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Old 02-02-2013, 09:16 PM   #1
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Wire options, tinned or stranded

Hello gents and ladies, I am getting close to rewiring the whole vessel. Tinned wire will cost a fortune and the non tinned stranded wire will be a much more affordable option. The boat had romex and old cotton wrapped wire before. I know a lot of responses will say to hire a marine electrician but I have no plan on doing that. All the wiring will be accessible and anything in a wall will be in a conduit. Now, has anyone rewired a boat using the non tinned stranded wire? Thanks Paul
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Old 02-02-2013, 09:37 PM   #2
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I would use the tinned, fine stranded, marine grade wire. But then I hate to redo anything I have done and seem to think everything should last forever.
However, if you were to use adhesive lined crimp connectors, apply copper based never-seize to the stripped ends, & use a first class crimp tool; there is no reason moisture should reach the wire.
Marine wire is more flexiable and has many more strands for a given gauge too.
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Old 02-02-2013, 09:42 PM   #3
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Tinned and stranded is best.
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Old 02-02-2013, 10:55 PM   #4
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I have owned several small boats that had untinned wire and it concucts electricity very well. If you use the heat shrink with adhesive connectors it should last a long time. Make sure it meets the Coast Guard requirements.

We used to sell untinned wire in our store until Ancor made a big deal about tinned wire. Sales of untinned wire dropped to the point that we quit carring it.

Ancor was of course right. The best wire for use on a boat has lots of fine strands and is tinned. There are other brands on the market now that are just as good as Ancor and a good bit cheaper. If you want to save some money, look for some of these other brands. If you do decide to go with bare copper, at least spring forultra flexible fine stranded wire.
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Old 02-02-2013, 10:57 PM   #5
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Tinned and stranded is best.- JAT

He knows that. His Q was not "what is best?" it was "Has anyone done it without using the "Best", and what do you think of that option?"

If Nomex has been adequate for the boat's history to now, you could probably get away without the expense of the very best, IMHO. All that will be affected is your bragging rights.
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Old 02-02-2013, 11:01 PM   #6
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It'll work until you try to sell it. They you may have to rewire it again.
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Old 02-03-2013, 05:41 AM   #7
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I'm thinking the next buyer of his vessel will be ok with house wiring, if it is done correctly.

There are a lot of other issues, that if done incorrectly can kill.

Tho you are not asking, there are a few good books on boat wiring.
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Old 02-03-2013, 06:25 AM   #8
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Tinned wire , proper tinned connections ,installed with a proper squeeze tool , with a tinned star washer added under each screw head is probably "the best".

Tho I add the use of a heavy copper roof soldering iron to be sure the solder actually flows when crimped.The roofing iron ( 4 lbs of copper) carries so much heat that the terminal can be touched , and the wire beyond does not solidify.

After all you paid extra for the flex of the fine stranded wire.

The difference in cost is mostly time.

Cheap solid Romex is at Home Cheapo , a car ride away.

Real marine wire needs to be ordered.

Our technique is to order large single wire #10 , (which is overkill for most boat needs) on a 500 or 1000 ft spool.
2 spools of what ever color is in vogue with the regulating gestapo (= and - ) and you are set for this and the next boat.

In really big rolls wire is useful cheap! Even Anchor brand.

AC with #10 in 3 strand for house needs .
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Old 02-03-2013, 07:04 AM   #9
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My thoughts are for wire going outside and into the deep parts of the bilge....tinned is nice but as many say...might still be overkill.

There are no regs stating that stranded wire be used on rec boats so If I was going to do a long single level boat...I may make the long straight runs of 110 wire just cheapo Big Box Store romex. The copper plumbing in my boat for steering and fresh water isn't flexible and is 25 years old...so as long as solid wire is supported and not used in loops or hanging "for any distance"...I can't imagine why it's not acceptable (except by conehead surveyors that want to make a big deal about it). I'd rather buy a boat wired with solid wire that was done well than buy one with tinned like 99 percent of the boats out there and the wiring is garbage.

This is my second boat that passed survey with the second/and or genset subpanel that was Big Box Store regular steel CB's and CB panels. They work just fine and will save money too.
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Old 02-03-2013, 08:02 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebyu View Post
Tho you are not asking, there are a few good books on boat wiring.
Blue, I've got the Boatowner's Illustrated, electrical handbook 2nd by Charlie Wing. I'm not to impressed with it and would love some other suggestions.
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Old 02-03-2013, 08:21 AM   #11
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You don't HAVE to use tinned. Properly installed connectors and shrink will keep un-tinned wire sealed up nicely. Tinned wire is not a requirement, however, as a precaution, if it were me, I would use tinned in the wettest spaces. But in the cabin area, all bets are off. I don't think I, personally, would be comfortable with Romex, but Fred makes a good point. Our slow little trawler doesn't get very much of a beating like... sayyy... a 50' SeaRay, so I would think solid wire would be fine on our boat.

Still, if you are hiring a guy to do it and he insists that he use tinned wire throughout and states it is an ABYC requirement? RUN AWAY! Find another guy.
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Old 02-03-2013, 09:14 AM   #12
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Maybe it's a non issue, Home cheepo was 500' roll for $70.00 and tinned marine wire.com 500' of #12 tinned was $111.50. That's about 60% more to not have any questions or regrets.
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Old 02-03-2013, 09:18 AM   #13
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While no one can ever be viewed as the perfect source, Nigel Calder's book, "Boatowners Mechanical and Electrical Manual" is a valued asset.

Also Edward L. Smith's "Handbook of Marine Electronic & Electrical Systems". Electronics are dated, basic electrical is pretty helpful.

Good luck, hope you get to enjoy using your boat soon.

Hope this helps.
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Old 02-03-2013, 10:04 AM   #14
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Greetings,
Mr. swanpu. There is a fairly exhaustive thread on this very topic in the archives somewhere. I can't remember what the title is as the subject may have morphed from the original topic as is the norm on TF. To the best of my recollection, tinned wire is NOT necessary.
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Old 02-03-2013, 10:26 AM   #15
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Tinned wire will perform well and look good in a Yachtworld listing. It is not "required" though.

Critical systems though wouldn't be a bad idea though as others have suggester. Bilge pumps, nav lights etc. Big boys do not use tinned wire and have no problem selling or getting insurance. Like Fast Fred said, buy in 1,000 foot spools and save money. Wiring the Rose is gonna need it.

My .02 good luck Paul
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Old 02-03-2013, 11:36 AM   #16
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Funny about the tinned wire...often you bust your butt and bank account to get it, use it and install it correctly...

Then the "appliance" or "system" doesn't and the connections right inside some plug or access late is plain steel/bare wire. Even the big name marine elctronics didn't for the longest while and I'm not sure which ones do now either.
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Old 02-03-2013, 09:38 PM   #17
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Quote:
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Tinned and stranded is best.- JAT

He knows that. His Q was not "what is best?" it was "Has anyone done it without using the "Best", and what do you think of that option?"

If Nomex has been adequate for the boat's history to now, you could probably get away without the expense of the very best, IMHO. All that will be affected is your bragging rights.
I realize that... Our boat was built in 78'....and the wiring while stranded, is not tinned... It has survived...and still works...but whenever I put in new wiring or replace some for one reason or the other... I use the tinned and stranded....

Just plain stranded can very well be used...but as a couple of people have said...it would be best to use heat shrink connectors or shrink tubing over the connections.

I would just make sure that the wire is of good quality copper and stranded, and sized for the required use.
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Old 02-03-2013, 10:59 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by RT Firefly View Post
Greetings,
Mr. swanpu. There is a fairly exhaustive thread on this very topic in the archives somewhere. I can't remember what the title is as the subject may have morphed from the original topic as is the norm on TF.
That was my Winter Project thread (in Electrical sub forum) from last year about this time.
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Old 02-03-2013, 11:56 PM   #19
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Before everybody gets their underwear in a knot about 'proper' remember the question was about low cost. I have had very good luck wiring stuff, trailers especially with cheap orange drop cord. No it is not tinned. I solder and heat shrink with adhesive lined tube. You can buy a 100' 14 ga. 3 conducter cord for under $10. If you shop. 16 ga. is cheaper yet. Cut the plugs off and use. You can't buy single strand stranded for the price. The stuff is really tough. Now let the cackling begin.
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Old 02-04-2013, 01:13 AM   #20
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Hell, they saved $50 on the shuttle Challenger's O-rings...
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