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Old 25-08-2011, 07:24   #1
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Electrical Connection Advice, Please

Hi folks

Todays problem:

I have a long run of very thick copper wire the thickness of a pencil. I do not want to cut this wire.

It is the wires from one of my solar panels.

I want to join a 10AWG wire from the other solar panel to it mid run.

I cannot find some correct conector for sale.

I have some copper ribbon.

The intention was to wrap the copper ribbon around the pencil thickness wire and secure the 10AWG wire to it with a screw. But the copper ribbon is maybe too soft to take a screw.

So whats the thought of putting the new wire against the large wire, wrapping copper ribbon around it a few times, wrapping with electrical tape, and then clamping with a stainless steel hose clamp?

Insane or smarty-pants idea?

If an OK idea how can I perfect it? (I can't solder in that position)


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Old 25-08-2011, 07:34   #2
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Re: Electrical Connecting advice please

Why not run the new wire directly to the point that the "pencil thick" wire is wired into the first solar panel??
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Old 25-08-2011, 07:34   #3
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Sounds reasonable. Could you solder it first? That's more or less what I do to hook up lights, etc., in mid run.
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Old 25-08-2011, 07:57   #4
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Re: Electrical Connecting advice please

There is a reason that you can't find anything standard to connect 2 wires in that manner. Its best to run the 10 gauge wire to a connection point where you can use standard connectors.
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Old 25-08-2011, 08:33   #5
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Re: Electrical Connecting advice please

Or just break down and cut that wire where you want to make the connection. Put terminals on all three ends and join them at a stud there. You then have a reliable connection at that point and an easy place/means to seperate the wires for future trouble shooting. Nothing good will come from a cheesy wire-wrapped-around-wire type of connection.
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Old 25-08-2011, 08:41   #6
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Re: Electrical Connecting advice please

You need to achieve the best pressure connection between the two wires, unless you can find a barrel connector, a connector that allow the clamping of multiple wires without having to cut them, the best bet is the SS clamp directly around the two wires. The copper ribbon wrap may interfere and the tape is too soft to achieve good pressure.
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Old 25-08-2011, 08:43   #7
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Re: Electrical Connecting advice please

If you must make the connection mid-line, Fishspearit is right. Use a stud or buss bar to make the connection. MiniBus 100 Ampere Common BusBar 4 x 10-32 Stud Terminal
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Old 25-08-2011, 08:54   #8
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Re: Electrical Connecting advice please

What you’re looking for is a “split bolt connector”.

Burndy SERVIT Split Bolt Connectors, Types KS & KS-3

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Old 25-08-2011, 10:02   #9
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Re: Electrical Connecting advice please

Thanks Gord. They look great. Just where does one find these good things in these islands? (Retorical question... )

Fishspearit and Hopcar, thanks. Yes.
What is $10 in the USA is 3 times the price here:
BLS/2303Busbar, 4Studs 1/4" 150A$24.55
$24.55 in St Martin plus freight and currency conversion to Grenada = $30.
At $30 per connection that begins to get expensive.

Chala, thanks Good thoughts.
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Old 25-08-2011, 10:18   #10
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Re: Electrical Connecting advice please

Try local electricien, common in overhead lines or riser in buildings, may be not as fancy that Gord pic.
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Old 25-08-2011, 10:40   #11
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Re: Electrical Connecting advice please

Although bronze isn't easy to saw or file you could make one. Use wax for blade lubrication and have lots of hacksaw blades and band-aids handy.
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Old 25-08-2011, 10:48   #12
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Re: Electrical Connecting advice please

That connection is commonly called a bug, available at electrical supply house not usually recommended on a boat but as long as you insulate it I see no problem
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Old 25-08-2011, 10:54   #13
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Re: Electrical Connecting advice please

You can make one

Cross drill a bolt and cut out a slot on one side?
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Old 25-08-2011, 10:56   #14
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Re: Electrical Connecting advice please

Quote:
Originally Posted by nv5l View Post
Sounds reasonable. Could you solder it first? That's more or less what I do to hook up lights, etc., in mid run.
Solder sounds good but cold solder joints are common.

Best to make a sound mechanical joint, then solder it.

Mark,
There are mechanical barrel splices for heavy gage cable. These look like the connection you wold find on a curcuit breaker with out oall the plastic involved. If you can find the right size that can slip over the insulation so you can slide it to the joint. Then add the second wire and screw it down tight, cover with electrical tape or if you can find it Heat Shrink. These connectors are made from brass or cad plated copper.
Found this link
There are some of what I was talking about here, but they look "High End", Home Depot probably has cheaper stuff.
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Old 25-08-2011, 11:00   #15
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Re: Electrical Connecting advice please

The copper split bolt connector is good, albeit bulky. You might use a small buss bar without cutting the original wire....? Otherwise, I guess strip about an inch of cover off the pencil sized wire, wrap the new wire around it several times and solder well. Either way....Wrap the joint in that stretchable electrical tape that sticks to itself. (like rigging tape but black)
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