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  #1  
Old 02-19-2014
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Advice on installing NMEA 2000 field installable connectors?

Hi folks, does anyone have any special methods to REALLY ensure that the wires stay in their screwed in terminals in the N2K field installable connectors?

One idea I had was to solder them, but it looks like it would be a tight fit to try and get the wire, the soldering iron tip, and solder into that little space. Also I'm not sure how well the solder would bond to whatever metal the screw-terminal is made of.

Other ideas I have:
1) tin the end of the wires (with solder) and just screw it in like the instructions say?

2) maybe add a dab of blue loctite on the screw threads after the wires have been secured?

I know these connectors don't "need" to be soldered, but this connection will sit inside the base of my mast (as a disconnect for future mast-steppings). Once my mast is back up, it will be unreachable. That means there are 10 screw-in connections, in other words 10 opportunities for failure. I would be much happier knowing that the connection is as reliable as possible.

Any advice would be appreciated!
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Old 02-20-2014
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Re: Advice on installing NMEA 2000 field installable connectors?

I'd stick to doing it the way the manufacturer advises. Solder may not take well to the terminals and may melt the plastic as a bonus.

I would, however, coat the terminals in lanolin and add a zip-tied loop as a strain relief if possible. If I was really paranoid about corrosion I'd wrap the joint in self amalgamating tape as well although this would be a bit tricky to remove later.
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Old 02-20-2014
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Re: Advice on installing NMEA 2000 field installable connectors?

Soldering screw-in terminals....no, no, no. That is called "Please RTFM" or at least study up some on electronics. Captive screw terminals do not ordinarily loosen by themselves, if you have used the proper wire, and if you have torqued them properly. You could pick up a check 1/4" torque wrench for that, and get the torque spec from a manufacturer.

A dab of Loctite would be a good idea. One can easily argue that every screw fitting on a boat should be treated with either antiseize or a locking compound, period. Or you could take a hot glue gun, or a dab of silicon sealant (the kind that doesn't cure emitting acid fumes, doesn't smell like vinegar) and just put that over the screw head. Either one will pop out with minimal effort if needed.

A number of manufacturers supply silicone grease to dab the wire in, before you put it into the terminal. That's pretty much standard if you want the wire contact to stay corrosion-free as well.
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Re: Advice on installing NMEA 2000 field installable connectors?

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Originally Posted by ReefMagnet View Post
I would, however, coat the terminals in lanolin and add a zip-tied loop as a strain relief if possible. If I was really paranoid about corrosion I'd wrap the joint in self amalgamating tape as well although this would be a bit tricky to remove later.
After the screw terminals were secured and dabbed w/ loctite, I was planning on giving both sides of the connectors (screw terminals and the mating-pins) a quick spritz of T9 Boeshield. Is that decent? I'd prefer to avoid the gummy lanocote stuff in these little connectors.
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Re: Advice on installing NMEA 2000 field installable connectors?

Boeshield is for surface corrosion on metals, not electrical contacts. Stick to silicone grease (aka light bulb grease, high temperature vacuum grease, auto brake grease, ignition point grease) which will not migrate, will not evaporate, will not attack any metals or plastics in the assembly.

If you really want to seal it all up--after making Real Damn Sure it works--paint the whole thing with 3-4 coats of "Liquid Lectric" or vinyl tool handle dip. That seals it 100%. You can do that faster, if a bit more bulky, with silicone self-fusing tape or butyl self-fusing tape or "coax shield" tape. Silicone tape is also sold as "rescue tape" but for $10 at WalGreens you get three rolls in the "As seen on tv" section. Available at the hardware stores, in the plumbing section, at twice the price. The butyl self-fusing tape is in the electrical section. And the coax-shield only from electronics stores.

Any one of them will give you a long-term waterproof seal that can be peeled off later if need be. I'd expect the silicon grease (on the wires) and Loctite (on the screws) to be enough unless you're expecting active spray on the connector.
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Re: Advice on installing NMEA 2000 field installable connectors?

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Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
Stick to silicone grease (aka light bulb grease, high temperature vacuum grease, auto brake grease, ignition point grease) which will not migrate, will not evaporate, will not attack any metals or plastics in the assembly.
Is that the same as the silicone grease found in the plumbing dept (used for faucets, hose-bibs, etc)?

Or is the silicone grease used for electrical connections a different formulation?
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Re: Advice on installing NMEA 2000 field installable connectors?

I've used lanolin grease with excellent long term results, mainly because it is a natural product and more readily available around my way and has multiple uses on board the boat. It has a 70kV dielectric strength and I like the way it will migrate into nooks and crannies. It can even be heated until it melts and used as a dip. The times I have used silicon grease I found it a bit too firm for my liking, but that is just a personal opinion.

Back on subject, I wouldn't use a plumbing grease unless it specifically mentions suitability with electrical applications as it may contain incompatible additives.
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Re: Advice on installing NMEA 2000 field installable connectors?

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Originally Posted by ReefMagnet View Post
I've used lanolin grease with excellent long term results, mainly because it is a natural product and more readily available around my way and has multiple uses on board the boat. It has a 70kV dielectric strength and I like the way it will migrate into nooks and crannies. It can even be heated until it melts and used as a dip. The times I have used silicon grease I found it a bit too firm for my liking, but that is just a personal opinion.

Back on subject, I wouldn't use a plumbing grease unless it specifically mentions suitability with electrical applications as it may contain incompatible additives.
Ok, thanks!
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Re: Advice on installing NMEA 2000 field installable connectors?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Reefpoints View Post
Hi folks, does anyone have any special methods to REALLY ensure that the wires stay in their screwed in terminals in the N2K field installable connectors?

One idea I had was to solder them, but it looks like it would be a tight fit to try and get the wire, the soldering iron tip, and solder into that little space. Also I'm not sure how well the solder would bond to whatever metal the screw-terminal is made of.

Other ideas I have:
1) tin the end of the wires (with solder) and just screw it in like the instructions say?

2) maybe add a dab of blue loctite on the screw threads after the wires have been secured?

I know these connectors don't "need" to be soldered, but this connection will sit inside the base of my mast (as a disconnect for future mast-steppings). Once my mast is back up, it will be unreachable. That means there are 10 screw-in connections, in other words 10 opportunities for failure. I would be much happier knowing that the connection is as reliable as possible.

Any advice would be appreciated!
The wires coming down my mast extend alongside the compression post to the base of the post and then run into a dry locker. There I put a terminal strip and land all the wires. Terminal strip is inside a waterproof box. The NMEA 2000 cables do not have to be linked via the quick disconnects. NMEA uses standard DeviceNet connectors and most industrical installations of DeviceNet I have seen use terminal strips to land the wires unless the device is mounted outdoors.

If you are really concerned about the wires coming apart you could just soldier or crimp the individual NMEA2000 wires together and then cut them the next time the mast comes out.

Marc Hall
Crazy Fish - Maintaining, Upgrading and Sailing a Crealock 37
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Re: Advice on installing NMEA 2000 field installable connectors?

MarcHall,

That would be preferred, but the mast is about 100' from the boat right now. I won't be there to crimp/solder connections when the mast is re-installed. So, I have to have the connectors at the base of the mast and at the top of the cabin ready and waiting for the marina employees to assemble.
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