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Author Topic:   Bad electrical connections
Tom Byrum posted 03-05-2000 12:46 AM ET (US)   Profile for Tom Byrum   Send Email to Tom Byrum  
I think I have some electrical corrosion trouble. Some of my lights and gauges dont work or work intermittanly. I have a pair of Yamaha combination gauges that have a tach and tilt gauge that work intermittantly. Anyone have any experience with these? Should I put some kind of grease or something on the connections?
triblet posted 03-05-2000 10:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
- Saltwater boat right? Just curious,
which model?

- Use marine grade tinned copper wire
(Ancor is a good brand). If it can
be soldered, solder it. If it can't,
use marine grade crimps. Ancor
glue lined heat shrink over everything.
Don't se anything that came from the auto
parts store or the hardware store.

- I've only found grease to be necessary
on things like light sockets. West
Marine has it in their new catalog (but
won't actually have it till later in the
month -- I was out and tried to get some).

- Do all the guages die at once, and come
back at once, or do they each have a
mind of their own? The former is better
news - one problem. The latter indicates
a systemic cancer.

Chuck Tribolet

Tom Byrum posted 03-07-2000 12:44 AM ET (US)     Profile for Tom Byrum  Send Email to Tom Byrum     
Yes, its been in saltwater since it was new. The previous owner bought it brand new and it has been parked in front of his houseboat home/office in Sausalito since 1990. He never even bought a trailer for it. The boat is a 1989 Outrage 18'6" with twin Yamaha 70s. It only has 260 (documented) hours on the boat. The navigation lights and one of the tachs dont work. I got the anchor light to work by wiggling the connector. I thought maybe I could clean all the terminals and put some grease or something on them. What do you think?
jimh posted 03-07-2000 01:47 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I would mechanically clean the connectors and perhaps burnish them with very fine sandpaper (600 grit). When they are all cleaned up, try using a little WD-40 on them before connecting them, or perhaps even better,
one of these:

There is a product from Boeing, the aircraft company, which is an anti-corrosive. I think it is called BoeShield, or something like that (there is a can of it in my boat stuff drawer). This might also be a good sealant/protectant for your restored electrical connections.

Electrical supply stores have a conductive grease used to inhibit corrosion in electrical connections, especially those between dissimilar conductors like copper and aluminum. This is sold under the name PENETROX. I used to use this grease when I assembled large aluminum antennas for use in HF radio arrays. It would keep excellent connections in aluminum exposed to rain and wind.


lhg posted 03-07-2000 01:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Tom:Like has been written above, faulty electrical connections, or even bad wire, can easily be replaced with a little careful work. And it is not difficult to do if you take the time to figure out how the wiring & connections work. Be especially careful with the bow lights on your boat, as they are extremely high quality units that are no longer made. All of the Dougherty era Outrages and 27's used these large & very expensive Marinium lights, made by Wilcox Crittenden/North & Judd, and you may have to remove them to repair the connections in the bow. I just picked up a spare set of these lights, left over in a Dealership, for $150!!
(Most bow light sets cost about $40). The threaded inserts in the plastic base, which hold the two long SS screws that hold the Marinium cover on, tend to loosen in the plastic & fall out.
Tom Byrum posted 03-08-2000 10:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom Byrum  Send Email to Tom Byrum     
Thanks all for the tips. Larry how do I get those lights apart? I took the two screws out and pried,pushed, and pulled till I thought I was gonna break em and they never did come loose.
Clark Roberts posted 03-09-2000 06:30 AM ET (US)     Profile for Clark Roberts  Send Email to Clark Roberts     
Just a tip on a wiring connection that has worked for me.. and I'm in a saltwater environment.. years ago, when I shrimped a lot using underwater lights, I couldn't keep underwater wiring connections intact very long at a time... finally I tried plastic "wire nuts" to make splices... I used the ones with no metal inserts (threads are molded into the plastic) .. When wires are clean and the wire nut twisted tight, fill the little "cup" with silicone.. these connections will stay intact and corrosion free until you want to disconnect them.. the connection is completely maintainable! Also use this connection technique on all my trailer wiring... Try it, you'll like it!
Happy Whalin'...... Clark.. Spruce Creek Navy
lhg posted 03-09-2000 02:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Tom: The bow lights on your 18 Outrage are two piece units consisting of a Marinium cover and a black plastic base with green or red lense. The Marinium cover, held in place by the two long screws, has a gasket on the bottom of it that could be sticking to the hull. You should be able to pry it off, as it is a tough casting and shouldn't break. It is only held on by those two screws. The plastic base is screwed into the gunnel and covers the hole that accesses the wiring connection. It may be caulked in place, and you should be careful with this part, as it can't be replaced (unless you can find a used one somewhere). And Clark, I like your wirenut detail. It would be perfect for something like these bow light connections in the hull.

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