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post #11 of 18 Old 06-09-2016
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Re: How to do basic electrical wiring?

We have a European boat so not all the colors are the same -- as someone who grew up on a farm wiring stuff this different color wires keep giving me more grey hair -- and I do not have a lot of non grey left -

but as most say - just remember water is everywhere and not your friend so be very careful and if in question ask someone - boaters as a rule are naturally helpful but sometimes 2 or 3 different opinions are good unless you know the person you ask

Just our thoughts and opinion
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post #12 of 18 Old 06-09-2016
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Re: How to do basic electrical wiring?

The electrical code posted by Denise is the ABYC SUGGESTED color code. ANY color code is acceptable, as long as it is documented, and the wires clearly labled.

Solid conductor wire is not allowed on boats. Stranded conductor is required. Tinned stranded is better than plain copper, but plain copper is OK.

Whenever possible, wires should not be run in/through the bilge. Electric bilge pump wires, transducer wiring, etc. must be run in the bilge.

All wire should be oil, fuel, and moisture resistant (proof). There should also be a heat rating for the insulation, given in celsius. Based on the heat rating, some wire is appropriate for engine room installation, some is not. The specification of the wire should be written on the insulation.

[EDIT] Running wire in an engine room environment decreases the wire's amp carrying capacity (ampacity). Consult an ampacity table for details.

While this is not a requirement, the best practice is for most connections should be made with ADHESIVE LINED HEAT SHRINK INSULATED CRIMPS. These crimps require the correct crimping tool. It is also OK to use non insulated crimps, and then to slide adhesive lined heat shrink tubing over the insulation, and to properly shrink the tubing to seal the connection between the crimp and the insulation.

Solder should never be used to make wiring connections. Solder makes the stranded wire behave as solid core wire (stiff/brittle). The heat from soldering can also damage the insulation.

Wire nuts should NEVER be used on a boat.

Wire connectors should be captive-type: ring / locking fork

With some exceptions, such as for battery cables, wiring should be supported / secured every 8 inches.

Again, with some exceptions, such as for battery cables (and I believe that there should be NO exceptions), every circuit should be fused, or have a breaker.

Save yourself some money and aggrivation and hire an experienced MARINE electrician to do your first few projects. Watch him/her work and ask questions. After a while, you'll get the hang of it, and can begin to make modifications yourself.


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post #13 of 18 Old 06-09-2016
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Re: How to do basic electrical wiring?

Applying the ABYC standards for marine wiring to your cars will make you a better automotive electrician. I use only marine components and adhere to ABYC standards when working on my motorcycle.


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post #14 of 18 Old 06-09-2016
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Re: How to do basic electrical wiring?

A couple random thoughts from when I refit and completely re-wired my 28-footer.

1. You mention "breaker" but for 12 volt circuits, I would not dismiss using fuses instead. Panels are much cheaper (esp if you'll consider used, say from eBay). I completely rewired (12 volt) my boat with 15 circuits with properly-sized fuses, saved a fair amount of money, and have had no problems (I carry plenty of inexpensive EBay-sourced spare fuses, though haven't need them in 3 years and counting).

2. As others have suggested, I also used all heat-shrink connectors and marine-grade duplex 12 or 16 gauge stranded tinned wire, depending on the circuit and labelled each wire run with a reference number.

The point of this was that when I launched and required an insurance survey, the first thing he looked at was the electrical system. When he saw the work neatly and properly done, his comments and demeanor immediately indicated I'd skate through the survey. I daresay a prospective buyer's surveyor might reach the same positive conclusion.

Consider the modest additional cost of doing it "right". Crawling all over the boat to run cheap non-marine wire with connectors ill-suited for marine use is, in my opinion, a false economy.
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post #15 of 18 Old 06-10-2016
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I've heard more than one person say they finds more reliable and easier to troubleshoot than breakers.
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post #16 of 18 Old 06-10-2016
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Re: How to do basic electrical wiring?

Quote:
Originally Posted by eherlihy View Post
Applying the ABYC standards for marine wiring to your cars will make you a better automotive electrician. I use only marine components and adhere to ABYC standards when working on my motorcycle.
Good to see that after all the above posts that you have finally mentioned the ABYC standards.
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post #17 of 18 Old 06-10-2016
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Re: How to do basic electrical wiring?

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Originally Posted by basssears View Post
I've heard more than one person say they finds more reliable and easier to troubleshoot than breakers.
Fuse or breaker - same same - it's all duck soup simple to trace with a DMM.

Use whatever you like for overcurrent protection. Fuse or breaker. I'll completely echo using marine wire, quality heat-shrink connectors, and the right crimper for the job. (look at MaineSail's articles about crimpers)
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post #18 of 18 Old 06-10-2016
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Re: How to do basic electrical wiring?

I like Charlie Wing's Boatowner's Illustrated Handbook of Wiring. It gives the ABYC standards which will answer a lit of questions. Recommend buying a ratcheting crimper.

Walt Elliott
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