Whether you own or are an operator of a boat, a basic understanding of electrical system wiring is necessary. Using an undersized cable and wire in even one single circuit can cause a disaster for your vessel. Therefore, you need to be able to determine the proper wiring gauge (AWG), the distance from the component to the power supply, and other significant wire and cable factors. To use the correct cable for your wiring needs, make sure you understand these fundamental aspects of Marine Electrical Cable.
Can You Use Any Regular Type of Wire?
When wiring a boat, there are two types of wiring options you can use. While you can use the Society of Automotive Engineering (or SAE) wires, they only meet the minimum standards for marine vessels; the best supplies should always satisfy the ABYC (or American Boat and Yacht Council) standards.
Does Temperature Matter?
Temperature is a crucial aspect of how much current your wiring can safely carry. In short, the higher the ambient environment temperature, the lower the number of amps your cable will be able to move. In general, the area where you house your engine is typically 15 percent less maximum current than non-engine space areas.
How Important Are Connections?
Making proper connections is essential, as one of the most common reasons for wiring failure is due to improper connections. These failures can be due to vibration, stress, corrosion, and more. In fact, connections are so important that the ABYC has precise standards on how to make these connections.
What Are the Proper Cable and Wire Colors?
The American Boat and Yacht Council recommend boat enthusiasts use the common color standards for wiring marine boat engines and accessories. By using the primary wire color standards, you can ensure the smoothest maintenance and repairs for your vessel. These include:
• Black – Commonly used for negative mains or the electrical system ground
• Brown – positive lead for pumps
• Dark Blue – commonly chosen for fuses and switches for lighting in either the cabin or instrument lights
• Gray – Used as a fuse or switch to the lights, navigation lights, and also as a tachometer sender to gauge
• Green – Bonding system wires, often used as a ground for the vessel
• Light Blue – Lead oil pressure sender between the engine oil and the gauge terminal
• Orange – Used for the generator output, accessory fuses, and switches, as well as an ammeter to the alternator
• Pink – Sender to the fuel gauge from the fuel tank
• Purple – Ignition switch from the coil to instruments, and from the distribution panel to devices
• Red – Positive mains
• Tan – Lead sender for the temperature gauge
• Yellow – Seldom used, but sometimes used for the windshield wiper circuits
Other general marine electrical cable and wire colors include orange with a yellow stripe, purple with a red stripe, purple with a white stripe, red with a white stripe, tan with a stripe, and yellow with a red stripe.
Are There Any Basic Wiring Tips I Should Consider?
Some standard boat wiring tips include:
• Always spray a protective coating on the terminals and connections.
• Avoid soldering connections in marine applications.
• Make sure you keep a record of any cables, wires, or electrical equipment you install.
• NEVER tap into other wires or cables for power.
• Remove the positive battery cable and turn off all power before starting any wiring work.
If you’re looking for the best marine electrical cable and wire options, then look no further than EWSCWire. The helpful sales associates can answer any questions or concerns you may have, or direct you in the right direction for the best cables for your vessel. For more information, call 1-800-262-1598 today.
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