Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
  This discussion is proudly sponsored by:
Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about their products on Cruisers Forums. Advertise Here
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 22-07-2018, 15:42   #1
Registered User

Join Date: May 2018
Location: Niagara Falls
Boat: Oops -jumped the gun
Posts: 62
Using arc welder wiring

I have a couple of hundred feet of arc welder cables. Most of it has seen limited or no use. It's a very fine stranded wire, the gauge is unknown, but it's from a diesel driven welder with a 500 amp output.

Is there any reason it can't be tinned and used safely in a marine environment?
__________________

__________________
What have I done?
wallythacker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-07-2018, 16:00   #2
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Lago de Izabal, Guatemala
Boat: Seafarer36c
Posts: 4,925
Re: Using arc welder wiring

The insulation breaks down after about 30 years. Might be hard to tin, it really sucks up the heat might and melt the insulation. A good crimp with an insulating compound and shrink tubing will be pretty good.
__________________

Ecos is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-07-2018, 16:25   #3
Registered User
 
travellerw's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Grenada
Boat: Fortuna Island Spirit 40
Posts: 2,293
Re: Using arc welder wiring

I personally prefer welding cable. It nice and flexible and easy to run. Just make sure you figure out the gauge (of mm) to ensure you are using adequate cable for the job.

I don't bother with tinning. I make a good crimped connection, followed by covering in silicon in the joint, then finally I apply adhesive lined heat shrink (once silicon kicks).

I have seen that cable drug through mud, muck, snow, chemical filled puddles, hit with grinding sparks, driven over, caught in track hoes... and still come away with zero damage. Last summer the company I was working for had me build some extension cables (yes seriously) out of disgarded 15 year old welding cable. The copper was still shiny and looked just like brand new.
travellerw is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-07-2018, 16:51   #4
Registered User
 
Terra Nova's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Marina del Rey, California
Boat: Mako 248
Posts: 4,041
Re: Using arc welder wiring

The gauge is easy to measure. The wire is not tinned and will remain that way, even if you tin the connections. Its thinner strands will be more susceptible to failure from corrosion.

Use marine grade cable.
__________________
1st rule of yachting: When a collision is unavoidable, aim for something cheap.
"whatever spare parts you bring, you'll never need"--goboatingnow
"Id rather drown than have computers take over my life."--d design
Terra Nova is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-07-2018, 18:09   #5
Registered User

Join Date: May 2018
Location: Niagara Falls
Boat: Oops -jumped the gun
Posts: 62
Re: Using arc welder wiring

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ecos View Post
The insulation breaks down after about 30 years. Might be hard to tin, it really sucks up the heat might and melt the insulation. A good crimp with an insulating compound and shrink tubing will be pretty good.
I have a lead/tin melting pot that I can vary the ratios. no problem to dip the end and it tins quite well. flux it up first of course.

Quote:
Originally Posted by travellerw View Post
I personally prefer welding cable. It nice and flexible and easy to run. Just make sure you figure out the gauge (of mm) to ensure you are using adequate cable for the job.

disgarded 15 year old welding cable. The copper was still shiny and looked just like brand new.
It really is amazing quality and stands up well without oxidizing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Terra Nova View Post
The gauge is easy to measure. The wire is not tinned and will remain that way, even if you tin the connections. Its thinner strands will be more susceptible to failure from corrosion.

Use marine grade cable.
Worst case is for me to sell the welding cable, or get scrap metal prices for it (it cost me nothing) and buy marine cable.
__________________
What have I done?
wallythacker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-07-2018, 19:02   #6
Registered User

Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: East Coast, Canada
Boat: Big C Marine, 15 metre Catamaran
Posts: 406
Images: 2
Re: Using arc welder wiring

We used welding cable on our last boat to go from the batteries, aft, to the windlass. Corbin 39, with the batteries in the pilot house. So round trip would be about 60 feet. After 6 years, and two atlantic crossings, there was no evidence of corrosion on either end.

I would do so again without issue.

Cheers.
Paul.
GRIT is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-07-2018, 19:11   #7
Registered User
 
travellerw's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Grenada
Boat: Fortuna Island Spirit 40
Posts: 2,293
Re: Using arc welder wiring

Quote:
Originally Posted by wallythacker View Post
I have a lead/tin melting pot that I can vary the ratios. no problem to dip the end and it tins quite well. flux it up first of course.
Don't bother.. The real problem is corrosion creeping up the insulation. Tinning the ends will not stop this.

Thats why I do the whole convoluted silicon and heat shink. However, I don't think it really necessary. Quality welding cable is made well enough that it seems to stop this. Sometimes I just like to "Guild the Lilly".

Go ahead and use it. It will work fine as long as its sized for the current you plan to carry.
travellerw is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-07-2018, 19:12   #8
Registered User
 
Reefmagnet's Avatar

Join Date: May 2008
Location: puɐןsuǝǝnb 'ʎɐʞɔɐɯ
Boat: Nantucket Island 33
Posts: 2,822
Re: Using arc welder wiring

Welding cable has a sheath designed to resist being melted or set on fire by red hot metal. Some cables achieved this by using a high natural rubber content which will break down over the years. Good stuff uses a synthetic rubber that will last forever. You'd have 50mm2 cable at a minimum, possibly even 70mm2, so corrosion won't slow it down too much in regards to boat supply current carrying capacity. Just make sure it's clean enough for solder to take to it easily. The usual method of applying a crimp lug (or even hammered down copper water pipe) is to crimp first, then solder the crimped connection. Because the insulation doesn't melt so easy, this technique works fine.
Reefmagnet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-07-2018, 19:38   #9
Registered User
 
Terra Nova's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Marina del Rey, California
Boat: Mako 248
Posts: 4,041
Re: Using arc welder wiring

Quote:
Originally Posted by Reefmagnet View Post
...The usual method of applying a crimp lug (or even hammered down copper water pipe) is to crimp first, then solder the crimped connection...
No. The preferred method is to properly crimp using the right tool, then seal with a heat shrink sleeve. No solder.

OP--sell the cable, if you don't need it for welding, and buy marine grade tinned cable for your boat.
__________________
1st rule of yachting: When a collision is unavoidable, aim for something cheap.
"whatever spare parts you bring, you'll never need"--goboatingnow
"Id rather drown than have computers take over my life."--d design
Terra Nova is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-07-2018, 19:42   #10
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Lago de Izabal, Guatemala
Boat: Seafarer36c
Posts: 4,925
Re: Using arc welder wiring

It would scare almost everybody, my starter cable is 40 year old welding cable, maybe OO and the insulation is seriously cracked. The other cables in the batt system were so bad they had to be changed. Your savings will be passed on to somebody someday.
Ecos is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-07-2018, 19:44   #11
Registered User
 
AKA-None's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Lake City MN
Boat: C&C 27 Mk III
Posts: 371
Re: Using arc welder wiring

Do not tin before any crimp on any large cable. The wire can get hot enough to melt the solder before the wire melts through and this would reduce any physical crimp. Any job worth doing once is worth doing right.
You risk being one of those previous owners.
__________________
Special knowledge can be a terrible disadvantage if it leads you too far along a path that you cannot explain anymore.
Frank Herbert 'Dune'
AKA-None is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 22-07-2018, 19:46   #12
Registered User
 
Reefmagnet's Avatar

Join Date: May 2008
Location: puɐןsuǝǝnb 'ʎɐʞɔɐɯ
Boat: Nantucket Island 33
Posts: 2,822
Re: Using arc welder wiring

Quote:
Originally Posted by Terra Nova View Post
No. The preferred method is to properly crimp using the right tool, then seal with a heat shrink sleeve. No solder.

OP--sell the cable, if you don't need it for welding, and buy marine grade tinned cable for your boat.

You might want to pass that advice on to the welding companies. They've been doing it wrong for years.
Reefmagnet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-07-2018, 19:54   #13
Registered User
 
Terra Nova's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Marina del Rey, California
Boat: Mako 248
Posts: 4,041
Re: Using arc welder wiring

Quote:
Originally Posted by Reefmagnet View Post
You might want to pass that advice on to the welding companies. They've been doing it wrong for years.
Welding companies can do whatever they're allowed. On boats we have other regulations and considerations because of vibration and the safety of lives at sea.
__________________
1st rule of yachting: When a collision is unavoidable, aim for something cheap.
"whatever spare parts you bring, you'll never need"--goboatingnow
"Id rather drown than have computers take over my life."--d design
Terra Nova is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-07-2018, 19:58   #14
Registered User

Join Date: May 2018
Location: Niagara Falls
Boat: Oops -jumped the gun
Posts: 62
Re: Using arc welder wiring

Another question came to mind.

If the current for a particular run is going to be almost twice what the cable can carry is it OK to run another cable in parallel and crimp/solder them together to form a two conductor bundle?
__________________
What have I done?
wallythacker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-07-2018, 20:01   #15
Registered User

Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Auckland, NZ
Boat: Compass 790 , 7.9 metres or 26 ft
Posts: 576
Re: Using arc welder wiring

Used the same sort of stuff for anchor winch cable. Had boat for 15 years & lasted fine. Hard to get harder usage than welders give them, IMHO they get a much cushier life on a boat except for the corrosion aspect.
__________________

Compass790 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
arc, wiring

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Crew Available: Ind / Med / ARC / ARC+ / transAt (24k nm exp. USA citizen) shoej Crew Positions: Wanted & Available 0 22-06-2018 07:58
ARC or ARC Europe Time2Go General Sailing Forum 3 31-01-2017 10:25
Doing the ARC-USA or ARC-Europe? We need you! BlueBuddha Our Community 0 17-03-2016 13:50
Crew Wanted: ARC Regatta 2012 + ARC Europe 2013 skip-per Crew Archives 2 08-02-2012 00:48
Alternator/Welder Wukong Construction, Maintenance & Refit 0 27-09-2005 22:01



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 20:55.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.