Preview: Boat Wiring, Part 4 – Making Good Connections

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Don Eley shows us which connectors to use and how to crimp and connect them in this boat wiring video.

Watch Boat Wiring, Part 5 – Over-Current Protection or…

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26 Responses So Far to “Boat Wiring, Part 4 – Making Good Connections

  • Avatar

    Bob Metfe says:

    I do love the videos on OCH, I have learned so much. I’m a licensed journeyman electrician after completing a 10,000 hour apprenticeship working mainly on machinery for the automotive industry in he 70’s. One comment: I was taught to always crimp the terminal on the same side as the lug. The reason; looking at the end of a terminal crimped on the “top” one will notice a separation in the joint in the terminal, this may create a connection with more resistance than the terminal crimped on the other side. I believe that crimping on the same side as the lug has less resistance in the long run and greater holding of the wire.

  • Avatar

    Bob Thornberry says:

    Hello! I love this web site! So informative. I am reinstalling a 350 Pontiac in a 17’ mahoghany ski boat . I would love a dedicated explanation, if possible, of the wiring diagram. I know this is a lot to ask! It’s a long story, but I want to see it thru! Thank You ! Bob Thornberry

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    Richard Marsiglia says:

    Could you tell me any special things about grounding the electrical systems on a wooden boat or any boat for that matter. I want to make sure I don’t have any stray current that would ruin my running gear

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    Scott St Clair says:

    I’ve completely rewired a couple of boats and made modifications to the electrical systems of several others, and I have a real beef with the ratcheting crimpers recommended in this video. I’ve used the Ancor double crimp ratchet tool with Ancor terminals, and found the crimps are unreliable: the wire frequently pulls out of the terminal.

    I’ve found that it matters (not that there are instructions with the tool) which way you put the terminal in the crimper. It appears that the die on the side of the tool with the colored dot is bigger than the die on the plain side, thus the colored dot on the tool must point at the wire so that the smaller die has a better chance of tightly crimping the wire in the connector.

    Even if you use the tool the right way ’round, some times the connection won’t be tight enough, so I often use the next size down to crimp the terminal. That is, use the “red” die with “blue” terminals and so on.

    In every case, you MUST pull on the terminal after crimping to make sure that it won’t come off the wire.

    • Avatar

      Donald Ziolkowski says:

      You’re right, it is a little frustrating. I believe the instructions were on the back of the packaging card, and yes, they are a bit confusing. They state: “… make sure the area to be crimped onto the exposed wire strands is opposite the colored dot and on the smooth arc side of the die.” It would have been easier to state that the dot goes toward the wire, and the fitting towards the side without the dot. Also, there is a way to adjust the crimpers for a tighter fit, or as the tool wears. I have a scan of the instructions if you need them.

    • Steve Stone

      Steve Stone says:

      Hey Bryce. We shot it last weekend, and we’re editing it now! The long awaited #5 is not far away. As is #6 after that.

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    Brian Landry says:

    Don has answered a lot of my basic questions about wiring when it comes to boating. Why tined wire which connectors to use and why. Only wish all the videos were available to watch in one sitting before I wire my new down riggers. Excellent teacher Don.

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    Mads Dahlke says:

    Looking very much forward to part 5 and 6. Any idea when they will become available? :-)

  • Avatar

    Edmund Woiszwillo says:

    Great info. Would like to know how to wire solar panels to keep batteries topped off. Great website.

  • Avatar

    Bob Parlee says:

    I need more. I really enjoy Don’s way of teaching he does a great job.

  • Avatar

    Rob Kimzey says:

    Looking forward to more of these electrical videos! They are very helpful. Thank you

    • Avatar

      Steve Stone says:

      Hi Daniel. Thanks for your question. Part 5 and 6 are on the way as soon as we can. Soon though.

      • Avatar

        Daniel Udell says:

        Ok thanks for the reply, these videos are awesome!

        • Avatar

          Steve Stone says:

          ‘Part 6’ is the killer, where Don lays out the whole system for us. Don’s been flat out teaching, so we’ll be getting in the shop again with him very soon to knock out Part 5 on the electrical panel. Then we’ll release part 6 which is a look at the whole system together.

          • Avatar

            jack lane says:

            Don is certainly a professional, and explains well. I have a 95 Searay Express 400. What are your thoughts of installing a portable TV for the cockpit? I would like to run it DC, or perhaps both, if possible….is that doable?


  • Avatar

    Ken Sloan says:

    I built a boat about 10 years ago and muddled through the wiring via written guides. I find combining both the ‘how’ and the ‘why’ of the process to be much more effective.

    • Avatar

      Harry Bryan says:

      Thanks so much for a great series. Would you comment on the use of dielectric compound in terminal connections. I have used it on the advice of a local marine electronics installer, but would rather not use it as it is messy.

      • Avatar

        Don Eley says:

        Hi Harry,
        While it certainly doesn’t hurt anything I generally don’t use dielectric compound on electrical terminals that are going to stay dry. With good terminal ends and terminal blocks things stay corrosion free. However when an electrical connection is definitely going to get wet dielectric compound is very helpful, for example a plug on deck used for an anchor or spot light.

        • Avatar

          John Campbell says:

          Mr. Eley,

          Thanks for this reply. I always wondered about that.


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