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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Electrical Systems
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Old 12-20-2009
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How to rewire a marine electrical panel - Free report

Greetings to the electrical thinkers. I just saw the forum on spaghetti in the electrical system and thought I would post this link. It's a step by step article on how to rewire a marine electrical panel.

The article is here-

Re-wire an electrical panel

Hope you get a few ideas out of it.

Scott
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Old 01-02-2010
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nice article. thanks!
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Old 01-08-2010
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Shocking!

He did a very nice job. Lots of good advice on routing the wires too. Right up to the point where he showed a pair of T&B crimpers for bare terminals being used on insulated terminals! DOH!

Gary H. Lucas
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Old 01-09-2010
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Gary- Thank you for the comment.

Maybe we should do a separate thread about successful crimps. I worked at Ocean Currents years ago and we tested every type of crimp tool we could find. The reason was we seemed to come across a lot of crimps that let the wire go. One of the worst seemed to be the ratcheting type criimper that flattens the crimp, but leaves the insulation in tact. The toothed crimp never seems to fail, but like you point out the insulation gets a hole in it.

What do you use? And has it ever come loose?

Scott
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Old 01-09-2010
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One of our own has a very clear helpful page about crimps.

All About Marine Wire Termination Photo Gallery by Compass Marine at pbase.com
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Old 01-09-2010
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Sarafinadh- Great link! Thank. I just added the link to the page on the end of wiring article.

Thanks for that.

Scott
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Old 01-09-2010
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Scott,
If I told you I've never had crimped connections fail, you should seriously question my expertise! I've done lots of crimped connections the way you show, because in a pinch when you don't have the right tool, it is certainly the best alternative.

The idea that an insulated terminal can be crimped until there is no air between the strands is bunk. No plastic exists that can take the pressure that requires. So an insulated connector is NOT going to be as mechanically good as a noninsulated connector. So putting heat shrink over a properly crimped bare connector would be the best of both worlds, but it takes longer. However electrical efficiency and mechanical strength are not the same thing. So how much mechanical strength do you really need?

I think the big issue with insulated connectors and crimpers is whether the tool was designed for the connectors, and is of good quality. I'd bet if you checked with Ancor they test their tools on their connectors and no others. Their engineering says that works, and they guarantee. Use someone else's tool or connectors and you have introduced a variation that no one can control.

I have been building electrical panels a long time time used crimped connections. The first was a control panel for unloading dry powders from rail cars 45 years ago, when I was 11. I'd been working with my dad, an electrician, during the summer when he got the job to build this panel. We drew up the electrical schematic together, and I actually wired it in the shop we had in our garage.

So over the years I've owned just about every crimper you have ever seen. I have a couple of very good ones though, that don't work worth a damn. My suspicion is that they are worn out, but don't look it, need some kind of adjustment, or only work well with specific connectors.
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Old 01-09-2010
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One thing that hasn't been mentioned here. MARKING your wires! One of the first things I teach new guys is that you should never do any wiring without marking the wires at every place they land. The purpose is to ensure you have landed the wires every place your drawing shows. You DID make a drawing first, right? When the fit hits the shan nothing saves troubleshooting time like a correct drawing! I've seen people wire a panel then go back and put the markings on. So you have it numbered right, but connected a wire wrong and it doesn't work, now what?

Some years ago I went to work for a company that built packaging machinery. I had just started, it was my second day , and they were trying to get a machine out the door but it wouldn't run. The guy doing the wiring asked for my help. I asked for the drawing and he started telling me how it was supposed to work. I told him to give me the drawing or fix it himself. I looked at the drawing and verified that the circuit would work. Then I started cutting and moving wires. I told him to try the machine now and it ran perfectly. He asked what I had done. I told him "I just made it look like the drawing!"
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Old 01-10-2010
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"One of the worst seemed to be the ratcheting type criimper that flattens the crimp, but leaves the insulation in tact. The toothed crimp never seems to fail, but like you point out the insulation gets a hole in it. "
Two points here: If there is a "tooth" then you probably have a staking tool, not a crimper. A crimper just compresses the fitting, a staking tool "drives a stake" into it. And while staking may be effective and a great way to make things fit with wrong sizes--it isn't the same as crimping.

Ratcheting crimping tools used to cost $50 and up, typically $100 and up, a bare ten years ago. There's a mess of cheap stuff coming out of China that is "made to spec" out of stamped plates (instead of a cast die) where the spec was written with invisible ink, driving the price down to $35 in the auto parts chains and I'm sure less from a certain "China's Finest" company. I think you'd find a properly adjusted, properly machined tool from Amp or Amphenol or even Palladin will make crimps that you can't pull apart.

And, the tools are designed either for bare or insulated crimps--those are two different size dies! Then there are the crimps themselves, a "proper" one will have a seamless copper inner sleeve, not just be a formed piece of tinned metal. No inner sleeve? Sometimes I wonder how anything from mixed vendors works at all. :-)
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Old 01-10-2010
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I'm not sure what the issue is, but I keep getting an error message in place of some of the images. I have tried Chrome V3.0.195.38, and IE V8 under Windows 7...

Here is an example from the webpage. I have underlined the error to help ID the issue;
Quote:
A typical 70-breaker panel takes about three days to completely re-wire. This same system also works on main battery cable distribution

Your browser may not support display of this image. Your browser may not support display of this image. Your browser may not support display of this image. Your browser may not support display of this image.

Sometimes the electrical system has been giving random trouble for a long time. Turn on an electrical device and it works this week. Next time nothing happens, causing frustration for the crew.
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