Busbar wire: How are Bus Bar Wires Best for Boat Wiring?

FACTS CHECKED BY  Jose George​

Electricity is important to power up most systems. To send the electric current signals, you will certainly use conductive material. That can be in the form of wires as it has insulation and is flexible enough to bend around the corners. While most applications call for wires, others do not seem to be the best option. It can be due to their building design or the place you will use. In such cases, it is better to use a solid conductor instead of cables to handle more power conveniently. These solid slabs of conductors are known as bus bars. But how can these bus bars perform simple yet vital functions in an electric boat system? A busbar wire plays an important role.

Low Voltage Wiring
Low Voltage Wiring

How do Bus Bars Benefit your Boat’s System?

  • With a bus bar, you can distribute the power from large conductors to each circuit protection device using a few positive wires.
  • Also, you can convert the collection of small negative conductors to large wires.

As boats get more and more gadgets, it becomes much more important for this function to work. Since there are less room, more wires to connect, and more electricity to move, you must organize and label wire connections.

However, except for the smallest ones, connecting all the wires from every load directly to the battery is not practical. Smaller boats may only have one small bus bar, while bigger boats have layers of such boxes that get smaller and smaller.

Control Panel with wires

Caption: Control Panel with wires

What is Bus Bar Wire?

Bus Bar wire is a type of single wire with no insulation, jacketing, or shielding to protect the conductor. As you are using bus bars in your application, you will see these wires as feeder lines from the main conductor point. It means they distribute the electric signals from the central conductor to other outlying equipment.

Furthermore, these wires are solid rather than stranded. However, they are much more flexible and easy to install. You do not need to strip the wire as there is no insulation layer over it. Also, manufacturers in these wires for extra ruggedness and durability to protect them from corrosion and other external factors.

Why use Bus Bar Wire?

Bus bar wire has several advantages over other varieties of wire. Since it’s made of soft tempered steel, it’ll hold its shape well. So you can bend the bus bar wire to almost any desired shape while maintaining its original shape without additional supports. As a bonus, you can easily solder or weld a bus bar wire compared to other types. Additionally, it has 99.9% electrical conductivity and a high degree of flexibility while offering a tinned copper coating. 

Because there is no insulating layer to burn, the fire does not progress to the bare metal wire. Thus, bus bar wire has another benefit: no gases are emitted in case of a fire. Seeing that this form of cable has several advantages, you can utilize it in some applications.

Where can you Implement bus Bar Wire?

The use of bus bar wire is common in both new construction and maintenance of electrical networks. They may be readily connected to bus bars without needing terminals or connectors. Unless, of course, you choose to use ring terminals. Bending the bus bar wire all around screw is a common practice. Also, wire cutters are all that is required when working with bus bar wire.

Where Would You use Bus Bar Wire?

Bus bar wire is a systematic method of distributing power on ships and in industrial environments. There are many more places and uses where you can find these wires, including panels, switching gear, panel boards, and busway enclosures. Moreover, professionals frequently use them because they are easy to install and less expensive.

In electrical switchyards and battery banks, you can use bus bar wire in high- and low-voltage equipment. Also, you can find this wire in a wide range of sectors because of its wide range of applications.

What industries use bus bar wire?

As mentioned above, some prominent industries that use bus bar wire are;

  • Marine
  • Communication
  • Information
  • Automotive and Automation industry.

Bus bar wires offer many reasons, the industry’s number one choice. Also, you need to consider a better gauge size for your project.

What Gauges are Available?

Since there can be various application projects, you can find the bus bar wire in different gauge sizes. However, you need to choose the one compatible with your engineering design. Typically, these are the ones mentioned in the following table.

Wire GaugeCircular-MIL AreaNominal Diameter (Inches)Approx.  Linear Density
22 AWG6500.0262
20 AWG10560.0333.1
18 AWG16480.0416
16 AWG26730.0529
14 AWG42510.06514
12 AWG68720.08323

Terminal Blocks VS Bus Bars in your boat’s system

How do bus bars work in your boat? Before finding the answer, let’s find the difference between terminal blocks and bus bars.

What is a Terminal Block?

terminal block is just like a junction box, a point where you can connect two wires conveniently. Here, a bunch of connecting splices is present that are arranged appropriately. Additionally, every circuit has its screwing terminals that link through metal plates. On the other hand, the Bus Bar wire has conductors, all “bussed” with each other.

The typical use of terminal blocks is in boats with a switching panel in the wiring infrastructure. Also, these are the marine-grade terminal blocks designed especially for boats and submarines.

What is a Bus Bar?

In a bus bar, all terminals are joined together into a bus. Thus, it does not have a separate terminal and is present like one node of the same voltage level. Also, it offers a solid connection from one point to multiple branch circuits.

As it is one electrical node, it has to place the loads in parallel to each other. That is how most marine systems should distribute their electrical loads to minimize the power surges.

How are terminal blocks and bus bars used in your boat’s system?

Switch panel outputs are connected to the device wiring via a terminal block. An onboard bus bar that you can almost always find is used to combine all of the negative energy produced by the loads into a single value. This way, A single larger conductor running from the steering wheel is enough. Moreover, on a boat, you can expect to find it hidden inside a fuse block.

Terminal Vs. Bus Bar Blocks

Caption: Terminal Vs. Bus Bar Blocks

Source: https://newwiremarine.com/ 

Conclusion

Bus bar wires distribute electricity from the central bus bar to other hardware. It makes sure that the wire easily tolerates the high power level. Thus, you may see the bus bar wires in the boat’s electrical systems. At Cloom, we offer wiring harnesses and cable assemblies for your boat. To avail of our services, contact us now.

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