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Old 30-06-2020, 04:51   #1
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Electrical connectors. Which ones ???????

Hello to all the Liveaboard sailors that have so much money that they always pay a qualified Marine electrician every time they connect a wire !!!
Seriously though,I have found lots of topics talking about various marine installations but haven't come across anyone that has talked about the Make/model/manufacturer of a good quality bonding,soldering,shrinking connector. I don't want to be a 'Geek' about it but when I go about the extensive work than I need to carry out to get my boat seaworthy and safe I want to make sure I only have to do it ONCE !!

Looking forward to hearing some opinions
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Old 30-06-2020, 05:23   #2
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Re: Electrical connectors. Which ones ???????

Welcome to the forum.

Great plan on doing the projects correctly. There are books that would be helpful in that effort.

The marine usage of solder is almost always inappropriate.

Marine electrical connectors must instead be properly crimped, using the correct tooling. There are many manufacturers offering high quality crimp connectors and high quality tools. These parts must also be used correctly.
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Old 30-06-2020, 05:59   #3
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Re: Electrical connectors. Which ones ???????

RC Collins is a well respected marine electrician and he happily provides guidance on his website https://marinehowto.com/. One of his articles is on crimping marine electrical terminations: https://marinehowto.com/marine-wire-termination/

This article will give you a good baseline knowledge on this oft misunderstood and badly executed skill.
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Old 30-06-2020, 06:30   #4
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Re: Electrical connectors. Which ones ???????

Add in Charlie Wing, Boatowner's Illustrated Handbook of Wiring, available on Amazon.

Every battery cable I have was hand built, because I could get monster stranded copper cable from a junk yard, and battery cables are horribly expensive. The ends are made out of copper tubing, mashed, drilled, set screwed and (yes) soldered, and all meeting ABYC standards. In other words, you can do it.

One essential is a wire gauge chart; one is included below. Another (if you are trying to do a better job than I did) is that marine wire is tinned for its entire length, unlike automotive wire. It costs a bundle. I've seen lots of professionally built boats that use untinned wire.

Posters above are pointing you to marine water proof crimp connectors, again expensive but bunches better than the automotiive counterpart. I've got automotive connectors in my (dry) boat, and after eight years I'm finding ones than are loose.

I didn't plan my low amperage circuits (panel electronics, lights) beyond setting up a big terminal block as a power source under the instrument panel. The result is a rat's nest of unidentifiable wiring under the panel. I hope that you will learn from my mistake.

I wish I had your opportunity to do it right.
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Old 30-06-2020, 07:13   #5
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Re: Electrical connectors. Which ones ???????

I have been happy with the 3M heat shrink Scotchlok terminals. I bought a kit which came in a partitioned plastic box and have had to replenish some of the sizes a few times. I don't use the spade terminals, though.

Ancor terminals (and the rest of their electrical line) are another quality brand.

In addition to labeling all wires, take the time to draw up a wiring diagram, and keep it current. I confess I had been adding electrical equipment to Orontes II for about five years before taking the time to do this. Should have done it first and then updated it as I went.

Cheers!

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Old 30-06-2020, 07:23   #6
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Re: Electrical connectors. Which ones ???????

OP:
With your new found knowledge you will learn about double crimp terminations. An excellent source of quality double crimp terminations is Del City: https://tinyurl.com/y848avhz. No affilitation, just a very satisfied professional customer.
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Old 30-06-2020, 07:54   #7
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Re: Electrical connectors. Which ones ???????

Good connectors will be tinned. They have a flat silver look to them, not shiny bright.
Best connectors are the ones with the built in heat shrink cover. It's better than common shrink tubing, and oozes out goo when heated. But they are expensive.

Have a good ratcheting crimper.
It's hard to go wrong with Anchor brand terminals.
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Old 30-06-2020, 08:24   #8
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Re: Electrical connectors. Which ones ???????

Check out Jeff Cote of Pacific Yacht Systems on Youtube. He has comprehensive videos on all phases of marine electronics for free. The guy is an experts expert. I am sure you will find his recommendations for fittings if you dig into his videos. cheers.
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Old 30-06-2020, 08:39   #9
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Re: Electrical connectors. Which ones ???????

I've had much luck with regular crimp connectors. But, I use bulb grease (dielectric grease) on the wire ends before crimping. Then I seal it with that black liquid tape - cheap at Walmart.

I noticed that unsealed crimp connectors tend to corrode where the wire enters the connector. I've been replacing my bonding wires this way when they corrode and break. And I do this for bilge pump rewiring.

It's good so far.
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Old 30-06-2020, 08:52   #10
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Re: Electrical connectors. Which ones ???????

I had a recent post on another thread where lack of good connections cost me a trip from North Fort Myers FL to Exuma and three days of downtime grief on the Okechobee and Intracoastal Waterways, before a problem associated entirely with two connectors, one a poorly designed blade type connector that broke at a necked down area and the other a bungled crimp on wires to the starter forced a jury-rigged beat back home. There has to be a better way than the crimpers sold at WM and Harbor Freight. Interesting and timely thread - THANK YOU.
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Old 30-06-2020, 09:12   #11
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Re: Electrical connectors. Which ones ???????

I have done all my electrics my self renovating my Swan 57 because it is too expensive to pay people to do it right. It takes time and you have to have a plan, and the plan should be visible on the electric chart which should be your starting block.
Next: USE TIN COVERED COPER CABLE otherwise you will have to do it over again in 10 years. Also get plenty of heat shrink tube with glue on the inside. This will create a water tight surface around the joint, and you can solder whenever possible. Soldered joints in water tight shrink tubing will not fail.
Another thing. If you have cables that does not have tin covered strands, but that looks un corroded, you can solder an extension from tin covered copper cable to that cable and cover the joint with water tight shrink tubing, then you have prevented corrosion getting into the un-tinned cable (I think that is vary clever actually).
If you use normal flat connector, cover the female and male part with water tight shrink tubing. I use it everywhere.
In your electrical connection boxes you can use Phoenix Contact terminal blocks which are simple and very flexible, best system you can get (https://www.phoenixcontact.com/onlin...7-709d3af232aa)
Good luck!
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Old 30-06-2020, 09:27   #12
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Re: Electrical connectors. Which ones ???????

Since you ask about specific manufacturers, I've used several brands of heat shrink crimp connectors, some of which are adhesive-lined just like high-quality heat shrink tubing. Ancor Marine and genuine 3M heat shrink crimp connectors are expensive, but if you're only buying a few they are worth the investment. If you need more than a few and unit cost is an issue, I've been really pleased with crimp connectors made by Wirefy (https://tinyurl.com/y8bnkpva). I have not used their standard connectors, but I have been pleased with step-down butt connectors from E-Volt (https://tinyurl.com/y9ydhnyw).

One word of caution I learned the hard way. When it comes to crimp-on disconnect terminals, you may want to stick with the same brand for male and female or at least look closely to make sure they are compatible. Some brands, like Ancor (https://tinyurl.com/ya458ma5) and the 3M connectors I have, continue the nylon covering over the terminal itself on both the male and female connector, and some brands, like Wirefy and E-Volt only do that with the female connectors and not the male connectors. The challenge is, not all of them are the same shape and size and sometimes the size and shape of the covering on the male connector do not fit in the female connector. I have found that the Wirefy male connectors are not covered and will work with any brand female connector, but I have had to trim the nylon off other brands to get them to fit. (Observations about this being a problem with things other than electrical connectors should probably be directed to the joke thread.)
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Old 30-06-2020, 09:37   #13
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Re: Electrical connectors. Which ones ???????

+1 on Cheechako good cripmer advice. Ask me how I know.

As my high school automotive class teacher used to say : "90% of success of any repair is having quality tools. The other 10% is reading the repair manual."
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Old 30-06-2020, 10:00   #14
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Re: Electrical connectors. Which ones ???????

I have rewired several boats. On boats, I use Ancor wire, terminals, crimper, everything is the same brand. I own 3 crimpers and they match the brand of terminals I am using. I found that not matching crimpers with the terminal brand-wise results in bad crimps.
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Old 30-06-2020, 10:04   #15
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Re: Electrical connectors. Which ones ???????

Use the same brand crimper and terminals, I use All Ancor wire, terminals, and any other fittings on boats. Using crimpers that are not matched to terminals can result in bad crimps.
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