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First thing I will say here, is if you don't understand electrics, leave it alone and find someone that does, preferably the non stetson wearing, colt 45 carrying type. Usually easy to spot and for the visually impaired, listen out for the jangling of spurs......

Ok, so that out the way...... First tool to mention, the multimeter

Multimeter

There are loads of these around with many different functions. The main functions you need are AC and DC volts, Resistance and a very useful one, Hz.

Aim for around the £30 mark to get a decent meter for DIY level, if you intent to do a lot, names suh as AVO and Fluke.......

Clampmeter

If you want one of these, check the specs to make sure it does what you want, it could be a very expensive mistake to make. Usually, you would use one to measure amps (they do the V and Ohms as well) as this is what sets them apart from a Multimeter.

Crimps

Cheap really is not your friend here. The 2 main types for automotive cable are the insulated and non insulated, and they require different crimps. I'll start with non insulated as these are primarily what I use.

 

327509486_noninsulated.jpg.f27be0cecdc53cd1dbab22443660d49e.jpg

Pictured above, non insulated type terminals

1344508098_noninsulatedpliers.jpg.057066559c415cecd5996aa3e5a73b54.jpg

These are the pliers I use for these. You can buy ratchet crimps, but not found the need on this type of terminal

 

Insulated terminals I try and stay away from, but, used with high quality pliers are fine. The ones used in the rail and aero industries are very expensive, like £300+, but that is where you need to be for reliable crimping..... At the very least use GOOD ratchet crimps

ratchet.jpg.b1071431a09f3bbaec1339e96dbfce49.jpg

 

There are other crimps for battery leads etc, but for this thread, we will stick to basic tools....

Other Tools

So what else? Side cutters, wire strippers, insulated screwdrivers..... It really depends how far you want to take your wiring. Hand tools, stay away from the cheapest as stated above, quality really does score in this section

 

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Some other items to have at hand when tackling a wiring job.

Heat Shrink. An absolute must and not that expensive, can be bought ready cut in various sizes or as a length/roll to trim yourself. It comes in various different colours so you could even have a colour code system going on with the heat shrink. Remember to put the heat shrink on first!

Fuses Always have plenty of fuses of each and every type you use, keep a good stock on the boat as well

Tape Several types to consider. Harness tape, the non sticky stuff tou wrap around a loom or spur from a loom to protect it, held in place with heatshrink. Self amalgamating tape, again to wrap around a harness for protection, bonds itself together to form a more reliable sheath. Insulating, or insulting tape as I often refer to it, ok as a get you home temp fix, but better suited for taping wires together when harness making

 

Gas Soldering Iron These things are brilliant, can be used for shrinking heatshrink to soldering multi wire splices. Just remember to carry a lighter and a gas can

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2 hours ago, suzook12 said:

Heat Shrink. An absolute must and not that expensive, can be bought ready cut in various sizes or as a length/roll to trim yourself. It comes in various different colours so you could even have a colour code system going on with the heat shrink. Remember to put the heat shrink on first!

I love the adhesive filled heatshrink. But do check wiring correct first once heated only way back involves sidecutters!

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34 minutes ago, WiFishing said:

I love the adhesive filled heatshrink. But do check wiring correct first once heated only way back involves sidecutters!

Of course I've never ever done that...... Hahahaha🤣

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3 hours ago, WiFishing said:

I love the adhesive filled heatshrink. But do check wiring correct first once heated only way back involves sidecutters!

Oh, and welcome to Offshore Outlaws! 👍

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3 hours ago, WiFishing said:
5 hours ago, suzook12 said:

 

I love the adhesive filled heatshrink. But do check wiring correct first once heated only way back involves sidecutters!

Welcome to the Offshore outlaws. We don’t have many women here apart from @JonC who’s a BIG girl. 
So anyWI member is welcome. What branch do you represent ? 

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Just to add to @suzook12's post on Electrical tools, you really do get what you pay for. I've had two different crimpers at the cheap end of the spectrum and both times they've started to bend out of shape at the hinge pin when crimping firmly. On one of them the jaws started to open up so that they would never meet properly when closed. Buyer beware!

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1 hour ago, suzook12 said:

Proper crimp tools are expensive...... These are £175 2nd hand..... And calibration is out of datecrimps.thumb.jpg.5ff4812fbbdaddd31a749cdde58e6b25.jpg

If you’re going to be using any tool regularly then it’s a no brainer to buy the best you can. 

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  • 1 month later...
On 10/21/2020 at 2:38 PM, Andy135 said:

Just to add to @suzook12's post on Electrical tools, you really do get what you pay for. I've had two different crimpers at the cheap end of the spectrum and both times they've started to bend out of shape at the hinge pin when crimping firmly. On one of them the jaws started to open up so that they would never meet properly when closed. Buyer beware!

Mine are from RS Components (used to be Radiospares) and are the best part of 40 years old ............. still going strong .............

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2 hours ago, GPSguru said:

Mine are from RS Components (used to be Radiospares) and are the best part of 40 years old ............. still going strong .............

Yeah, I've had good stuff from them over the years. Their actual crimps are of a good quality too..... Used their crimps by the 1000 on rolling stock

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On 10/16/2020 at 11:47 AM, suzook12 said:

here are other crimps for battery leads etc

 

Indeed, and anything of quality is mega expensive ............... however there is an alternative method

Use a bucket solder eye and fill the bucket end with molten solder, then carefully tin the prepared end of cable ........... slide the end of the cable into the molten solder bucket and wait for it to cool down ............ when cooled carefully pull a length of RayChem (glued heatshrink) over the joint and allow enough to extend about 70 - 100mm along the cable sheath, then shrink it into place ...............

 

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On 10/19/2020 at 6:58 PM, suzook12 said:

Some other items to have at hand when tackling a wiring job.

Heat Shrink. An absolute must and not that expensive, can be bought ready cut in various sizes or as a length/roll to trim yourself. It comes in various different colours so you could even have a colour code system going on with the heat shrink. Remember to put the heat shrink on first!

Fuses Always have plenty of fuses of each and every type you use, keep a good stock on the boat as well

Tape Several types to consider. Harness tape, the non sticky stuff tou wrap around a loom or spur from a loom to protect it, held in place with heatshrink. Self amalgamating tape, again to wrap around a harness for protection, bonds itself together to form a more reliable sheath. Insulating, or insulting tape as I often refer to it, ok as a get you home temp fix, but better suited for taping wires together when harness making

 

Gas Soldering Iron These things are brilliant, can be used for shrinking heatshrink to soldering multi wire splices. Just remember to carry a lighter and a gas can

 

I had years of messing about trying to use a low cost ellectric soldering tool with poor success. Recently went over to using a little dremel gas soldering tool which has attachments for hot knife rope cutting and a heat shrink attatchmeant and now my connections look very professional. This tool wasn't expensive and seems to run for a good amount of time on the easy to fill gas. There are plenty of UK YouTube videos that convinced me this was the tool to get.

When I use heat shrink Ive been putting dialectic grease over my connection, when the heat shrink squeezes down on the wire the grease oozes out ( might not be the way to go but haven't had any problem ).

Edited by JDP
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29 minutes ago, GPSguru said:

 

Indeed, and anything of quality is mega expensive ............... however there is an alternative method

Use a bucket solder eye and fill the bucket end with molten solder, then carefully tin the prepared end of cable ........... slide the end of the cable into the molten solder bucket and wait for it to cool down ............ when cooled carefully pull a length of RayChem (glued heatshrink) over the joint and allow enough to extend about 70 - 100mm along the cable sheath, then shrink it into place ...............

 

Another alternative for battery leads is the "hammer on" terminals, although we always did them in the vice for welding cables and they would last the distance

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I bought a pair of ratchet crimping pliers last week, not really expensive ones, an about £30 sealey pair. I never knew they were a thing before, always struggled with the crappie single action cheapo things before that have never been any good. 

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2 hours ago, JonC said:

I bought a pair of ratchet crimping pliers last week, not really expensive ones, an about £30 sealey pair. I never knew they were a thing before, always struggled with the crappie single action cheapo things before that have never been any good. 

Not a bad price range Jon, and you should get a few years service out of them. When I was younger, I bought a cheap pair off the market. They were great for a long while then suddenly stopped crimping tight enough.....

Quality of the crimps can play a part too, the RS supplied ones are good, no doubt there are others

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4 hours ago, suzook12 said:

Not a bad price range Jon, and you should get a few years service out of them. When I was younger, I bought a cheap pair off the market. They were great for a long while then suddenly stopped crimping tight enough.....

Quality of the crimps can play a part too, the RS supplied ones are good, no doubt there are others

The ones I bought although not top drawer were lifetime guarantee, not sure if that’s my lifetime or theirs though! Can’t see me taking them back in a years time let alone 10 years. 

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On 12/3/2020 at 2:59 PM, JonC said:

The ones I bought although not top drawer were lifetime guarantee, not sure if that’s my lifetime or theirs though! Can’t see me taking them back in a years time let alone 10 years. 

Keep at the KFC's and that could be quite a short warranty then.....??

On a serious note tho, you don't have to spend a massive amount until calibration is required, then it gets expensive.......

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  • 1 year later...
On 12/4/2020 at 3:04 PM, suzook12 said:

Keep at the KFC's and that could be quite a short warranty then.....??

On a serious note tho, you don't have to spend a massive amount until calibration is required, then it gets expensive.......

interesting post mate just totally rewired my boat used marine grad cable but used insulated crimps and not soldered would you reconmend me solder every termination many thanks daio

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1 hour ago, daio web said:

interesting post mate just totally rewired my boat used marine grad cable but used insulated crimps and not soldered would you reconmend me solder every termination many thanks daio

Theres two schools of thought on this, there are automotive lads that will solder every time, I came from that background so tend to use non insulate then crimp and solder, then slide the insulation over. The aircraft and train boys say no, don't solder, and again, I have worked in the rail industry for quite a few years.

The big difference is quality of crimps and pliers. Not just any old crimps off of the market (or ebay these days) but proper quality items from the likes of RS, who supply rail and aircraft industries... Decent pliers fetch around £250 used on the open market, or ermmm get borrowed from the railways.....

Quality makes the difference mate. I won't use insulated crimps unless they are quality ones, much preferring non insulated. Excess solder can make the wire brittle and cause it to snap under vibration. To be fair, I've never had that happen on any of the bikes I've wired over the years. What made me switch was the terminals for most multiblocks use latched non insulated terminals.

Whatever method you use, make sure you do a pull test on every crimp, you don't want and important wire coming adrift halfway across the Bristol Channel

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