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Old 07-02-2011, 17:20   #1
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Tinned Wire

I am researching the purchase of a 80s Tayana and a broker that I ran into offered this advice
"Any boat built in Taiwan you need to carefully check the wiring. The wire will probably not be tinned, allowing corrosion to creep under the insulation for some distance eventually ruining the wiring."
Has anyone in the industry found this to be an accurate generalization of 80s Taiwanese boats?
Thanks
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Old 07-02-2011, 17:28   #2
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Probably true of many 80's boats. Your looking at 25 year old boats that possibly most of used non-tinned wiring in construction. My .02 cents worth.
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Old 07-02-2011, 17:43   #3
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our '76 us built boat had no tinned wires on it......all the lights still worked, but I re-wired the whole boat anyway.
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Old 07-02-2011, 17:50   #4
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tinned wire is a percularly american peccadillo.

Quote:
allowing corrosion to creep under the insulation for some distance eventually ruining the wiring.


The next time you come accross a very old boat, with untinned wiring you might strip back say the first 6 inches and then tell me how far the "corrosion" has travelled, then you might ponder on the nature of "corrosion" and copper.

Dave
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Old 07-02-2011, 17:50   #5
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Rewiring a boat is just not that big a deal. You don't have to do it all at once. Keep chipping away at it, and you can get it all done in a year in your spare time. The cost of materials is in the hundreds of dollars. Plus if the boat is that old, and it's never been rewired, you'll probably end up virtually rewiring the thing over time as you simply install new equipment and fix old stuff.

In one way, you could look at this as an advantage. If you go in knowing you need to rewire, you will eventually learn how the whole electrical system works, which will help immeasurably in your future cruising.

I wouldn't let it scare me away.
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Old 07-02-2011, 19:28   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post

The next time you come accross a very old boat, with untinned wiring you might strip back say the first 6 inches and then tell me how far the "corrosion" has travelled, then you might ponder on the nature of "corrosion" and copper.

Dave
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I'll attest to this.....the worst wire on the boat, a 10 awg bonding wire attached to a leaky thru hull valve, was only corroded badly 3inches up from the crimped eye.
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Old 07-02-2011, 20:04   #7
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Whether water wicks its way up under the insulation doesn't have anything to do with the age of the wire or whether the wire is tinned or not - it has to do with whether the terminals have gotten wet.

In 2009 I rewired my '83 Tayana and the only places I found corroded wire were where water was dripping onto terminals - there was very little that *had* to be replaced due to corrosion. When I rewired the bonding system I knew the length bolted to the main stud going outside to the zincs would be temporary so I didn't bother to put heat shrink tubing over the terminal. That stud is next to the stuffing box (Stuffy the Leaking Box) and I hose out that area every few months. In 18 months, and maybe six fresh water baths later, that nice new tinned Ancor wire was corroded about two inches up the insulation.
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Old 07-02-2011, 20:26   #8
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My boat is than vintage and I"ve rewired most of the boat with tinned wire but not because the older untinned wire was failing. Actually it was in surprisingly good shape and I can't remember ever having a wire fail from corrosion.

Just as important as being tinned is the crimp terminal. If you use connectors that have adhesive/sealant filled heat-shrink insulation, then the wire is sealed against moisture.
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Old 07-02-2011, 20:53   #9
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This issue has been discussed before. Tinned wire is less prone to corrosion than non tinned wire. Moist air will corrode electrical connections which are mechanical. Try to "seal" them from exposure to air. Impossible in most cases, but well worth applying the various measures. Moisture will also propagate inside the insulation jacket corroding the insulated part of the wire.

I've experienced a bunch of electrical contact failures from non conducting corrosion - with fuses/fuse holders and crimp on solderless connectors.

If it hasn't happened yet... give it a few years... it will.
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Old 07-02-2011, 21:37   #10
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Old wiring is just that. It's the insulation I'd worry about. Cleaning the ends with acid will give a new terminal contact. But if the insulation is cracking then serious trouble is in the works.
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Old 07-02-2011, 22:04   #11
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I went with tinned when rewiring my 78 Taiwan classic....prior to that there had been very few failures with the original non-tined wire, with the exception of some bilge thru-hull bonding wire where the copper had turned to black dust.

Before starting the seemingly awesome challenge, I ended up enlisting the services of a professional marine electrical engineer...and boy oh boy was that an eye opener...and the best money I've ever spent on her.

There's so much more to having a proper electrical system than tinned wire....the wire size for one thing....circuit protection size and type and their distances from the source....proper technique for terminations...documentation for trouble shooting later........lots of other stuff....not to mention invaluable "tricks of the trade".

I would say that to use or not to use tinned wire is not the first question I would now ask when looking at upgrading an old electrical system.

I don't agree that doing it little by little is the way to go...I would say that that would take many times the time and effort...
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Old 08-02-2011, 19:08   #12
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Firstly properly applied crimps exhibit a gas tight connection between the crimp terminals and the wire. The heat shrink adhesive lined version is to provide strain relief only

Tinned wire was primarily designed to aid soldering. It has no particular advantage with crimps. European builders have almost always used non tinned wire and I would argue european boats last as long as US ones

Copper don't really corrode like steel. If the crimp is correct it's sealed.

Dave
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Old 09-02-2011, 00:06   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
Firstly properly applied crimps exhibit a gas tight connection between the crimp terminals and the wire. The heat shrink adhesive lined version is to provide strain relief only

Tinned wire was primarily designed to aid soldering. It has no particular advantage with crimps. European builders have almost always used non tinned wire and I would argue european boats last as long as US ones

Copper don't really corrode like steel. If the crimp is correct it's sealed.

Dave
Hummmm! This is a new theory. Heat shrink/strain relief?

And I don't think tinned wire has been around long enough to be able to make any comparisons yet. Steel doesn't corrode, it turns to iron oxide.

Copper turns black around batteries and green after years of exposure to salt air, which makes it very hard to get a new connection with full amperage. With tinned wire it'll turn gray but still gives good amperage with a new connector.

I believe its Taiwan wiring we're dealing with here.
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Old 09-02-2011, 02:32   #14
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A properly applied crimp is gas tight, thats the electrical connection, everything else is strain relief. The adhesve lined shrouds, are not really watertight, most manufacturers make the lame claim " protects againts moisture" ( panduit) others talk about "sealed" etc. In reality there tends to be pinholes and especially in the case of spade connectors, moisture can wick in from the front.

Its interesting to note, ( which is my background) that automotive crimps rarely use adhesive and this is arguably a more hostle environment.

of course proper crimps really cant be acomplished using the pre-isulated crimps in my view. Buy unisulated crimps and cover them seperatley after crimping.

Dave
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Old 09-02-2011, 11:42   #15
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Back when I first got into sailing my boat (a Grampian) had electrical problems. So a friend and I started working on it. We found non tinned wire. No big deal. We found undersized wire. Big deal. We finally ended up rewiring a goodly part of the boat with heavier wire but we also didn't used tinned wire. We stripped the wire, tinned the end, crimped on the connector and then put heat shrink on the end. The only thing I've changed in my methods over the last 30 years is to use tinned wire to start with.

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