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ContinuousWave: Small Boat Electrical
Small wire to big wire connection
|Author||Topic: Small wire to big wire connection|
posted 11-16-2005 02:49 PM ET (US)
What's the best way to join a small wire to big wire?
Step-down butt connectors or soldering?
The gps power wire looks tiny compared to the 14 guage power wire. Thanks for any replies.
posted 11-16-2005 03:46 PM ET (US)
I would do it either of 2 ways.
Using a step up/down butt type connector.
Or use a Blue Sea,
posted 11-16-2005 05:17 PM ET (US)
Let's get the big picture here.
Where's the 14 gauge wire coming from?
posted 11-16-2005 05:38 PM ET (US)
Here's an unorthodox but HIGHLY effective way of doing it if you want a permanent connection:
Use a plastic wire nut of appropriate size, twist the two wires together in the conventional wire nut method. Then fill in the "cup" flush with "Life Seal" polysulfide caulking or similar. This also works GREAT on trailer wire connections, or bilge pump connections that may be underwater or get wet, and is completely waterproof.
On my boats, I wiring all my electronics using the 2 prong flat (trailer style) connectors, which come with about 8" 16 ga lead on each end, which I butt crimp. Then when I need to remove the item for service, or whatever reason, it just unplugs. I do this on all bilge pump and float switch connections also. Makes replacement easy.
posted 11-16-2005 06:19 PM ET (US)
Wire nuts make good connections. Another good method is the one-sided butt splice things. They are like butt splice connectors but only have a hole on one side. You twist the wires together and insert them into the hole and crimp. Then seal it up and you have a good connection.
posted 11-16-2005 06:21 PM ET (US)
Thanks for the replies. Here's the bigger picture: 170 Montauk, connecting a Garmin 198c (red/black wires appox 22 gauge though they don't say) to larger pre-wired red/black pair 14 guage wired to the stereo switch by the manufacturer. --all inside the console. The Garmin power wires are only about 6 inches long.
posted 11-16-2005 07:55 PM ET (US)
Your Montauk has an Aux Switch. The GPS should be wired to
the switched side of that. There are a couple of ways of
accompishing that. One is to use piggy back quick disconnect
connectors. Another is to route the switched side to a
terminal block of some sort. I did the former initially,
eventually switched to the latter. Blue Sea is a fine brand.
For the crimp ons and such, Ancor is the brand. Get the
posted 11-16-2005 09:49 PM ET (US)
It is a very bad practice, and particularly so on a boat, to join wires together in mid-air using any kind of slice or wire nut. Wherever possible you should avoid splices in wires.
In the case of connecting the power lead to a GPS, bring the lead to a terminal and connect it there. The terminal can be on a switch or on a terminal strip. If the leads from the device are not long enough to reach the switch or power terminal strip, use a local terminal strip and terminate the wires there. Then extend the wires to the switch or terminal strip.
If you must make a splice, use a proper butt splice connector with heat shrink sealing. Secure the cable with clamps so that it is not dangling in the air and subject to vibration and movement.
All that said, these requirements are often overlooked in recreational boats.
posted 11-16-2005 10:12 PM ET (US)
Solder and heat shrink sealing should be at least as good
as the butt joint connector.
posted 11-17-2005 08:34 AM ET (US)
And for another $0.02 from the peanut gallery-
I am also a big believer in the cemented heat-shrink butt connectors (both Ancor and Waytek), and I have had good success on mating wires of different gauges with these, if the wires are close to similar sizes. I have done so by baring twice the needed length of copper on the smaller wire and bending the copper back upon itself before inserting it into the butt connector, for a double thickness or even on occasion baring three times the length and bending the copper back and then forward for three thicknesses before inserting it. Probably not the solution for the absolute purist, but it has served my purposes well, *especially* in a short term fix. (And a professional grade ratcheting crimper is a must!)
posted 11-17-2005 11:31 AM ET (US)
If you decide to use wire nuts, use the gel filled variety. They are literally waterproof because the gel will displace water and completely encapsulate the connection. Much better than gooping up a standard wire nut with some type of sealant.
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