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Old 24-02-2021, 14:18   #1
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Tee connections when rewiring a boat trailer?

So I have boat on a trailer, and I'm replacing the light and brakes wiring.

The boat is going to go in the water, and hopefully, someday, in salt water, and I'm wondering about connectors.

I'd thought to use marine-grade wire with heat-shrink butt connectors, but for the brakes I'm going to need to split the line. Once to each axle then again to the brakes on each end of each axle.

What is the recommended connection for this sort of thing. Twisting the wires together then wrapping then in electrical tape doesn't seem adequate.
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Old 24-02-2021, 14:30   #2
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Re: Tee connections when rewiring a boat trailer?

There is a paint on insulating plastic you could use.
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Old 24-02-2021, 14:31   #3
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Re: Tee connections when rewiring a boat trailer?

When I do my trailer wiring, I make the junctions within the lamp housing, as a daisy chain. Each lamp has two internal electrical connections.
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Old 24-02-2021, 16:48   #4
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Re: Tee connections when rewiring a boat trailer?

I don't see how that would work, with brakes.
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Old 25-02-2021, 06:01   #5
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Re: Tee connections when rewiring a boat trailer?

Permanently watertight, submersible, 3 or more wire connections are very difficult to make simply and cheaply.

I have reasonable success with soldered wires, painted with liquid electrical tape, and then sealant-filled double heat shrink, but they still almost always (5-10 years) fail.

Probably the most permanent, inexpensive method would be to run a separate wire for each device, and join them all together at someplace that does not get submerged, like inside the tongue just before the connector that plugs into the vehicle.

Each single wire connection at the brake should of course be liquid-taped and double sealant-lined heat shrunk...
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Old 25-02-2021, 07:52   #6
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Re: Tee connections when rewiring a boat trailer?

Run individual wire to each side and place a water tight box up at the hitch end to do the splitting.
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Old 25-02-2021, 08:39   #7
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Re: Tee connections when rewiring a boat trailer?

I already have a new 7-blade connector and lead, with junction box, on order.

There are brakes on two axles, so that'd be four wires. I'm not sure if the screw posts in the junction box will accommodate that many. If they will, that'd be a clean solution.

If they won't, I could do my tee'ing up by the junction box, where they would be easy to access.

The other question is whether I could mount the box someplace where it won't be submerged.

I like the idea of running separate wires. It means another 100 feet of 10-gauge blue marine-grade wire, but it's not that expensive, and if it means less time lying on my back under the axles, it'd be worth it.
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Old 25-02-2021, 09:50   #8
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Re: Tee connections when rewiring a boat trailer?

I've had good results using the ready made shrink-tube waterproof connectors. Two leads get twisted together and inserted into the appropriate sized connector and crimped. I strip the single lead extra long, twist the wires together, and fold the bare wire back onto itself, to increase the diameter. That gets inserted into the other end of the connector and crimped. Then I apply heat to seal the connection.

To make the connection extra secure, you can 'tin' the wires (apply a small amount of solder to the twisted ends) before inserting into the connector and crimping. It also works better if you 'tin' the co-joined leads after you twist them together.
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Old 25-02-2021, 10:36   #9
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Re: Tee connections when rewiring a boat trailer?

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Originally Posted by garyfdl View Post
To make the connection extra secure, you can 'tin' the wires (apply a small amount of solder to the twisted ends) before inserting into the connector and crimping. It also works better if you 'tin' the co-joined leads after you twist them together.
Any suggestions for a soldering iron that doesn't need to be plugged in?

I see that there are some butane soldering irons. Have you used any of them?

Any I should avoid?
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Old 25-02-2021, 11:15   #10
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Re: Tee connections when rewiring a boat trailer?

If I understand you correctly you are saying that you are wiring electric brakes on a boat trailer.

Boat trailer brakes are typically hydraulic with an actuator in the coupler.

On some models , as with disc brakes, a reverse lockout is tapped from the reverse lights.

That being said. I've gravitated to cheaper fittings coated with "paintable electrical tape". First as a test in a hurry and now as my standard operating procedure.

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Old 25-02-2021, 11:25   #11
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Re: Tee connections when rewiring a boat trailer?

I've been using a Radio Shack butane soldering iron for over ten years.
Very hand for VHF connectors etc.
Be cautious . The heat is directed out the sides near the tip and can cause damage in a tight space.
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Old 25-02-2021, 11:38   #12
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Re: Tee connections when rewiring a boat trailer?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jdege View Post
Any suggestions for a soldering iron that doesn't need to be plugged in?

I see that there are some butane soldering irons. Have you used any of them?

Any I should avoid?
I have had good luck so far with:
"Portasol 010589330 Super Pro 125W Heat Tool Kit with 7 Tips"
https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B003H6NN2Q
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Old 25-02-2021, 11:46   #13
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Re: Tee connections when rewiring a boat trailer?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Secondshift View Post
If I understand you correctly you are saying that you are wiring electric brakes on a boat trailer.

Boat trailer brakes are typically hydraulic with an actuator in the coupler.
This trailer has electromagnetic brakes.
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Old 25-02-2021, 11:50   #14
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Re: Tee connections when rewiring a boat trailer?

Western Union splices and solder. Then waterproof with Goop. Then tape. Then small wire ties to keep the tape from unwinding. In my experience this does a FAR better job than any crimp connectors. This is what I do on Scorpius and I've not had a single connection that I've made in the past 35 years fail.

On trailers make sure you use modern LED tail lights. When properly wired (as above) they are FAR better at resisting water damage than the old incandescent light bulb systems.
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Old 25-02-2021, 11:54   #15
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Re: Tee connections when rewiring a boat trailer?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jdege View Post
This trailer has electromagnetic brakes.

Was it originally built as a boat trailer designed to go into the water? It seems to me, regardless of the wiring you do, electromagnetic brakes going into salt water are themselves an invitation to disaster. One day you will take that trailer home, even after thoroughly washing everything with fresh water and park it. The next time you go to use it you will find the brakes either frozen or inoperable due to corrosion on the electrical parts in the brakes themselves.

Hydraulic brakes are FAR more robust - but still a major source of problems on a boat trailer.
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