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Fact of Fiction: Can Stainless Steel be a Fire Hazard?

Here's why you should never put a stainless washer between a ring terminal and a bus bar or battery terminal.
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Trawler Owner's Tip of the Week

Stainless steel, for all its virtues, is a relatively poor conductor of electricity. By placing the washer between the terminal and the point of contact, you are inserting resistance. Increased resistance creates heat. The added resistance won’t trip any breakers, but it might set your boat on fire. You can use stainless washers, but only on the side of the terminal away from the contact surface. —Steve Zimmerman, Zimmerman Marine

The stainless-steel washer placed between these two ring terminals will generate excess heat due to its poor conductivity, potentially creating a fire hazard.

The stainless-steel washer placed between these two ring terminals will generate excess heat due to its poor conductivity, potentially creating a fire hazard.


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