Electrical Tools and Supply Recommendations

Having a good set of electrical tools and supplies on board is essential. Saltwater, dampness, and constant vibration wreck havoc on electrical connectors and wiring. Being able to quickly test, diagnose, and fix a problem while at the dock or underway is important and being able to preventative maintain the wiring and connectors is even better.

Many of us had or have basic tools on our ‘first boat’ and gradually built on those tools as the boats got bigger and more complex. So, the tool recommendations are separated into 2 categories: “Basic” (DC only) and “Advanced” (AC and DC power):

  • Basic Tools (DC only, smaller boat)

  • Advanced Tools (AC/shore power, inverters, larger boat, etc.)

  • Basic Supplies (DC only, smaller boat)

  • Advanced Supplies (AC/shore power, inverters, larger boat, etc.)

Note: most of the tools and supplies below have links to Amazon.com. This gives you an opportunity to gain further information about the tool, read reviews and optionally purchase the items and gives us a small percentage of earnings for our Development and Cruising Kitty, which we thank you in advance for.

Basic Tool Kit

Basic Electrical Tool Recommendations (for DC only boats, No AC power):

Optional Items:

:

Advanced Tool Kit

Advanced Electrical Tool Recommendations (shore power, inverters, larger boat, etc.)

All of the ‘Basic Electrical Tools’ - plus:

Optional Items:

Cordless Drill/Driver is essential for pre-drilling screw holes, installing screw/bolts and cutting hole (cables, deck fittings, etc.). We started with an 18v set but have downsized to the 12v with exception to our Makita angle grinder, jigsaw and vacuum (REALLY NICE). The 12v tools do the trick and cut with smaller precision, such as 12v circular saw or recipro saw.

  • Compact 12v Cordless Combination 3/8" Drill / Driver and 1/4" Hex Impact Driver: Milwaukee M12 or Makita 12v sets

  • Mini Propane torch: Portasol 010389010 or

    • Mini Propane torch: Bernzomatic or just get a ’torch’ lighter from a convenient or cigarette store

  • Battery Load Tester: Schumacher BT–100

    • (great for testing stored or old batteries)

  • Wire Marker Dispenser: ZipTap

    • (Handy for expediently marking multiple wires)

  • Brother P-Touch Label Maker, PT-D600, PC-Connectable, includes AC charger :(We love this label printer! Print wire wraps or flags!):

    • I use this Amazon site for Brother branded Labels

    • And this Amazon site for “compatible” labels

    • For Electrical wire labels, I recommend Flexible Tapes (“FX”):  TZe-FX251 (1”[24mm] Black on White)

      Optional:  TZe-FX231 (1/2”[12mm] Black on White) and TZe-FX651 (1”[24mm] Black on Yellow)

    • For important or outdoor labels, I use Extra Strength Adhesive Tapes:  TZe-S251 (1”[24mm] Blk on Wht), and TZe-S651 (1”[24mm] Blk on Yellow)

      Optional:  TZe-S231 (1/2”[12mm] Blk on Wht), TZe-S241 (3/4”[18mm] Blk on Wht),

      TZe-S631 (1/2”[12mm] Blk on Yellow), TZe-S641 (3/4”[18mm] Blk on Yellow),

         TZe-S131 (1/2”[12mm] Blk on Clear, to blend in)

    • For basic label needs (e.g. food containers, etc), I use Standard Tapes:

      Black on White: TZe-231 (1/2”[12mm]), TZe-241 (3/4”[18mm]),TZe-251 (1”[24mm])

      Optional: TZe-135 (1/2”[12mm] Blacl on Clear, to blend in)

      TZe-131 (1/2”[12mm] White on Clear, to blend in)

      TZe-631 (1/2”[12mm] Black on Yellow),

      TZe-411 (3/4”[18mm] Black on Red)

      Note: You can go wild with dozens of color and size tapes available, especially from package deals from the compatibles. And FYI, I found that one set compatible tapes that I purchased did not have the same print quality in my Brother Cube printer ($46) but printed ok on our PT-2730.

Basic Supply Kit

Basic Electrical Supply Recommendations (for DC only boats, No AC power)

Advanced Supply Kit

Advanced Electrical Supply Recommendations (shore power, inverters, larger boat, etc.)

All of the ‘Basic Electrical Supplies’ - plus:

Tip: For large projects, consider purchasing connectors in bags/jugs of 25, 50 or 100 and wire by the spool, especially Safety duplex.

Note: Split Tubing and Spiral Wrap must be Self-extinguishing in accordance with UL 94 v.2 and ABYC.

Optional Items:

  • Replacement LED bulbs no.58

  • Replacement LED bulbs no.1004/1156

  • Replacement LED bulbs no.90

  • Replacement LED bulbs G4 Warm

  • Replacement LED bulbs B15D Dbl

  • Replacement LED bulbs B15D Cool

  • Led Dome Light SeaSense

  • Led Reading Light SeaSense

  • 12v test battery (old power tool battery or two 6v in series) with a fused alligator clip for pre-testing or isolated testing of devices

Tip: Consider using marine grade Nylon connections which will better resist corrosion, cracking and falling apart in a marine environment. And if not using heat shrink connectors, always use heat shrink adhesive lined tubing to help protect the wire against corrosion from moisture and strain on the connector.