don't let the solder run way out past the end of the connector. If you do not solder it, a good anticorrosive (I use a product called PLID) should be applied inside and around, then heat shrink. You cen get sealing heat shrink, will help keep moisture out. Soldering will make the wire just outside the connector more brittle, so if possible strain relieve it. Takes the load off the connector.
Too late, but if you had your mast down, ne wire would have been a good idea.

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Old 25-03-2015, 02:41   #11
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Re: Corroded cables

Quote:
Originally Posted by Orchidius View Post
Hey guys,

Now that my mast is back in its vertical position, I wanted to refit the cable terminals at the mastbase with new "cable shoes" () as the old ones were badly corroded.

Since I don't have full faith in just crimping these on with a good pair of pliers, I always solder them in the cable shoe with a little bit of tin just to be sure they don't come undone due to vibrations or something.

So I cut the old, corroded cable shoes off, stripped the wire and I was left with a piece of wire that looked quite alright, but had a black look to it rather than a nice copper look. When I tried soldering this, the tin would not stick to it, so I came to the conclusion (sea)water must've gotten in and corroded the wire.

I then left the wire to soak in a vinegar/salt solution, which brought the copper colour back and got rid of the black. It is still impossible to get the tin to stick to the wire though, and I've run out of ideas...

Any clues as to how to get tin to stick to this wire without having to replace it all...?
Presumably you are in Europe and thus using lead free solder; if so, that will make the job very difficult as it can be a real pain to use lead free solder in less than ideal conditions.

Can you get hold of some good old fashion 60/40 lead/tin solder (with multicore flux)? While still a task to solder blackened copper, it is doable!

Spread the individual strands out as much as possible and clean EACH one until it is a copper shinny. A quality contact cleaner like DeOxit 05 will be a big help but cheap contact cleaners not so much.

If available now use a rosin activated flux before applying heat. Keep the heat to a minimum, just enough to get solder to flow say about 250 C. That's the work temperature, not the tip temperature. You need a hoter tip temperature if the tip is small in relation to the work.

I will leave to others as to whether you repair or replace and crimp or solder. You get a lot of free advice about these matters on CF
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Old 25-03-2015, 02:43   #12
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Re: Corroded cables

And BTW, I can't offer any advice on using lead free solder. I hate the stuff and can hardly use it.
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Old 25-03-2015, 03:22   #13
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Re: Corroded cables

Crimp with a decent set of crimpers for the job and definitely not pliers. Like everyone else says, that blackened copper is near impossible to solder. If you're relying on the crimp for strain relief, install a small saddle nearby and cable tie the wires to it instead or use split loom conduit and a matching cable clamp. Preferably leave a small loop of wire to aid future repair and to provide a bit of give if the wires are jerked.
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Old 26-03-2015, 19:55   #14
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Re: Corroded cables

why are you using such big cable to feed a mast nav light?... anything less then 6 gauge doesn't need a big crimper. surely you are not running 6+ gauge for a nav light.. 8 or less is a normal crimper.
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Old 27-03-2015, 00:02   #15
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Re: Corroded cables

I hate to say it but you lost a good opportunity to get rid of those old wires! I assume you have large wires because your masthead lights were halogen. If you switched out out to LED you can use much smaller wires.

I have read that mainsail sometimes uses a dremel to clean the end of wires off and then crimps using a real crimper. I bought the TZM crimper he recommends... not cheap but the crimps are out of this world.

If you insist on soldering, I have used lug solder. You basically put the lug in a vice or something to hold it vertical, put in a lug of solder, heat the lug until it melts, add flux, start heating the wire just enough that it gets hot, then press the wire into the lug. The solder flows up into the wire.
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