Fold-Over Fix

Power & Motor Yacht - - BOATYARD TIP - By Capt. Bill Pike

Ever come to the end of a project, al­most but not quite? Say, on a Sun­day af­ter­noon? When all or most of the stores and chan­d­leries are ei­ther closed or too far away? And you’re just one small component away from tri­umphantly con­clud­ing the in­stal­la­tion of that new spin-on fil­ter sys­tem, gas de­tec­tor or elec­tric ven­ti­la­tor?

Here’s a nifty lit­tle trick if the hang-up has some­thing to do with com­pat­i­bil­ity is­sues aris­ing be­tween elec­tri­cal wire size and the size of the butt, spade, dis­con­nect or snap-plug-type elec­tri­cal con­nec­tors you have in your tool­box. You know, where the wire you’re work­ing with is, let’s say, 16 gauge and the only con­nec­tor sizes you have in stock are con­sid­er­ably larger and strictly ap­pli­ca­ble to wire sizes be­tween 12 and 10 gauges only. What to do?

Sim­ply strip about dou­ble the nor­mal amount of in­su­la­tion off the 16-gauge wire and fold it back upon it­self as tightly as pos- sible (see pho­tos). Then roll the fold-over be­tween your thumb and fore­fin­ger like a pen­cil in or­der to pro­duce as much uni­for­mity of di­am­e­ter as possible. What hap­pens is that you ef­fec­tively dou­ble the thick­ness of the 16-gauge wire, which you are then go­ing to insert into the busi­ness end of the much larger 10- or 12-gauge con­nec­tor.

Once you’ve squeezed the fold-over into the con­nec­tor in the more-or-less nor­mal man­ner, go ahead and crimp the con­nec­tor us­ing the size-ap­pro­pri­ate por­tion of the crimp­ing tool. It doesn’t hurt to bear down a lit­tle harder than you nor­mally would to make sure you’ve got a tight fit. The use of heat-shrink con­nec­tors adds to the thor­ough­ness of the fit, of course.

While this strat­egy works on a range of wire sizes, at­tempt­ing to use it on wires and con­nec­tors that evince truly sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ences in di­am­e­ter is not ad­vis­able. As with most other things, let com­mon sense pre­vail here.

Large 10- to 12-gauge butt con­nec­tors? Much finer wire? Try this trick and keep right on chug­gin’.

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