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Waterproof Step Down Butt Connectors?

Jan 6, 2014
89
Pearson Triton Cambridge
So I have a large quantity of 12 gauge wire, but need to wire some things that are 16 gauge. I don't see much in the way of step down butt connectors, at least waterproof ones. Ancor makes some without heat shrink.

Is there a source for good quality heat shrink step down connectors? Or should I use the Ancor connectors and put heat shrink over them? Or just buy smaller wire?
 
Sep 15, 2009
6,241
S2 9.2a Fairhope Al
So I have a large quantity of 12 gauge wire, but need to wire some things that are 16 gauge. I don't see much in the way of step down butt connectors, at least waterproof ones. Ancor makes some without heat shrink.

Is there a source for good quality heat shrink step down connectors? Or should I use the Ancor connectors and put heat shrink over them? Or just buy smaller wire?
try Genuinedealz in Brunswick Ga he usually has them
 
May 8, 2013
5
willard 30 8T ventura
Just bought some from Waytek Wire. Ranged from .56 to 1.41 each (ouch).
Think min quantity is 10.
 
Feb 26, 2004
20,728
Catalina 34 224 Maple Bay, BC, Canada
Please stop.

14 ga should be the smallest wire on any boat.

Why?

'Cuz even with LEDs as low power draws, 16 ga is smaller than dental floss, and creates exactly the issue you mention.

The slightly larger wire won't hurt either the weight of your boat or your wallet.

KISS. Buy wire that works in standard butt connections, which are made in step-down "models."
 
Jan 6, 2014
89
Pearson Triton Cambridge
Yeah that was my thought in buying a big roll of 12g wire but it looks like most of the appliances I'm trying to splice to (my bilge pumps, for
Instance) appear to be 16g.
 

Maine Sail

Moderator
Feb 6, 1998
11,034
Canadian Sailcraft 36T Casco Bay, ME
So I have a large quantity of 12 gauge wire, but need to wire some things that are 16 gauge. I don't see much in the way of step down butt connectors, at least waterproof ones. Ancor makes some without heat shrink.

Is there a source for good quality heat shrink step down connectors? Or should I use the Ancor connectors and put heat shrink over them? Or just buy smaller wire?
The ones sold here are made by FTZ and are about the best quality you will find. Be sure to have the right crimp tool or you can ruin just about any heat shrink crimp...
 
Mar 6, 2008
439
Catalina 1999 C36 MKII #1787 Coyote Point Marina, CA.
I would use 2 layers of heat shrink tubing about 2" long and skin the wires back about 1/2" and insert them into each other then solder them. Crimping not needed. Soldering is more reliable than crimping.
 
Mar 23, 2011
27
Down East Yachts . Downeaster 38 Milford, CT
I fold the smaller wire over on itself a couple times so that it fills the larger butt-crimp then attach as normal. A couple of times I've had to put a piece of small heat shrink tubing on the smaller wire followed by larger heat shrink tubing over the whole crimp assembly. The smaller heat shrink tubing is there because often the larger tubing won't properly collapse on the smaller gauge wire, using the double heat shrink ensures a sealed connection. Never had a problem doing this.
 
Jun 17, 2012
15
Bristol 35.5 Escanaba
Yeah that was my thought in buying a big roll of 12g wire but it looks like most of the appliances I'm trying to splice to (my bilge pumps, for
Instance) appear to be 16g.
The wire pigtails on various types of equipment, like bilge pumps, does not define the size of wire you need. The size is calculated by the amps and distance from the power source to the device. Your bilge pump label should indicate how many amps it requires. West Marine has a simple chart in their catalog for you to calculate the wire size needed, based on the roundtrip distance.
 
Jan 6, 2014
89
Pearson Triton Cambridge
The wire pigtails on various types of equipment, like bilge pumps, does not define the size of wire you need. The size is calculated by the amps and distance from the power source to the device. Your bilge pump label should indicate how many amps it requires. West Marine has a simple chart in their catalog for you to calculate the wire size needed, based on the roundtrip distance.
Thanks...I get that. I just ended up buying 12g wire because I thought it would be a good bet that I could wire most things with it (on my smallish boat).

Is there a bottleneck though if you splice 12g wire onto an appliance with a 16g pigtail? Does that make the 12g wire effectively 16g as far as resistance goes?
 
Jun 22, 2009
2
Hunter 340 Freeport, TX
As Bristol35-5Sailboat points out, the required wire size is dependent on amp draw (current) and round-trip length. When properly sized wire is used, a voltage drop of no more than 5% will be experienced. The smaller wire near the load WILL have higher resistance but since it's over a relatively short distance (a foot or so) and farthest from the source (battery), that will have a minimal impact. Most of the bilge pumps I've worked with have longer wires than are necessary so I cut them off so they're just long enough to place the connectors well above the expected water level in order to minimize the length of the higher resistance part of the circuit.
 

Maine Sail

Moderator
Feb 6, 1998
11,034
Canadian Sailcraft 36T Casco Bay, ME
I would use 2 layers of heat shrink tubing about 2" long and skin the wires back about 1/2" and insert them into each other then solder them. Crimping not needed. Soldering is more reliable than crimping.
This is historically untrue in regards to boats. As a result, the standards for boat building have been forced to address solder & boat wiring. What is described does not even make a "compliant" splice under the ABYC standards.

The standards are what they are due to the historically low reliability of solder connections on boats. If you want to solder, and make compliant connections, to be compliant for insurance surveys etc., then you need to have a mechanical connection first, eg: crimp, then you can solder.

It should be noted that Western Union/Linemans splices/wire twisting does not count as "mechanical" connections on finely stranded marine wire as they are intended for solid copper only.

Using linemans splices/wire twisting on stranded wire is verboten not only by the ABYC/NMMA etc. but also by NASA, Mil-Spec etc....
 
Aug 24, 2012
50
Sailstar/Bristol/Herrshof Courier 26 Kemah , TX
bottleneck? No.

Two mates above have laid out fine plans for effective splicing. follow their instructions, wou will not have any bottleneck , however , should you do the crimp down to micro size wire that you originally mentioned, you shall indeed "feel the heat" an prolly th wrath of neptune as well! Eh?

Thanks...I get that. I just ended up buying 12g wire because I thought it would be a good bet that I could wire most things with it (on my smallish boat).

Is there a bottleneck though if you splice 12g wire onto an appliance with a 16g pigtail? Does that make the 12g wire effectively 16g as far as resistance goes?
 
Jun 7, 2004
36
Catalina 320 Middle River, MD
At a local electronics store I found just the barrel part of a butt splice connector. This allows a good crimped butt splice to be covered with an adhesive heat-shrink tube that makes a very low-profile splice. You may solder it after crimping if you want.
 

Maine Sail

Moderator
Feb 6, 1998
11,034
Canadian Sailcraft 36T Casco Bay, ME
At a local electronics store I found just the barrel part of a butt splice connector. This allows a good crimped butt splice to be covered with an adhesive heat-shrink tube that makes a very low-profile splice. You may solder it after crimping if you want.
It is usually easier to just buy waterproof adhesive lined butt splices... Step downs are made in adhesive lined. I always have at least 25 on hand, of each step down, for situations like bilge pumps..