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Old 15-08-2010, 18:16   #1
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Heatshrink Connectors AND Tinned Wire ?

Why do people use adhesive lined heatshrink connectors and tinned wire. If each strand of the wire is totally sealed with tin isn't that a belt on overalls approach??

I can see why they are neccesary on bare copper wires or on submerged connections.
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Old 15-08-2010, 18:25   #2
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The cut ends of each wire is no longer coated. The adhesive lined connector keeps the moisture from getting to these locations, and from invading underneath the insulation.
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Old 15-08-2010, 18:30   #3
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Also, you can break the tin off the copper when bending, crimping, etc.
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Old 15-08-2010, 19:00   #4
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The cut ends of each wire is no longer coated. The adhesive lined connector keeps the moisture from getting to these locations, and from invading underneath the insulation.
Isnt the point tinned wires is that they're already sealed them from moisture? It does make sense that the cut ends arent sealed by tin or the crimp and could rot away with the open ended connectors.
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Old 15-08-2010, 19:01   #5
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Also, you can break the tin off the copper when bending, crimping, etc.
If the tinning is that fragile and doesn't work, why bother?
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Old 15-08-2010, 19:41   #6
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Tinning the wire does not "prevent" corrosion it only prolongs the exposure time before corrosion takes hold. Anyone who's spent time working on boats has seen both tinned and bare copper that has been corroded from moisture. While tinned wire will last multiples longer than bare copper when exposed it is not 100% infallible. It also does not oxidize nearly as easily making a re-termination that much easier.

I use nearly 100% heat shrink crimps and have not once had a moisture failure under the adhesive lined heat shrink. I have however had the ring of a tinned ring terminal corrode, on a center console, when it was exposed to a leak. When I cut it open the corrosion had not penetrated the adhesive heat shrink nor got beyond the exposed ring so the wire was in perfect condition despite the tinned copper ring having corroded & failed. Fixed the leak and painted the buss with terminal grease and never had the problem again.

They are quick, waterproof, robust and very reliable that is why I use adhesive lined heat shrink crimps..
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Old 15-08-2010, 20:00   #7
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Maine Sail has is correct. In the field, tinned wire holds up longer, but connections can still corrode. Since the advent of heat shrink tubing, corrosion has dropped substantially and with the latest round of adhesive lined, especially those molded onto crimps, corrosion has dramatically decreased.

Gulf you might find that most every major product supplier, is using tinned wire now. This may be to insure they will be considered by manufactures, interested in ABYC compliance offerings. You do not have to conform to ABYC standards, these are just well thought out and tested recommendations, so you can do what you want if you like.
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Old 15-08-2010, 20:01   #8
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Tinning the wire does not "prevent" corrosion it only prolongs the exposure time before corrosion takes hold. Anyone who's spent time working on boats has seen both tinned and bare copper that has been corroded from moisture. While tinned wire will last multiples longer than bare copper when exposed it is not 100% infallible. It also does not oxidize nearly as easily making a re-termination that much easier.

I use nearly 100% heat shrink crimps and have not once had a moisture failure under the adhesive lined heat shrink. I have however had the ring of a tinned ring terminal corrode, on a center console, when it was exposed to a leak. When I cut it open the corrosion had not penetrated the adhesive heat shrink nor got beyond the exposed ring so the wire was in perfect condition despite the tinned copper ring having corroded & failed. Fixed the leak and painted the buss with terminal grease and never had the problem again.

They are quick, waterproof, robust and very reliable that is why I use adhesive lined heat shrink crimps..

Is the insulation failure rate high enough and then the tin corrosion speed slow enough on those wires to make tinned wire economical? Will the wire repair/replacment interval be extended long enough to pay the extra?
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Old 15-08-2010, 20:26   #9
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Is the insulation failure rate high enough and then the tin corrosion speed slow enough on those wires to make tinned wire economical? Will the wire repair/replacment interval be extended long enough to pay the extra?
I don't have a comparison chart and even if I did, that would be under lab conditions rather than use in the field. I think the answer to your original question would be rather more practical. It's often said that you, your boat and your electrics and electronics are at the mercy of a single fuse. I suspect that people who use both tinned wire and heat shrink connectors are well aware of this and prefer the minuscule extra cost to remove a possible weak link in the reliability chain. When I say minuscule, I mean as a percentage of the worth of your boat.

The question is a little like asking why you need that anchor one size up from 'what you can get away with', most of the time.

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Old 15-08-2010, 20:41   #10
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Well as its been explained me both wires will rot and fail on you once the insulations been compromised. It appears to me now that the tinning just delays the time till that happens and doesnt stop it from happening to you.
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Old 15-08-2010, 20:51   #11
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From your consistant replies to people trying to advise you about the need to use both tinned wire and adhesive lined connectors, it appears that you have already adapted a mindset that the use of both is not required. If this is the case, just do whatever you think is best, and let time be the judge.
Good luck..........
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Old 15-08-2010, 20:53   #12
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Old 15-08-2010, 21:10   #13
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I'm trying to understand the reasons why. I originally assumed that tinned wire would stop the corrosion and was an alternative and more reliable method of sealing and stopping corrosion on wires than the insulation/heat shrink but its been explained to me that it slows down corrosion after the insulation or terminals lose their seal and moisture/salt enters.

Is the tinning going to give more time time to discover the compromised wire and fix it before its totally gone and the bare wire wont provide that critical time ? Are they both going to silently rot and fail with the tinned wire silently failing after a longer amount of time but still failing? Will they both be easy to spot with regular maintanence before failure? If its the first case they it does makes sense, if its the second than its a comes down to if the extra cost pays for itself.
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Old 15-08-2010, 21:53   #14
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Gulf,

If you were to hire me to do electrical work on your boat it only comes in one flavor and that is tinned wire and sealed terminals and wire. It would also be wired to meet current ABYC E-11 standards as best as possible. If you want it done any other way I would kindly decline the job and suggest you to call someone else, done this many times.

I have seen the benefits of both tinned wire and adhesive lined heat shrink crimp terminals and as a result that is all I will install these days. I have seen the failings of the other methods but the best combination I have seen used is tinned wire/adhesive heat shrink crimp.

FWIW I can buy tinned UL1426 rated marine wire for about the same as un-tinned wire meeting all other UL1426 parameters, stranding, jacket temp etc. etc.. I find the value of this basically "free" tinning quite beneficial.

One thing not often discussed is that using non-marine wire it will be very difficult to find a "duplex" jacketed pair wire that even meets UL1426. I really prefer to use duplex paired wire as the jacket makes for a nice neat install plus gives the added benefit of extra abrasion & water resistance.

I would also suggest that you look beyond Ancor brand as I find it to be over priced re-badged product. For example WM sells 1/0 battery wire for $11.00 per foot. I pay about $3.20 per foot for 1/0 tinned marine battery cable. Both Pacer and Berkshire make excellent tinned UL1426 marine wire and Berkshire even makes some of Ancor's stuff, last I knew.

IMHO Ancor's terminals have become quite low quality over the past few years. Their battery lugs, in-particular, are a joke compared to the Quick Cable lugs I use and they cost about 400% more..

If you can find a local dealer for FTZ connectors they make excellent heat shrink crimps that should be able to be purchased for about .30 - .40 cents each. I believe they invented the heat shrink crimp and they go by the trade name Crimp-n-Seal.

Genuinedealz.com also has some excellent prices on UL1426 wire. I believe they currently sell Pacer wire but may be mistaken on that. I have my own distributor from Berkshire wire and don't buy from them but they do have a great rep...


Interestingly enough I ran the numbers on a 18-20K complete re-wire last year and the difference in total job cost between heat shrink crimps and open style insulated crimps was slightly over $100.00 on an 18-20k job. Heck, on a job that big you'll spend more than that just in zip ties.

It's your boat and your decision. Only you can decide what is a "value" to your wallet. It seems from reading your responses you may have already decided and are now possibly looking for support for using one over the other rather than both together? I'm sorry to say but you won't get that support from me. I see them more like a socket and a socket wrench in that you really need both to do the job right.

I'm fairly certain others will chime in and support your position, if that is what you are really after, so just hang in there.
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Old 15-08-2010, 22:00   #15
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I'm trying to understand the reasons why. I originally assumed that tinned wire would stop the corrosion and was an alternative and more reliable method of sealing and stopping corrosion on wires than the insulation/heat shrink but its been explained to me that it slows down corrosion after the insulation or terminals lose their seal and moisture/salt enters.

Is the tinning going to give more time time to discover the compromised wire and fix it before its totally gone and the bare wire wont provide that critical time ? Are they both going to silently rot and fail with the tinned wire silently failing after a longer amount of time but still failing? Will they both be easy to spot with regular maintanence before failure? If its the first case they it does makes sense, if its the second than its a comes down to if the extra cost pays for itself.
Nothing lasts forever, and that applies to tinned wire. I replaced a lot of 30 year old tinned Ancor wire on our boat, and many of the wires had corrosion about 4" back from the corroded terminals...but all these wires were still working. Opening up the strands and looking at them closely showed that the individual strands were corroded, but looking at the cross section of the strands still showed good copper...although not at the full diameter of the strands. Would un-tinned copper wire last 30 years?...highly doubtful. Using heat shrink helps to keep moisture from entering into the wire from the back of the terminal (and from the front of the terminal if the heat shrink is covering that part as well), and a good crimping of the wire makes the individual strands mash into a solid, larger piece of wire inside the connector...making it harder for corrosion to enter into the strands from the terminal side of the connector. You could also place a small dab of dielectric coating on the end of the wire, that you can see on the terminal side of the terminal (helping to keep corrosion from entering from this side of the terminal)...but I think that's a bit to much for me.

In my trade we don't make money if we have to go back and fix something that we didn't do exactly right, so I spend the extra time getting it right the first time. I never want to go back to a job I did, unless I'm going back to make more money because of the good work I did.
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