Merwin: Stay Juiced With Heat-Shrink

heatshrink

Here's another boat-related suggestion that also relates to anyone who uses an equipment trailer or installs electronics. One of the most common problems is corroded electrical connections, especially on boat trailers where trailer lights are repeatedly submerged. When one or more of your lights don't work--and the local cops have pulled you over--chances are you'll find a broken wire or green, scaly connector as the culprit.

Most people use common, hardware-store butt connectors to fasten two wires together. Bad idea. While such connectors adequately connect the wires, they aren't waterproof and allow the connection to corrode fairly quickly. A wrap of cheap electrical tape doesn't help much, either.

Some years back, I was tipped to a waterproof, adhesive-lined heat-shrink connector that so far has solved those problems. It's a typical butt-crimp device, with the addition of a heat-shrink sleeve that contracts tightly around the joint when heated with a butane lighter. The sleeve is also adhesive-lined so when you heat it the adhesive melts and flows around the joint.

Such connectors can be hard to find outside of marine-supply stores. They are sold under the Ancor brand. I buy mine online from Jamestown Distributors. If you're tired of hassling with trailer-light connections, do yourself a favor and try these things.