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Discussion Starter #1
I've seen many mentions of butt connectors, etc. for wiring in many threads on several forums, but have never seen mention of my preferred method. I had a restaurant service business for years and over those same years have done a lot of wiring in cars and boats/trailers.....and learned a few things.

Here's what I like to do.......

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Strip the insulation far enuf back to seat the exposed ends solidly in the crimp portion of the connector, but no more.

152552


Not sure of the proper name for these things - I call 'em "Chinese Hats." I hate butt connectors - 2 failure points each and no guarantee of a good connection. These connectors grip both wire ends solidly and mash them together. Press the wire ends all the way to the bottom and make sure the insulation is well below the rim of the hat. Don't be afraid to push on them.

152553


Get a good, heavy duty crimping tool and put some muscle behind it. I use both hands and press one handle against the bench top. By far the most common failure I've seen has been someone squeezing it a bit with a pair of pliers and calling it good. It isn't. The wires will pull out. If you can't bring yourself to make your forearms bulge when crimping, get a geared crimping tool, but MASH those wires together. Crush 'em.

152556


Then fill it with silicone. A fine tip applicator works best, but this is all I had available just now. Squoze it down deep into the connector and wiggle the wires around to make sure they're completely goobered up.

152557


Use your fingers....it won't bite and you'll be sure of good coverage. Let it sit until the silicone has set up if you can. This is a tight, solid connection that won't corrode. Use tinned wire on boats. I don't like to solder the wires, since they flex at the end of the solder and will break off. CRIMP THAT THING "HARD ! ! !"
 

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I would rather solder a connection than just crimp and seal like this ^^^^.
Doesn't seem to be much twist where as the strands will separate when crimped seems like (unless this was just to show to us).
I cut these types of connectors out and replace them all the time.
You will still have an air pocket of some sort most likely with this method used above.

Here's what I like to do:
Solder, heat shrink (glue sealant inside of shrink) and ty-wrap the connection to a base so it is secure.
Or, if you know how to twist copper, then do it that way w/out solder and heat shrink etc like mentioned with a sealant inside.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I would rather solder a connection than just crimp and seal like this ^^^^.
Doesn't seem to be much twist where as the strands will separate when crimped seems like (unless this was just to show to us).
I cut these types of connectors out and replace them all the time.
You will still have an air pocket of some sort most likely with this method used above.

Here's what I like to do:
Solder, heat shrink (glue sealant inside of shrink) and ty-wrap the connection to a base so it is secure.
Or, if you know how to twist copper, then do it that way w/out solder and heat shrink etc like mentioned with a sealant inside.
Keep in mind that I really mash my crimps, as I said above. I've never seen one come apart yet unless something heavy was dangling from it. Air pocket ?? Water has to reach that air pocket first and it'd be miniscule anyway.

Soldering the connections is very touchy - they tend to break where the solder ends in the wire if there's any vibration at all.....and vibration on a moving boat on the water is a given.
 

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Keep in mind that I really mash my crimps, as I said above. I've never seen one come apart yet unless something heavy was dangling from it. Air pocket ?? Water has to reach that air pocket first and it'd be miniscule anyway.

Soldering the connections is very touchy - they tend to break where the solder ends in the wire if there's any vibration at all.....and vibration on a moving boat on the water is a given.
Hence the ty-wrap to a base to support said wire if need be.
Salt air can reach the air pocket as well. Seen it before.
 

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1. you're using untinned cable.
2. that is the ugliest connection possible. things can be functional and graceful at the same time.
3, a quality butt connector properly executed will not fail. better to run a single cable that to splice on anyway.
 

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I just want to focus on your statement about butt connectors and how they have two failure points and no guarantee of good connection...

1. Buy mid level crimp tool for insulated terminals- 40 bucks or so.

2.Buy quality heat shrink butt connectors from reputable source (not harbor freight or Lowe’s, but ancor, bestboatwire, FTZ etc)

3. Crimp and then heat shrink accordingly.

4.If done correctly (which is rather simple, but more time consuming than smash and go) that connection will be solid and easily meet if not pass ABYC standards. It will most likely pass NASA abdMil-spec standards, which much higher rating.

A great marine electrician in Maine conducted a test and found The butt connector connection held 70lbs (two anchors) dangling from the wire. No issues. He then made no crimp and heat shrink only- that held I believe 10-16 lbs.

check out his blog, and more importantly his post on marine wire termination-



I am not trying to bash your post as it was nicely done and took you time.... but your method is not the best (especially if using generic silicone and not silicone specifically designed for electrical work) nor preferred method for marine wiring.I want to see your vessel set up for long term success and worry about tight lines than electrical issues.
 

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I would rather solder a connection than just crimp and seal like this ^^^^.
Doesn't seem to be much twist where as the strands will separate when crimped seems like (unless this was just to show to us).
I cut these types of connectors out and replace them all the time.
You will still have an air pocket of some sort most likely with this method used above.

Here's what I like to do:
Solder, heat shrink (glue sealant inside of shrink) and ty-wrap the connection to a base so it is secure.
Or, if you know how to twist copper, then do it that way w/out solder and heat shrink etc like mentioned with a sealant inside.
Crimping with heat shrink over the connect is preferred over soldering in high vibration applications. Not sure about the OP’s method.
 

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Crimping with heat shrink over the connect is preferred over soldering in high vibration applications. Not sure about the OP’s method.
Understood:
If you secure the soldered joint, preference has nothing to do with that like I mentioned in my post (secure to a base).
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I didn't expect such controversy over this. If you're experienced and have had success with your method, more power to you and have at it....but I don't agree with some of you.

My post was aimed at the once-a-year "electrician" who isn't quite sure of how to go about things. I did check and the FAA does approve soldered connections in some applications in aircraft and I'm shocked. I've seen failures and I will "not" solder connections in any application that will be subjected to movement/vibration. YMMV

I'm sure double crimp connections can be solid, but as I said originally, most people don't put much pressure on the crimping tool, which is usually the cheap sheet-metal stampings that you get in the bargain basement. I hammered on that repeatedly - MASH those connections. Most of those connections can be pulled apart fairly easily - I've done so - they weren't done by master electicians. Mine can't.....and mine won't corrode. Look at my original picture and you'll see that my crimping tool is a forged steel unit and has seen "much" use over the last 40 years.

As far as the "right" silicone, I've never paid much (any) mind and have never seen a failure and yes, I agree that tinned copper wire should be used on boats. I just grabbed what was handy in the shop to make my example.

I think the most challenging environment for wiring has to be in the - frequently cobbled up - mess under the back bumper where the trailer wiring is grafted onto the tow vehicle wiring, esp. in areas that salt the roads in winter. I've seen some awful tangles, and after being subjected to road spray and what-all, it's a miracle some of them survive at all.

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If you're worried about appearance, my way isn't the most photogenic, but this helps a bit. Most of it will be hidden anyway. Flame Away. :)
 
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