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Old 05-08-2021, 02:48 PM   #1
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Remove or terminate old wiring

When you remove something electrical and don't immediately reuse the wiring pull it out, terminate it correctly or cut it off short at the bulkhead. I like a lot of TFers have an older boat that has been "modified" by previous owners and the wiring looks like a ball of yarn the cat got after. It's bad enough just trying to chase circuits down. It's another matter when I'm working in a tight space full of spaghetti wiring to get a nasty surprise. It's happened twice in recent days.

For the benefit of those coming after you I'll repeat myself. Pull the old out, really how likely are you to reuse old wires? If you can't then terminate them properly. If you can't do that then cut them off short at the bulkead. At the very least disconnect them from the power source. It ain't that hard.

Please save the lecture about killing all the power. Then what? Work by head lamp and flashlight for hours if not days on end?
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Old 05-08-2021, 04:04 PM   #2
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On our current boat I have taken out hundreds of feet of unused wiring. Several of them were hot and had no over current protection.
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Old 05-08-2021, 04:46 PM   #3
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I'm 100 percent for removing the old wiring completely once you are sure you won't need it again. It makes tracing what is left easier and frees up room in the FB to lower station raceway for future changes. Everything in the pic below was deadended and left in the harness.
https://www.trawlerforum.com/forums/...1&d=1432238944
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Old 05-08-2021, 05:07 PM   #4
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Take to a recycler, or leave at boatyard for them to recycle, copper is getting scarcer.
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Old 05-08-2021, 05:43 PM   #5
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Try it with an 80 years old boat. Miles of unused wires, under size wire, new plugins added to existing circuits w/o any consideration of the load. Instead of using subpanels, po's tried to run everything from the main panel in the engineroom in a long boat.
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Old 05-08-2021, 05:46 PM   #6
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Try it with an 80 years old boat. Miles of unused wires, under size wire, new plugins added to existing circuits w/o any consideration of the load. Instead of using subpanels, po's tried to run everything from the main panel in the engineroom in a long boat.
Gotta love POs...
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Old 05-08-2021, 06:01 PM   #7
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On my 1989 N46, it was about 8 years old when I bought it. When working on the electrical side, primarily 12vt, each day for a week I would take out 1/2 of a trash bag of unused wire and BUNCHES of wire ties.
AND more than a few wire nuts.
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Old 05-08-2021, 06:51 PM   #8
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I go with remove when possible, cap and abandon if it can't be reasonably removed.
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Old 05-08-2021, 07:55 PM   #9
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Can’t speak to (or condone) wire nuts but Most often it’s not the actual PO but the yard they employ. Think about it. They install a new doo dad. Not gonna risk warranty issues using old Wiring - run new wires since they are getting paid for it anyway. Remove old
Wires? Owner doesn’t want the added expense. Rinse & repeat over the years.
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Old 05-08-2021, 08:03 PM   #10
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Can’t speak to (or condone) wire nuts but Most often it’s not the actual PO but the yard they employ. Think about it. They install a new doo dad. Not gonna risk warranty issues using old Wiring - run new wires since they are getting paid for it anyway. Remove old
Wires? Owner doesn’t want the added expense. Rinse & repeat over the years.
Flatswing, wire nuts on a boat is a very loud NO NO NO
ANY yard knows that. If you find a yard that uses wire nuts, find another yard, quickly.
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Old 05-08-2021, 10:31 PM   #11
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First I determine if the wire has a potential future. If it does then I tag it with info as to where the other end terminates and which circuit breaker if relevant. Then I install a wire terminal, if not possible I cap the wire.

If the wire does not have a potential future I remove it completely.

I never leave live wires not connected at one end. If I can’t throw a circuit breaker or pull a fuse then I disconnect the wire from the power source.

For instance, I had a multi bank battery charger that was wired to my house and start battery. I changed the start battery to being charged by a DC to DC charger. I removed the battery charger wire from the battery, labeled it and capped it. I then disconnected the wire from the battery charger, labeled it and capped it as well. The wire is now available for future use should my DC to DC charger fail and I need to reconnect to the charger.
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Old 05-09-2021, 05:57 AM   #12
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Quote:
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Flatswing, wire nuts on a boat is a very loud NO NO NO
ANY yard knows that. If you find a yard that uses wire nuts, find another yard, quickly.
It's a no no no according to the ABYC die hard crowd. Common sense prevails in a lot of cases. There is no reason why a wire nut cant be used to terminate a dead/unused wire. I have had,for years without issue, wire nuts on a fresh water pump under our cockpit because it's a bear to access. The rest of the boat is wired in a way that would probably exceed ABYC's standards but I don't loose sleep worrying if my cables are bundled every 18" or if my AC cables are sheathed and bundled separately from the DC cables. Yes, good practices are important but I'm not going to stop using a boatyard if they don't bow to the almighty ABYC standards book.
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Old 05-09-2021, 06:17 AM   #13
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Thank you Boomerang.


A big difference between the luxury of building a new boat and restoring a boat you are currently living on.


With inferior materials and techniques, many of out trawlers survived 30+ years without burning or sinking.....when repairs are done with better materials and some better techniques.....I am confident in my safety for another 30+.


And for the rah rahs.....sure if I can meet or exceed when and where I can I will, but wont lose sleep over a well designed and installed repair that gets near the recommended or meets the spirit of the new safety practices as best possible.
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Old 05-09-2021, 08:19 AM   #14
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I'm retrofitting some new chartplotters and autopilot. I didn't take a picture but I've got a similar PILE of cut zip ties.

One surprise was an actual Raymarine 4" display mounted UNDER the lower helm. Had a Seatalk cable ended to it from an NMEA-0183 bridge link to the plotters. My guess is it might have been installed to configure or translate for a long-since replaced depth sensor (current one is NMEA-2000).

Found a few dead-enders from past upgrades. Helm chair jog button for auto-pilot, old Simrad network cable and rudder indicator and the radar's ethernet cable.

Removing them it's always a simple decision. If they come out cleanly you're fine. But if they were zip-tied to other cables, or there's any sort of connectors inline it becomes a problem. Finding all the attachment points is a problem, especially if something 'clever' was done like pulling them as a bundle with zipties installed before the install. Or they've become braided with others through a conduit. You can sometimes cut out segments and pull those just as long as you can clearly identify the correct ones to cut!

So sometimes it's simpler to just identify them and tie off the extra.
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Old 05-11-2021, 03:43 PM   #15
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I have a pile of coaxial cable from a previous TV installation. There’s a pile in the fly bridge area and another in a cupboard in the Saloon. There is also a run of it in the engine room. We don’t watch TV and have no need for it, but I had left it in case some future owner wants it.

Is coaxial on a boat something that is now obsolete with satellite TV, or is it still useful for TV installations?

Jim
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Old 05-11-2021, 04:15 PM   #16
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I have a pile of coaxial cable from a previous TV installation. There’s a pile in the fly bridge area and another in a cupboard in the Saloon. There is also a run of it in the engine room. We don’t watch TV and have no need for it, but I had left it in case some future owner wants it.

Is coaxial on a boat something that is now obsolete with satellite TV, or is it still useful for TV installations?

Jim
I would get rid of it. It will free up room in the chases for new wiring. Also if I bought a boat and it had old coax or wiring that was unused, I would cut and pull it out and install new cable for the device. How could you trust the old cable lying there to work?
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Old 05-11-2021, 04:27 PM   #17
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Just mind that you don't pull anything back that still has a connector on it. Otherwise you stand the chance of it snagging on other adjacent cabling and damaging it. Always best to cleanly cut off the ends if you're going to pull it out.

It'd be tempting to put a string on it, to help pull something else through later, and that can work... unless there's braiding that has happened while other cables were pulled and then you risk more tangling.

I find it useful to find places along the cable's route where I can push/pull slightly on it, to feel for how freely it'll move. If it won't, or worse, the whole bundle shifts, then I go looking for what's causing it to bind. I don't just yank harder to pull it out.
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Old 05-11-2021, 04:29 PM   #18
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Any boat we've owned I have always removed the old wiring when installing new equipment. I do not want to be chasing something electrical and have to wade through old unterminated wiring. Once had an older larger outboard boat that was bought from the original owner. The boat had been through 3 sets of engines and 4 complete sets of electronics. When I finished removing all the old unterminated wiring from previous installs I wound up with two 33 gal black trash bags totally full of old wire. Figured I reduced the weight of the boat by 100 lbs and made under the console look fresh. Also saved me lots of headaches in the future.

If its old and unused it needs to go! Best to remove it.
YMMV
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Old 05-12-2021, 07:14 AM   #19
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Not sure to make of this thread. The preponderance of opinion says more about the hi-post TF members and their knowledge than reality.

I don't think there is enough emphasis on just how difficult it is to keep wiring tidy offer the years, and just how expensive it is to correct messy wiring. I understand the desire, but there is a practical aspect that undermines.

As part of the refit of my small and relatively simple Willard 36, I had the entire boat rewired. Everything. Panels, wire, everything. Much of the klugey wiring was my hasty repairs over the years and I was just tired of looking at it. Despite the fact that it brings almost zero additional value to the boat, I spent a considerable amount to have it done. While I admire anyone who does similar work, I cannot recommend the expense given the cost/value of the work. Let's face it: for the most part, it provides almost no enhanced functionality.

Someday, someone will get a very nice Willard 36 for not a lot of money. In the meantime, I smile widely when I swing open my main panel.

Peter.
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Old 05-12-2021, 07:23 AM   #20
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I agree, there's a point where trying to make it perfectly neat is just too much work. As long as it's functionally good, I can understand what goes where when I need to work on it, etc. then it's good enough. Anything beyond that is a nice bonus.
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