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TOPIC: Electrical work

Electrical work 19 May 2017 16:12 #1

  • alanmoor
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I was always a proponent of solder with heat shrink for electrical connections but I read several places that this is not appropriate for boats. I don't buy that, but have converted to crimp fittings nonetheless. I wanted to let people know that I bought these crimpers:


and have been really impressed. I crimped a few fittings with some radio shack crimpers and that led me on a chase trying to figure out a problem with my charger.

I have been using these as well but probably won't know for years if they keep corrosion out:


I try to use dielectric grease on my connections.

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Electrical work 19 May 2017 16:37 #2

  • TenMile
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Good practice. Depending on the job and location of the connection I use a couple different methods.

For any electrical connections in the bilge/engine area, I do what you do, except I use the crimps without the heat shrink. I then custom cut my own heat shrink tube and slide it over the connection when tested. I like to use a longer heat shrink than the built in crimps. Plus it's cheaper.

For dry/indoor locations -- I'll often skip the heat shrink and/or use a terminal block if appropriate.

For communications wiring (e.g. NMEA, Ethernet, sender/sensors) I like using grease filled Scotchlok's as that goes back to my telephone repairman days.

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Electrical work 19 May 2017 20:00 #3

  • robster_in_edmonds
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In areas with potential water intrusion I use water-tight crimp fittings, and then I finish the job with a sloppy coating of liquid tape, a rubbery substance that dries into a waterproof surface.

I do not keep wire nuts in any of the tool kits on my boat. It's too easy to use them as a "temporary" fix and leave them. Lead me not into temptation, as the saying goes.

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Rob Meldrum
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Electrical work 20 May 2017 13:09 #4

  • HotwireJim59
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I think the heat breaks down the wire ability to flex a bit. Right were the solder ends. I myself prefer the crimp if done right. The butt splice you showed is what I use. As for wire just dead ending in a termination. I sometime use crimp on ferrules. Its kind of like a soldered end. But it is a crimped version. The wire do not fray, goes right in to its termination. At work when we do use solder it used for din connection points. The cord cap is factory made to be soldered. Then we put a resin over that. I get the use of a one shot crimper for my bigger lugs. 18 volt crimper. As for my smaller stuff I use a hand held I used for years. Good use of tape, zip ties and making sure you have no stress on your connection is key.

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jim and Anna 1994 4788 Refresh 310 Hinos

Electrical work 20 May 2017 13:31 #5

  • 2850Bounty
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Ultimately, I will slide the shrink tube on first. I will use bare wire fittings (no plastic insulator).
Then I do a mild crimp followed by soldering, followed again by a full crimp, followed by the shrink tube application.

In spite of those who believe that a soldered joint will pose issues regarding vibration, in reality there are no issues when the wire or harness is correctly supported.
In either scenario, there will be a point at which the conductor becomes ridged.... be it at the fitting or at the end of the soldered area.

As for fittings with the shrink tube pre-attached, all too often the crimp tool weakens the shrink tube, only to find that it separates once the heat is applied.
I will NOT use this style fitting!

With regard to battery cables, again I do a mild crimp, followed by soldering, followed by a full crimp, and then the heavy wall colored shrink tube application.
To date, and after having done this for many years...... I have NOT had one failure.


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Rick E. Portland, Oregon
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