Bus Conversions dot Com Bulletin Board
July 25, 2014, 08:54:25 AM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: If you had an E-Mag Subscription: You will not have to go out in the rain, sleet, hail, or snow to retrieve it.
   Home   Help Forum Rules Search Calendar Login Register BCM Home Page Contact BCM  
Pages: [1] 2  All   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Boat Cable  (Read 1737 times)
wagwar
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 166


WWW

Ignore
« on: August 10, 2012, 04:54:26 PM »

I think I have read here and on the other one that boat cable is a no-no in bus conversions. I recall, that the problem is proper termination of the stranded conductor. There may be other reasons as well. Of course, I may have also just misunderstood as I am not an electrician.

Nevertheless, I have found some 120vac circuits in my bus using boat cable. It is 12 ga, three conductor, so there is no 'missing ground' problem, but it would be nearly impossible to change the cable at this point.

What is the 'Proper' way to terminate boat cable for the following type of connections:

Neutral bus bar in panel box
Circuit breaker in panel box
Ground connection in panel box
Connection to appliances - receptacles/outlets, A/C units, light switches, etc.
Logged

belfert
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 5391




Ignore
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2012, 05:05:51 PM »

I'm not so sure termination is the issue so much as not meeting code.  Marine cable is not listed in the code for RV use.

I have marine cable in my bus.  I'm probably going to replace it with THHN stranded or maybe MC stranded next summer.  I'm not worried about safety with the marine cable.  I just want to meet code.
Logged

Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
Zeroclearance
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 518





Ignore
« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2012, 05:38:52 PM »

You might want to look into DLO wire or Diesel locomotive wire.   Sean has recommended it in the past.   They offer it tinned.
Logged
bevans6
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 4532


1980 MCI MC-5C




Ignore
« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2012, 05:59:43 PM »

The wire is in the bus and isn't coming out easy, per the original post.  How do they terminate marine cable in marine use?  I would just do what they do.  I think they use crimp on terminals.

Brian
Logged

1980 MCI MC-5C, 8V-71T from a M-110 self propelled howitzer
Spicer 8844 4 speed Zen meditation device
Vintage race cars -
1978 Lola T440 Formula Ford
1972 NTM MK-4 B/SR
Brassman
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 257




Ignore
« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2012, 06:11:19 PM »

 Most residential type of breakers, panelboards, and wiring devices are designed to work with solid, or a 9 to 12 strand wire. Fine stranded wire can lead to hot connections. Should be crimped to a pin that then goes into that type of device.
Logged
Lin
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 4528

1965 MC-5a




Ignore
« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2012, 08:15:24 PM »

Can wire nuts be used on the fine stranded wire?  If so, one could easily attach short wires of his choice to the ends and connect those to the device.
Logged

You don't have to believe everything you think.
belfert
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 5391




Ignore
« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2012, 08:16:30 PM »

You might want to look into DLO wire or Diesel locomotive wire.   Sean has recommended it in the past.   They offer it tinned.

I believe that would be for DC only.  The OP has an issue with marine wire used for 120 volt AC.
Logged

Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
luvrbus
Hero Member
*****
Online Online

Posts: 12069




Ignore
« Reply #7 on: August 10, 2012, 08:39:43 PM »

Using marine wire use the Ancor connectors it works good for 110v in boats and rv's I wired my x (Matts) Eagle with marine wire 20 years ago but I used marine panels and breakers it is thinned for corrosion purposes and U/L rated this deal comes up every so often and nothing ever changes

Electrical on a bus is a cake walk compared to boat RV codes will allow Romex and real cheap @$# fixtures,switches and plugs we all do it different I would not worry about the marine wire JMO
Logged

Live each day like it was your last,one day it will be
Sean
Geek.
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2536


'85 Neoplan Spaceliner "Odyssey"


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #8 on: August 10, 2012, 09:02:55 PM »

The only proper way to terminate "boat cable" to most devices is with crimp-on terminals.  For outlets, switches, bus bars, and anything else with a screw terminal, I recommend ring terminals rather than spade (U-shaped) terminals.  If you must use a spade type, for example because you are connecting to a device with a "captive" screw that can not be fully removed, then use the type where the ends of the U are upturned.  This will help retain the terminal should the screw start to loosen.  The crimp terminal's barrel should match the gauge of wire in use, and the ring or spade diameter should match the retaining screw.  You will likely need to buy several sizes; resist the temptation to fudge the size at either end -- it's not safe.  Only use insulated terminals for AC power, and get the best terminals and crimper you can afford -- the ones that come together in a package for ten bucks won't cut it.  As a general rule, good crimpers start at $30 and go up, and good terminals run at least $0.10 apiece in smaller quantities.

Connecting to household type circuit breakers is one of the pitfalls of boat cable.  Marine circuit breakers are quite different, typically having screw terminals.  Household breakers, on the other hand, often have clamp-type terminals.  Whether or not any given terminal is suitable for tinned, fine-strand marine cable can only be determined by reading the specs or contacting the manufacturer.  Fully-encircling style compression terminals are often fine, but plate-style terminals will usually spread the stranding, leading to overheating.

If you have a type of breaker that is not suitable for marine wire, and can not find a replacement breaker with an acceptable termination, then you will need to splice a short length of THHN or other approved stranded wire to the end of the boat cable using an insulated crimp-on butt connector.  This is, again, the only acceptable method -- wire nuts are not safe.  The end of the boat cable, the butt connector, and the entire length of THHN must be within the panel enclosure, and the wire colors must match.

None of this, of course, will make your installation code-compliant.

HTH,

-Sean
http://OurOdyssey.BlogSpot.com
Logged

Full-timing in a 1985 Neoplan Spaceliner since 2004.
Our blog: http://OurOdyssey.BlogSpot.com
belfert
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 5391




Ignore
« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2012, 04:41:10 AM »

Marine wire is indeed UL listed, but my understanding is the UL number is not accepted for RV code purposes.  It has to be listed under another UL number for RV use.

Other posts in the past have indicated the only real reason it is not listed with the proper UL number is the RV market isn't big enough for the wire manufacturers.  RV manufacturers are for the most part not going to use marine cable because it costs more than Romex and other alternatives.  It is also more labor intensive with all the terminals that need to be crimped on.
Logged

Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
Sean
Geek.
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2536


'85 Neoplan Spaceliner "Odyssey"


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2012, 09:49:35 AM »

Marine wire is indeed UL listed, but my understanding is the UL number is not accepted for RV code purposes.  It has to be listed under another UL number for RV use. ...

and
... marine wire ... is thinned for corrosion purposes and U/L rated ...


OK, there is a LOT of confusion about this subject, so let me clear it up.

First of all Underwriters Laboratories (UL) has nothing to do with the NEC (developed by the National Fire Protection Association, NFPA) and vice-versa.  UL testing something does not make it acceptable under the code, nor does anything need to be tested by UL to be acceptable under the code.

UL is a private testing laboratory.  It has competitors, including other private testing laboratories in the US and abroad, as well as testing laboratories run by the governments of other nations (the US has a private commercial testing laboratory system, whereas some other countries require products to be tested by government or quasi-governmental agencies).  Other common laboratory marks you might see are CSA (Canadian Standards Association), DIN (Deutsches Institut für Normung), TuV (Technischer Überwachungsverein), and many products carry additional acceptance marks such as SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers), CE (Conformite Europeenne), ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials), etc.

When any agency tests a product, they test it for its suitability and safety for a specific purpose.  The stated purpose is supplied by the manufacturer when the item is submitted for testing.  Some items might be submitted for testing to multiple purposes, and if all tests are passed, the item will be certified for all those purposes.  An item with a testing hallmark such as "UL" is only certified for the tested purpose.  You can have a UL-listed hair dryer and a UL-listed pool heater; the hair dryer is not safe for heating the pool, and the pool heater is not safe for drying hair.

Likewise, if you open the walls of your house you will likely find that your telephone cable is UL listed.  It's safe and suitable for carrying phone signals, not 120-VAC power.  Similarly, the power wires, while not unsafe, are unsuitable for carrying phone signals (phone wire needs to be twisted-pair, and power wires are untwisted).

UL "listing numbers," by the way, are unique to each product, and do not reference any specific standard.  So if a manufacturer of wire wants to mark the wire THHN and THNN, he would submit the wire to UL and ask for testing to both standards.  The wire would be issued one single, unique listing number, and only by calling UL and asking them would you be able to learn exactly what standards the wire passed.

So to apply this to the subject at hand:  Boat cable is tested and listed by UL and/or other testing agencies for use on boats.  There is a specific standard for this and it is very detailed.  It is different from the standard for, say, NM cable, which is approved for use in homes and RVs.  Can the same cable meet both standards?  Possibly, but here's the thing:  it costs tons of money to have UL or anyone else test a product to a specific standard.  Moreover, when it comes to wire, you need to also develop (at some expense) the full documentation on how the product must be used.  So in this case, for example, you'd need to specify how the wire should be terminated to devices, breakers, etc.

The reality is that the market for boat cable to be used outside of the marine industry is minuscule, and it's just not cost-effective for the manufacturers to pay for this testing.  The vast majority of the RV market uses standard NM, and they are simply not going to pay the premium for fine-strand, tinned wire.  That leaves a small handful of bus converters who might pay such a premium (though frankly I do not understand why).

What's perhaps more important to note here is that, because it has not been manufactured with the NM standard in mind nor submitted for this testing, we simply don't know whether or not it meets the standard.  Perhaps the insulation would not meet the smoke characteristics.  Or perhaps the cable can not be made to terminate safely on certain styles of NM-compatible circuit breakers.  Without the testing, we don't know, nor do we have proper instructions for connecting it, and therefore can not conclude that such installations are safe.

Particularly problematic here are home-brew bastardizations wherein marine components have been intermixed with residential components.  While not code-compliant, an installation using 100% marine materials and conforming to ABYC guidelines (see below) such as Clifford described would likely be safer than such a mixed system.

Quote
Electrical on a bus is a cake walk compared to boat RV codes will allow Romex and real cheap @$# fixtures,switches and plugs ...


OK, I just had to respond to this piece, too, because it makes it sound like the RV code is more lax than the practice in the marine industry.

The fact is, there are no codes whatsoever for pleasure boats.  None, zip, zero, nada, period.  You can wire your boat with baling wire on knob-and-tube if you want, and there is not a thing anyone can do about it.  Lots of people and agencies would like to see this changed, because boat fires due to faulty electrical installations are fairly common and deadly (and, in a marina, much more likely to spread to neighboring vessels).

The closest thing we have in the pleasure boat industry to a "code" is a set of guidelines promulgated by the American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC).  Unlike the NEC for shore-side facilities, which is law in most jurisdictions and thus subject to legal enforcement, these ABYC guidelines are 100% voluntary.  I personally know of no pleasure boat manufacturer that follows the ABYC guidelines to the letter in their entirety, and even fewer aftermarket installers, including boat owners.  Some of you may know that I am shopping for a boat right now, and I have seen every conceivable kind of unsafe wiring on boats, including circuits with no fuses or breakers at all, and some of it was done at the factory.  Think about that the next time your buddy takes you deep-sea fishing.

FWIW, the fixtures, switches, and receptacles used on most pleasure boats are exactly the same "cheap @$#" ones used by the high-end RV industry -- the ones you buy in the bulk pack at Home Depot.  (Lower-end RVs use "integrated devices," which are a PITA but not inherently bad).  And I would argue that Type NM cable (aka "Romex®") is not any better or worse than Boat Cable when used properly for the intended purpose, just less expensive.  Both types will fail if installed improperly, and both types are subject to most of the same limitations and susceptibility to physical damage.

As Clifford says, this subject has been beaten to death here in the past.  Lot's of people have the opinion that boat cable is somehow better than NM and therefore they consider it safer to use, code be damned.  I can probably argue that braided stainless hoses with aircraft fittings are inherently safer to use than DOT nylon air brake line, too, but if the hose is not stamped DOT it's not legal.  Probably no one will notice unless someone dies, and then all hell will break loose.

-Sean
http://OurOdyssey.BlogSpot.com
Logged

Full-timing in a 1985 Neoplan Spaceliner since 2004.
Our blog: http://OurOdyssey.BlogSpot.com
Geoff
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 518





Ignore
« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2012, 04:30:01 PM »

As has been mentioned, this subject has been beat to death in the past 10-12 years that I have been around.  I wired my bus with marine wiring 10 years ago and I loved the way it installed-- it was easy to bend around corners and the stranded wire was designed for vibration.  And it was not cheap-- marine cable is way better quality than Romex.  Ten years ago I called the people that made the marine wire and I asked them why it was not approved for RV use, and they told me the market was so small it was not worth getting their marine wire UL rated for RVs.  But they assured me it was of much better quality and superior materials than Romex hard wire and was used in the highest priced Prevost conversions.

I used crimp connections and always twisted the end of the stranded wires and I have never had a problem in ten+ years-- unlike other stories I have heard from people using hard wire Romex and had it break under vibration and start smoking in their bus conversions.  If anybody cares, wiring in automobiles and trucks are always  stranded copper wire to withstand the vibration from the engine and road.

Hey Sean, is your Trace 4024 inverter rated for road use??  Don't bother to answer, I already know the answer-- NO.  I wonder about people that insist we follow RVIA guidelines that are voluntary and only directed at RV manufacturers who choose to join their unofficial group put together by some attorney who was looking to make money organizing manufacturing groups.

Rant is over for now....

--Geoff
« Last Edit: August 11, 2012, 04:36:11 PM by Geoff » Logged

Geoff
'82 RTS AZ
wagwar
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 166


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #12 on: August 11, 2012, 04:40:10 PM »

I want to Thank! everyone that responded. I appreciate the quality and quantity of knowledge that you have shared.

I will check the terminations on these circuits in my bus and do my best to make them 'proper'. 

BTW, a quick google on 'boat cable terminators' revealed this interesting article on proper cable termination and the use of proper tools for the job. I found it very helpful.

Logged

wagwar
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 166


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #13 on: August 11, 2012, 04:41:02 PM »

oops, Sorry! forgot the link:

http://www.pbase.com/mainecruising/wire_termination
Logged

RJ
Former Giant Greenbrier Owner
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2776





Ignore
« Reply #14 on: August 11, 2012, 05:20:05 PM »

Sean & Geoff -

Excellent commentary, as usual.  Thanks, fellows, for your expertise and support!!


Jim -

Really, really, interesting link!  I've got a good quality crimper I use, but it's not nearly as good as the ones shown in the link.

Gotta go searching thru the budget now to find some $$ to buy a professional racheting model. . .

TIA, guys!

 Wink
Logged

RJ Long
PD4106-2784 No More
Fresno CA
Pages: [1] 2  All   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.18 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!