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starman

Arctic cable - do I need to use it?

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I know it’s normal practice but it’s also v expensive, so do I really need to use Arctic cable for internal boat wiring from inverter to sockets?

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Probably not, but don't even think of using domestic twin&earth.  You need a multi-stranded cable.

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I found that arctic cable was easier to work - especially around corners...

Do you need that much for the 240v AC side of the wiring???

If you're on that tight a budget - perhaps you shouldn't e boating....

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4 minutes ago, OldGoat said:

I found that arctic cable was easier to work - especially around corners...

Do you need that much for the 240v AC side of the wiring???

If you're on that tight a budget - perhaps you shouldn't e boating....

I’ve got a plenty big enough budget thanks but I like to spend it where i get best value. Twenty quid saved here and there adds up. 

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https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Arctic-Blue-3183-Flex-Cable-3-core-1-5-2-5-mm-Caravan-Camping-Artic-Heavy-duty/273752671186?hash=item3fbcee43d2:m:mWy_Rt2OWmRiuapU2rtsp2g

This is available blue and yellow, is it normal to just use  the blue.

I understood standard european cable to be measured in square mm, yet I just see mm, 1,5, 2,5, etc., is that the same thing?

I would have thought 1.5mm would be fine, assuming one does not intend to run a radiator?

Edited by LadyG

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Any 2.5mm^2 3 core flex is fine. Arctic is more flexible in cold weather, but usually that isn’t an issue.

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46 minutes ago, starman said:

I’ve got a plenty big enough budget thanks but I like to spend it where i get best value. Twenty quid saved here and there adds up. 

Well, there's a putdown for you.

Depends what you mean by value....

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1 hour ago, starman said:

I know it’s normal practice but it’s also v expensive...

Is it really so much more than any of the viable substitutes? Cable pricing is largely about the copper, although clearly there's more effort in making multi stranded than single core.  For our application, multi stranded is essential and I can't say I found artic cable disproportionately more expensive, so I wouldn't compromise even if there was a slightly cheaper option.

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1 minute ago, Sea Dog said:

Is it really so much more than any of the viable substitutes? Cable pricing is largely about the copper, although clearly there's more effort in making multi stranded than single core.  For our application, multi stranded is essential and I can't say I found artic cable disproportionately more expensive, so I wouldn't compromise even if there was a slightly cheaper option.

What advantage does it give, over normal flex cable?

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6 minutes ago, nicknorman said:

What advantage does it give, over normal flex cable?

Do you mean "normal " as in single strand household wire or as in multi-strand marine cable? Artic sheathing looks pretty tough, and I would think that is a good idea for something you can't see once installed. 

Edited by LadyG

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2 minutes ago, nicknorman said:

What advantage does it give, over normal flex cable?

I found it -

  • more flexible (mebe not important if you're not going to flex it once fitted....) but easier to get round tight corners
  • better quality than 'your usual' trade supplies
  • better constructed - better plasticisers mad it easier to strip for fittings
  • slightly thinner outer casing

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16 minutes ago, LadyG said:

 

I would have thought 1.5mm would be fine, assuming one does not intend to run a radiator?

1.5 mm is OK only if you are going to run every socket as a single radial circuit.  It is too small if you intend to put a double socket on a radial, or if you intend to install a ring main.

Remember that while you may not have a big enough appliance to overload it, the next owner might.

N

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Just now, BEngo said:

1.5 mm is OK only if you are going to run every socket as a single radial circuit.  It is too small if you intend to put a double socket on a radial, or if you intend to install a ring main.

Remember that while you may not have a big enough appliance to overload it, the next owner might.

N

oh yes, had not thought it through, I'm just learnin' ?

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10 minutes ago, nicknorman said:

What advantage does it give, over normal flex cable?

Nick, I served my time as an electrician and I'm a Chartered Engineer so, whilst I could read up on, and probably even understand, the various alternatives and their merits, I wouldn't even try to give a definitive answer that question.  Artic will undoubtedly have lots of advantages over a plethora of wrong cables for the job and, by dint of sufficient flexibility and ease of availability, it's certainly amongst of the right ones.  The OP is welcome to explore other options and/or swim against the tide of course, and I have no doubt from your sage contributions here on matters electrical that you may well be able to suggest alternatives or answer your own question, but Artic'll do for me! :)

 

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Generally people work on the limit of the shore connector, which for most is 16A. Therefore if the wiring can take 16A, which 2.5mm can but 1.5 can’t, you aren’t going to run into any problems.

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Arctic will probably end up doing for me too but it’s a slight irritation to me right now that out here in the sticks I can’t get it locally today (in Screwfix it is a next day item) and the nearest supplier only sells 100m reels.  

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9 minutes ago, Sea Dog said:

Nick, I served my time as an electrician and I'm a Chartered Engineer so, whilst I could read up on, and probably even understand, the various alternatives and their merits, I wouldn't even try to give a definitive answer that question.  Artic will undoubtedly have lots of advantages over a plethora of wrong cables for the job and, by dint of sufficient flexibility and ease of availability, it's certainly amongst of the right ones.  The OP is welcome to explore other options and/or swim against the tide of course, and I have no doubt from your sage contributions here on matters electrical that you may well be able to suggest alternatives or answer your own question, but Artic'll do for me! :)

 

Arctic’s main benefit is its flexibility at low temperature. For fixed wiring inside a boat, I can’t see how that gives any advantage. When I made up a shore lead, I used arctic because it will be outside being flexed in the dead of winter.

 

Inside, I wouldn’t bother

 

Anyway, is “arctic” actually a spec or a protected trademark? I don’t think so. So depending on which “arctic” you bought, it might be better or worse than “non-arctic” for a fixed installation in terms of its sheathing quality etc.

 

As a chartered engineer you will know that over-speccing something for the sake of it is how contracts are lost and budgets overrun.

Edited by nicknorman
  • Greenie 2

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My shore lead is 25 years old and is only 1.5mm. My 3kW immersion is the largest load normally and it poses no problem, only dropping the odd volt or two.

However, wiring installed in a boat is in the insulation and is potentially going to get warmer than a bit of flex lying outside. So 2.5mm 3 core cable is advisable.

Arctic cable is easier, is a distinctive blue colour, and is not so dear in full reels from the likes of Screwfix and other discount suppliers.  I would never use yellow cable as it denotes 110v supplies normally.

However, with a maximum of 16A I don't see the need to wire a ring main, just one radial run to all the sockets will suffice. If you want sockets on both sides of the boat, then the other half of the ring may be the easiest way, it depends on the layout.

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The inhabitants that live on and drift about willy nilly on floating islands of vegitation on Lake Chad in the tropical region of the Sahara desert are in a quandary as to what cable to use, The temperature fluctuation can be huge, ''Topping 100 degs F during the day and can be below zero at night. Do the they use Tropical cable or Arctic cable, or is there one in between called Temperate cable.  ? :closedeyes:

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36 minutes ago, nicknorman said:

As a chartered engineer you will know that over-speccing something for the sake of it is how contracts are lost and budgets overrun.

This true - but methinks hardly the key issue when buying a bit of cable for your boat, where perhaps the bigger threat to a timely and effective solution is procrastination and over-thinking! 

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From Screwfix...

 

2.5mm2 bog standard flex, £47.99 for 50m:

https://www.screwfix.com/p/nexans-round-flexible-cable-3182y-3-core-2-5mm-50m-white/531fk

 

2.5mm2 arctic flex, £61.49 for 50m:

https://www.screwfix.com/p/nexans-arctic-flex-3183yag-3-core-2-5mm-50m-blue/810fk

 

So a difference of 27p per metre. Wow. 

  • Haha 1

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Yeah but if it doesn't actually offer any tangible advantage in a situation (for example, the cheaper one can "do it" and the advantages of the more costly one wouldn't be exploited in this use case) why pay more for the sake of it? AIUI if you're not bending and wiring up wires in severe cold; or the wiring layout is sensibly planned out so there are no sharp bends anyway, you'll not perceive any advantage except perhaps if you're chucking it round during putting it into and out of boxes during the fitting.

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Just now, WotEver said:

 

 

So a difference of 27p per metre. Wow. 

That's the sort of detail which lay behind my generalisation. 'Course, that's just Screwfix - spending greater time on more research might unearth even bigger savings! :D

The law of diminishing returns, isn't it?

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