Living the dream
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Mackay Qld AU
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Rep Power: 12
Re: Is tinned boat wire necessary?
When I rewired my 30+ year old boar recently, the original wiring looked like figure 8 lamp cord. All still worked, but some was horribly corroded for a considerable difference from the ends whereas others were as pristine as the day they were installed. The thing with this old wiring though, was the insulation. It was as tough as nails (and not as in hardened with age) compared to the new stuff, of which some has such soft insulation I am actually cautious in using it in locations where even the remotest chance of chafe is possible.
Anyway, I digress. I was so impressed with some of the original wiring that I repurposed it and used dual core, double sheathed tinned wire of various capacities for the majority of the rest of the wiring. However, I do notice, as was mentioned earlier, that engine wiring - even outboards - is untinned and so is most likely all electronic's wires including some which are incredibly thin. With this in mind, I had no hesitation in running standard un-tinned automotive wiring (including trailer multicore!) when I needed colours other than the standard red black/white or wanted to run a multicored wire. I figure it will last 20 years inside the boat.
I tried to use waterproof crimp connectors, but with hundreds to do, I ended up just using the regular style for most connections with occasional heat shrink (which I think can be a double edged sword). Multi pin connectors and stuff with potential exposure to water were coated with either silicon or lanolin grease. All wires going to the outside of the boat are tinned, and connectors used externally are waterproof automotive types pumped with silicon grease for added protection. I even coat the MC4 solar panel connectors in silicon grease for protection, too.
So in summary, horses for courses. Some locations are not going to be a problem with corrosion and others are. The problem areas would be those connecting to exterior devices or those in runs that would make "servicing sewer pipes" preferable.