Tinned wire. Yawn !

Not exactly a hot topic I know but some days you just need to speak about things that are important and hope someone is listening. That's the beauty of the blog. You can get up on your soap box and prattle on and if somebody wants to read then great. For those who don't know tinned wire from a tin can, well…..

Boats that go in salt water, like most of ours do, have a lot of wire in them. The best wire for conducting electricity is made of copper so that's what we use as does every boat builder (and home builder too for that matter.) But boats that go in salt water have a problem. Copper, salt air and water don't mix. After just a few weeks in the salt water environment, copper wire can start to corrode. You can see that green powder starting to accumulate around connectors and wherever you can see bare wire. Not too long after that you can experience wiring failures as the corrosion sets in.


Tin is not a great conductor but it doesn't corrode in salt air either. So the wire we use is made by taking copper wire (the great conductor) and, prior to enclosing the wire in it's plastic casing, drawing it through a bath of liquid tin. Once the process is completed the copper wire is no longer visible. If you are buying a  new boat or surveying an older one be sure to ask the builder or surveyor if the elecrical wiring is tinned.

You'll be happy to have tinned wire further down the line. I hope you stayed awake long enough to finish the reading the post.


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2 Responses to Tinned wire. Yawn !

  1. A lot of people have told me that they read my post on tinned wire but nobody was stimulated enough to make a commment so I thought I would. I just purchased a 1998 Sabre 36 Express which has been in use in salt water for 12 seasons now. The wiring in our boat is perfect as it was when she was built so I am definitely a believer in tinned wire.

  2. Alan Therrien says:

    I discovered that much of the wire in my 1982 Sabre 34 Mk I was not tinned wire. I spent much of the last winter replacing the old wire with new tinned copper stranded wire of the same gauge specified in the Sabre manual. There were only a few places where the old wire was corroded (mostly at crimped connectors), but I feel better having replaced the old stuff.

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