As part if the ongoing marine sanitation device installation I’ve been working on, I have some new wiring to do. Up until now I’ve been getting by with my barely adequate Klein crimpers.
If you’re looking for a good source for marine mechanical and electrical tutorials you need to check out Compass Marine’s website. RC Collins (AKA: Maine Sail on the web forums) has put together an exceptional variety of informative pictorials on everything from installing battery monitors and chargers to servicing bronze tapered cone seacocks. He also sells that great butyl tape we used to re-bed all of our deck hardware and port light glass. More importantly (at least to me), he has a wealth of information regarding marine electrical projects. It’s winter now, raining every other day and it’s time to wrap up some outstanding electrical issues on Ramble On.
I won’t get too deep into the details on marine wire, terminals, and using the correct tool for the job; Collins does a fantastic job of that on his own website here, here, here, and here. I will however mention that he makes a few recommendations for quality tools to make a proper crimp that come at a fairly reasonable price (providing you have enough crimps to make to justify the purchase rather than sending it out to an overpriced professional).
For the large cable to supply power to the Electroscan unit I used Ancor #4 wire in red and yellow. This required large diameter power lugs and a big crimper that looks like bolt cutters. I also used heat shrink from Polarwire.com to finish off the connectors. The FTZ ratcheting crimper was $200 and some change, but I still have more battery cables to do when we relocate the battery bank and the electrical breaker panel here in the near future. It has rotating dies that run a range of cable sizes from 6 gauge to 4/0 gauge, and exerts 5 tons of force on each crimp, not releasing the ratchet until the crimp is complete. It’s a nice investment if you have a lot of battery cable to make, and you can probably hawk it to a fellow boater in you’re marina when your done with it.
The small crimper is more in line with the typical sailboat budget, and is actually far less money and does a better job than the one they sell at West marine. Sold by Proskit.com, you have your choice of a couple different handle frames, and literally dozens of choices in interchangeable wire terminal crimp dies. I got the offset frame for work in tight places ($30), and the standard single crimp die set for wire sizes 8-22 ($19). They certainly do a cleaner job than my old Klein’s, make a more solid crimp, and don’t damage the insulation in the process. The ratchet releases when it reaches the proper torque, so it’s pretty much foolproof.
Now that I’m finished wiring the Electroscan, I can finally wrap up the plumbing and fire up this bad boy. Please stay tuned for future updates coming soon.