Features December 2010 Issue

Marine Systems: Wire Exposure Test Update

Practical Sailor checks in on marine wires, crimps, and terminals to see how they fared after one year in the torture chamber.

There are a variety of wire types that exceed government and industry standards for onboard wiring. Because these types of wire can be 10- to 15-percent less expensive than high-quality boat cable, Practical Sailor wanted to determine whether any of these other options would be acceptable for the cost-conscious sailor. Using a moisture chamber designed to mimic years of use in a harsh marine environment such as a bilge, PS's test focuses on the durability of tinned wire, non-tinned wire, and various wire connectors. It also examines whether using a corrosion-inhibiting product could help extend the life of these wires and connections. The test led to some definitive conclusions on which wire types are best in specific onboard uses, and also showed that long-term wire protection begins with well-sealed connections. Our July 2010 issue reported the six-month results, and here, we offer the one-year update.

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