Every cloud has an adhesive lining…

by Adrian on July 15, 2014

Strange that it may sound, but this stuff is on my recommended supplies list…

20140715-195857-71937713.jpgAdhesive lined heatshrink is rubberised plastic tubing that not only shrinks around an object when heated but the adhesive lining melts to form a watertight seal.

Traditionally used to cover and seal electrical cable joins and cable ends from moisture ingress, I carry a variety of diameters and colours on board for all kinds of protection jobs.

An electric heat gun is also very useful, as it saves over-heating and melting the plastic during the shrinking process if using a naked flame from a blow torch or powerful lighter.

20140715-200106-72066349.jpgAll crimp terminals I use incorporate adhesive lined heatshrink to tightly shrink around the connector, cable and sleeve to make them completely watertight and ensure no salt and sea moisture can penetrate and slowly corrode the cable’s core.

20140716-003250-1970937.jpgIdeally I also use tinned copper cable where possible to further remove the risk of future electrical corrosion problems. This is significantly more expensive than normal cable, but as my father used to say, ‘if a jobs worth doing, it’s worth doing properly’. Our boat’s factory wiring is normal copper wire, so I use heatshrink to protect the ends of any rewiring I do.

Another great use for adhesive shrinkwrap is as a strong waterproof exterior jacket for ropes, metal, guardrails etc.

We recently solved a potential chafe issue on our new £200+ dynema running backstays by adding a protective sleeve reinforcing the areas where they chafed against the spreaders when in their forward out of the way storage position.

In summary, (a) it is very useful stuff and (b) it is always worth buying and installing quality connectors and supplies for any wiring you may do – as intermittent electrical faults are the most difficult and dangerous faults to trace. If you use cheap chandlery, you’ll probably regret it one day.

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