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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We all now boats and water don’t get along, sure the hull and deck are fine, but we all know motors, fuel, and anything metal do not mix with water. One of the largest problem areas on any given boat is its electrical system. A few minutes and a few bucks can make the difference between a temporary repair and a permanent repair.

I recommend everyone carry a basic electrical terminal kit on the boat with them. They can be found at most boating or automotive stores for a reasonable price, and come with everything you need to make strong repairs, including a cheap crimp tool. The only draw back is they rarely come with heat shrink connectors.

If you have one of these kits, you have two choices, either buy a assortment of heat shrink connectors, rings, butts, and push on connectors, or buy a assortment pack of heat shrink tube (all of which are available from a good boating store).



Along with the connectors or tubing you will also need a heat source. I carry a small butane torch (again from the boating store) that runs off a refillable lighter cartridge, and costs less than 20 bucks. Although I always use a heat gun, there rarely is 110v out on the water.



The tools we use are a little different than what most will have. We do hundreds of connectors a day, so we need something a bit better built. All crimpers should have a section for striping and crimping, no matter what. When you look at the crimp tool, you will notice that there are two crimp positions. One is a nice smooth football shaped cavity, and one has a sharp tooth that sticks up.



For a regular butt connector (the non heat shrink kind) you would use the one with the tooth. This tooth is designed to pierce the body of the connector to make a tight fit. This penetration will ruin a heat shrink connector. For crimping heat shrink connectors, you want a nice smooth area that will leave the actual connector unharmed, but still crimp it.

Making the actual connection is the easy part. The real trick is making sure the seal is good and water tight.

  1. Strip the ends of both wires to be joined. Right about ¼ inch seems to work for most wires. You will want to check the striped wires for any signs of oxidation. If you seal a corroded or oxidized wire, you are only delaying the inevitable failure that will come. Any corroded / oxidized wire should be replaced immediately.
  2. Select the correct connector for the job. Pick the smallest connector that can go on that wire, and still fit all the strands inside the metal tube. If the wire is too small for the connector, when you shrink it down, it will not seal properly.
  3. Insert the exposed wire into one side of the connector, assuring all strands of wire are inside the metal tube. Crimp the connector body around the wire. This might take some practice, too weak and the wire will pull out, to tight and the film around the connector will split, making it useless.

  4. Insert the second wire and crimp that side as well. ONLY AFTER BOTH SIDES ARE CRIMPED CAN YOU APPLY HEAT. If you heat with only one side crimped, you will ruin the other end of the connector.
  5. Gently pull on the wires to make sure you have a good crimp. If the wires pull out, start over. A loose wire inside of a connector can arc and heat to the point of failure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
6. I use a heat gun to shrink my connectors, but power isn’t always available.

If I am making only a few connections, or power isn’t available, I will use my nice little blow torch.
Slowly apply heat to the connector, starting about 6 inches away from the connector. If after 15 seconds there are no signs of shrinkage, start moving in closer until the heat becomes affective.

Slowly roll the wire back and forth, and move the gun from side to side to distribute the heat evenly.

As the connector shrinks down, adhesive will start to ooze out from the open ends of the connector. Stop heating when this adhesive is coming out completely around the ends of the connector.



This connector has been crimped and shrink properly. Notice the thin layer of adhesive on both ends of the connector.


If heat is applied to fast, or to hot, the wire or connector can catch fire while heating up. If this happens, remove the heat source and blow the flame out. Inspect the connector and wire to see the damage.



If any black areas have appeared, cut the connector off and start over. Once the jacket of a wire has been compromised, you leave it susceptible to failure from sun, oil, and water.
7. Now that the connector is done, take a minute to inspect it, after is has cooled down. If there are any bad spots in the plastic, cut it off and start over.

75% of all the service calls we get are from bad connections in two main systems, lights and pumps. Bilge pumps and wash down pumps are in the second worse area on a boat. Nav lights and spreader lights take a direct spraying of water almost every time the boat is ran. If the connections on these areas are sealed nice and tight, you can have years with no issues.
 

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SeaSpark have you ever tried the heat shrink connectors from Lawson products. They have something on the in side of the heat shrink that turns in to a silicon when you heat the heat shrink and cures as soon as it cools:thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
SeaSpark have you ever tried the heat shrink connectors from Lawson products. They have something on the in side of the heat shrink that turns in to a silicon when you heat the heat shrink and cures as soon as it cools:thumbsup:
I think all h/s connectors have that.. IT's the adhesive that I was talking about. If you look at one of the pictures you can see it makes a ring around the wire... It really grabs on and makes it tight.
 

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SEASPARKS, always enjoy reading your posts, very informative. Have you ever used a connecter that has a bead of solder in the middle of it so when you heat the shrink tube it also solders the wire? If so what is your opinion of them. Thanks again for all your valuable information.
 

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Thanks for the lesson Joe !

I don't need you to wire my windlass now, Thanks anyway. :p:D:razz:
 

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Thank you for posting Joe. This is my spring project. Re-doing all connectors on my 1987 Grady Gulfstream
 

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I learned a very simple method on The hull truth that I now use on all my kayak fishfinder installs with zero failures. You simply slide a piece of heat shrink over one wire and then twist the two stripped ends together and fold bare wire over away from the shrink. Then apply a dab of 5200 to the bare wire and rub a little on each side of the insulation. Slide the shrink tube over the twisted conection and shrink. The 5200 will ooze out of both ends and when dry is a permanent waterproof connection that can not be yanked apart no matter how hard you pull. All you need to have on hand is shrink tube and a little sealant.
 

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connectors

Great post---there should be a lot more like it.
If I can add my two pennies, I like to use marine grade wire rather than regular auto grade. Also, if you have wires that connect to the battery, I change (or at least clean) them every spring------I put muriatic acid in a glass cup and baking soda/water in a second cup----BE CAREFUL WITH ACID---and one by one, dip the wire ends in acid for a bit, then dip in the baking soda to neutralize it. Last, regardless of what method you use, I like to cover all joints with what used to be called liquid rubber (black)----comes in a tube and you can buy it at Lowes,Home Depot, Pep Boys,etc-----if applied correctly, nothing penetrates it. I think its basicall a black silicone.

Now i guess some folks might not agree with this, but I'm just saying what has worked for me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I learned a very simple method on The hull truth that I now use on all my kayak fishfinder installs with zero failures. You simply slide a piece of heat shrink over one wire and then twist the two stripped ends together and fold bare wire over away from the shrink. Then apply a dab of 5200 to the bare wire and rub a little on each side of the insulation. Slide the shrink tube over the twisted conection and shrink. The 5200 will ooze out of both ends and when dry is a permanent waterproof connection that can not be yanked apart no matter how hard you pull. All you need to have on hand is shrink tube and a little sealant.
I don't know how that would work for larger wires. I would assume that the power wires for the yacks are like 22 awg, nice and tiny. On a motorboat, when the wire is bent back at a hard angle, the vibrations will cause it to fail. It's a lot of stress on a thin wire.

Great post---there should be a lot more like it.
If I can add my two pennies, I like to use marine grade wire rather than regular auto grade. Also, if you have wires that connect to the battery, I change (or at least clean) them every spring------I put muriatic acid in a glass cup and baking soda/water in a second cup----BE CAREFUL WITH ACID---and one by one, dip the wire ends in acid for a bit, then dip in the baking soda to neutralize it. Last, regardless of what method you use, I like to cover all joints with what used to be called liquid rubber (black)----comes in a tube and you can buy it at Lowes,Home Depot, Pep Boys,etc-----if applied correctly, nothing penetrates it. I think its basicall a black silicone.

Now i guess some folks might not agree with this, but I'm just saying what has worked for me.
We only use marine wire, and only recommend it :thumbsup:. It might cost more, but the return is huge in longevity.

I personaly hate the "liquid electrical tape" style coatings. They are too thick to get in every crevice, are a huge mess, and trap moisture in them. You should try the CRC corrosion inhibitor, or T9 Boeshield. They are liquid waxes that are runny like water, and can trickle into anyplace water can get. In a hr it's nice and hard, and stays that way no matter what.

Never tried using the acid to clean to connectors. Knowing my clumbsy self I would spill it :razz::razz:.

Glad to see you take the time and effort to clean and protect everything. I have only met one guy that actually sprays his battery terminals with protectant every year. I still say someone else does it for him :)
 

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so do I still need to come up and run the wire, and strip it for you?? I assume you can take it from there.:razz::razz:

What is the size of that wire again ? Something like 6 Miller M.G.D'S.
Or was it 30 Pack A.W.G. :D :wave:
 

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I learned a very simple method on The hull truth that I now use on all my kayak fishfinder installs with zero failures. You simply slide a piece of heat shrink over one wire and then twist the two stripped ends together and fold bare wire over away from the shrink. Then apply a dab of 5200 to the bare wire and rub a little on each side of the insulation. Slide the shrink tube over the twisted conection and shrink. The 5200 will ooze out of both ends and when dry is a permanent waterproof connection that can not be yanked apart no matter how hard you pull. All you need to have on hand is shrink tube and a little sealant.
Barrel, you got that off the Hull Truth?? I've been posting that method for 15yrs. I've wired boats that way since 5200 came out and never had a bit of trouble. But everytime I post it I take so much crap from the guys that love these heat shrink connectors I gave up and stopped trying to help..

Joe, yes I saw that ooze ring on the connectors you used. The older ones never did that... No doubt they have improved..
 
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