Proper way to tap into 12VDC wire? - Page 3 - SailNet Community
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post #21 of 49 Old 04-07-2013
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Re: Proper way to tap into 12VDC wire?

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Most boat builders, and marine electrical installers, will run a port/starboard lighting run and perhaps a third over head run. Each light is then pulled off the main feed in a parallel manner often using a two position bus bar.. Running an individual wire from the panel to the light is nice but not necessary if the lighting circuit is sized appropriately for the allowable voltage drop.
Is there a bus bar that allows you to clamp down on the supply wire without cutting it? Seems cumbersome to cut the supply wire each time you tap into a light on a run. Or...do you wrap the supply wire around one of the terminal screws? How about covers (these are hot lines, albeit, 12V) and corrosion? Do you have any pictures of a clean application?

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Some even ran one main feed up one side to the v-berth then across the v-berth and back down the other side of the boat. Ericson for example did this on many of their boats. By the time you get to the end with incandescent bulbs the voltage drop gets pretty high if the wire is not sized right....
That's the case on my Yankee, and I'm planning on re-wiring the lights (for other reasons). Thinking about running supply wires on Port and Starboard from the same switch (Limited panel space). Eliminates about 40 feet of wire (round trip).

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post #22 of 49 Old 04-07-2013
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Re: Proper way to tap into 12VDC wire?

Maine, all this time later I'm seeing you comment about Ericsson and thinking the same guy did a domestic cable and telephone daisychain I had the displeasure to meet. Saves wire, right. (sigh)

L, are you trying to add all your taps up front at the source? Or along the length of a longer run, at different points? "Additions" are pretty much always a compromise, unless you make home runs to the power distribution panel. Lots of options depending on what you are doing and what you'll accept as a compromise. (Cost, convenience, labor, got to finish today but the store is closed...)
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post #23 of 49 Old 04-08-2013
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Re: Proper way to tap into 12VDC wire?

You could try a Posi-Lock connnecter (Posi-Lock(R) - The Best Connectors You'll Ever Use!). They have one that can be used to tap into a line. Thanks. Steve S.
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post #24 of 49 Old 04-08-2013
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Re: Proper way to tap into 12VDC wire?

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You could try a Posi-Lock connnecter (Posi-Lock(R) - The Best Connectors You'll Ever Use!). They have one that can be used to tap into a line. Thanks. Steve S.
Looks perfect to me! What would the ABYC say?
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post #25 of 49 Old 04-08-2013
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Re: Proper way to tap into 12VDC wire?

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L, are you trying to add all your taps up front at the source? Or along the length of a longer run, at different points? "Additions" are pretty much always a compromise, unless you make home runs to the power distribution panel. Lots of options depending on what you are doing and what you'll accept as a compromise. (Cost, convenience, labor, got to finish today but the store is closed...)
I'm not adding anything, just trying to eliminate stuff like this from PO's (see picture). Definitely not doing home runs for each light (does anyone do that?).
Just diagnosed a problem and fixed it with a patch.
Short in lighting circuit affects radio?
I'm tired of patching and want to come up with a plan to do it right. Thats how I ended up at this thread.
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Re: Proper way to tap into 12VDC wire?

Well, the "gob it all in a wire nut and tape it over" school of design won't win any awards but it can be perfectly safe and effective for a very long time.

You can replace that with a small bus bar, or place multiple rings over a stud, although IIRC all the standards say no more than two rings on one bolt. I don't know any simple, cheap, elegant standard way to do it except a bus bar or distribution panel, or new wire runs back to one.
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post #27 of 49 Old 04-08-2013
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Re: Proper way to tap into 12VDC wire?

When I did my wiring I ran lighting to the head where I had a terminal block for lighting and mast wiring. That terminal block distributed lighting to the V-birth and Cabin and to the port side of the boat where I used another very small terminal block in the hanging locker to distribute to V-birth and cabin port side.

The small terminal blocks sort of felt like overkill but they really don't take up much space and didn't take much time to install.

That said in some places I struggled with heat shrink but splices but from now on, when it's convenient for non critical lighting I'll just twist the wires together and shrink tube them or wrap with self fusing tape. For places where but splices aren't needed I think that's fine.
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post #28 of 49 Old 04-08-2013
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Re: Proper way to tap into 12VDC wire?

If you really want overkill, how about one of these on each side of the boat, powered up by a breaker? Run a length of boat cable from the fuse box to each light. Each light will even have it's own fuse! You can't get safer than that.

I have one, powered up by the instruments breaker. Each instrument is then run off an individual fuse. Makes wiring tidy and easy.

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post #29 of 49 Old 04-09-2013
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Re: Proper way to tap into 12VDC wire?

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You could try a Posi-Lock connector (Posi-Lock(R) - The Best Connectors You'll Ever Use!). They have one that can be used to tap into a line. Thanks. Steve S.
The only connector they claim is water tight is the Posi-Tite in line connector. The Posi-Tap would be the connector that would work for my application.
Posi-Tap- No Crimp Tap .While they recommend some of the other connectors for outdoor lighting and marine use, it's not mentioned for the Posi-Tap. Guess I could seal it with liquid electrical tape, but it would make a mess of what was a elegant solution. Interestingly, they claim their Posi Twist connectors eliminate 80% of the resistance of crimp-on connectors. If accurate, thats a lot! But then...maybe you could say the same about regular twist locks, as the wires touch in the same manner.
Looks like you can only get them from Crutchfields. Has anybody used the connectors? What about the resistance claim?
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post #30 of 49 Old 04-09-2013
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Re: Proper way to tap into 12VDC wire?

I've ordered their inline connecters online from their St. Augustine, FL. office. Basically I have three ways to consider installations - convenience, cost, & criticality. Since this is cabin light wiring, convenience and cost carry more weight than criticality. Obviously connections exposed to weather or submerged connections require more protection than interior wiring. If you treat every installation as being critical you will run out of time, energy, and money trying to make them watertight enough for the bottom of Marianna Trench. Thanks. Steve S.
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