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Old 08-02-2019, 11:23   #1
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Best deck seal for solar cables through-deck?

I am planning to route some solar panel cables through the deck in an area that's frequently washed with waves, and looking at the Scanstrut DS-H6 Horizontal Deck Seals. The cables are round, slightly less than 1/4" diameter.
These look ideal but this is an important choice considering I'll be making more holes in an area that will be frequently awash -- I would be interested to know if anyone has any experience with these (good or bad) or can suggest anything better.
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Old 08-02-2019, 11:27   #2
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Re: Best deck seal for solar cables through-deck?

The Scanstrut DS-H6 Horizontal Deck Seals are more elaborate, and might provide a more assured seal, but they're big.
I've NEVER experienced a leak /w Cable Clams ➥ https://www.bluesea.com/products/cat...23/Cable_Clams

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Old 08-02-2019, 11:27   #3
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Re: Best deck seal for solar cables through-deck?

There are specific waterproof through deck connectors made special for this purpose. Simply google "solar through deck solar connectors" and a bunch will come up as images and take your pick. West marine even has some choices.
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Old 08-02-2019, 11:33   #4
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Re: Best deck seal for solar cables through-deck?

I've got this one on my shopping list, but not sure exactly how I'd mount it.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...V1LK1NBR2&th=1


I've had a cable clam, as shown above for a couple of years, for the SSB antenna, but somehow, mysteriously, the below-decks connector filled up with water, inside a copious wrap of self-amalgamating tape. I haven't figured out what went wrong.
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Old 08-02-2019, 11:41   #5
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Re: Best deck seal for solar cables through-deck?

Quote:
Originally Posted by toddster8 View Post
I've got this one on my shopping list, but not sure exactly how I'd mount it.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...V1LK1NBR2&th=1

I've had a cable clam, as shown above for a couple of years, for the SSB antenna, but somehow, mysteriously, the below-decks connector filled up with water, inside a copious wrap of self-amalgamating tape. I haven't figured out what went wrong.

I have had bad experience with the cable clam also. The water got in when the rubber degraded under the base. I would not use a rubber pad under the base, no matter what I get -- my plan is to use Butyl rubber sealing putty.
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Old 08-02-2019, 13:24   #6
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Re: Best deck seal for solar cables through-deck?

If you have multiple wires that need a waterproof deck connection do not dismiss a swan neck. It is old but arguably superior solution that seems to have been forgotten.
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Old 08-02-2019, 17:27   #7
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Re: Best deck seal for solar cables through-deck?

I shudder every time I have to make holes in the deck as I know they are a potential source of leaks.

I'm not at the stage of installing solar panels but when I am I will almost certainly avoid the major boat accessory manufacturers because of their exorbitant prices. (I can't afford them)

I'm not recommending them, but I'm wondering about something cheap like the ANCOR
Through-Deck Wire Seals
Do you think they would do the job?

Clive
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Old 09-02-2019, 09:28   #8
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Re: Best deck seal for solar cables through-deck?

I've used ScanStrut Mult Deck Seal for SSB, solar and and additional through deck wiring. It's mounted on the rail, gets a wash in a good wind and too much sail ! and of course every rain shower. No leaks so far, one has to carefully drill the insert slightly smaller than the wires passing though and use care and soap to assemble.

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Old 09-02-2019, 09:30   #9
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Re: Best deck seal for solar cables through-deck?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GordMay View Post
I've NEVER experienced a leak /w Cable Clams ➥ https://www.bluesea.com/products/cat...23/Cable_Clams

+1 on this. I have three at the base of the mast for 7 cables (2 x 3 ea, + 1 for the larger radar cable). Never a drop and the larger plugs fit through the hole so all connections are on the inside. The PO’s screw-down fittings never quite sealed as well.
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Old 09-02-2019, 11:06   #10
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Re: Best deck seal for solar cables through-deck?

Drill a hole slightly larger than the cable. Counter sink it a bit to remove the sharp edge. Pass the wire through and seal it with 3M 4200, Sikaflex, or the caulk of your choice. It will outlast the cable and cost virtually nothing. And you will not need to drill additional holes for screws to hold it in place.

Of course if you are drilling through a cored area be sure to seal the core with epoxy and then re-drill - regardless of your product choice.
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Old 09-02-2019, 11:27   #11
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Re: Best deck seal for solar cables through-deck?

I've long had good results with cable clams. Drill the insert with a new, sharp drill the same size as the cable and a little water to lube it. For drilling put the insert into the top shell and screw down on a piece of wood - tighten only enough to keep it from turning. Too tight and the insert will be compressed and the hole will be larger than intended. I use silicone or 3M 4200 instead of the gasket provided, which doesn't make a good seal over irregular surfaces and does seem to deteriorate with age. Initially tighten the base only until the sealant is squeezed out evenly all around, allow it to cure and then finish tightening the mounting screws. That will form a gasket and then compress it for a good seal.
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Old 09-02-2019, 13:15   #12
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Re: Best deck seal for solar cables through-deck?

Swan neck deck fitting. Never found a supplier in the US so had to order from England.
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Old 09-02-2019, 14:09   #13
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Re: Best deck seal for solar cables through-deck?

http://www.katomarine.com/swannecks.htm
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Old 09-02-2019, 15:28   #14
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Re: Best deck seal for solar cables through-deck?

One problem with solar is the MC connectors. More than likely you'll be adding the panels to the aft section of the boat. I used the aft vertical section of cockpit coming. Drill a hole big enough for the connectors, run cables, add a drip loop, pack with butyl tape and cover with small SS clam vent. Done, no leaks and very easy to pull cables out when you need to.
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Old 09-02-2019, 21:43   #15
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Re: Best deck seal for solar cables through-deck?

I did what Puffcard did--no leaks.
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