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Old 08-05-2020, 19:13   #1
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Installing new light fixture with pigtails

I'm about to start installing lighting everywhere and I had a best practices/ practical application question.

It is my understanding that you shouldn't use butt connections in the marine environment because of the constant flexing and movement, so is the proper way to install an new light fixture with the 18 awg 6 inch pigtails to install blocks at every light switch to your home run wire? That seems a bit impractical.... Love to hear your thoughts.
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Old 08-05-2020, 19:35   #2
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Re: Installing new light fixture with pigtails

Ideally you want minimal connections if possible
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Old 08-05-2020, 19:47   #3
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Re: Installing new light fixture with pigtails

Agreed! But would you rip the pigtails out and wire directly into the fixture?
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Old 08-05-2020, 22:08   #4
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Re: Installing new light fixture with pigtails

Quote:
It is my understanding that you shouldn't use butt connections in the marine environment because of the constant flexing and movement,
IMO, it is pretty easy to secure the wiring so that there is no flexing... I think the oft quoted worries about wiring movement on sailboats is quite overstated!

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Old 09-05-2020, 08:40   #5
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Re: Installing new light fixture with pigtails

I use marine grade butt connectors and not worry about movement. There is not that much to concern yourself with. Be sure to use tinned wire, be sure to have adequate circuit protection, be sure that the connectors are marine grade (Ancor), and be sure to use the proper crimping tools.
Good luck.
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Old 09-05-2020, 08:59   #6
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Re: Installing new light fixture with pigtails

Self sealing butt connectors are correct. Soldering connections is the wrong way to go.
Get a good quality crimper and you probably should use the 2 sized ones as the LED fixtures usually have much thinner wire than what you will run.
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Old 09-05-2020, 08:59   #7
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Re: Installing new light fixture with pigtails

Also a good idea to use heat shrink over the connections. Helps keep moisture intrusion to a minimum.
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Old 09-05-2020, 09:08   #8
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Re: Installing new light fixture with pigtails

So this is how you'd wire a run of new lights?

https://www.dropbox.com/s/1k0hkqqsev...90435.jpg?dl=0
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Old 09-05-2020, 09:15   #9
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Re: Installing new light fixture with pigtails

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Self sealing butt connectors are correct. Soldering connections is the wrong way to go.
Get a good quality crimper and you probably should use the 2 sized ones as the LED fixtures usually have much thinner wire than what you will run.
Agreed. During my time in the Coast Guard, the ship's electricians stressed the need for heat shrink on everything... And since then everything I've read since then backs that up. I have already acquired an assortment of marine grade connectors AND assorted heat shrink for that reason. Proper crimping tool, marine-grade connectors and heatshrink... Should be trouble free.
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Old 09-05-2020, 09:24   #10
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Re: Installing new light fixture with pigtails

I use shrink sleeving over the Marine grade butt connectors and 22 years later, those connections are still solid not just on light fixture connections but all other connections that I did this way. I learned wiring in the air defense computer industry and probably overdue it but heh, no failures in 22 years.
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Old 09-05-2020, 09:40   #11
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Re: Installing new light fixture with pigtails

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Originally Posted by SailingAdrift View Post
I'm about to start installing lighting everywhere and I had a best practices/ practical application question.

It is my understanding that you shouldn't use butt connections in the marine environment because of the constant flexing and movement, so is the proper way to install an new light fixture with the 18 awg 6 inch pigtails to install blocks at every light switch to your home run wire? That seems a bit impractical.... Love to hear your thoughts.
Your choice

Butt , crimp connectors will work

A terminal strip is more versatile and allows removal of the fitting without cutting the wire

terminal strips also allow several
Lights to be connected to the same power source and are easier to trouble shoot
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Old 09-05-2020, 11:17   #12
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Re: Installing new light fixture with pigtails

Epoxy filled Butt connector's work fine, extra wire tucked in makes it easier if a replacement is needed down the road.
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Old 09-05-2020, 11:18   #13
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Re: Installing new light fixture with pigtails

Be sure to secure the wires so they don’t flop around.
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Old 09-05-2020, 13:32   #14
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Re: Installing new light fixture with pigtails

I have found that especially for lighting circuits, there is no true "best way." This is because very often the installation itself limits one's options, so it is best to "do as well as you can." Often, the first thing to go is the desire to properly secure the joint to avoid flexing, as there may be no room or access to do so. So, do what you can, and ignore the rest. Unless, of course, it is a "mission critical" installation -- i.e. if the joint fails you might find yourself in serious do-do.

Assuming a butt connector is the most expedient solution,
1. Use good self-adhesive heat shrink connectors with a proper crimper.
2. If you have space (and you probably do) add a heat-shrink sleeve over the finished connector. This not only adds moisture resistance, it also adds strain-relief to the joint and helps avoids failures from flexing.
3. Secure the connection if you can. Often (at least for interior work) the connection ends up being stuffed into an overhead where stuff really can't move much anyway.

While there may be a "perfect" way to do this, remember that perfection is often the enemy of progress.
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Old 09-05-2020, 13:48   #15
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Re: Installing new light fixture with pigtails

Quote:
Originally Posted by SailingAdrift View Post
I'm about to start installing lighting everywhere and I had a best practices/ practical application question.

It is my understanding that you shouldn't use butt connections in the marine environment because of the constant flexing and movement, so is the proper way to install an new light fixture with the 18 awg 6 inch pigtails to install blocks at every light switch to your home run wire? That seems a bit impractical.... Love to hear your thoughts.
Meh, it's overplayed, especially inside the boat, overhead etc. You're going to have a connection somewhere, lights dont come with 20 ft wires.
If it's in a worrisome spot, used a butt connector with shrink tube. That will be more durable than an uncovered terminal strip.
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