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Wiring and Connectors

Marine Electrical Systems, Vol. 6: Wiring and Connectors

Sailors often spend thousands on marine batteries and electrical accessories, but pay little attention to the wires and connections where failure typically occurs. A bulletproof marine electrical system depends on the tools and materials that will stand up to the harsh marine environment. Substandard wire, bargain crimpers, and cheap automotive connectors won’t do. In Wiring and Connectors, from the ebook series Marine Electrical Systems, Practical Sailor's editors make sure that a short-circuit or bad connector doesn’t disable your navigation electronics or worse—blow your entire 12-volt system. If you’re rewiring your boat, installing a new device, or just trying to troubleshoot wire runs, in this this book you’ll discover: -The tools and tricks pros use to make rewiring fast and easy. -How a unique terminal block simplifies joining tiny wires. -The best anti-corrosion greases for the marine environment. -Why some heat-seal connectors will never meet industry standards. -Which waterproof connectors actually keep water out. More and more, sailboats need power. Let Practical Sailor show you how to properly outfit your boat. Also, check out the entire 6-ebook series, Marine Electrical Systems! Get all 6 ebooks for the price of 5 when you order the whole series now! It’s like getting one FREE! *Please note: This is a downloadable E-book.

Fighting Off Marine Electrical System Corrosion

The boat's electrical system is often the most vexing for boat owners-but it doesn't have to be. With the right tools, quality materials, and a modest amount of preventative maintenance, you can ensure a flicker-free (or nearly so) existence on the water. If you've got a rewiring or electronics installation project ahead of you, or if just want to make sure nothing goes on the fritz once you're offshore, this information-packed blog post is for you.

Marine Wiring: Are the Pricey Options Worth the Cost?

This article launches Practical Sailors long-term test of electrical wires, electrical connections, and corrosion inhibitors for electrical applications onboard sailboats. Ultimately, the goal of this ongoing project is to examine corrosion in wires and connectors in a marine environment. More concisely, it could be presented as a closer look at three common elements in marine wiring to answer some basic questions: What is the best wire to use on a sailboat? Is it tinned wire, automotive wire, or stranded machine tool wire? What are the best corrosion preventatives? Do you apply the anti-corrosion treatment to every connection and every crimp, or just certain types of connections? What are the longest-lasting connections? Which were most prone to electrolysis? We made observations during the six-month test period without disturbing the samples. At the end of the full one-year test period, we will unbolt all of the fittings from the terminal strips and look for corrosion under the fittings.

Connecting Very Small Wires on Boats

If new LED lights or marine electronics are your horizon, you'll soon find yourself tangling with tiny wire connections that seem so fragile it's hard to imagine any crimp or connector providing the reliability we need in marine systems. Although it's fairly easy to create a reliable crimp or connection between size AWG 12 wires used to power many 12-volt accessories, once the wire sizes start creeping down into AWG 22 size commonly used in data cables and LED lights, creating robust connections requires some specialized tools and techniques.

Watertight Connector Test

Oh, for a good standardized 12- volt electrical connector. I’ve never had a boat without multiple connector failures, and most of them involved proprietary...

New Safety Switches for Outboard Motors

Buried deep within the recesses of the 2020 US Coast Guard reauthorization bill is a requirement that if a boat is planing or moving...

Bilge Pump Installation and Maintenance Tips

The best bilge pump in the world wont keep your boat dry if its not properly installed and maintained. While bilge pump installations are fairly straightforward-and definitely within the scope of DIY projects-there are several factors to consider (capacity, wire size, hose diameter, fuse size) before you begin, and there are some good rules of thumb to follow.

Solar Panel Self-destruction?

Solar power has become ubiquitous on sailboats, first on cruising boats, but now even on sport boats, where a small solar panel is the lightest, simplest way to keep batteries charged. Installation is relatively simple, operation is passive, and maintenance is minimal. But there are some things that can go wrong and time always takes […]
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Practical Sailor Tests Electric-Flush Marine Toilets

Practical Sailor compared the style, performance, weight, and ruggedness of 7 electric-flush marine toilets from four manufacturers. Once considered a luxury made only for the megayacht crowd, electric marine heads today are more compact, more reliable, and less expensive than their predecessors, making them viable options for amenities-seeking cruisers. In tests, PS compared the flow rate of the supply pumps, the amps used per flush, the time it took each toilet to flush, and the efficiency of each toilet to manage the material flushed. The test field included the Raritan Sea Era, the Raritan Marine Elegance, the Jabsco Quiet Flush, Jabsco Deluxe Lite Flush, the Johnson Aqua-T, and the Groco Type K 12-volt marine electric-flush toilet.

Electric-Flush Marine Toilets Part 2

Practical Sailor evaluated 14 electric marine toilets from seven manufacturers. This article is a follow-up to the February review of seven compact electric toilets; it focuses on the seven larger, heavier, more expensive test toilets, which are similar in size to standard household toilets. Part 2 of the toilet test report included heads from Dometic, Jabsco, Planus, Raritan, Thetford, and Tecma. These heads, equipped with more sophisticated flushing systems than those previously tested, are best suited to boats over 40 feet. Testers looked at the toilets' varying approaches to macerators, flow valves, and plumbing. The bench tests also evaluated noise levels during flushing, construction quality, ease of installation and maintenance, time to flush 1 gallon of water, and macerator performance.