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Old 27-05-2003, 12:36   #1
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Wiring

What are thoughts on using standard braided wiring for DC circuits to non-critical sorts of things such as cabin lights? The marine-grade corrosion resistance stuff is expensive to have shipped here to HK and I can't find a local source.
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Old 27-05-2003, 19:55   #2
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House wire?

Although I HIGHLY recommend Tinned Copper Boat Cable (BC-5W2), I can envision circumstances that would make it's use somewhat impractical.
(It's "Stranded" not 'braided').

Tinned copper wire resists corrosion much better than un-tinned, allowing for much better terminations, longer life, higher reliability & safety.
If you substitute standard home wiring, you might increase the wire size slightly. and always seal your terminations with heat-shrink and or silicone.

My descision tree would include answers to the following questions:
1. What is the expense premium (price comparison)?
2. How accessable is the installation, allowing for future replacement?
3. What's my intended use of the boat?
ie: Coastal cruising, offshore...
4. How long do I intend to keep the boat?
ie: If it's a long-term relationship, then spend the extra money...
5. How non-critical are the loads?
ie: Cabin lighting probably OK ...
6. Are there other critical loads, which must use tinned wire?
ie: If you have to buy 'some' tinned wire anyway, don't substitute on the other ...
Cruisers' Forum will soon have an article (Ohm's Law & Boats") on boat wiring.
Hope this helps.
Regards,
Gord
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Old 30-08-2003, 09:41   #3
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Untinned Wire

The instructor of a recent marine maintenance course I attended suggested that if you have to use untinned wire, at least tin the ends before making connections. And, as suggested by GordMay, consider sealing the connections if possible. Tinning ends and connections is easier than you think, using the basic electronic soldering kits sold in most hardware stores.
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Old 31-08-2003, 04:22   #4
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Tinning ?

Your instructor was partly right; tinning the wire ends can help to prevent corrosion - BUT you end up with a “hard spot” at the juncture of the tinned & untinned wire. This can cause the wire to break, particularly if subject to vibration (as on the Engine).
While tinning is not rocket science, it does take a little practice to master, and then it remains a time-consuming endeavor. I’d encourage everyone to seek out proper marine grade wire for any permanent installtion, even our friend in HK (where it’s expensive).
OMO
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Old 04-05-2011, 16:13   #5
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Re: wiring

A previous owner used non marine grade wiring on my old Coranado 27 to add an extra light in the V. One night I turned on the light, and **POOF** then **FLAME** I of course quickly ran aft and turned the battery to null. The next day i ripped out any and all NON marine grade wiring, and redid it all in marine grade with heat shrink wrap etc etc etc. In my limited experiene, NEVER use non marine grade wires, and allways make proper connections. I dont want to use the ocean as the water to put out whats left or me boat.
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Old 04-05-2011, 16:26   #6
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Re: wiring

while I applaud the merits of tinned wire in marine applications. It worth noting that moat Euro boats dont use it and seem to survive in the marine environment long enough

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Old 04-05-2011, 17:21   #7
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Re: Wiring

If you want to have a "bulletproof electrical harness" that will last the life of the boat, this is how I wire them: Use a high quality of finely stranded, tinned, double jacketed, "marine" wire that is one size over the min. standard. Then, on the ring connectors... remove & discard the jackets, slip on 2" of adhesive lined heat shrink, crimp the fitting, and THEN solder. Now shrink down the tubing. This seals the entire fitting, including the end of the crimp. From here, fasten the entire wire run every 8" or so, or run it through conduit so IT CAN NOT MOVE!

It is a myth that soldering is a negative thing! This is only true in the sense of how much profit the electrician makes... OR, if one is both bad at soldering the crimps AND lets the wire flop around. If you do it correctly there is no hard spot, and a crimped ONLY wire will also fail at the crimp IF you allow it to flop around.

The proper "crimp then solder" is done with a Micro torch and the finest possible solder wire. You apply only a small drop to the far end of the crimped eye, not so much that it wicks up the wire. This creates a strong, welded, 100% sealed, wiring harness.

I have cut open crimps that I have done 15 years ago in this way, and they are still shiny and perfect!

IF one hasn't the patience for this, AT LEAST use tinned wire and crimp, then heatshrink. This is a close second.

Poorly done wiring systems, with inferior materials, are false economy! The entire system will have to be redone some day, IF it hasn't already burned the boat down.

BTW... If you buy wire by the 100' roll, it cuts the price in half.

M.
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Old 04-05-2011, 18:15   #8
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Re: Wiring

Eroica, You might be in luck - we are just removing a hopeless Capi2 DC bus system from our boat at the Hk gold Coast marina, replacing it with a BEP breaker panel and including the wiring up to the nodes with tinned wire that we had to import from Oz last week in complete rolls.
Ours is a 24V system so the cable gauges might be smaller than required if you are on 12V - I am in Taiwan for a couple of days and don't have the sizes or quantities with mebut if you can wait for a week until we are complete you might get the stuff you need. You can pm me or call my mobile 68990620 and I will let you know what we have.
Cheers
Paul
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Old 05-05-2011, 07:06   #9
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Re: Wiring

Quote:
Originally Posted by DHHong Kong View Post
Eroica, You might be in luck - we are just removing a hopeless Capi2 DC bus system from our boat at the Hk gold Coast marina, replacing it with a BEP breaker panel and including the wiring up to the nodes with tinned wire that we had to import from Oz last week in complete rolls.
Ours is a 24V system so the cable gauges might be smaller than required if you are on 12V - I am in Taiwan for a couple of days and don't have the sizes or quantities with mebut if you can wait for a week until we are complete you might get the stuff you need. You can pm me or call my mobile 68990620 and I will let you know what we have.
Cheers
Paul
Paul, FWIW, Eroica last posted on CF in June 2003, he might not read your post today!
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Old 05-05-2011, 09:10   #10
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Re: Wiring

A Zombie post if I ever saw one!

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Old 05-05-2011, 16:43   #11
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Re: Wiring

Thanks Wotname - Duh ! Guess I'd better read the original post better next time!
Cheers !!
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