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Old 08-11-2019, 02:59 AM   #101
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SDA: Sdowney, some good comments and an opportunity to further expand on issues with solder, my responses follow:

Never seen a wire snap off yet becuase it was soldered.

SDA: I have, on several occasions, especially in high current applications. It is prohibited by ABYC for exactly this reason, it can and does happen.

If any solder flows down a wire hardening it, the unsoldered wire is the relief for movement.

SDA: Provided it is free to move, if it's bundled or secured with a P clip it is not free to absorb movement where there is no solder.

And few wires I soldered ever wicked solder.

SDA: Marine grade Type III wire, which is finely stranded, and preferred where there is any chance of movement (essentially anywhere aboard a boat) wicks solder readily. Type III #12 wire for instance, has 65 strands, Type II has 19 and is IMO too coarse for reliable marine use.

I have serviced a lot of electrical equipment and every wire is soldered to a board, including inside generators and never seen it happen. If you told the designers of the equiptment you could not solder wires they would laugh you right out of the building.

SDA: "Electrical Equipment" and boat system wiring are very different. ABYC does not prohibit the use of solder within enclosures, radios, inverters, radars etc. Those are mass-produced production components. What they prohibit is a boat owner, builder or marine electrician from making custom soldered joints at electrical panels, junctions, and terminals.



If a poor screw connection is causing wire to get that hot to melt solder and the wire falls out of a terminal, that would be a good thing,

SDA: Not necessarily, if the wire is energized and makes contact with a grounded surface, or worse make a connection between the AC and DC system, that would be far worse.

breaking the connection, never seen it happen. I have seen electrical plugs which are not soldered overheat and melt and they stay together, is a bad thing.

I have seem lots of old crimps and there are usually corroded wires where they meet terminals., and the corrosion can cause the strands to break, seen the insulation pull back from a crimp exposing wires which then have no support == broken strands. I prefer to remove the plastic off a crimp and use heat shrink. Never seen that fail or corrode.

SDA: You can buy heat shrink terminals, not sure why you would remove existing insulation from a solderless terminal, seem tedious. Or, if you are looking to augment strain relief either use double crimp terminals, which include insulation strain relief, or add heat shrink over the existing terminal's insulation.

I have worked on cars a lot, used to be a mechanoc, facts are the plugs, sockets where wires join to wires are always the worst failure point. The terminals loosen up due to heat from current flow over many years, high resistance develops, then the whole plug starts melting and the wires and terminal corrode and it fails.


SDA: Those are less common on boats, at least the ones that are not mass produced. You see them for engine harnesses, most every other connection is essentially custom made, using solderless terminals, and they are extremely reliable of done correctly (virtually every military and civilian aircraft uses these, they do not use solder).

And some of those failures are very hard to find, everything may look ok, but you get intermittant connections. Had that on an Isuzu Trooper, one of the wires for the TPS in the plug for the engine computer, failed due to it must have gotten too warm or just lousy design , spring contacts fatigued. The fix that worked was soldering a long jumper wire around the 3 wires at the connector, had to open the computer and trace the circuit board for the TPS and it never was a problem again. High current plugs are especially bad, devices like blower motors....

I just installed a new radio, OEM power wires were too short by about 3 feet. I took some 14 gauge wire, and twisted the ends together inline and soldered them together, then heat shrinked it, and it will never be a problem. Any needed flex will be provided by several feet of wire on each side of a 1/2 inch long solder connection point. Now if I took pliers and grabbed the wires at the soldered joint and started bending them back and forth the connection would break eventually. Who is going to do that. Same breaking apart would happen with a crimped but.

SDA: While this may work, the reliability of such a connection depends a great deal on the soldering skills of the Installer, and if you've ever tried to solder where there was even a gentle breeze, on a fly bridge for instance, you know it's very difficult indeed. You could have made the same connection far more easily, safely and reliably using a high quality, heat shrink if you like, solderless butt connector. No boat builder or marine electrician I know uses solder.


However incompetant solderers should not solder anything. Its a learned skill you have to get through years of technical training to achieve competance, yeah sure it is,

SDA: I agree, an unskilled solderer can get into a lot of trouble very quickly.
However, "years of training"? I believe that's a bit of an exaggeration. But if that were true it makes a very good case against soldering.


(in Kaohsiung, Taiwan)
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Old 08-11-2019, 09:19 AM   #102
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[I]
However incompetant solderers should not solder anything. Its a learned skill you have to get through years of technical training to achieve competance, yeah sure it is,

SDA: I agree, an unskilled solderer can get into a lot of trouble very quickly.
However, "years of training"? I believe that's a bit of an exaggeration. But if that were true it makes a very good case against soldering.


(in Kaohsiung, Taiwan)
Somewhat spoken in jest. Not just anyone can solder is true, but this can be learned.

Older wires get enough corrosion sometimes under the insulation, the solder wont wick in there. I know, I have an boat from 1970. And I have tried to solder some old tined marine Anchor wire, and it was difficult, even though it looked clean, I think due to invisible corrosion. I eventually used some Oatey plumbing flux, then it soldered, and cleaned it with running water and rubbing alcohol.

All rigid wires break eventually argument is not accurate. If that is so, rigid terminals would all be breaking, many of the smaller ones are not much stronger than the wires that are attached to them. And I have seen very few of them broken, those are more likely to break than an inline soldered joint.
I have never had an inline soldered splice fail.

Honestly, if your overloading a circuit so it gets so hot a wire melts loose, your not properly wiring you boat, either the wrong breaker, the wrong wire gauge, exposing terminal strips to salt water, something your doing wrong. If its getting that hot its a fire hazard even with a crimped only connection.


And boats still have sockets and plugs, the biggest problem ones are the shore cables and sockets, just like any plug, and none of those are soldered. If there was no plug, if it was permanently properly soldered there would be no overheating and fires, course that wont work as you have to unplug. A soldered wire splice increases the wire gauge at that spot, so its extemely unlikely to overheat and melt loose.
The problem is simply bad terminal connections to busses. not the soldering.

Solder wicking travels maybe 1/4 inch under the wire insulation, if that. If you feed in too much solder, you could have more, but that is also in your lack of experience.

Another thing I just remembered, anytime I have dropped a loose wire from a strip and it happened to touch in a way that caused an arcing short, the breaker or fuse tripped off cutting the power off to the wire. If your wire falls out of an overheated joint, and its live, and it arcs and shorts, you better make sure all your wires are properly over current protected, if not then you got a bigger problem, like a fire is about to occur.
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Old 08-11-2019, 11:20 AM   #103
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It is amazing...

Why not just use a proper crimp on connector and be done with it?

I dont use crimp on because they are "subject to water intrusion" Hmmmmm, didnt I hear that somewhere earlier...???
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Old 08-11-2019, 05:22 PM   #104
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I have never had any issues with water intrusion using crimp on connectors, but then I use heat shrink ones...
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Old 08-11-2019, 07:43 PM   #105
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There are many comments about wire nuts failing, mostly by many who never ever used them. I did electrical contracting at one time in my life and used a ton .....well make that many of them over the time I was involved. And yes, I had both journey man and a master licenses.

A properly installed wire nut twisted with a pair of line mens pliers will provide a firm solid connection, one that you will not loosen in most cases without resorting back to using line menís pliers again. They hold! Vibration? If there happens to be enough vibration as many think needed to cause a properly installed wire nut to loosen it most likely will cause the wire to fail from fatigue before anything happens to the connection.

Now back to crimps and I am sure the problems they introduce are mostly ignored. To be sure they are properly installed, a special tool must be used, not the cheapies found in big box stores. I agree that a boatís wiring should be installed to meet standards and wire nuts most likely are not there although as I mentioned above, I am not a believer of vibration failures. And I admit, a butt connection just looks nicer than wires bundled together for a wire nut.
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Old 08-12-2019, 12:01 AM   #106
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There are many comments about wire nuts failing, mostly by many who never ever used them. I did electrical contracting at one time in my life and used a ton .....well make that many of them over the time I was involved. And yes, I had both journey man and a master licenses.

A properly installed wire nut twisted with a pair of line mens pliers will provide a firm solid connection, one that you will not loosen in most cases without resorting back to using line menís pliers again. They hold! Vibration? If there happens to be enough vibration as many think needed to cause a properly installed wire nut to loosen it most likely will cause the wire to fail from fatigue before anything happens to the connection.

Now back to crimps and I am sure the problems they introduce are mostly ignored. To be sure they are properly installed, a special tool must be used, not the cheapies found in big box stores. I agree that a boatís wiring should be installed to meet standards and wire nuts most likely are not there although as I mentioned above, I am not a believer of vibration failures. And I admit, a butt connection just looks nicer than wires bundled together for a wire nut.
I probably won't change the minds of die hard wire nutters, but I may sway those who are on the fence;-)

It's not only a vibration issue, in order to comply with ABYC standards, solderless crimp connectors must also meet "pull test" requirement, one most wire nutted connections cannot meet. A #12 wire, for instance must endure 35 pounds of pulling force.

I worked my way through college as a commercial electricians' apprentice. One of the biggest differences between land-based and sea-based electrical systems is the flexibility of the wire. A land #10 wire might have 6 large strands, while a marine #10 wire may have 70 strands, making the latter far more flexible. That alone has a huge impact on these systems, buildings don't move (usually), boats do, a lot, and not just vibration, but G forces of falling off of and impact waves. I've seen improperly secured batteries become airborne, in fact I've been airborne if not holding on while sitting in helm seats in heavy seas on a number of occasions. Marine applications have a higher standard than those ashore with very good reason. Wire nuts simply don't measure up to the requirement.

Also, high quality solderless terminals are annealed, making them more flexible and less likely to fail due to movement. The range of quality and features in solderless terminals is nearly endless, you usually get what you pay for, seamless brazed barrels, nylon insulation, double crimp, mil-spec compliant and bell-mouth cost more, and are worth it.

A good quality Klein or Chenelock (my tool of choice because the insulated die is closer to the tip of the tool) crimping tool is $28 and $22 respectively on Amazon, a small price to pay for making good connections.

(In Kaihsiung, Taiwan)
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Old 08-12-2019, 06:21 AM   #107
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A good connection is both electrical and mechanical.

Good crimp connections are made when the wires are forced to cold flow which assures the electrical portion of a good connection is made.
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Old 08-13-2019, 04:56 PM   #108
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I probably won't change the minds of die hard wire nutters, but I may sway those who are on the fence;-)

It's not only a vibration issue, in order to comply with ABYC standards, solderless crimp connectors must also meet "pull test" requirement, one most wire nutted connections cannot meet. A #12 wire, for instance must endure 35 pounds of pulling force.

I worked my way through college as a commercial electricians' apprentice. One of the biggest differences between land-based and sea-based electrical systems is the flexibility of the wire. A land #10 wire might have 6 large strands, while a marine #10 wire may have 70 strands, making the latter far more flexible. That alone has a huge impact on these systems, buildings don't move (usually), boats do, a lot, and not just vibration, but G forces of falling off of and impact waves. I've seen improperly secured batteries become airborne, in fact I've been airborne if not holding on while sitting in helm seats in heavy seas on a number of occasions. Marine applications have a higher standard than those ashore with very good reason. Wire nuts simply don't measure up to the requirement.

Also, high quality solderless terminals are annealed, making them more flexible and less likely to fail due to movement. The range of quality and features in solderless terminals is nearly endless, you usually get what you pay for, seamless brazed barrels, nylon insulation, double crimp, mil-spec compliant and bell-mouth cost more, and are worth it.

A good quality Klein or Chenelock (my tool of choice because the insulated die is closer to the tip of the tool) crimping tool is $28 and $22 respectively on Amazon, a small price to pay for making good connections.

(In Kaihsiung, Taiwan)
On the pull test of course, however I hope no one wire nuts outside of an electrical box. Box typically has strain relief clamps that squeeze down on the outer wire sheathing, so anyone pulling on that wont be pulling on a wire nutted join.

I still have 4 wire nuts joining wires, but none are loose by themself, they are all of them in boxes, that is also a requirement for home wiring, you cant wire nut by itself outside of a box. Codes also say no splices outside of a box. But I have seen plenty on boats.

On crimps, I also doubt those common crimp tools everyone seems to use can create that strong of a crimp join to the wire. I can take a vice grip and open such crimped connecter and reuse them, done that, Its impossible if its soldered to tear it apart without heat and pliers.
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Old 08-13-2019, 05:06 PM   #109
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National Electric Code does not address how boats should be wired
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Old 08-13-2019, 05:26 PM   #110
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On crimps, I also doubt those common crimp tools everyone seems to use can create that strong of a crimp join to the wire.
You don't use common crimp tools, you use purpose built ratchet crimpers with dies for heat shrink terminals. Something tells me you plan to never sell your boat or have it surveyed ever again... something like this bad boy:

Ratchet Crimping Tool for Heat Shrink Terminals Genuinedealz.com

Virtually fool proof.
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Old 08-13-2019, 05:34 PM   #111
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I have used a ratcheting crimper for many, many years. I some times get a bad crimp due to my error or a really awkward position that I am in. But I always pull very hard on the connection before I heat shrink it. I have not ever had one go bad after the tug test.
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Old 08-13-2019, 05:44 PM   #112
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For the record I consulted CSA standard C22. 2 No. 183.1-M1982, Alternating Current (AC) electrical installation on boats from March of 1982.

Section 4.2.2 specifically stated "Twist-on connectors shall not be used."

Section 4.4.2 specifies that stranded conductors shall be used.

Incidentally, this standard was released just about the same time my boat was commissioned.

March 1982.

So it wasn't a good idea 37 years ago either.

Well.

At least in Canada.

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Old 08-13-2019, 06:06 PM   #113
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You don't use common crimp tools, you use purpose built ratchet crimpers with dies for heat shrink terminals. Something tells me you plan to never sell your boat or have it surveyed ever again... something like this bad boy:

Ratchet Crimping Tool for Heat Shrink Terminals Genuinedealz.com

Virtually fool proof.
There seems to be no limit as to how much better you can do things. I have been around a lot of boats and most people just get by. Perhaps there is a stratification of boat owners your talking about? The clowns, jesters and fools at the bottom end, all the way to the elite owners at the top end owning luxury multi million dollar yachts?
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Old 08-13-2019, 06:12 PM   #114
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The elite owners are only as good as their captains, and the competence of those varies widely.

I have a more general classification: those who don't want their boat to catch on fire and sink, and those who don't care enough, or elect to know enough, to bother preventing that.

I've known people with the lowest end boats and budgets who were meticulous about safety, and guys with multi million dollar boats that had no clue.

See my signature line for further reference.
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Old 08-13-2019, 06:21 PM   #115
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See my signature line for further reference.[/QUOTE]

I really like your signature. I think the part about what someone has gotten away with is what this thread has devolved to. Just because you get away with it doesnít mean it is right. Some people can justify anything, or just want to argue about it.
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Old 08-13-2019, 07:18 PM   #116
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Dave, I've personally gotten away, at least temporarily, with a variety of stuff for a variety of reasons, both good and bad. I guess the difference is I try not to defend what I got away with. Another saying I have is "no one likes it when you step on their pet bunny". For some folks on internet forums, what they have always gotten away with (so far) is their pet bunny, which they will defend through 100 posts or more... human nature.
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Old 08-13-2019, 07:29 PM   #117
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You don't use common crimp tools, you use purpose built ratchet crimpers with dies for heat shrink terminals. Something tells me you plan to never sell your boat or have it surveyed ever again... something like this bad boy:

Ratchet Crimping Tool for Heat Shrink Terminals Genuinedealz.com

Virtually fool proof.
Jeez!

Didn't we cover ratchet crimping tools around 100 posts ago?
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Old 08-13-2019, 07:56 PM   #118
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Agree with both of you. I am going to try and ignore this thread from now on, but I do like to get some of SteveDís knowledge and expertise along with a couple of others.
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Old 08-13-2019, 09:14 PM   #119
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I do like to get some of SteveDís knowledge and expertise along with a couple of others.
That's the only reason I'm still here.
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Old 08-14-2019, 07:53 AM   #120
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Jeez!

Didn't we cover ratchet crimping tools around 100 posts ago?
Well if you add up all the posts ever on this subject on this forum, maybe more like 2000 posts ago. But the OP decided to ignore those and complain about ordinary crimp tools. I guess wire nuts and solder are two of his pet bunnies.

I'd agree, there is tangible value to both Steve and Peggy's posts here as they are both top rank professionals. I'd throw Ski into that mix too when it comes to diesels as he is a known pro mechanic here in eastern NC.
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