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TOPIC: Battery cable question

Battery cable question 26 Sep 2017 02:37 #1

  • bal734
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I'm going to move an engine start battery to the port side to better balance the boat. It might involve a slightly longer run. Is there any marine magic in a 2/0 battery cable or can I use a generic/automotive cable? Thx

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Battery cable question 26 Sep 2017 02:43 #2

  • Wild Blue Yonder
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Marine wire is "tinned" and will not corrode. Do not jeapordise you insurance coverage by using non marine or ABCY or coast guard approved wire. A couple of bucks is not worth it.
Jim

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Battery cable question 26 Sep 2017 03:30 #3

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Totally agree with Wild Blue Yonder! In addition, non tinned wire sucks up water into the wire braid itself and causes corrosion. I replaced a bunch of wire and connections due to this capillary corrosion. Some of it was factory and some was by prior owners. I fixed the obvious problems. Now I just make the upgrades anytime there is a problem or I modify a system needing new runs or connections. I also recommend using closed terminal ends and heat shrinking with marine heat shrink. It has a glue that melts and seals out moisture. 12 volts is not a lot and voltage drop due to resistance from corrosion is not a good thing.

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Battery cable question 26 Sep 2017 21:21 #4

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Wild Blue Yonder wrote: Marine wire is "tinned" and will not corrode. Do not jeapordise you insurance coverage by using non marine or ABCY or coast guard approved wire. A couple of bucks is not worth it.
Jim


So do you have just one sampke of an insurance claim denied for not using tinned battery cables?

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Battery cable question 26 Sep 2017 21:24 #5

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mmichellich wrote:

Wild Blue Yonder wrote: Marine wire is "tinned" and will not corrode. Do not jeapordise you insurance coverage by using non marine or ABCY or coast guard approved wire. A couple of bucks is not worth it.
Jim


So do you have just one sampke of an insurance claim denied for not using tinned battery cables?


Tinned battery cables will corrode. Sitting inside a battery box exposed to acid fumes from charging they will corrode.

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Started boating 1965
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Battery cable question 26 Sep 2017 21:51 #6

  • Pcpete
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You may, or probably will, have to increase the size of the cables due to the increased distance. For myself, I like to use cables that have lots of strands.

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Battery cable question 26 Sep 2017 23:06 #7

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mmichellich wrote:

mmichellich wrote:

Wild Blue Yonder wrote: Marine wire is "tinned" and will not corrode. Do not jeapordise you insurance coverage by using non marine or ABCY or coast guard approved wire. A couple of bucks is not worth it.
Jim


So do you have just one sampke of an insurance claim denied for not using tinned battery cables?


Tinned battery cables will corrode. Sitting inside a battery box exposed to acid fumes from charging they will corrode.


Tinned battery cables will corrode over time, the best way to prevent this is to use marine rated tinned cables with a heavy duty adhesive heat shrink and tinned copper lugs properly crimped on'

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Battery cable question 26 Sep 2017 23:55 #8

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Marine type tinned copper wire will corrode more slowly than bare copper wire. Since most everything deteriorates, the idea is to use materials that deteriorate more slowly. There is a point at which cost can become a factor. For example, gilded copper wire will corrode more slowly than tinned copper wire. Does one get enough extra life to justify the extra cost of the gold? Probably not. However, in my opinion one should use products and materials that are rated for marine use in a boat. That means that the regulating bodies (USCG, ABYC, etc.) approve of their use in the intended application. Has there been an insurance denial because of using the wrong kind of wire? I personally don't know the answer to that question. Have there been losses due to fire because of using the wrong type of wire? My marine electrician friend who has investigated boat fires says, "yes". It is fuel for a law suit if nothing else, and who wants that, especially if it were a wrongful death law suit. Just some food for thought.

Greg

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Battery cable question 27 Sep 2017 00:51 #9

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The marine battery cable that is tinned, and made of many smaller gauge wires and is there for more flexible as well. Just replace all our battery cables as the 27 year copper ones had served that life the resistance and stiffness made them tough to work with and effected starting and my inverter.

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Battery cable question 27 Sep 2017 01:15 #10

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I have used nothing but outdoor welding cable to wire my boat batteries over the years. I always buy it used. Contractors have to start most new jobs with new welding cables. For the same outside diameter you get about double the current capacity.

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Battery cable question 27 Sep 2017 01:16 #11

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I have all marine ABYC wire on my 3870, with-out exception since I rewired it in the late 90's.
I can cut any of the battery cable adhesive heat shrink off the battery cables and they will look like new.
I use only adhesive heat shrink on all electrical wires and heavy duty adhesive heat shrink on battery cables.
I works.
The cheap stuff will not prevent corrosion!

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Battery cable question 27 Sep 2017 10:18 #12

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mmichellich wrote: I have used nothing but outdoor welding cable to wire my boat batteries over the years. I always buy it used. Contractors have to start most new jobs with new welding cables. For the same outside diameter you get about double the current capacity.


Curious...why do the contractors have to get new welding cables each time they start a new job? Is there some difference between the used and new cable?

Greg

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Battery cable question 27 Sep 2017 10:43 #13

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mmichellich wrote:

Wild Blue Yonder wrote: Marine wire is "tinned" and will not corrode. Do not jeapordise you insurance coverage by using non marine or ABCY or coast guard approved wire. A couple of bucks is not worth it.
Jim


So do you have just one sampke of an insurance claim denied for not using tinned battery cables?


Insurance claim or not, I would not jeopardize my own boat (and lives of those on board) because I may save some money here. The issue will not show itself up immediately but it will do so, eventually. Whether that causes a fire or some other problem you will need to deal with it then. Deal with it now and get it out of your mind.

Be safe!

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Battery cable question 27 Sep 2017 15:51 #14

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Marine tinned wire is widely available on ebay at a heavy discount.
Ancor cable and wire is available.
The vast majority of wire on my 3870 is Ancor and I use heavy duty adhesive heat shrink on battery cables as well as adhesive heat shrink terminals on all smaller wire.

I can buy 100 ft of 2/0 ANCOR battery cable for $217.00, this is an example, no-one needs 100 ft unless you run cables to the forward v-berth storage.
I find great buys on Ancor or an approved Marine battery cable or wire on ebay, cheap enough that I make money re-selling it on ebay.

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Battery cable question 27 Sep 2017 18:15 #15

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I would like to see an explanation how the non tinned cable is going to start a fire.
Doug

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Battery cable question 27 Sep 2017 18:59 #16

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I believe the answer to your question is that non-tinned wire will corrode more quickly. Corroded wire has higher resistance. Higher resitance = more heat generated. More heat generated = fire.

Fire on a fiberglass boat is typically fast-moving and hard to stop. I agree with the others, this is not an area to try to cut costs.

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Rob Meldrum
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Battery cable question 27 Sep 2017 19:26 #17

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Here is a good article on the wire topic: www.practical-sailor.com/issues/34_6/psa...ned-Wire_5632-1.html . One thing that is not mentioned is that marine wire has more, smaller diameter conductors, making it a bit more vibration resistant.
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Battery cable question 27 Sep 2017 19:41 #18

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Norton Rider wrote: Here is a good article on the wire topic: www.practical-sailor.com/issues/34_6/psa...ned-Wire_5632-1.html . One thing that is not mentioned is that marine wire has more, smaller diameter conductors, making it a bit more vibration resistant.[/quote

Do you have any reference showing that smaller wires are more vibration resistant than larger wires?

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Battery cable question 27 Sep 2017 20:18 #19

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Reading Nigel Calderss Boat Owners Mechanical and Electrical Manual, page 89 and 90 lay out the preferred wire for a 3% drop and the wire code definitions for type. AWM (Appliance Wiring Material) is noted as a good candidate for engine rooms because of a higher heat resistance.
As to wire size, 12v 100 amp, the length of the conductor from the source and back to the source in feet the wire size would be: 15-2, 20-2, 25-1, 30-0, 40-2/0, 50-3/0, 60-4/0,
I've found this book to be an excellent resource even though it was printed in 1990.

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Battery cable question 27 Sep 2017 22:53 #20

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Thanks for all the info. None of my original battery cables are tinned but they are twisted. Digging a little deeper it appears that ABYC prefers tinned battery cables but it is not required. However, battery cables are required to be marine approved.

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Battery cable question 27 Sep 2017 23:03 #21

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mmichellich wrote:

Norton Rider wrote: Here is a good article on the wire topic: www.practical-sailor.com/issues/34_6/psa...ned-Wire_5632-1.html . One thing that is not mentioned is that marine wire has more, smaller diameter conductors, making it a bit more vibration resistant.[/quote

Do you have any reference showing that smaller wires are more vibration resistant than larger wires?


No, but it has to do with crack propagation. A crack that starts on a wire strand will eventually continue all the way until the strand is severed. Fewer, thicker wires means that a higher percentage of the conductors will be severed due to crack propagation.

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Battery cable question 27 Sep 2017 23:54 #22

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Norton Rider wrote:

mmichellich wrote:

Norton Rider wrote: Here is a good article on the wire topic: www.practical-sailor.com/issues/34_6/psa...ned-Wire_5632-1.html . One thing that is not mentioned is that marine wire has more, smaller diameter conductors, making it a bit more vibration resistant.[/quote

Do you have any reference showing that smaller wires are more vibration resistant than larger wires?


No, but it has to do with crack propagation. A crack that starts on a wire strand will eventually continue all the way until the strand is severed. Fewer, thicker wires means that a higher percentage of the conductors will be severed due to crack propagation.


Outdoor Welding cable has smaller individual wires than most alternatives.

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Battery cable question 28 Sep 2017 00:50 #23

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I have bought "marine grade" wire that was tinned and that being the only obvious difference. Then I have also bought "marine grade" wire that was tinned and had a moisture barrier in addition to the insulation material. The moisture barrier has been in a variety of AWG sizes. Some commercial and industrial floor cleaning equipment uses this type of wire and at times it is referred to as "marine grade" I suppose on your own boat you can use whatever you want. Heck, use AL service entrance for battery cables if you dare (actually I do not recommend doing that). My insurance company requires surveys. All it takes is for some surveyor to point out "non-marine" wire and then you have a brand new 'can of worms'. I like to save my customers some dollars when I can, but why cheap out on something as important as the highest load carrying wires in your boat? I guess I just don't get it... (no I'm not made of money, just pick which bargains to pursue)

Greg
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Battery cable question 28 Sep 2017 02:32 #24

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Mr. Darcy wrote: All it takes is for some surveyor to point out "non-marine" wire and then you have a brand new 'can of worms'.


In many years of boating I have never heard of a surveyor pointing out non-marine wire. Surveyors are not usually concerned about whether the wire is marine wire or not. They are concerned about household Romex-type wire used in boat AC systems. When smaller boats first started having shore power a lot of the boats were wired with Romex-type wire. Many insurance companies will not insure a boat with this type of wire aboard.

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Battery cable question 28 Sep 2017 06:56 #25

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I've got 600amp multi strand copper cable that's used for earthing 33kva transformers it ain't tinned but by the time you cripp the fittings use quality heat shrink and grease the connection can't see it failing anytime soon I've linked my batterys with it and run up to windlass with it over a 24ft length no voltage drop with battery cable I'd always go with quality over quantity every time and if you havnt cripped cable before maybe mark up your cables and take them down to a local shop and get done properly with a cropping tool not a vice and centre punch.

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