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  #31  
Old 04-11-2013
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Re: Proper way to tap into 12VDC wire?

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Originally Posted by asdf38 View Post
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.
Thanks for this, I like the approach.
I ordered 2/10 boat cable which I'll run from the panel to a terminal block midships on Port and Starboard. From the blocks, I'll run lighter guage wire to each light using heat shrink butt connectors. I'll also run the grounds from the bow nav lights through the blocks. Bought a couple of project cases from Radio Shack to house the blocks. If (when!) I have a problem with any of the lights, this system should make diagnosis and repair easy.
Thoughts?
Edit: Using shrink tube butt connectors, NOT twisting the wire. As I indicated, I already have that sytem!

Last edited by L124C; 04-12-2013 at 03:32 AM.
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  #32  
Old 04-11-2013
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Re: Proper way to tap into 12VDC wire?

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Originally Posted by asdf38 View Post
.... in some places I struggled with heat shrink butt 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.
Sounds like a future problem to me. Twisting wires together works with single strand romex - in a house - but stranded wire will not stay as tightly twisted.

Use proper butt splices before the heatshrink.
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Old 04-12-2013
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Re: Proper way to tap into 12VDC wire?

Twist and tape, or simply twist, is the kludge to get home. If you're going to twist wires at least put a properly sized WIRE NUT on top of them. Yeah, it gives surveyors heart attacks but it works an awfully long time, even if you haven't put grease in it or taped it over.

If you're too broke-assed to have a full range of proper marine monel alloy pre-greased wire wraps on board, at least buy the dollar bag from the hardware store and pretend.
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Re: Proper way to tap into 12VDC wire?

I agree a wire nut is better than just twist and tape, but wire nuts have no place on a boat either except for possible emergency use.
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Old 04-12-2013
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Hugh?

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Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
If you're too broke-assed to have a full range of proper marine monel alloy pre-greased wire wraps on board, at least buy the dollar bag from the hardware store and pretend.
What are these? I've never heard of them? Goggled the term and came up with nothing. Felt a little like one of my apprentices when I tell them to go get me a Sky Hook!

Last edited by L124C; 04-12-2013 at 03:11 AM.
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Old 04-12-2013
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Re: Proper way to tap into 12VDC wire?

L, you won't find the monel wire nuts on the civilian market. They're only sold to authorized personnel, along with the thimble-sized thermite fusion welding cups. (Remove lid from thimble, insert both wires, set off thermite. Voila, wires are fusion welded.)

In the Adult Special Tools section, along with the explosive flush bung cutters for those with many teak deck bungs to reset.
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Old 04-12-2013
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Re: Proper way to tap into 12VDC wire?

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Originally Posted by mitiempo View Post
I agree a wire nut is better than just twist and tape, but wire nuts have no place on a boat either except for possible emergency use.
I disagree, a wire nut is worse because it completely prevents the joint from being properly sealed. Adhesive shrink over twisted wire (with the twist folded parallel to one of the wires) is a decent and compact connection when such a thing is needed for non-critical circuits.

Also I don't think tape should be used for almost anything. I used some gorilla tape for some abrasion protection in a few places and already regret it. And electrical tape is honestly the worst. Self fusing tape or heat shrink should always be used instead of adhesive tape in my opinion.

Further, I don't currently have a single joint like this. I invested in 100% anchor brand adhesive crimp terminals and butt splices. But one connection I had in mind specifically were my alpenglow lights which came with frustratingly short wire leads. Further, I botched that crimp twice because it was such a pain and each time had to cut off the butt splice and lost even more wire. Had I twisted and shrunk it would have gone more smoothly all around and I have complete confidence it would be reliable.

That's just my thought. I agree it's generally a bad idea so I don't fault people for saying that.

Last edited by asdf38; 04-12-2013 at 12:11 PM.
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Re: Proper way to tap into 12VDC wire?

Both wire nuts and twisted/tape connections are emergency get home solutions. Wire twisting and wire nuts both work best on single strand wire (Romex), which should never be used on a boat anyway.

The neatest solution is a step down butt connector with 2 wires on the large side and the single wire on the small side, covered with adhesive heat shrink. Even then it is hard to seal the 2 wire end with the heat shrink but if it is long enough it works.

Or terminal blocks which I use most often for this.
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  #39  
Old 04-27-2013
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Re: Proper way to tap into 12VDC wire?

Thanks to ideas in this thread, I think I came up with a pretty good solution. Mounted boxes midship, Port and Starboard. The boxes came from Radio shack. Plastic with a aluminum plate cover. Not sure why they do the aluminum as it's redundant, but used it anyway. Drilled a 3/4 hole in the boxes and used a 3/4 rubber grommet to the protect wires. Used 2/10 wires for supply/return from the switch at the panel to the terminal strips. Had a lot of 2/18 I purchased before I knew you don't use 2/18 on a boat, so I used it to run from the terminal strip%
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Last edited by L124C; 04-27-2013 at 05:55 AM.
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Re: Proper way to tap into 12VDC wire?

Rat Shack probably included two front panels because it takes up less inventory than two types of boxes. If you are installing switches or sockets in the box, aluminum is less likely to break when you tighten them down. Did you have to go to the "adult only" section in the back of the store to buy them? (G)

You might also want to put a couple of large zip ties on the wires just inside the box, next to the grommet. That makes them too wide to be pulled back out, ensures that anything tugging on the wire run can't pull something loose in the box. Cheap insurance.

"Real" wiring hardware has options to actually clamp the wires where they pass through, but finding that at Rat Shack, haha, not these days, except maybe for AC power cords.
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