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post #42 of Old 01-10-2013
Maine Sail
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Re: overwhelmed w/ electrical

Originally Posted by ShoalFinder View Post
One giant piece of advice: BUTT SPLICES ARE THE DEVIL. A butt splice is a crimp on connector that looks like a tube. You stick one wire in one end, crimp it, then stick another wire in the other end and crimp it. DO NOT USE THESE. EVER.

Originally Posted by ShoalFinder View Post
If you ever want to contemplate suicide, then spend some time troubleshooting an electrical system with intermittent failures, i.e. bad connections. It is darn near impossible.
Yep I do this every day and I don't find it impossible at all..

Originally Posted by ShoalFinder View Post
Butt splices are a guaranteed point of failure and source of endless headache.

The butt splice is not the issue the installation, product chosen or installer is the issue.

Originally Posted by ShoalFinder View Post
Butt splices exist to get you out of a jam, like a band aid.
Again incorrect information. They are used for everything from artesian well pumps to bilge pumps to macerator pumps or any wired device that comes with pigtails and can not be wired to a bus bar due to the nature of the environment. I personally don't like to see any open exposed bus bars below settee cushion level. When I do they are usually a source of issues. With bilge pumps and macerators being supplied with 8" and 18" pig tails an adhsive line butt splice becomes a beautiful 100% water proof solution.

Originally Posted by ShoalFinder View Post
They are the mark of incompetence in any other application. The fact that you see them everywhere doesn't change that.
Incompetence? Hardly.... Do you owna well like MILLIONS and MILLIONS of Americans do? These MILLIONS and MILLIONS of Americans (Canadians too) relay of BUTT SPLICES 24/7/365 for 15 - 20+years for their water supply... Yeah how "incompetent"...

I am sorry that you've use improper tools or improper quality terminals that you've had such issues. That is sad. PROPERLY installed they cause NONE of the dooms day conspiracy stuff you speak of, NONE.

Originally Posted by ShoalFinder View Post
In the event that you have to extend a wire because you cannot replace it, use two crimp on ring terminals with a #6 bolt/lockwasher/nut and then use vulcanizing tape to seal the connection.
Yeah that's usually my first sign of a Rube Goldberg boat.... Usually when I see that level of "quality" I have to start looking deeper and I usually find tons of other "Rube" issues..

I mean when I see well drillers doing that for well pumps that are submerged at 200+ foot depths and running 240V using two ring terms, a dissimilar metal bolt & nut and some rubber tape, well then I might consider it a "solution"........ I've had ZERO failures of butt splices in THOUSANDS of them. This is not an n=1 I install terminals every day... Installed approx 140 terminals (need to do the invoice for an exact number) in the last two days all heat shrink crimp. Probably 10 of them were butts, two on a macerator three on a bilge pump and a couple for some panel lighting..

Originally Posted by ShoalFinder View Post
I would never suggest to extend a wire instead of replacing the run, but in 20 years of marine and factory electrical work, there are times when it must be done.
Yes it does have to be done. A boat last week would have entailed THOUSANDS of dollars in headliner removal, drilling bungs, refinishing etc. etc. or a PROPERLY installed butt splice. Which do you think the owner chose? The butt splice or the 100+ hour job of removing the entire headliner to replace one 14ga wire for a light fixture?

Originally Posted by ShoalFinder View Post
If you have to relocate a panel: rather than extending the wires one by one, put terminal strips in the existing location and use it as a junction box.
IMHO all AC/DC panels should have a "back plane" to which the ship wires are affixed then as "snake" run over to the panel. Very few builders do this at the factory but some of the higher quality builders do.

Originally Posted by ShoalFinder View Post
I'm not just a blowhard, although I may be that. My background: I began my career as a Navy Electrician. I then went on to a career in automation, controls and robotics, marine as well as manufacturing. In twenty years I have been guilty of doing all the stupid things I list above and I learned the hard way to avoid doing them again. Do the hard work up front so you can enjoy your boat down the road. Nobody wants a nightmare that just won't end, and nothing turns into that more than poor electrical systems.
All this experience yet you don't know how to source the correct tools and proper terminals to make one of the EASIEST and most ROBUST terminal connections out there...? Seems odd...???

Don't get me wrong I don't like to splice anything I don't have to, but some times you have to and a good quality adhesive lined butt splice, made with the PROPER tools will exceed mil-spec standards, (you mentioned the Navy) mine do.

Beyond that butt splices are and can be a better terminal. Why?

#1 QUALITY butt splices are made from solid extruded copper tube. Unlike a ring, spade or friction fit connector there is NO SEAM. They also are not even "brazed" seams unless CHEAP QUALITY. No seam in a crimp terminal is a superior from of construction to brazing or an open seam. Unfortunately ring and spade terminals can not be made from extruded solid seamless tube because they are stamped, then rolled, so they must be brazed. Brazed is still far superior to an open seam but not the same as solid extruded copper tube, which is what a "proper" butt splice is made of.

#2 Adhesive lined heat shrink butt splices are 100% waterproof when installed PROPERLY. Again we come back to the word PROPERLY. Anyone having the issues you claim to see is simply dealing with IMPROPER procedures or products. Adhesive lined heat shrink butts are one of the best for use on bilge pumps to prevent voltage leaks and corrosion. This is the SAME EXACT process used to power 240V well pumps submersed in water wells for 15-20+ years at a time.

#3 A ring or spade terminal still has exposed metal. When the metal corrodes it can creep under the adhesive line heat shrink and begin going to town. This does not happen on an adhesive lined butt butt splice. With rings or spades you need to coat the exposed metal with a terminal grease to get the longest life, not so with an adhesive lined butt splice.

Over the years I have probably installed thousands of them, where appropriate. I have never, ever had a single failure. Not one. Have I seen failures? Sure, and rings, spades, bullets and friction fits too. the ONE common denominator is that they were always IMPROPERLY installed or a non-suitable product for the use.

About the only draw back I know of is that they can be tough to trouble shoot, can't get probes on them, but a good tech has tricks that make it easy trouble shooting easy. I can normally spot a bad one a mile away just by the "foot print" left by the $2.00 tool that made the crimp. I simply cut it out, replace it, and move on.

But splices are no better or worse than any other terminal, and in many regards they are actually superior. However if you don't have to splice then don't...

Yep a SINGLE yellow butt splice made with 12GA wire and a reasonably priced ratchet crimp tool (about $40.00)..

With my AMP crimper that same terminal will hold over 190 pounds..

-Maine Sail / CS-36T

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