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Old 06-11-2012, 12:54 AM   #1
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Bonding wire connecting zinc broken

The starboard bonding wire that connects to large divers dream zinc has broken off. My bottom scrubber had noticed that while the port zinc deteriorates normally while the starboard hardly changes. He suggested I check the bonding wire. Sure enough, the "hoop" wire connector is broken off.

It seems like the permanent fix is to pull the bolt at the next haul and reconnect but with luck, my next haul isn't for 18 months.

In the meantime, what is my fix? Can I sodder the wire to the bolt? A clip?
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Old 06-11-2012, 06:31 AM   #2
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Put a new connector on the wire and put it under the bolt.
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Old 06-11-2012, 09:19 AM   #3
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If I understand the problem, you have no way to place the the new wire/connector under the bolt because it would require removing the bolt that passes through the below water transom. My sense is that it would be difficult to make an effective solder connection to the inboard head of the bolt. I think you would have a better chance with some sort of clamp tightly fixed to the head of the bolt. You might check for small grounding clamps at Home Depot for example. Another option might be a copper strap tightened around the bolt head. I guess I would start by making sure that the bolt head is really clean enough to make an effective electrical connection.
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Old 06-11-2012, 10:34 AM   #4
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Another thought would be to simply splice the broken off cable to the one that is still connected to the other "live" zinc. This should do as a work-around until you haul to repair properly. Just keep an eye on the single "live" zinc for accelerated wear.
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Old 06-11-2012, 11:10 AM   #5
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The starboard bonding wire that connects to large divers dream zinc has broken off. My bottom scrubber had noticed that while the port zinc deteriorates normally while the starboard hardly changes. He suggested I check the bonding wire. Sure enough, the "hoop" wire connector is broken off.

It seems like the permanent fix is to pull the bolt at the next haul and reconnect but with luck, my next haul isn't for 18 months.

In the meantime, what is my fix? Can I sodder the wire to the bolt? A clip?
I've read your post over and over and to me, it's not really clear exactly what you are trying to say. Perhaps you could post a photo of the broken connection. That would help.

I will say this though, you won't have any success trying to solder a heavy wire onto a large bolt that's connected to a piece of metal imersed in water. All that metal and water will conduct the heat away from the connection you are trying to make.
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Old 06-11-2012, 11:21 AM   #6
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I've read your post over and over and to me, it's not really clear exactly what you are trying to say. Perhaps you could post a photo of the broken connection. That would help.
I can't imagine why you would expend the effort. In the time he took to post the message he could have just as easily have effected a solution.

Message to the OP: Its not rocket surgery. Hook the wire up somehow. If you can't fix it perfectly now, fix it half-assed and fix it right when you do the haulout.
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Old 06-11-2012, 11:35 AM   #7
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Normally that is a stud with a washer and nut on both sides. Then the zinc is held with another nut on the outside and the bonding wire eye with another on the inside. If it is in fact a bolt you and your diver can replace it with a stud with less than a quart intrusion.
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Old 06-11-2012, 11:41 AM   #8
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You could have had the diver pull the bolt if it is under the water.
there is formula for how fast water will enter a boat depending on hole size and depth under water. A bolt 6" below the water would be easy to replace. The bilge pump should easly take care of any ammount of water that came in.

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Old 06-11-2012, 11:48 AM   #9
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I would not try to remove an underwater through bolt or stud because even though the amount of water entering would be small, it would be impossible to properly seal the bolt when reinstalling it.

There are probably a dozen ways to reconnect the wire until a permanent repair can be made. A photo will make it clear.
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Old 06-11-2012, 12:01 PM   #10
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I replaced a bolt on a rudder post in the water. A little 5200 she sealed up fine. No leaks for a year now. That was on the bottom of the boat.

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Old 06-11-2012, 12:11 PM   #11
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There is no way this problem warrants doing anything in the water. Tie off the two internal leads to the one good zinc and be done with it until you haul.
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Old 06-11-2012, 12:55 PM   #12
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Awesome suggestions guys, I appreciate it. I'm a smart guy, just ask me, and it didn't even occur to me to tie into the other side. Going to try the grounding clamp first...didn't think of that either.

I will be down there Tuesday, I'll take a before and after photo. The whole adventure would be easier if I had a midget to do the work for me, going to be a bear to get down there.
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Old 06-11-2012, 01:37 PM   #13
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Message to the OP: Its not rocket surgery. Hook the wire up somehow. If you can't fix it perfectly now, fix it half-assed and fix it right when you do the haulout.
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Old 06-11-2012, 01:37 PM   #14
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Both of those wires (to both zincs)originate where the grounded, ungrounded conductors and dc negative bond. So connecting them is going to do what? Leaving that zinc(anode) out of the system will raise your hull potential voltage creating serious problems that exist right now..

Boat Life Life caulk will cure underwater. No problem. You do not have a unique problem. Normally what happens is the stud breaks on the outside when the diver is changing the zinc. This seriously a 5 minute, no problem, done everyday fix.

Just my opinion, based on doing this for a living for 25 years.

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Old 06-11-2012, 02:50 PM   #15
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+1
+2...you gotta give it to this crowd...everyone's a genius!!

All you need is continuity and that the wire will stay attched long enough to effect a more permanent repair...

An alligator clip will suffice...if it doesn't work, there's 100 more ways to skin that cat....think it through or call a pro...you have enough suggestions here to warrant a bottle of aspirin...
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Old 06-11-2012, 02:57 PM   #16
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I would not try to remove an underwater through bolt or stud because even though the amount of water entering would be small, it would be impossible to properly seal the bolt when reinstalling it.

There are probably a dozen ways to reconnect the wire until a permanent repair can be made. A photo will make it clear.
I think underwater sealants have been around for the better part of 50 years.

In Florida...they have been replacing thruhulls with divers for at least the last 40 years.
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Old 06-11-2012, 05:42 PM   #17
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I'd use a clamp of some sort even a vice grip pliers to fasten the wire to the bolt head. Then do a proper fix during the next haul out.
If it is a stud and not a bolt the solution is easier.
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Old 06-14-2012, 01:56 PM   #18
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So I bought one of those bronze grounding clamps that you use to ground your electrical panel at home, replaced the screws with stainless, pulled the bed apart and there is no flippin way I can even get close to it. I'm 6'1" and 285. I pawned it off on my 180 pound maintenance guy. We'll see how he does!
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Old 06-14-2012, 02:00 PM   #19
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You need a boat dwarf!! My wife is only 5ft tall and can fit into very tight spaces.
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