Proper way to tap into 12VDC wire? - SailNet Community

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Old 04-26-2012
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Proper way to tap into 12VDC wire?

I haven't seen this answered elsewhere.

What is the proper way to tap into a 12VDC wire on my boat?

My C-25 has one lead for cabin lights that goes to all of them; I'd like to tap into it and wire up 2 more. I can't see a way to do it that isn't an invitation to moisture and corrosion.

The automotive style with the forked blade that cuts into the insulation of both wires is not appropriate. Having a terminal block just for lights and running a separate lead for each light seems like over kill.

That leaves cutting the leads (+ and gnd) and using crimp connectors to make a 'T', but the connectors will not shrink and seal properly because one end will have 2 wires coming out.

Is there an approved way?

What if I twist 'em together really good and wrap that with tape?
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Old 04-26-2012
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Re: Proper way to tap into 12VDC wire?

Quote:
The automotive style with the forked blade that cuts into the insulation of both wires is not appropriate.
Why wouldn't the silicone filled version designed for outdoor and undercarriage work be acceptable...?
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Last edited by Squidd; 04-26-2012 at 12:57 PM.
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Old 04-26-2012
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Re: Proper way to tap into 12VDC wire?

I'd recommend a terminal block. A little more work, but a much better solution than the alternatives.
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Old 04-26-2012
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Re: Proper way to tap into 12VDC wire?

They make Y connectors.
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Old 04-26-2012
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Proper way to tap into 12VDC wire?

Consider using a step down crimp butt splice. Anchor sells them. For example 14awg to 16awg and put the two wires in the 14. As suggested you could put something in the two wire side to seal it. I've used hot glue for that and think it worked pretty well (and it dries quick). Just consider any drip paths (put in drip loops as necessary) and it should be fine.
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Old 04-26-2012
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Re: Proper way to tap into 12VDC wire?

I never liked crimp connections, but in a freshwater environment you can get away with them. In a saltwater environment they're nothing but grief.

If you have relatively good access to the area, strip about 1-inch of the insulation from the main wire. Strip about 1.5 inches of insulation from the other wire.

Next, carefully wrap the second wire around the bared area of the first, then solder the joint. After it cools, apply a couple coats of clear, silicone cement to the connection, making sure to overlap onto the insulation by at least 1/4-inch at each end. The connection will never corrode and the connection is as secure as it can possibly be.

Good Luck,

Gary
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Old 04-26-2012
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Re: Proper way to tap into 12VDC wire?

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Originally Posted by travlineasy View Post
I never liked crimp connections, but in a freshwater environment you can get away with them. In a saltwater environment they're nothing but grief.
Uh oh.
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Old 04-26-2012
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Re: Proper way to tap into 12VDC wire?

Obviously Gary never read the crimp vs solder thread or saw Maines 100#s of anchors suspended by a crimp terminal.
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Old 04-26-2012
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Re: Proper way to tap into 12VDC wire?

Quote:
Originally Posted by RXBOT View Post
Obviously Gary never read the crimp vs solder thread or saw Maines 100#s of anchors suspended by a crimp terminal.
Actually, I have. However, because I'm old and in-firmed, I tend not to believe everything I read and rely primarily on my own experiences. Having tried every connection method available for the past half-century, IME, soldering and sealing has never resulted in a single failure, and that's with 19 boats, all of which were used extensively in a saltwater environment. I have yet to have a crimp-connection, even the best, most modern sealed connectors, that did not eventually leak and wick up the wire, thus resulting in either reduced voltage, or eventual connection failure.

Different strokes...

Cheers,

Gary
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Old 04-26-2012
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Re: Proper way to tap into 12VDC wire?

Quote:
Originally Posted by RXBOT View Post
Obviously Gary never read the crimp vs solder thread or saw Maines 100#s of anchors suspended by a crimp terminal.
Or saw this...


The $6.00 crimp tool most people use:


A real crimp tool:




The method I use for what the OP wants to do is to use a terminal strip. If you absolutely can't fit a t-strip then a step down butt connector will work in a pinch.. I really don't like the three way connectors and the insulation slicing press on connectors do not last and often cause localized corrosion. I re-did an entire boat done with those at every light fixture last fall. Of about 12 3M press locks 2 were actually passing current....
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