Advice, please on crimping wire connections... - Page 6 - SailNet Community

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Old 08-25-2006
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Use the largest wire that you can fit into the space (conduit, access hole, etc.). Generally (very generally, Hellosailor is correct, it depends on the length, insulation temperature rating, etc.) 10 AWG is good for 30A, 12 AWG for 24A, 14 AWG for 16A. However, for long runs the voltage drop in the wire may rob power from the appliance so you may want to go to a higher gauge.

The breaker or fuse rating is generally matched to the wire gauge it protects. This means the largest breaker you should use with a 10 AWG wire is 30A. Smaller is OK but never larger. If you feed a smaller fuse with a larger breaker, the wire gauge to that smaller fuse needs to be the same gauge as the circuit wire. What this means is that if you are putting a 2A fuse in line to an instrument, and feeding that fuse on a circuit protected by a 30A breaker, the wire to that 2A fuse needs to be a minimum of 10 AWG. The wire from the fuse the instrument may be 18 AWG.

Match the wire to the breaker and the breaker to the wire. If you have a circuit that opens a breaker because of the amount of current draw, do NOT just install a larger breaker unless you check that the wire is rated for the current the new breaker will allow. If you have a 15A breaker or fuse on a 14 AWG service, and need more current, you will need to change the breaker AND the wire.
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Old 09-03-2006
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Hey, not to stoke the fires of you passionate-about-racheters...but I just read Don Chase's book on Maintanance, the this Old Boat guy, and he said old school crimpers are easier to use in a tight space. Racheting is better, but realistically, old school crimpers are more practical, given space issues.


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Old 09-03-2006
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I don't see any problem with someone saying that smaller, lighter, cheaper, tools are easier to use in tight spaces.

Of course, if the smaller lighter cheaper LESS RELIABLE tool causes another failure in that inaccessible place sometime when the boat is tossing around and you are shorthanded, you're gonna know why it sometimes makes sense to just do things the hard way.
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Old 09-03-2006
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Just remember that the goal in a crimp connection is to cold-flow the metal of the crimp connector and the wire to produce a gas tight joint. For cable larger then 8 AWG this is almost impossible without some kind of mechanical advantage that a good ratchet or hydraulic crimper gives. I am not a small man, I consider myself to have more then average strength, and I would not crimp a connection of a wire 8 AWG without a mechanical advantage.

Almost as important is to have a crimper that has a good die or crimp surface. The cheep ones will be narrow and flimsy, not worth the money. My set has a crimping surface of at lease 3/16”. There are ratchet crimpers that are not larger then the ones without; I have two sets that will crimp up to a 1 AWG wire and are about 9” long. They are available on the internet. There are also those that are up to 4’ long without the ratchet to give that mechanical advantage.

The moral is to use the tool appropriate to the application. Just as you should not use a pair of pliers to torque hex nuts, you should use the correct crimper you need for the job.

If you are crimping wire 10 AWG and smaller go ahead and use the type of crimper you are describing, just be sure to squeeze hard enough to cold flow the crimp.
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Old 09-04-2006
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I have read almost every post since the beginning of this thread and have some comments.
I do not think that soldered joints are as bad as you stated if you follow certain rules. The marine type wires are tinned that makes them good candidate for such operation. The best electrical characteristic has solder with 100% tin. However, it has also weak mechanical properties and can crystallize over the years. To improve the solder characteristics copper and silver is added. You should use SnAgCu type of solder. Now to the flux. First of all - NO ACID OR CHLORIDE FLUX can be used on electrical type connections. If you would like to make good, durable connections you should use solder with ROSIN core as flux.

I know that to make a good solder connection is not easy. The solder melting temperature should be in the range of 270 - 320C. It can't be too low because the connection can fail just after. If the temperature is too high you will melt the wire insulation and causes wire oxidization. It means that a properly made joint requires some experience. Crimping process is faster and requires less experince (sorry dave.). As for the mechanical strength of, say, 14AWG wire connection - good, adhesive filled heatshrink tube will do just perfect to make such connection impenetrable to water. If you are still hesitant - use two tubes (the external one slightly longer). It works perfectly on cables 230,000V ( when submerged in 4ft of water) so .. I think it will work on 12V too. It will not only make the joint waterproof but also add mechanical strength to the exposed wires. Properly made soldered joint should survive many years.

This are my 2c.

PS - I wouldn't leave a crimmped connector without some sort of stiffening of the whole assembly.
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Old 09-04-2006
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Geez now the Canadians are slagging crimps and harping about solder. Who's next? Any Australians out there?
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Old 10-03-2006
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Crimping tools and Shrink tube source

In my second career, I am a water well driller. I use alot of sta-con fittings and shrink tube. The best crimpers, in my experience are KLEIN pliers. Klein makes other hand tools, bit like Channel lock is known for their first and best. They do not strip, but they crimp both insulated and non-insulated fitting. They have excellent leverage and do a far better job than any crimper that is part of a stripping tool. Home Depot has 'em. On submersible pump cable, I use sta-cons. They are a continuous, or non-split barrel. Over that I use shrink tube with the adhesive in it. The shrink tube comes in various thicknesses and is good to 600 volts. I like the black, it's thicker. The clear is easier to center, not as thick, and easier to burn through. Both of these products are used for continuous submergence (30 yrs+) and work very well. Look for a water well/pump supplier in your area for them, or a driller would probably sell you some. I do not favor the plastic sheathed crimp fitting as the barrel is split on them and the plastic just holds water. Also, if you use good shrink tube over them, the heat rqrd to shrink the tubing melts the plastic also. The shrink tube, when cooled, does add some stiffness to the joint. While you're at the well supply house, pick up some Scotch 88 tape. It's the best, at about 5-7 dollars a roll, and is the only stuff that I've found that works in freezing temps. We used to use it before we went to shrink tube, and some guys still do. 3 wraps with the tape, over the sta-con, overlapping 1" on each wrap. Shrinks easier and faster. I rewired my Cal 21 last winter, and I ran everything in plastic conduit. Eliminates chafing in limber holes, you can stow gear on top of the conduit, and it keeps what wiring still in the bilges dry. Not that hard to do if you're doing the whole boat anyway.
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Old 10-04-2006
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Generally, I'd say the best crimping tools are the ratcheting kind. I got the one I use over at Home Depot for about half the price for the exact same tool at the marine stores. The crimp fittings with the adhesive-lined heat shrink tubing is key to well-protected connection in areas that have exposure to water. However, I highly recommend not running any wiring through the bilge. Doing so, and having any electrical current enter the bilge water can cause serious galvanic corrosion issues, that will rot out gear faster than just about anything else.

The only problem with the ratchet-type crimp tools is their size. In some cases, they're too large to fit easily into the area you need to crimp a connection.

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Old 10-04-2006
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Smile Dave and Dog Have It

Right. Way back when I was on the ABYC electrical standards team. We hashed it over and over again and again. There is no doubt that a properly soldered connection is better than a properly crimped connection.
Before I got into the boating industry I worked for Lear, and NASA all connections were soldered and had to be Inspected, for a proper connection. Remember flying machines shake and vibrate also. The consensus we came up with is It is eaiser to make a good crimp connection than a soldered one. For all the reasons mentioned by Dave and the Dog. I have seen so many slopy solder jobs done by so called pros it was a no brainer to make the crimp connection decision.

Fair Winds

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Old 10-21-2006
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connections anyone can make

not everyone has access to the professional tools to properly swage a connector on. most people have what is found in homer d poe or worst marine. the crimping most people do is nothing more than using a pair of pliers to crush a soft alloy around stranded wire, this is just a weak physical connecting that is eventually going to corrode and sever the connection. a good comprimise is to use the connector to hold the wire and solder to maintain the connection which in effect meets the standards mentioned in other posts. by stripping the wire just a little long to where the wire sticks out of the barrel just a little bit, then soldier the very end of the wire to the connector, then coating the connection with liquid electrical sealant intended for this purpose. please not this only works with tinned wire. untinned copper wire will corrode starting anywhere air or moisture comes into contact with the copper, then the corrosion wicks up inside of the insulation and can travel through the insulation from end to end.

good luck,

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