Features July 2010 Issue

Marine Wiring: Are the Pricey Options Worth the Cost?

Practical Sailor takes a look at failures in electrical conduits and connectors.

This article launches Practical Sailorís 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.

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