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Discussion Starter #1
I am wiring some new cabin lights and a car stereo system in my Catalina 22. what guage wire should I use? Do I have to use marine grade wire or can I grab some 14 or 16 guage from Walmart? Thank you from Seneca Lake NY, Andy
 

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Freedom 39
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Need more information to answer your first question. What wattage are your lights? How many are there? How long of a wire run will be needed?

Please use marine grade tinned wire if you want it to last.
 

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I have always used marine grade wire.

As FarCry said you really need to know the wattage / total amp draw on the system. Also one problem I ran into with my stereo was that it was having problems with voltage drop because the run was too long.
 

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Bender of Nails
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Short answer: unless you're trying to light it up like an operating room, I can't see a Catalina 22 having enough of a run to overload 14/2 AWG. Definitely use a tinned marine grade wire like Ancor boat cable. Marine 14 guage wire is '14 AWG' which is a slightly thicker conductor than the '14 SAE' that you'd get at wallyworld or an auto place. Additionally, the tinning on the wire keeps the copper from corroding from the ends inward.
Boat cable is handy because the positive and negative conductors are carried together in a common sheath which is really convenient for hookup, identification, and mechanical strength.

Also, the ABYC recommends yellow wire(aka 'safety wire') for the ground conductor instead of black because of the prevalence of AC systems on boats now.

The 'resources' section of the BlueSea website has tables that allow you to check your total draw against the length of the run (remember that's round-trip length) to figure maximum wire size for 10% allowable voltage drop (general) and 3% (electronics and critical equipment) but there's no escaping a bit of simple math.

Here's some reading to get you started:
Voltage Drop in Conductor - Wire Sizing Chart - Resources - Blue Sea Systems
Allowable Amperage in Conductors - Wire Sizing Chart - Resources - Blue Sea Systems
Remember too that this is for AWG wire, not SAE sizes and be sure to de-rate the wire a bit so the fuse/breaker blows long before the wire's ampacity is reached (that's your safety margin)

I'm no stereo expert, but with car stereos on boats I've found that the recommendations for speaker wiring seem meant for the comparatively shorter runs in a car - you won't regret going bigger on the power and speaker wires. My truck has 18 or 20 SAE speaker wire but the longest run is only 6'...
A 'mobile audio' forum is probably a good place to ask and they can address other stuff like noise filters and vibration damping. No offense meant to the folks here of course !;)
 

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The Blea Sea voltage drop page talks about assuming that the engine compartment is 50°C and the other compartments are 30°C. I don't think my boat ever gets to be 30°C inside.... what's the deal here?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you folks, would you use heat shrink tube as well as dielectric grease or is just one of them plenty?
 

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Proper

Do you have to used tinned wire? No.

Is it a very good idea to sue tinned wire? Yes!

Do you need to use heat shrink connectors? No.

Is it a very good idea? Yes!

Do you need to use dialectric grease? No.

Is it a good idea? Not with adhesive lined heat shrink connectors!



Proper crimping is critical to the entire system.

This will give you some more info.

Crimping Marine Terminations (LINK)

Also here is a great on-line wire gauge calculator:

Wire Gauge Calculator (LINK)

Also please don't buy wire from any of the big chandleries as most have been suckered into the Ancor scam.

Here are two exceptional sources for both wire and crimp connectors.

Sailors Solutions - Berkshire Wire

Sailors Solutions - FTZ Crimp Connectors

Sailors Solutions - Heat Shrink Crimper $39.95

or

Genuinedealz.com


These guys offer free shipping within the US..


 

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Bender of Nails
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You derate the wire if any part of the run passes through an engine room because of the reduction in ampacity as the ambient temperature rises. While maybe not in your case, the engine rooms of many powerboats can get pretty warm - it's just an attempt to come up with a universal set of rues.

MaineSail: Ancor scam ?
 

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MaineSail: Ancor scam ?
More to do with their pricing structure and packaging of brands. If a dealer does not choose to stock the Ancor line of wire and crimp products for example they (Marinco) yank the discount structure on Marinco and other the other lines.

They are like an 800 pound Gorilla and strong arm distributors constantly.

Why else do you now only see Ancor wire in places like Hamilton a chandlery who used to carry other brands of marine wire (Cobra) for about 1/3 the price..

Ancor is ABSURDLY over priced!

As of 2-28-09 chandlery pricing for 2GA battery cable per ft is:

2 GA Battery Cable
West Marine = $6.59 (Ancor)
Defender = $6.99 (Ancor)
Hamilton Marine = $6.03 (Ancor)
Genuinedealz.com $2.31 (NOT Ancor)

I pay $1.79 per foot for 2 GA Berkshire wire! Berkshire is made in the USA, generally of better quality than Ancor, and can still sell it for MASSIVELY less than what chandleries who bend over to Ancor can..

Between my price of $1.79 per foot and Defender's current pricing on Ancor of $6.99 that is a mark up of 390% !!!!! At the price available from Genuinedealz.com that mark up is still a 300% mark up!

Avoid buying Ancor at all costs as there ARE alternatives. We the boating public have been getting raped for years!! A 10-30-% difference in mark up is one thing but a nearly 400% difference is just offensive!

Just my .02..
 

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Maine, thanks for the consumer info... would have cost me an arm and a leg to learn that on my own :)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Maine Sail, wish I'd seen your post before I bought 30 feet of Ankor at 1.99 a foot at WM near my boat. I would have 70 extra feet for the same price. What about soldering rather than crimping?
 

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You're really better off crimping for several reasons. First, making a proper solder joint is much more difficult than making a good crimp with a good crimper. Second, solder tends to create hard points which are far more subject to fatigue-related failure on a boat. Third, in an extreme case, the solder can heat up in a short situation and leave a hot wire exposed, since solder is not considered a mechanical connection—this can't happen with a properly crimped connection.
 

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I have found another great source for marine wiring projects. I just finished completely rewiring my '74 Pearson 30. I ripped out all of the old wire, the old "panel", and the old AC. The cost was half of what I would have spent at WM. This guy even let me buy wire in less than 100' lengths at the spool price.

Take a look at Peter Kennedy Yacht Services - Marine Electrical Systems. Peter was very helpful answering all of my questions, had great customer service, and quick turn around and great prices on custom battery cables.
________
Pattaya condo for sale
 

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So I saw this post, and while I am referencing Don Casey's Sailboat Electrics Simplified, I still have this question: Can I have a wire that is "too big"? And I don't mean a 2 gauge(AWG) wire for a 25 watt light, but if I bought a 12 gauge wire to run my electronics (which include VHF, knot meter, cabin lights, small cabin fan, steaming light, running lights, bilge pump...and I think that is it actually), would that be a big enough gauge. And I also mean that they will be on separate circuits. Thanks in advance!
 

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Running wire that is slightly oversized is actually a good idea, if you can afford to do it. It will help protect the boat in case of a short, since the wire will be less likely to heat up and cause a fire before the fuse blows or circuit breaker trips. It also can give you expansion capability for future use. I generally recommend running wire that is at least one size, if not two, larger than what the circuit or equipment requires.

So I saw this post, and while I am referencing Don Casey's Sailboat Electrics Simplified, I still have this question: Can I have a wire that is "too big"? And I don't mean a 2 gauge(AWG) wire for a 25 watt light, but if I bought a 12 gauge wire to run my electronics (which include VHF, knot meter, cabin lights, small cabin fan, steaming light, running lights, bilge pump...and I think that is it actually), would that be a big enough gauge. And I also mean that they will be on separate circuits. Thanks in advance!
 

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Oh good, thanks! I'm about to dive into 100ft of Ancor Marine Safety Duplex Cable Wire 12/2 AWG, and with the simple electronics that I have, it should be plenty.
While we are on the subject (and I don't think it is possible to hijack this thread being a couple months old), I am rewiring the entire electrical system in my boat. Do you think it would be wise to install AC wiring as well, or just buy an inverter that can plug into a DC outlet? The most I will ever have requiring AC would be possibly a little window unit a/c and charging my laptop/phone. Thanks again.
 

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I wouldn't buy Ancor wire as it is generally way overpriced. I'd go with Berkshire cable, which is available from GenuineDealz.com.

If you're serious about installing AC on the boat, it would make sense to install a shorepower outlet and an AC battery charger, along with some outlets. The small inverters are great for small loads, but if you're at the dock, it would make sense to have a shorepower setup.

Basically, you'd need a shore power inlet plug, a shore power main panel, a GFCI outlet and a good AC powered battery charger.

For a battery charger, I'd recommend you go with an Iota charger, available here.
 

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I wouldn't buy Ancor wire as it is generally way overpriced. I'd go with Berkshire cable, which is available from GenuineDealz.com.
That's actually where I am buying from and only paying fifty cents more.

Basically, you'd need a shore power inlet plug, a shore power main panel, a GFCI outlet and a good AC powered battery charger.

For a battery charger, I'd recommend you go with an Iota charger, available here.
The boat is already set up with a plug, but it is just a plug that a normal extension cord connects to, which I know is not the same as a shore power connection. But should I still install the right connection while I am doing this, even if I decide not to install AC wiring? Another words, will I benefit from the connection if I only have DC?

I am just trying to get an idea of the things that I should do while I am at it to make things easier down the road...well, because I have never done this before and it is finally happening. :)
 

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The Berkshire cable is better than the Ancor IMHO. :)

Having a non-locking plug for the 110 AC shore power is not a good idea. If the cable accidentally gets unplugged and falls in the water, bad things can happen. There is a reason that marine power cords for shorepower systems LOCK into place.

Photos would help. :)
 
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