Author Topic: Battery Cables  (Read 7993 times)

Offline DavidInWilmNC

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Battery Cables
« on: October 26, 2006, 05:55:31 AM »
Soon, I'll be starting on my DC system.  Part of this involves relocating my 2 8D starting batteries to the front bay with my house batteries.  I'm wondering where most folks get their battery cables.  Do people crimp and solder the connections themselves or do they purchase pre-made cables?  I'd much rather be able to make the exact length I need when I need it instead of having to wait after I've ordered it.  Also, what's a good source for battery cables, terminals, stud terminal blocks, fuses, etc? 

After I move my starting batteries and disconnect switch from the original battery compartment, my 20 gallon gas tank (for my generator) will fit perfectly.  It'll be a good place for the gas tank, as it's separated from all the other bays, vented, and in a location where it'll be easy to fill.  Thanks.

David

Offline Jerry Liebler

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Re: Battery Cables
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2006, 06:11:47 AM »
David,
      I got the supplies to make my DC cables from Wrangler NW.  But that was when I lived in Portland Or and they were local.  I bought a crimping tool from them.  The crimping tool I got is one that is used with a hammer.   I also soldered all my cables by dipping the ends into a solder pot.  This technique also tins the 'lug'.    The last step is shrink tubing over the last inch or so of the cable and the lug.
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Jerry 4107 1120

Offline gumpy

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Re: Battery Cables
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2006, 06:13:32 AM »
Here's some of what I did...
http://www.gumpydog.com/bus/MC9_WIP/Electrical/Batteries/batteries.htm

Waytekwire.com for all electrical. Good prices. Good service.

craig
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Offline DavidInWilmNC

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Re: Battery Cables
« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2006, 06:14:21 AM »
Thanks guys.  Also, what size are the factory MCI battery cables?

Offline DrivingMissLazy

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Re: Battery Cables
« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2006, 06:15:12 AM »
David, a good place to start is Waytek.

http://www.waytekwire.com/

Richard
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Offline gumpy

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Re: Battery Cables
« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2006, 06:18:22 AM »
I think they are 4/0, but not completely sure. I don't think I'd use anything smaller.

I chose welding cable. Not going to engage in a discussion about why it may be wrong to use.
Suffice it to say it was relatively easy to work with, and has been working great for a few years now.

craig
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Offline Jeremy

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Re: Battery Cables
« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2006, 06:23:06 AM »
I suggest you look at this website, which will probably answer all your questions regarding specifying and buying battery cables: http://www.vehicle-wiring-products.co.uk/

This is obviously a British company, but there will doubtless be US equivalents. As it happens VHP are located quite close to me, so I ordered what I wanted by email and went to collect in person, which also enabled me to take in the main starter cable from my coach to have a new end crimped on it (incidentally, I was once told that you should never solder wiring on a vehicle as, theoretically, heavy DC currents can generate temperatures high enough to melt solder). The crimps on the big cables are done with a large hydraulic press, so is unlikely to be something you can do at home.

I re-located and re-wired the four 6v bus starter batteries, and added three 12v house batteries, which meant 14 new insulated terminals and a fair bit of cable. I also added marine-type isolation switches to both sets of batteries (very useful), and added big junction boxes into both circuits so extra cables could be connected later if required. The parts cost in the region of £150 (around $280), but I know I did a 'good job' which will serve as a solid foundation for all the other coach wiring that is to come.

Jeremy
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Offline Stan

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Re: Battery Cables
« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2006, 07:20:11 AM »
I used welding cable and got high quality terminals from a United Delco dealer. I soldered all cable terminals and used different color of heat shrink to identify  12, 24 and ground,  Notr that some terminals can only be soldered and some can only be crimped. Some can be either or both.

 I also relocated the engine  batteries to the engine compartment. The only high current draw on the engine batteries is the starter so I put the cables (both positive and negative) direct to the starter. From the starter ground go to the engine cradle and then to bus chassis. From starter positive go to the original cable terminal on the rear bulkhead. If you are replacing the front to rear cable it is 0000. If you are not using original bus heat and have the batteries in the rear then #2 is adequate.

Offline Buffalo SpaceShip

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Re: Battery Cables
« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2006, 07:49:39 AM »
I relocated the start batts on my old 4106. We were on a trip and I had to replace the cables then because of continued starting issues... and I siezed the moment to also make my runs much shorter by moving the batts. A local electrical supply house made up the cables and connections out of welding cable. It worked out great, and she always turned over after that.

Here's some pics and details of the process.

HTH,
Brian B.
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Offline JackConrad

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Re: Battery Cables
« Reply #9 on: October 26, 2006, 10:02:37 AM »
I always use 4/0 welding cable for all battery cables.  Might be overkill in some cases, but when it comes to battery calbles, I feel that bigger is better. I purchased the cable, terminals, and a crimping tool for WayTek Wire.  7 Years, 30,000 miles and no problems. Just
"my way" YMMV.  Jack
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Offline Dale MC8

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Re: Battery Cables
« Reply #10 on: October 26, 2006, 10:03:30 AM »
David, I took measurments, samples, etc. to the nearest battery distributer (here in Stockton CA it was Nor-Cal Battery Co) and had them make up the cables. They had the cable, ends, heat-shrink, etc. and the right tools for the job. Look in your local Yellow Pages under "Batteries". HTH
Dale MC8
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Offline TomCat

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Re: Battery Cables
« Reply #11 on: October 26, 2006, 11:01:25 AM »
I used welding cable and got high quality terminals from a United Delco dealer. I soldered all cable terminals and used different color of heat shrink to identify  12, 24 and ground,  Notr that some terminals can only be soldered and some can only be crimped. Some can be either or both.

 I also relocated the engine  batteries to the engine compartment. The only high current draw on the engine batteries is the starter so I put the cables (both positive and negative) direct to the starter. From the starter ground go to the engine cradle and then to bus chassis. From starter positive go to the original cable terminal on the rear bulkhead. If you are replacing the front to rear cable it is 0000. If you are not using original bus heat and have the batteries in the rear then #2 is adequate.

When making high ampreage load DC cables, it is important to have a mechanical bond (The crimp), as well as an electrical bond (The solder). Done correctly, home made cables are easily as good as any from another source.

Jay
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Offline gus

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Re: Battery Cables
« Reply #12 on: October 26, 2006, 08:03:41 PM »
David,

As already posted. those starting batteries need to be as close to the starter as possible since that is the primary use for them.

You probably have a good reason to move them to the front but electrically it makes no sense.
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Offline DavidInWilmNC

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Re: Battery Cables
« Reply #13 on: October 26, 2006, 08:33:05 PM »
David,

As already posted. those starting batteries need to be as close to the starter as possible since that is the primary use for them.

You probably have a good reason to move them to the front but electrically it makes no sense.
They're already in the front, like all the MC-7,8, & 9's.  I'm actually moving them back to the first bay basically to keep all the batteries together and to give up the battery compartment for the gas tank.

David

Offline TomC

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Re: Battery Cables
« Reply #14 on: October 26, 2006, 10:38:52 PM »
If you are moving the starting batteries, now is a good time to get rid of the 8D's and replace them with 31's.  Virtually all big rig trucks use the 31's now-anywhere from 2-4 batteries since trucks are 12v only.  I use two Trojan 1000cca 31's to start my 8V-71.  If I need more juice, I have a jumper solenoid that I can activate from the driver's seat to also use the two 8D Lifeling AGM deep cycles.  If you live in cold country, using 4-31's is a whole lot easier to handle than the two 8D's, and you'll have more cranking power.  The standard 8D starting battery has on average 1,200cca.  So with two at 24v, you'll have 1,200cca.  With using the 1000cca 31's, with four you'd have 2000cca at 24v.  Big difference.  There is no such thing as having too much battery for the starter, but it is for sure seriously hard on the starter with a too small battery bank-to the point that you can prematurely burn out the starter.  Good Luck, TomC
Tom & Donna Christman. '77 AMGeneral 10240B; 8V-71TATAIC V730.