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  #41  
Old 01-10-2013
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Re: overwhelmed w/ electrical

Look guys, I'm not trying to be the wiring Nazi. But I have spent my entire adult life working on circuitry. I only want to prevent avoidable pain, and I know what I know because I had those lessons beaten into me the hard way. The OP is having electrical issues and he isn't strong electrically. Is he the guy who wants to be crawling around at sea with a flashlight in his teeth and a meter in his hand, trying to figure out why his breakers / fuses are popping or why his Nav lights won't come on when he's offshore and it's dark?

Butt splices are quick, cheap and easy. I get it. That's why they are sold everywhere- just like every other half-assed quick, cheap and easy solution. Would I put a heli-coil in a stripped out bolt hole on a diesel? Sure, if I didn't know how to fix it properly or there was no realistic alternative. Would you pay someone to do that? Why not? Heli-coil kits are sold everywhere, just like JB Weld and butt splices. All of which can last forever under the right conditions. But if you are trying to do the work properly, once and for all, is that how you'd do it? Would you pay me to do those things on your boat?

Last edited by ShoalFinder; 01-10-2013 at 02:22 PM.
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  #42  
Old 01-10-2013
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Re: overwhelmed w/ electrical

Quote:
Originally Posted by ShoalFinder View Post
One giant piece of advice: BUTT SPLICES ARE THE DEVIL. A butt splice is a crimp on connector that looks like a tube. You stick one wire in one end, crimp it, then stick another wire in the other end and crimp it. DO NOT USE THESE. EVER.
Simply false.... A better statement would be: "INSTALLERS WITH IMPROPER TOOLS AND USING DIME STORE TERMINALS ARE THE DEVIL"

Quote:
Originally Posted by ShoalFinder View Post
If you ever want to contemplate suicide, then spend some time troubleshooting an electrical system with intermittent failures, i.e. bad connections. It is darn near impossible.
Yep I do this every day and I don't find it impossible at all..

Quote:
Originally Posted by ShoalFinder View Post
Butt splices are a guaranteed point of failure and source of endless headache.
100% false. A better statement would have been: "INSTALLERS WITH IMPROPER TOOLS AND USING DIME STORE TERMINALS WILL CREATE FUTURE PROBLEMS"

The butt splice is not the issue the installation, product chosen or installer is the issue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ShoalFinder View Post
Butt splices exist to get you out of a jam, like a band aid.
Again incorrect information. They are used for everything from artesian well pumps to bilge pumps to macerator pumps or any wired device that comes with pigtails and can not be wired to a bus bar due to the nature of the environment. I personally don't like to see any open exposed bus bars below settee cushion level. When I do they are usually a source of issues. With bilge pumps and macerators being supplied with 8" and 18" pig tails an adhsive line butt splice becomes a beautiful 100% water proof solution.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ShoalFinder View Post
They are the mark of incompetence in any other application. The fact that you see them everywhere doesn't change that.
Incompetence? Hardly.... Do you owna well like MILLIONS and MILLIONS of Americans do? These MILLIONS and MILLIONS of Americans (Canadians too) relay of BUTT SPLICES 24/7/365 for 15 - 20+years for their water supply... Yeah how "incompetent"...

I am sorry that you've use improper tools or improper quality terminals that you've had such issues. That is sad. PROPERLY installed they cause NONE of the dooms day conspiracy stuff you speak of, NONE.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ShoalFinder View Post
In the event that you have to extend a wire because you cannot replace it, use two crimp on ring terminals with a #6 bolt/lockwasher/nut and then use vulcanizing tape to seal the connection.
Yeah that's usually my first sign of a Rube Goldberg boat.... Usually when I see that level of "quality" I have to start looking deeper and I usually find tons of other "Rube" issues..

I mean when I see well drillers doing that for well pumps that are submerged at 200+ foot depths and running 240V using two ring terms, a dissimilar metal bolt & nut and some rubber tape, well then I might consider it a "solution"........ I've had ZERO failures of butt splices in THOUSANDS of them. This is not an n=1 I install terminals every day... Installed approx 140 terminals (need to do the invoice for an exact number) in the last two days all heat shrink crimp. Probably 10 of them were butts, two on a macerator three on a bilge pump and a couple for some panel lighting..


Quote:
Originally Posted by ShoalFinder View Post
I would never suggest to extend a wire instead of replacing the run, but in 20 years of marine and factory electrical work, there are times when it must be done.
Yes it does have to be done. A boat last week would have entailed THOUSANDS of dollars in headliner removal, drilling bungs, refinishing etc. etc. or a PROPERLY installed butt splice. Which do you think the owner chose? The butt splice or the 100+ hour job of removing the entire headliner to replace one 14ga wire for a light fixture?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ShoalFinder View Post
If you have to relocate a panel: rather than extending the wires one by one, put terminal strips in the existing location and use it as a junction box.
IMHO all AC/DC panels should have a "back plane" to which the ship wires are affixed then as "snake" run over to the panel. Very few builders do this at the factory but some of the higher quality builders do.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ShoalFinder View Post
I'm not just a blowhard, although I may be that. My background: I began my career as a Navy Electrician. I then went on to a career in automation, controls and robotics, marine as well as manufacturing. In twenty years I have been guilty of doing all the stupid things I list above and I learned the hard way to avoid doing them again. Do the hard work up front so you can enjoy your boat down the road. Nobody wants a nightmare that just won't end, and nothing turns into that more than poor electrical systems.
All this experience yet you don't know how to source the correct tools and proper terminals to make one of the EASIEST and most ROBUST terminal connections out there...? Seems odd...???

Don't get me wrong I don't like to splice anything I don't have to, but some times you have to and a good quality adhesive lined butt splice, made with the PROPER tools will exceed mil-spec standards, (you mentioned the Navy) mine do.

Beyond that butt splices are and can be a better terminal. Why?

#1 QUALITY butt splices are made from solid extruded copper tube. Unlike a ring, spade or friction fit connector there is NO SEAM. They also are not even "brazed" seams unless CHEAP QUALITY. No seam in a crimp terminal is a superior from of construction to brazing or an open seam. Unfortunately ring and spade terminals can not be made from extruded solid seamless tube because they are stamped, then rolled, so they must be brazed. Brazed is still far superior to an open seam but not the same as solid extruded copper tube, which is what a "proper" butt splice is made of.

#2 Adhesive lined heat shrink butt splices are 100% waterproof when installed PROPERLY. Again we come back to the word PROPERLY. Anyone having the issues you claim to see is simply dealing with IMPROPER procedures or products. Adhesive lined heat shrink butts are one of the best for use on bilge pumps to prevent voltage leaks and corrosion. This is the SAME EXACT process used to power 240V well pumps submersed in water wells for 15-20+ years at a time.

#3 A ring or spade terminal still has exposed metal. When the metal corrodes it can creep under the adhesive line heat shrink and begin going to town. This does not happen on an adhesive lined butt butt splice. With rings or spades you need to coat the exposed metal with a terminal grease to get the longest life, not so with an adhesive lined butt splice.

Over the years I have probably installed thousands of them, where appropriate. I have never, ever had a single failure. Not one. Have I seen failures? Sure, and rings, spades, bullets and friction fits too. the ONE common denominator is that they were always IMPROPERLY installed or a non-suitable product for the use.

About the only draw back I know of is that they can be tough to trouble shoot, can't get probes on them, but a good tech has tricks that make it easy trouble shooting easy. I can normally spot a bad one a mile away just by the "foot print" left by the $2.00 tool that made the crimp. I simply cut it out, replace it, and move on.

But splices are no better or worse than any other terminal, and in many regards they are actually superior. However if you don't have to splice then don't...

Yep a SINGLE yellow butt splice made with 12GA wire and a reasonably priced ratchet crimp tool (about $40.00)..

With my AMP crimper that same terminal will hold over 190 pounds..
chef2sail, asdf38 and blutoyz like this.
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  #43  
Old 01-10-2013
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Re: overwhelmed w/ electrical

Quote:
Originally Posted by Argyle38 View Post
That doesn't make any sense at all. Butt splices use the exact same method of connection to the wire as ring terminals, therefore, their failure mode will be the exact same, failure of the crimp.
BINGO!!! I had lost failth in "common sense" you helped!!

Actually read my post above you'd you see that the solid copper tube or a butt splice is actually a better method than a seamed terminal. If I could buy non-seam yellow, red & blue ring terminals I would in a heart beat but the don't exist except in battery lugs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Argyle38 View Post
Actually, using two crimp on ring terminals bolted together introduces a third failure mode,
Again BINGO!!! You now have a "connection" that instead of two terminations now has THREE....


Quote:
Originally Posted by Argyle38 View Post
You still have the two crimps on the two wire ends, exactly the same types of crimps you would have on a butt connector.
OMG the common sense just keeps rolling...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Argyle38 View Post
I see no reason why a properly done butt splice would be any less reliable than a properly done splice using two crimp on ring terminals and a small bolt.
SF apparently has a very strong "bias" he picked up somewhere, perhaps the navy, that is simply not based in anything other than a bias.. Again PROPERLY made butt splices are as good or better than any other crimped termination...

BTW I have YET to see a builder of sailboats who did not have some butt splices on a new boat. All the way from Morris to Island Packet to Sabre to Catalina and everyone in-between used butt splices. Bilge pumps? WEMA fuel senders? Macerators? The list of devices that make use of butts a necessity for builders is pretty extensive. In-line fuse holders? Nah, who needs those.......

The first person who can name me one US sailboat builder, with factory installed AC & DC systems, who has never used a butt splice, and can back it up, I will send you a 10 pack of FTZ adhesive lined butt splices for free.
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Last edited by Maine Sail; 01-10-2013 at 06:28 PM.
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  #44  
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Re: overwhelmed w/ electrical

I'm very happy you have had good luck with them. I have not. You have your experiences and I have mine.

We obviously come from two different worlds, so I won't take offense to your obvious swipes at me. In my entire professional experience, using butt splices would be incomprehensible. Is that based on historically poor installation? Undoubtedly. But standards are standards. You operate in the world in which you live. My early years were spent in in environments where you would be fired for being in possession of an adjustable wrench.
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Re: overwhelmed w/ electrical

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maine Sail View Post
SF apparently has a very strong "bias" he picked up somewhere, perhaps the navy, that is simply not based in anything other than a bias.. Again PROPERLY made butt

BTW I have YET to see ONE builder of sailboats who did not have some butt splices on a new boat. All the way from Morris to Island Packet to Catalina and everyone in-between. Bilge pumps? WEMA fuel senders? The list of devices that make use of butts a necessity for builders is pretty extensive. In-line fuse holders? Nah, who needs those.......

If someone can name me one US sailboat builder who has never used a butt splice I will send you a 10 pack of FTZ adhesive lined butt splices for free.

You are right. Much of it is bias, and much of it is the codes I have had to meet. I haven't spent twenty years working on personal watercraft and digging wells on the farm.

We can disagree without the venom, don't you think?

As to the rampant use of butt splices by sailboat manufacturers, well that doesn't really prove anything does it? We are talking about the same guys who drill screws in a weatherdeck without bedding them.

I'm happy that you are happy with butt splices. I see them as a necessary evil. A butt splice on a new install? That is criminal on somebody's part. Actually, it's just cheaping out, but I repeat myself.
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Re: overwhelmed w/ electrical

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maine Sail View Post
If someone can name me one US sailboat builder who has never used a butt splice I will send you a 10 pack of FTZ adhesive lined butt splices for free.
Does this count? Rich Passage Minto Sailing Dinghy
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Old 01-10-2013
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Re: overwhelmed w/ electrical

Great picture of the anchors Maine hanging in the splice

A lot of electrical equipment comes new with a short run of wire for example VHF. mascerator pump, diaphram pump etc usually has a 4 ft length of wire so you have a choice if your run is 15 ft to the back of the panel. You can properly butt splice the two wires which came with the unit meaning heating shrink as well or you can take all the wires off and run 2 continuous wires to the panel, except you have get to put the inline fuse and splice the positive side anyway.

Properly done as you said its just as good an install. I dont go out of my way to use them, but there are times when it only makes logical sense,

dave
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Re: overwhelmed w/ electrical

Quote:
Originally Posted by ShoalFinder View Post
I'm very happy you have had good luck with them.
Why would I not? Can you please expound on the scientific termination differnces between a ring terminal, spade terminal, friction fit and bullet vs the butt splice. Please tell us why this crimp juncture is inferior to the others. We want the scientific explanation please...



[/QUOTE]

Quote:
Originally Posted by ShoalFinder View Post
We obviously come from two different worlds,
I live on Earth and you do and we're both sailors....


Quote:
Originally Posted by ShoalFinder View Post
so I won't take offense to your obvious swipes at me.
And I won't take offense to the fact that you called every US boat builder, myself, folks like Nigel Calder, the ABYC, NMMA, and every other competent person or organization on the subject grossly incompetent and "not qualified"..

Quote:
Originally Posted by ShoalFinder View Post
If one of my electricians or technicians ever used a butt splice in any vessel or any factory- they would be shown the door on the spot. Gross incompetence. It's the equivalent of a mechanic using pliars to tighten a bolt, or a carpenter beating in nails with a crescent wrench. That person is simply not qualified to work here, wherever "here" may be.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShoalFinder View Post
In my entire professional experience, using butt splices would be incomprehensible.
On solid copper wire the use of any crimp fitting should be incomprehensible. On shore the vast majority of wire is solid copper to which you simply don't crimp.

For multi-stranded wire, again, please give us the scientific differences between the crimp juncture of a butt vs. every other crimp terminal and why the butt is more failure prone or the "Devil".


Quote:
Originally Posted by ShoalFinder View Post
But standards are standards.
Speaking of standards can you please show us the source for the Mil-Specs that show a butt splice is "verboten"..?


I have the crimp testing Mil-Spec MIL-T-XXXX (I'll let you find it), the NASA crimping spec and USCAR crimping specs as well the ABYC specs. I know what they say and what they don't say.

Please show us where the Mil-Specs prohibits butt splices and why a butt splice is any less of a splice than a ring/fork etc. and then we can have a good discussion...

Quote:
Originally Posted by ShoalFinder View Post
You operate in the world in which you live. My early years were spent in in environments where you would be fired for being in possession of an adjustable wrench.
Well if anyone fired me for doing they'd they'd have a damn tough time in court backing up their grounds for termination. I'd win hands down with a wrongful termination case. Why? Because there is nothing to support your paranoia of butt splices being inferior to any other crimp.

Please bring us the science that shows butts are inferior to rings or forks or any other crimp terminal so we can discuss this without any biases and just the data.
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Re: overwhelmed w/ electrical

Quote:
Originally Posted by rugosa View Post
Well it should at least have an electrical system...
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Re: overwhelmed w/ electrical

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Originally Posted by chef2sail View Post
Great picture of the anchors Maine hanging in the splice
It's a great picture. You can do the same with a plastic tie wrap. Who wants to lay down and take a nice long nap under them? Nah. Me neither.



Quote:
Originally Posted by chef2sail View Post
A lot of electrical equipment comes new with a short run of wire for example VHF. mascerator pump, diaphram pump etc usually has a 4 ft length of wire so you have a choice if your run is 15 ft to the back of the panel. You can properly butt splice the two wires which came with the unit meaning heating shrink as well or you can take all the wires off and run 2 continuous wires to the panel, except you have get to put the inline fuse and splice the positive side anyway.

Properly done as you said its just as good an install. I dont go out of my way to use them, but there are times when it only makes logical sense,

dave

Totally agree. Just don't do a butt splice and then bundle thirty wires around it and then wrap it all up with electrical tape. Ten years later some poor schmoe who has no idea why he has intermittent power flickers will have no idea where to look.


I'm tapping out. It's crazy to continue arguing over butt splices of all things, so I'll stop. I am obviously in the minority here.

My whole intention of my original post was to warn a non-electrical Original Poster about the dangers of using butt splices. I stand by that. If nobody agrees then I'll just admit to being a crazy old coot. I'll just shake my cane at people who use them and say, "You'll be sorry, sonny! Maybe not today, or next week, but you'll be sorrrrrryyyyy!!!!"
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