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#562214 - 09/16/15 12:10 AM Melted 12-volt Connectors  
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Budinski Offline
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While I was fishing, my 12-volt aerator stopped working. I had a typical 12-volt male end on the aerator wire, and it was plugged into a hard-mounted female receptacle. Thinking that it vibrated loose or got bumped, I pushed it in and it started again but quickly stopped. I pulled it out to see if it was dirty or corroded, and I discovered that it had melted! It had an internal fuse, but it was intact. Also, the switch on the panel that controlled that receptacle had a fuse, but it did not blow. Since the end was melted, I cut it off, stripped the wire ends, and wrapped them around the battery terminals. The aerator continued to work fine. Later, I ran the trolling motor continuously for about 15 minutes and later discovered that the 12-volt trolling motor male end had started to melt. That receptacle was not controlled by a switch but was simply straight wired to the battery (about 8 inches of wire between the battery and the trolling motor's receptacle). What's the most probably cause for me to start troubleshooting this mess?


2000 Sea Ray 180 BR
2000 SeaArk 15
2000 Expedition
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#562217 - 09/16/15 03:00 AM Re: Melted 12-volt Connectors [Re: Budinski]  
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Parrott_head Offline
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Corrosion or loose connections can create heat without much, if any, increase in amp draw. Has your wiring gotten wet lately?

The loose or corroded termination acts like a second load in line with the actual load (pump motor in this case).


Former owner of a 2002 Four Winns 234 FunShip
'16 F250 4x4 Oil Burner
"Hey, if I'm a Vice Admiral, which vice do I get to claim?"
#562218 - 09/16/15 10:53 AM Re: Melted 12-volt Connectors [Re: Parrott_head]  
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WayWeGo Offline
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Originally Posted By: Parrott_head
Corrosion or loose connections


+1, exactly what I thought when reading the description.



1975 Trojan F36 Convertible, Twin Chrysler 440's
2014 West Marine AL360 Inflatable, 1966 Mercury 6HP, 1992 Mercury 20HP
#562220 - 09/16/15 08:25 PM Re: Melted 12-volt Connectors [Re: Parrott_head]  
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Lowrider78 Offline
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Originally Posted By: Parrott_head
Corrosion or loose connections can create heat without much, if any, increase in amp draw. Has your wiring gotten wet lately?

The loose or corroded termination acts like a second load in line with the actual load (pump motor in this case).



Yes, this here. A loose connection can get VERY hot just from a normal load through it.
What you wind up with is a very small surface area trying to pass all the electrical current through it which should be going through a much bigger connection.

Once a connection GETS hot, it further damages the conductive ability of the connection, increasing the heating, it becomes a vicious circle.

Repair those connections, using good crimpable contacts (gold plated ones resist corrosion, heat-shrinkable insulation seals out moisture), use the right crimping tools, do it right, ONCE

The 1/4" common blade connections, if clean, can manage the 50 amps or so that a 10-gauge wire is capable of conducting (but that pretty well maxes it out).

Another thing that can help, is keep the connections from corroding, which means keeping water out.
Heat shrink sleeving
heat-shrink terminal insulation
corrosion-proofing electrical joint compound (easily found in hardware and lumberyard/home improvement stores).
You CAN compound the wire end, and THEN crimp the connector on, then heat-shrink insulation, then compound any slip-joint disconnect connections.


That streak that howled by? That was me. Did ya like the roostertail? Big Blocks and Jets Forever
1978 Hawiian 20' Bowrider, 454, Dominator pump
1990 Magnum Mach 1 24' Cuddy Cabin Cruiser, 454, Bravo 1 drive.
1993 Suburban 454 tows the Mach 1 to water.
2001 Blazer 4x4 4.3L gets the Hawaiian wet.
#562223 - 09/16/15 09:39 PM Re: Melted 12-volt Connectors [Re: Budinski]  
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Parrott_head Offline
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There ya have it, the Three Wise Men have spoken.



By the way, a cheap and effective electrical cleaner is white vinegar.

...and beer is a better gift than myrrh....

Last edited by Parrott_head; 09/16/15 09:41 PM.

Former owner of a 2002 Four Winns 234 FunShip
'16 F250 4x4 Oil Burner
"Hey, if I'm a Vice Admiral, which vice do I get to claim?"
#562224 - 09/17/15 01:08 AM Re: Melted 12-volt Connectors [Re: Budinski]  
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Budinski Offline
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Houston
Thanks for the prompt replies. The wires haven't gotten wet, but they are ~15 years old, and I don't believe they were marine grade (tinned) wires. I bought the boat from a guy who did 12 volt car accessories installations for dealers, so I believe he used automotive wire. I want to re-wire the whole thing (it's not that big of a job as it is just a 15' boat). Can you recommend any places to buy tinned wire, the connectors, shrink wrap, and the other items? Also, are there any resources on the Internet that help design simple circuits, give tips on what to do/not to do, and give general wiring advice/education? I looked on YouTube, and found a backyard guy, a self-proclaimed CPT Repairman, and a professional looking DYI instructor (but a joining fee is necessary). One other thing, I've got two batteries joined through a perko switch, and don't have huge loads on them (25 HP e-tec, trolling motor, aerator, cell phone charger, fish finder, GPS, nav lights). The batteries are 6 years old and appear to be going strong. Since I'm rewiring the boat, should I discard the batteries for new ones?


2000 Sea Ray 180 BR
2000 SeaArk 15
2000 Expedition
#562225 - 09/17/15 01:49 AM Re: Melted 12-volt Connectors [Re: Budinski]  
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Parrott_head Offline
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I would go with the batteries you have if they hold a charge and work well and don't leak.

As for wiring supplies probably West Marine would be a good source. They have stuff rated for the environment you are dealing with.

I am a big fan of going one size larger AWG than required.

Dielectric grease is your friend.



Last edited by Parrott_head; 09/17/15 01:52 AM.

Former owner of a 2002 Four Winns 234 FunShip
'16 F250 4x4 Oil Burner
"Hey, if I'm a Vice Admiral, which vice do I get to claim?"
#562230 - 09/17/15 10:05 PM Re: Melted 12-volt Connectors [Re: Budinski]  
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Boise, ID
Ancor wire for the win. Check ebay to save some money. I think i also bought from waytek wire when i did the trailer. Ill look for my receipts. I would use 3m crimp connectors with built in heatshrink. Get good crimpers and strippers (not that kind of stripper)!


James
2002 Cobalt 226 VP 8.1GIDP
2007 Chevy 2500HD Crew Cab Duramax
1988 Suburban 3/4 Ton
2000 Subaru Forester


#562235 - 09/18/15 01:25 AM Re: Melted 12-volt Connectors [Re: Budinski]  
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Lowrider78 Offline
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A lot of the automotive stores around here are carrying the heat-shrink-insulated terminals, the "no-cheezeball" brand I have seen is Raychem.

This is the same brand/company that makes the sealed splices we use on aircraft.

We use different ones, aircraft almost never use 1/4" blade or bayonet slip-fit connectors. Virtually everything we use is either direct connected to pins in sealed plug connectors, or eye terminals.
The only Raychems we use are butt-splices, but then,,,, aircraft use a whole bunch of different terminations.


That streak that howled by? That was me. Did ya like the roostertail? Big Blocks and Jets Forever
1978 Hawiian 20' Bowrider, 454, Dominator pump
1990 Magnum Mach 1 24' Cuddy Cabin Cruiser, 454, Bravo 1 drive.
1993 Suburban 454 tows the Mach 1 to water.
2001 Blazer 4x4 4.3L gets the Hawaiian wet.
#562247 - 09/19/15 02:25 PM Re: Melted 12-volt Connectors [Re: Budinski]  
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Parrott_head Offline
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I used to work in a factory that had 250-1500 HP motors. Due to some electrical connections at the motor lead problems they decided to limit those that were allowed to make connections.

I was selected as one of the chosen few.

So Raytheon came down and showed us how to use HUGE heat shrink motor termination kits. They were really nice, top of the line.

Then the company decided to order some of the kits.
When they saw the price the balked and dropped the idea. I always felt they should have researched it better before they paid all the overtime for the class.

One time I went out to a different area of the plant to help their techs figure out a motor problem. 250HP 480 3 phase motor.

The GFI circuit was tripping whenever the motor was started. I stated the obvious, have you put a megger on the motor? The blank stare told me nope. So we did and found the leads were indeed partially shorted to ground.

I pulled the cover off the side of the motor and it was evident one of the field leads had shorted out. I cut away the tape and found they had used a galvanized wire rope clamp the make the termination on the cable. I cut away other lead and found it was a pattern.

I reterminated all the leads and as it was the end of my shift told the oncoming crew it was ready to run.

The genius foreman for that area decided that the motor was bad and had them remove it and put a spare one into service. That takes about 8 hours.

I was asked about it by upper management about why I did not start the motor replacement. I told them the motor was fine, they should have bump started it before they replaced it.

They said that after I was done they put a VOM meter across the motor leads and it should a phase to phase short. I laughed and told them to do the same test on any large motor in inventory and tell me what they found. They did and found new and rebuilt motors all should the same phase shorting. I then informed them that nearly any large motor would show that as the conductors are huge and just basically a large run of wire. The better test is to megger the leads to ground. If the motor is dry and good it will show very high resistance.

There was a reason our maintenance costs were a little on the high side in some areas.


Former owner of a 2002 Four Winns 234 FunShip
'16 F250 4x4 Oil Burner
"Hey, if I'm a Vice Admiral, which vice do I get to claim?"
#562249 - 09/19/15 08:02 PM Re: Melted 12-volt Connectors [Re: Budinski]  
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Lowrider78 Offline
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Yep PH.

I don't deal in stuff that high powered. One of the things we work on A LOT is a DC Starter/Generator.

They will draw as much as 2000Amps @ 28VDC to spin a turbine engine. Once the engine runs, they switch to DC Generator function, output rating is generally 300 to 400Amps @ 30VDC @ 12,000rpm.

Every one we overhaul, one test is to megger/high-potential the windings to the housing, and the armature windings to the bars/shaft. Also the brush racks to the housing they are bolted to.

At 500V potential, anything over 2 milliamps leakage to ground (housing/shaft) after 2 ultrasonic cleanings is a trip to the re-winder.


That streak that howled by? That was me. Did ya like the roostertail? Big Blocks and Jets Forever
1978 Hawiian 20' Bowrider, 454, Dominator pump
1990 Magnum Mach 1 24' Cuddy Cabin Cruiser, 454, Bravo 1 drive.
1993 Suburban 454 tows the Mach 1 to water.
2001 Blazer 4x4 4.3L gets the Hawaiian wet.
#562252 - 09/20/15 02:16 AM Re: Melted 12-volt Connectors [Re: Budinski]  
Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 8,988
Silverbullet Offline
Admiral
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Boise, ID
Wholesalemarine.com is where I bought quite a bit of my tinned wire I used for the trailer wire and other tidbits.


James
2002 Cobalt 226 VP 8.1GIDP
2007 Chevy 2500HD Crew Cab Duramax
1988 Suburban 3/4 Ton
2000 Subaru Forester


#562347 - 09/28/15 10:55 PM Re: Melted 12-volt Connectors [Re: Budinski]  
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Budinski Offline
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Houston
I'm still reading the websites and have started drawing my circuits. Thanks so far for the good information. After I design the circuits, I'll be ordering the materials.


2000 Sea Ray 180 BR
2000 SeaArk 15
2000 Expedition
#566255 - 10/06/16 01:33 AM Re: Melted 12-volt Connectors [Re: Budinski]  
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Budinski Offline
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Houston
I can't believe it's been a year since I had the melted wires, but I am finally at the point of getting it done--or at least seriously started. I pulled out ALL the old wires but didn't see any obvious signs of the thing that caused the melting problems. Should I be concerned that as soon as I get all the new wire installed, the melting will continue?

Also, I'm about to run the main trunk lines to the two bus bars, and have a slight problem. This line is 6 gauge, and my wire strippers won't accommodate a wire this large. I don't really want to use a knife to remove the installation (so that I can crimp the connectors onto the wire) because I don't want to take the chance of nicking the inside wire. Do you have any other techniques/suggestions rather than a knife?


2000 Sea Ray 180 BR
2000 SeaArk 15
2000 Expedition
#566256 - 10/06/16 02:23 AM Re: Melted 12-volt Connectors [Re: Budinski]  
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Silverbullet Offline
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Boise, ID
If the wires are right sized and properly crimped the plug shouldn't be an issue.

6 gauge isn't too big but most of us don't have strippers for wires that big. I use a box cutter and just try to be careful.


James
2002 Cobalt 226 VP 8.1GIDP
2007 Chevy 2500HD Crew Cab Duramax
1988 Suburban 3/4 Ton
2000 Subaru Forester



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