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Old 11-11-2012, 10:06 AM   #16
XL-erate
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Originally Posted by DRONE View Post
Hey XL-erate, I'm OK with my crimper--I got it from Eastern Beaver-- but I have one of the more expensive soldering guns from Radio Shack and . . . . it SUCKSS! Any links to what you consider to be a gun that will heat up the wire quickly to conserve the insulation?
I've had my stuff for years so haven't looked lately. What you want to know is an iron's actual tip temperature, plus wattage rating and heating time. If a mfgr. can't tell you that [but you may have to contact mfgr. directly] then one may assume it's not top notch stuff or it's outsourced or both. I consider 30 Watts the bare minimum, prefer higher like 40-50W, but care required not to overheat when soldering. In a quality iron the watts rating may not be as important as actual tip temperature. I prefer a small squared tip for some work, or a pointed tip for other more precise joining jobs.

You can use tie wraps as temporary fixtures when soldering to hold wires, in order to free your hands and more easily and quickly concentrate heat, flux and solder where it's needed.

Some decent irons are Antex - made in England. They have quick change tips. Their 18 Watt [actual] is equal in performance to a rated 30W, providing just under 750*F/400*C tip temperature. I'm pretty sure they make higher wattage irons as well.

http://www.minute-man.com/acatalog/O...Irons__23.html

Eclipse [MADE IN CHINA] has a dual wattage iron station for their irons: http://www.minute-man.com/acatalog/P...ing_Irons.html

Philmore is another decent name in irons & soldering tools, but probably made in China to their specs now. S4140 is 40W, temp compensating professional tool. S4240 is their temp controlled soldering station to adjust wattage as desired, S4240R is the replacement iron for that station. Philmore has every configuration & size of tip you'd need.
http://www.starkelectronic.com/pes4240.htm

Other names are Weller [pro stuff preferred over hobby] or Wahl.
http://www.starkelectronic.com/wahl.htm

What we prefer for vehicle wiring are the piezo - flameless butane soldering irons requiring no power cord. Of course one must exercise care around flammables!

For example: http://www.starkelectronic.com/nteirons.htm

Or:

125W 1,000*F -
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000ICGN38?...m%2Fwhlpro.htm

75W -
http://www.amazon.com/Weller-P2KC-Pr...912784-6491842

Portasol - Made in Ireland 125W 600*F tip
http://www.amazon.com/Portasol-01058...912784-6491842

Whatever you're looking for, study the fine print on specs of course. Many end providers out there, these above just picked out of the hat. Be real careful with butane tools around your fuel system & vapors.

Top quality solder & flux and pre-tinned wire can make all the difference in the world in your soldered connections. Just as important is control of the wiring system.

Wire ties, shrink tube, wire wraps etc. are required in order to reinforce and prevent flexing of wires which breaks connections.

Most often the soldered connection will break as a result of wires moving and flopping around or from extreme vibrations. This work hardens individual soft copper strands making them brittle, so that the strands break right next to the rigid soldered joint.

Because copper naturally work hardens the less movement of wires the better, including while building looms, moving wire locations, adding new devices etc. Absolute minimum movement and a gentle hand plus super secure wiring really pays off.

.

XL-erate screwed with this post 11-11-2012 at 10:25 AM
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Old 11-11-2012, 10:54 AM   #17
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Another really important consideration is the Stripper and Crimper. I use Klein Tools.

Unfortunately with out sourced mfg. the wire may not be what it's described as being. The actual diameter of half a dozen different brands of '12 gauge stranded copper' may vary considerably. Just picking the '12 ga' slot on a stripper is no guarantee that it's correct for the wire. Aslo there's two different types of strippers, one for Solid wire and one for Stranded wire! They're nowhere near the same outer diameter in the same gauge number! A practice run is needed to identify exact diameter, relative to the strippers in addition to knowing what tool you have.

A close look at freshly stripped wire may reveal a very slight cut in all or some of the outside conducters, setting it up for premature failure. I'd rather work harder to use a larger stripper jaw and 'pull' insulation than get a quick strip that nicks the strands.

Also important that the crimper fits the particular terminal as closely as possible. Some will over-crimp, damaging the conductors but its invisible inside crimped terminal. About the same as nicking them, they're crushed or scarred or whatever which again starts the work hardening, along with a weakened area of concentration right next to or inside opening of terminal.

Proper tool for the job always applies whenever possible. I knew a guy out in the field that could strip wire and crimp terminals faster and better with a Klein Electricians Knife and standard crimper than anybody else could do with an automatic stripper! He got top bucks and was specially imported on the big jobs thanks to 35 years experience.

Technigue is often lacking in electrical wiring simply because most guys rarely do it and haven't really studied the principals at work.

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Old 02-25-2013, 01:47 PM   #18
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Wire gauge

Hi guys

Is there any guide on what gauge wire we should use when adding accessories ?

Is 12 gauge the universal across all the brands ?

I want to add in some wiring and can't seem to find what size wire is stock on my Hondas
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Old 02-25-2013, 10:05 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by rmhrc628 View Post
Hi guys

Is there any guide on what gauge wire we should use when adding accessories ?

Is 12 gauge the universal across all the brands ?

I want to add in some wiring and can't seem to find what size wire is stock on my Hondas
12 gauge? Whoa! That would be fine if you're adding a microwave oven!

Frankly, most accessories on a bike can be fed just fine with 20-gauge or 22-gauge but that size wire is not robust enough for the physical abuse it goes through on a bike. Ya know, vibration, wind, rain, hail, rider fiddling, etc. I use 18-gauge for most everything, and bump up to 16-gauge for anything likely to pull 10 amps or more, like a horn or heated grips. Here's a typical AWG chart and you can see it says 18-gauge is fine for 3-foot connections up to 40 amps (that's 480 watts!)



So, 18 and 16 gauge works fine, I'm also careful to use lots of wire ties to hold everything in place, and I wrap electrical tape around my wires if they are going to be routed over anything with an edge or corner -- to protect them from rubbing damage. But electrically, the amount of copper in an 18-gauge wire is plenty for bike accessories.

The only exception I'd note would be the connection between the battery and a aux fuse panel, if that's what you plan on having. For a 60-amp aux fuse panel, I'll use 12 or 14 gauge, just for overkill.
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Old 02-25-2013, 10:35 PM   #20
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There are a few things on a bike that can draw high current, like some light arrays and above mentioned heating items. An important factor I wanted to mention is to stay with the same gauge wire throughout an individual circuit. That is, to identify the existing wire and maintain that size, or be sure when creating a new circuit that all components are the same gauge.

If you start out with 14 gauge and you're wiring something with a fairly heavy current draw, and you then patch in a piece of 18 ga or 20 ga between the 14 ga wiring and the new device, you've created a dangerous bottleneck. There's a chance of an electrical fire in the section that's smaller gauge because current is being choked down and it will convert to heat, which is the path of least resistance.

Somewhat the same is true if you start out with 20 gauge, patch in a section of 14 ga, then install a device that can draw high current. The bottleneck is now at the other end of circuit, the beginning, but results can be the same: FIRE!

In these cases you're actually better off from a safety standpoint to mantain a circuit in a slightly smaller gauge throughout, less chance of fire. As DRONE said, most bike stuff isn't going to draw huge current, but it's still important to maintain continuous wire size in any given circuit.
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Old 02-25-2013, 11:55 PM   #21
Woody2627
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XL-erate View Post
There are a few things on a bike that can draw high current, like some light arrays and above mentioned heating items. An important factor I wanted to mention is to stay with the same gauge wire throughout an individual circuit. That is, to identify the existing wire and maintain that size, or be sure when creating a new circuit that all components are the same gauge.

If you start out with 14 gauge and you're wiring something with a fairly heavy current draw, and you then patch in a piece of 18 ga or 20 ga between the 14 ga wiring and the new device, you've created a dangerous bottleneck. There's a chance of an electrical fire in the section that's smaller gauge because current is being choked down and it will convert to heat, which is the path of least resistance.

Somewhat the same is true if you start out with 20 gauge, patch in a section of 14 ga, then install a device that can draw high current. The bottleneck is now at the other end of circuit, the beginning, but results can be the same: FIRE!

In these cases you're actually better off from a safety standpoint to mantain a circuit in a slightly smaller gauge throughout, less chance of fire. As DRONE said, most bike stuff isn't going to draw huge current, but it's still important to maintain continuous wire size in any given circuit.
Well there ya go, learn something new every day. Bottlenecks? Nobody taught me that at tech when I did my electronics training, but that was 40 years ago, might be a new thing. :cool:
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Old 02-26-2013, 04:01 AM   #22
rmhrc628
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XL-erate View Post
There are a few things on a bike that can draw high current, like some light arrays and above mentioned heating items. An important factor I wanted to mention is to stay with the same gauge wire throughout an individual circuit. That is, to identify the existing wire and maintain that size, or be sure when creating a new circuit that all components are the same gauge.

If you start out with 14 gauge and you're wiring something with a fairly heavy current draw, and you then patch in a piece of 18 ga or 20 ga between the 14 ga wiring and the new device, you've created a dangerous bottleneck. There's a chance of an electrical fire in the section that's smaller gauge because current is being choked down and it will convert to heat, which is the path of least resistance.

Somewhat the same is true if you start out with 20 gauge, patch in a section of 14 ga, then install a device that can draw high current. The bottleneck is now at the other end of circuit, the beginning, but results can be the same: FIRE!

In these cases you're actually better off from a safety standpoint to mantain a circuit in a slightly smaller gauge throughout, less chance of fire. As DRONE said, most bike stuff isn't going to draw huge current, but it's still important to maintain continuous wire size in any given circuit.
Thankyou so much

I was going to run 14 gauge as I have some lights to hook up.

Your response was awesome.

Any suggested wiring from a reputable wiring company ? What about heat shrink material ?
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Old 02-26-2013, 04:55 AM   #23
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I find this wiring-sleeve weave stuff most handy. Or I call it boat rigger's weave, or Chinese finger-trap weave

I get it in various sizes and colors from these guys. It's affordable in bulk, and a roll lasts me a long time, they will indeed sell to the public. Makes the project look nice when it's done too.

Like in the picture, when combined with a bit of heat shrink tubing, it makes a custom wire run look better than factory.

Ps: Harbor Frieght sells a great heat gun for like $8 bucks.

www.cablemarkers.com

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Old 02-26-2013, 11:07 AM   #24
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It's been said earlier in this thread but it's worth repeating: When choosing a wire gauge consider not just the amps a device will pull, but also the TOTAL length of the run - i.e., from battery to device to ground.

On a sidecar rig, that could be 15 feet or more.

Note also that the chart DRONE posted [and that was included in my link in first post] is for American Wire Gauge - AWG is a little more robust than automotive SAE gauge wire.

You might also choose to use marine wire - it comes in AWG and the strands are tinned to better resist corrosion; again, a little more robust than plain copper strands.

I'm considerably more conservative than DRONE when it comes to wiring - I'll move to one size larger [or maybe even 2 sizes] than recommended just for my peace of mind . The difference in cost is negligible.

Ask The Google for marine wire - there are LOTS of sources, including Amazon :-)

One of the things I still haven't figured out is what adding a bunch of additional stuff to the bikes OEM wiring does, if anything.

Thanks,
Duncan
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Old 02-26-2013, 11:34 AM   #25
Abenteuerfahrer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dholaday View Post
It's been said earlier in this thread but it's worth repeating: When choosing a wire gauge consider not just the amps a device will pull, but also the TOTAL length of the run - i.e., from battery to device to ground.

On a sidecar rig, that could be 15 feet or more.

Note also that the chart DRONE posted [and that was included in my link in first post] is for American Wire Gauge - AWG is a little more robust than automotive SAE gauge wire.

You might also choose to use marine wire - it comes in AWG and the strands are tinned to better resist corrosion; again, a little more robust than plain copper strands.

I'm considerably more conservative than DRONE when it comes to wiring - I'll move to one size larger [or maybe even 2 sizes] than recommended just for my peace of mind . The difference in cost is negligible.

Ask The Google for marine wire - there are LOTS of sources, including Amazon :-)

One of the things I still haven't figured out is what adding a bunch of additional stuff to the bikes OEM wiring does, if anything.

Thanks,
Duncan
Hi Duncan..

Rest assured that your rigs accessories are totally isolated from the BMW Canbus system...all accessories are ALL wired directly from the battery protected by a Centech fuse box. Nothing is borrowed from the the bikes system...!

The only OEM plug that is still dedicated to the Canbus system is the BMW plug underneath your seat...which is never used...anything over 5 amps..Canbus will trigger a shut off. Connections to the taillight for Sidecar stop lights and/or running lights are send there via a relay that is again powered straight from the battery.

All of these are powered straight from the battery..

GPS'es
Dashboard-BMW plug for heated jackets(bike and sidecar
Flood Lights on Bike and sidecar
Sidecar Tilt actuator

One Caveat tho:

Everything can be run: Heated vests in sidecar and bike; GPS; full flood lights on both appendages and whatever suits your fancy while motoring at 3000-4000+ rpm...but once going through Town and slowing down...it is recommended that the flood lights/hi-beam be dimmed and/or you extinguish your heated vest for SHMBO.

In my travels I have never needed a higher battery or multi batteries. The Odyssey 535 served me very well with smart use of power needed.

cheers....
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Old 03-02-2013, 06:44 PM   #26
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Hi Elmer:
Good to hear from you.

Thanks for the wiring information. It's very helpful.

I got myself into a re-wiring project slowly:
- First, I wanted to move the Tilt control switch from the right side of the bike to the left so it would be easier for me to operate while underway.
- Then 2d, to move the car light switch from the car to the bike.
- Then 3d I thought it might be nice to replace the IPF driving lights on the car - and maybe the bike - with LEDs to reduce demands on the charging system [BTW, the Odyssey has performed well for me too.]
- That led to thinking about replacing the Centec with a PDM60.
- And updating the wiring connections to be more like what Jay is doing now to bring wires into and out of the car.
- And . . .

Mission Creep strikes again -

Please say Hi to the beautiful Sharon for me

Duncan
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Old 03-03-2013, 02:30 PM   #27
XL-erate
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dholaday View Post
It's been said earlier in this thread but it's worth repeating: When choosing a wire gauge consider not just the amps a device will pull, but also the TOTAL length of the run - i.e., from battery to device to ground.

On a sidecar rig, that could be 15 feet or more.

Note also that the chart DRONE posted [and that was included in my link in first post] is for American Wire Gauge - AWG is a little more robust than automotive SAE gauge wire.

You might also choose to use marine wire - it comes in AWG and the strands are tinned to better resist corrosion; again, a little more robust than plain copper strands.

I'm considerably more conservative than DRONE when it comes to wiring - I'll move to one size larger [or maybe even 2 sizes] than recommended just for my peace of mind . The difference in cost is negligible.

Ask The Google for marine wire - there are LOTS of sources, including Amazon :-)

One of the things I still haven't figured out is what adding a bunch of additional stuff to the bikes OEM wiring does, if anything.

Thanks,
Duncan
Regarding the AWG wire and SAE wire, AWG American Wire Gauge wire is specifically designed and made for Residential, Commercial and Industrial applications. SAE wire is for vehicles. Marine Grade will have other specifications added for further safety. AWG is much thicker strands made of different copper alloys than SAE. AWG has fewer and heavier gauge strands in a given wire gauge size than SAE does. Conversely the SAE has more strands of a lighter gauge in the same 'Gauge' rating.

The AWG wire is intended for the express purpose of being used in permanent, static non-moving applications, often run inside conduit and securely fixed to prevent any movement at all. The alloy in AWG is not designed to flex, is less malleable. When run in conduit the conduit is placed with whatever bends in it, then the wire is pushed or pulled through, making those turns and bends, one time. That's it for its lifetime, never intended to be moved [flexed] again.

AWG wire also has several classifications such as TW, THW, TWN, THWN, THHN etc. which are specifications for a particular purpose and use. This is worth investigating to know what type of wire you're actually dealing with. These can relate to the conductor's alloy and the plastic sheathing layers on outside plus temperature. The plastic sheathing coating on AWG wire isn't friendly to light or ozone and hardens much more quickly than SAE wire which remains far more flexible for a much longer time.

SAE wire with fine, thin strands is designed to be used in applications with movement, vibration and possibly temperature changes. The fine soft strands are more forgiving of flexing and the alloy is such to withstand flexing without work-hardening much moreso than the AWG stuff. Vehicle use also requires more hand manipulations of the SAE wire during initial installation and it's often moved and flexed several more times in its life in order to facilitate troubleshooting and repairs so it's simply made to be more flexible throughout its life.

Similar example is wire used in extension cords. Cut one open and you find super-fine strands, lots of them. That's because extension cords are specifically intended to flex around whatever and wherever without becoming work hardened.

Also regarding solder, note that there's all kinds of different alloys, some very hard, some very soft, some with specific properites for specialized applications including different fluxes in flux core. Some of these alloys may have a chemical reaction with disimilar metals and cause rapid corrosion and conductor failures.

Another note: Residential/Commerfcial/Industrial wire tools for AWG wire do NOT work on SAE wire because the extrenal size of a gauge is different. You end up with nicks and cuts in all the outside strands in a conductor if you use the wrong type of stripper.

The proper wire with the proper solder and flux, or else proper wire with proper connectors and assembly technique, using the right tools make all the difference in the world, especially at 10PM in the dark in the rain in the middle of nowhere.
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Old 03-03-2013, 03:11 PM   #28
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Regarding the question of adding in or changing of existing looms on a bike: the advice given in previous threads applies. You need a particular size of wire for a particular amperage over a given distance. There have been few cases where a conductor is too large for the application, due to the nature of electron flow. However the fuse or breaker must be matched to the ampacity of the device or else it offers no protection at all. Amps x Volts = Watts and dividing Watts by Volts tells you the Amps and required fuse/breaker rating.

This means that if you have an 18 gauge wire going to a marker light as original equipment you don't tap into that, just because it has power to it, to install a pair of 100 Watt Hella lights.

The same obviously goes for the fuses on a given circuit. They're sized for the length of run and the amperage load of the device, period, nothing else! In many cases I've changed from fuses to commonly available circuit breakers yet with the same amp rating.

There are 'Mains' circuits in a bike that are heavier gauge than 'Auxiliary' circuits. If there aren't, and they're becoming more of a rarity, MAKE YOUR OWN!

Where you have existing wiring either in a loom or separately, you need to trace it by hand or by diagram to find out what all is connected, what the source fuse rating is, and the amperage of what you wish to add. In some cases, if you're planning to add a lot of doo-dads [my, how we do love those doo-dads!] it's best to go back to the main power panel or fuse box and identify the main circuit, then add a new dedicated main conductor for all the new stuff.

You run a new wire of say 12Ga from main panel to dashboard and then you can install inline fuses for all the sub circuits off that along the way. These may be lighter gauge wire than the main, specific to the current draw of the device, but never heavier gauge wire or fuses. The separate fuses or breakers for each new device if properly sized will blow before the whole circuit overheats and causes disaster. The new main wire circuit must be of sufficient gauge to handle the total load of all added devices at once, so note the current draw on this circuit somewhere as you build. There is the straw that broke the camel's back syndrome.

This way you have an independent circuit that doesn't put any extra loads on existing wiring and it's pretty simple to run one new wire. If possible a new color can save you lots of fiddling or headaches later, always knowing that's the new heavyweight 'Main'.

Same with the hack: one power source over the side, then sub-fuses at the different devices for microwave, colored TV, DVD player, air conditioner, ice maker and dish washer.

One thing that causes more problems more often than anything else on vehicle electrical, especially bikes, is POOR GROUNDS! Corrosion is so common with bikes and it wreaks havoc on grounds. All chassis grounds must be to clean bare metal and an anti-corrosive, like dielectric grease or others should be used. Vaseline or chassis grease will do in a pinch. Grounds must also be rated to the current load in a given circuit.

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Old 03-03-2013, 07:06 PM   #29
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XL-erate

You clearly know a lot about wiring, certainly more than I, and more than enough to confuse me. Especially since we are talking in generalities over time-lagged forum postings.

But marine-grade wire is tinned AWG, not SAE plain copper. And boats move around a lot, and flex, and are subject to vibration and weather, and seem more like a sidecar rig to me than they do to a house.

Re fuses - most of the gear I've seen has a fuse with an amperage rating higher than the actual current draw of the attached device. Heated gear is a good example. So is a GPS. And Aux lighting. And Auxiliary power plugs. Seems like the fuse is there to protect the wiring rather than the device.

I understand that I should not attach a 15-amp device to a 22-gauge wire with a 5-amp fuse. But I don't see anything wrong with attaching a 5-amp device to a 16-gauge wire with a 15-amp fuse.

Confusing matters further is that my GS runs on a CANBUS and thus has no fuses except for those various owners have put on. I haven't the foggiest idea on how to figure out how BMW has 'fused' the OEM wiring, or what effect tapping relay trigger wires into that wiring might do. But we all still do tap into the OEM wiring for LOTS of things - and the roadside is not littered with burnt out hulks.

Maybe if we can bring the conversation down to specific applications, rather than generalities, I can become less confused.

Thanks,
Duncan
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Old 03-03-2013, 08:48 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XL-erate View Post
Regarding the AWG wire and SAE wire, AWG American Wire Gauge wire is specifically designed and made for Residential, Commercial and Industrial applications. SAE wire is for vehicles. Marine Grade will have other specifications added for further safety. AWG is much thicker strands made of different copper alloys than SAE. AWG has fewer and heavier gauge strands in a given wire gauge size than SAE does. Conversely the SAE has more strands of a lighter gauge in the same 'Gauge' rating.
If I had learned this somewhere along the way, I certainly didn't retain it in my sieve-like noggin. Just went out to the garage to look at my spools and as far as I can tell EVERYTHING I've been using on my bikes for the past 5 years is AWG!

I've never had a wiring related failure on a bike, but maybe I've just been lucky. Anyways, I think I'll head on down to West Marine next week to lay in a stock of SAE or Marine Grade spools and toss the junk I have in the trash. And I might buy a new stripper too!

Thanks for the schooling, XL! And BTW, I took your advice from earlier in this thread to buy a quality butane powered soldering iron to replace my POS electric one. Haven't tried it out yet, but at least I got it. Guess I better start shopping for some higher quality solder while I'm at it.

As Davebig likes to say, will it ever end?
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