Marine Wire Connector BasicsPosted June 16 2014
Marine Wire Connectors
Marine wire connectors are one of the smallest yet most critical component of your wiring system. It is the solid connection using a mechanical device between your wire and terminal or wire. Proper application, sizing and crimping are critical for an efficient and safe connection.
Marine wire connectors are critical components and quality connectors should always be used. Connectors should be made with tin plated copper and insulators. We strongly recommend adhesive lined heat shrink insulators to help protect the connection from water, rust and corrosion.
Sizing Electrical Connectors
The terminal size is the first consideration for connector sizing. Appropriate size and style must be taken into consideration. Secondly the connector barrel should be sized to the appropriate wire size as recommended by the connector manufacture and APBY. The entire wire should fit into the barrel and there should be little or no free space when the wire is in the connector barrel.
Crimping for our purpose means to join two pieces of metal together by deforming one or both of the components to hold them together. Proper crimping can only be achieved by using the correct crimping tool. Do not attempt to crimp connects with pliers, hammers, vises or teeth. A crimper is specifically designed so that when used properly will make a cold weld between the wire and the barrel of the connector.
Quality crimps are a safety concern. An incorrect crimp leaves air pockets between the wire and connector. Air pockets allow moisture and deposits to collect, this causes corrosion, corrosion causes resistance, resistance causes heat, and will lead to energy loss and possible fire hazard.
There are several different designs of crimping tools available on the market. The Basic hand crimp tool works fine for infrequent use, but does require substantial effort to create a good solid crimp. The preferred crimping tool is the ratchet crimper. It requires less effort and are more stable, plus it insures enough pressure has been applied for proper crimping. These crimpers also offer a wide jaw to cover more surface area of the connector.
Crimping Electrical Connectors
To make a safe and proper electrical connector crimp you must first strip the wire using specifically designed wire strippers. Wire cutters and knives can compromise and damage the wire. Strip the insulation so the amount of exposed wire is equal to the length of the metal barrel of the connector. When inserted, the insulation on the wire should butt up against the barrel and the exposed wire does not interfere with the terminal connection.
When crimping, insert the connector onto the wire and place in the appropriate slot on the crimping tool. Each size barrel is color coded and should only be crimped with the corresponding colored crimp slot on the tool. Smooth even pressure will help assure a good solid connection. A considerable amount of pressure is required to achieve the desired result.
Visit eBoat Marine YouTube channel for our training video.