BZZZT: Taking it to the Limit!
By Ted Neighbors
Today the class got to witness firsthand what a wire looks like when it’s pushed beyond its limits. A larger diameter wire can carry more Amps, or in layman’s terms, a higher flow of electricity. 1 AWG wire is quite large, and in this case is rated to carry up to 165 Amps. We connected a length of that to a length of 14 AWG wire, which is rated for up to 20 Amps. Big difference. We hooked the circuit up to a 12 volt cranking battery and let ‘er rip. This experiment was more or less the electrical equivalent of blasting water through a fire hose, then redirecting it through a straw.
Nobody wants anything like this to happen inside their boat; I recommend you check the ampacity ratings on all your wires and make sure everything is up to par, or if you don’t know how, hire an IYRS grad to do it for you!