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Author Topic:   Marine Grade Wire Terminals
Frank from Philly posted 05-18-2008 01:59 PM ET (US)   Profile for Frank from Philly   Send Email to Frank from Philly  
How important is it to use "Marine Grade" wire terminals? And what makes them different from regular ones? Are they stainless steel? Heavier gauge brass?


jimh posted 05-18-2008 02:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
"Marine grade" is a self-annointed term for wire terminals. I don't think there is any official classification society that promulgates that distinction. The "marine grade" terminal connector usually has a heat-shrink seal supplied with it. Some have internal sealant included which flows when heated.
Bulldog posted 05-18-2008 03:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bulldog  Send Email to Bulldog     
I would not use Stainless, we used them at work in a poorly thought out attempt at extending service intervals on a large electric heating circuit. The higher resistance of the stainless caused heat failures at the crinps, this was on over twenty connections. Putting a piece of steel in a circuit with brass and copper is not a good idea. It was my poorly thought out attempt, I'm the boss!.....Jack
seabob4 posted 05-18-2008 03:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for seabob4  Send Email to seabob4     
The key to "Marine Grade" is tinned copper. The key is the conductivity of copper with the corrosion protection of lead, which is actually what the "tinning" process is. Heat shrink terminals which are adhesive lined, as Jim pointed out. Marine wire such as the wire made by Ancor or Pacer have a significantly larger cross section from the stranded wire you buy at Home Depot, not to mention a gazillion more strands! Withstands vibration far better than Home Depots' stuff.

But one of the best things you can do after you have completed your wiring is to spray all terminals with an anti-corrosion spray such as Corrosion-X or Boeshield. This will work wonders keeping corrosion from wicking it's way up your wires. At Proline, EVERYTHING, from Bus bars, to terminal strips, to battery terminals, to windlass solenoids, gets sprayed with this stuff. Another thing we use, especially with electronics connectors and network connectors on etecs and Suzukis is dielectric grease. Merc Smartcraft/DTS says don't use it.

I've been wiring new boats for a long time. I also do sidework on old boats. I see what the effects of the marine environment have on electrical circuits, and I know what could have been done when the boat was built to prevent it.

contender posted 05-18-2008 04:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for contender  Send Email to contender     
Exactly what seabob stated, I crimp, solder, heat shrink, protection (grease or spray). This is the way to do a good electrical connection (right way, best way, only way) and the more strands(per the wire size) the wire has the better the flow of electrical current.
seabob4 posted 05-18-2008 04:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for seabob4  Send Email to seabob4     
So there you have it. And Contender is correct about electrical flow. Larger cross-section means less resistance.
Frank from Philly posted 05-18-2008 04:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for Frank from Philly  Send Email to Frank from Philly     
Thanks again me Buckos!

I just got back from West Marine and I found that the connectors and terminals are in fact tinned copper. I guess I should stop holdin' these things in my mouth while I'm workin'...
Then again, the house I grew up in in Philadelphia had a lead water service supply pipe. I drank the water that ran thru that pipe for 26 years and it didn't affect me, affect me, affect me, affect me....

As far as larger conductors go, I've always been a big fan'a dat. (And I ain't tawkin' about that fat dude wit' the lil' hat collectin' the tickets on the train into Philly). I remember gettin' "Hot Soak" on old hunnert dollar cars we would fix-up when I was a kid, cause we put in too small of battery cables. I came to learn that the conductors axchully become resistors as they heated up from too much current being rammed thru them. Yo! them electrons can get things pretty hot if ya stir 'em all up in too tight a spot...

I'll be sure to take your advice on the Corrosion-X and Boeshield Spray. Where can I get it? Boat Supply? Online? Magic Genie?
I've used dielectric grease in a number of applications before, I like the stuff. Why does Merc not want us to use it?

Hey, did I mention that I think yews guys are ah'ite?


seabob4 posted 05-18-2008 06:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for seabob4  Send Email to seabob4     
Unless you have Smartcraft/DTS, don't worry about it. Those harnesses and J-boxes are so sensitive to positive mechanical interface, you blow on them and get no current. Poor engineering once again on Merc's part. Even their field guys will tell you that.

As far as Corrosion Spray? You can get it Home Depot (unlike wire!). We use a CRC product called Heavy Duty Corrosion Inhibitor. But the best is Boeshield T-9. But I also like Corrosion-X. Available at West Marine.

Answer your questions? Remember, the only stupid question is the one you don't ask...

Frank from Philly posted 05-18-2008 09:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for Frank from Philly  Send Email to Frank from Philly     
Thank's Bobski. Or should I say SeaBobski...

I guess ya should be careful and read the label on the corrosion inhibitors? Don't most of 'em have petroleum distillates in them? Can any hurt the wire insulation? I know most wire insulation today is oil & gas resistant and has been for some time. And it HASSTA be (or at least SHOULD be) if it's in an engine compartment. Nevertheless, the astute boat mechanic will check all chemicals for compatibility with nearby materials and suitability for the application involved.
Did I say that?...


seabob4 posted 05-18-2008 09:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for seabob4  Send Email to seabob4     
Just use it, alright? I'm a Chicago boy, you're from Philly, so do wit it what you want! But do me a favor. The stuff is made to protect electrical connections. Any other questions, Rocky? Enjoy your boat!!!
Frank from Philly posted 05-19-2008 01:04 AM ET (US)     Profile for Frank from Philly  Send Email to Frank from Philly     
Hey... Bobby... We had a pretty good volley goin', heh?...


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