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Electrical Discussion of preventative/corrective maintenance and other technical issues regarding your coach's electrical system.

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  #1  
Old 01-27-2008
iamflagman's Avatar
iamflagman iamflagman is offline
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Default Making up new battery cables.

OK ROB, now is the time to say "I told you so!!!"

While I am not actually making up new battery cables for my 'Bird, this information that I will hopefully receive can also be used for that application.

I have been doing a lot of rewiring on my race car recently and yesterday in particular after I found my lost new crimping tool, that was almost right in front of me all of the time while I looked all over the place for it, I have been making new battery cables, that are routed from a relocated battery at th rear of the car, up through two master cutoff switches, one near the driver seat then through isolated pass through studs mounted in what was once used as the routing holes for the removed air conditioner plumbing into the engine compartment and to the other master cutoff switch mounted in the left windshield wiper hole and then to the engine. So as you can tell there are a lot of battery cable ends to add to the different lengths of cable.

I'm using AWG1 welding cable and in the past whenever I had made up battery cables using that type of wire I just placed the new ends over the cable and then placed them in my bench vise and crimped them on by compressing them with the vice jaws, I had never had one come loose on me and now I had this fancy new cable crimper designed to give me that neat crimped look instead of my old crushed end look. I made up a few cable sections and placed the ends on the cable and used the new crimping tool and was very proud of my self as they really looked neat...but when I installed one of the cables and put some strain on it while tightening it onto the firewall pass through stud, the cable came loose from the end. Now this crimping tool is the type where you use a sledge hammer to compress the crimper, it gives a neat look, but as I found out, it doesn't necessarily hold very well when stress is applied to the cable. If I was using regular battery cable with heavier strands, I don't think that the amount of stress that was applied to the ends would have pulled the cable loose, I can route this particular cable a little differently to relieve the stress, but I want to make sure that I have a secure connection.

Rob Robinson had asked me if I was going to solder the ends on the cables to help prevent corrosion and I told him that I always kept the cable ends greased and had never had a problem with corrosion in the past. What is the proper way to solder the end on, whenever I have attempted this in the past it ended up looking like a mess, especially with my hand tremors I have a difficult time doing this, are there any tips to doing this the easy and neat way, if that is possible?

I also have a large variety of heat shrink tubing to place over wire and cable end, but the largest one that I have will fit over regular battery cable, but not this AWG1 welding cable and the auto parts stores don't seem to have any either, I might try the local welding supply stores to see if they have anything.

I know that I have read differing opinions about soldering the ends on battery cables, but I thought that I would throw it out here on the forum to get some of your opinions.

I purchased the cable from Bridgewater Tech, Inc after finding them on eBay http://search.ebay.com/_W0QQsassZcoppercableman The AWG1 welding cable is made here in the USA in Fairbault, Minn. and it cost me $1.737 per foot, I purchased two 30' rolls of black and red, which was almost half of what they wanted for the same cable locally at the welding supply stores. They will also print your name on the cable, or anything else that you want for that custom made look.
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  #2  
Old 01-27-2008
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john

even i can make good looking cables with solder

just put the end in the vice hole up

heat it up with map bottle and melt rosin core solder in it

heat up stripped cable end a little and put some rosin on it if you like or the solder to ck temp and put it in the liquid solder end and dont move it for a bit

then use your fancy crimping tool or chisel and vice!

this is the factory way my old dodge mech grampa told me 40 yrs a go and it worked for me when i have to do it.

then i paint it with liquid plastic tape!
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  #3  
Old 01-27-2008
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John,the crimper you discribing is what i have used for 30 years,and never had an end come off.
And i do know about your tremors and wonder if thats part of the problem?
On the soldering,you don't want to use acid core because it will corrode at some point.
you need a flux and solid core solder.place the lug in the vise with the cable sticking up,then fill the lug with solder (the cable should already be in the lug).
i have the heat shrink tube you need,i'll mail you some if you have a day or two to wait.
too bad i didnt know you needed it,because i shipped the cat belt idler a few days ago.
Randy
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  #4  
Old 01-27-2008
Donn Donn is offline
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Default Battery Connections - Marine Grade

John,

I have yet to post in this format, so we'll see how this goes. I have been involved in the marine electrical trade for many years now and I advise the use of compound crimpers, not the bench type you use with a sledge hammer or terminals requiring solder that can break down in a damp or salt laden environment. The investment in a quality tool that will make durable crimps year after year is well worth it. I use two such crimpers, one device that I'm guessing might be 18" long, with selectable forged dies, that will crimp up to 0 AWG. The 2nd crimper with stamped dies will handle up to 4/0 and might be 3' long. I prefer the build of the former crimper due to its’ construction and ease of use, however the longer tool makes reliable crimps that never fail. I would suggest the use of tin plated copper terminals.

The use of welding cable does not excite me. Yes, it might work, but in a heavy duty truck application like our busses, I would suggest a flexible tin plated copper wire with fine strands not designated as “welding cable”. A quality cable as large as 4/0 will lay fairly limp when held out in the open and follows tight radiuses where required. A decent heat shrink will dress the terminals nicely while providing insulation. When available, I prefer the heat shrink with an adhesive coating.

Another neat related component is the use of wire tie bases that you can bolt or screw to the surface the cable travels. Once this plastic base (available several sizes) is mounted, a wire tie can be threaded through two slots in the base and pulled tight.

A good source for cable and related gear at decent prices:

www.wardsmarinelectric.com

A quality manufacturer of a wide variety of electrical system components:

http://bluesea.com/

Good luck!

Donn
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South Kingstown, RI
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  #5  
Old 01-27-2008
konehd konehd is offline
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Heres some info from the aeroelectric connection on putting together large wires and terminal. I wouldn't recommend the hammer crimp, but then I have one of the compound crimpers...
If your near San Francisco your welcome to borrow it:}

Soldering is pretty easy and will make a good connection, so thats probably best for one or two terminations.

HTH, Joe


http://www.aeroelectric.com/articles/big_term.pdf

http://www.aeroelectric.com/articles/terminal.pdf
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  #6  
Old 01-27-2008
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I appreciate all of the tips, I tried to do the soldering thing, but I had difficulty holding the torch and the solder steady, the solder when I had it uncoiled looked like I had a symphony conductors baton in my hand and I was directing the William Tell overture, unless you have seen me work with my hands like Randy and a few of the others on here have seen, I don't think that you can fully understand what I mean when I say that I have hand tremors, I mean I make the old Don Knotts character as the skinny, nervous, bug-eyed man-on-the-street interviewee on The Steve Allen Show in the late 1950's, look extremely calm


So what I did was place the crimping tool in my BA bench vice and use that to do the crimping, the result was a nice compound crimp, all it took was a little more pressure on the tool, than I could muster with a sledge hammer. Then I took cold shrink tape and wrapped that around the connection and finished it off with a coat of liquid electrical tape over the top of the tape effectively sealing the connection. I then let it dry and folowed it up with my bench grinders wire wheel to clean up the lug's contact area. Since I don't do a lot of this type of work, I can't see investing in a more sophisticated tool and San Fransisco is just a little too far to travel to borrow one.
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VISIT THE FINN'S INN EXPRESS REMODELING ADVENTURE AND TECH. TIPS
I'M SO SLOW ON THE HILLS,THAT I GET TO SMELL THE FLOWERS AS I GO BY.....AND WATCH THEM GROW TOO!! NOT SO MUCH ANYMORE
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  #7  
Old 01-27-2008
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Thumbs up electrical supplies

Far as electrical supplies, I like Waytek. They provide quality products and Waytek is an easy company to use.

http://waytekwire.com/

The link to Ward Electric, in an earlier post here, didn't work for me. However this will get you there:

www.wardelectric.com

I have found that a fence crimping tool works VERY well for crimping the big 2 - 4/0 connectors. You just have to stop crimping before you smash the connector too far. The tool is not very expensive at your local farm supply store.
http://www.systemfence.com/pages/fencetools/index.html
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  #8  
Old 01-28-2008
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What I have done with great success is this:
1. Cut the insulation back so there is enough wire exposed to reach the bottom of the connector.

2. Clean the inside of the connector with a brush like one used for cleaning battery connections.

3. Coat the inside with s thin layer of rosin flux.

4. fill the connector 2/3 with unmelted solder (coil it up inside the connector)

5. Coat the wire end with rosin core flux

6. insert the wire into the connector till it hits the solder

6. press on the wire and heat the connector till the sloder melts and the wire drops to the bottom.

7. LET GO and let it cool.
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Last edited by gcyeaw; 01-28-2008 at 02:03 PM.
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  #9  
Old 01-30-2008
Bruce Bruce is offline
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I just finished making new cables for my Bird. I used UltraFlex 1/0 cable and did use one of those "smash it with a hammer crimpers" I bought mine from an online welding supply store. It is Lenco brand and works very well. This model has grooves in the bttom and makes a good crimp. I think it was about $8.00. If you wish to solder terminal ends the solar guys have solder plugs that fit the ends.

Bruce
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  #10  
Old 01-30-2008
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Something that comes to mind with crimping is this:
When I was working with the electricians installing water cooled mainframe computer equipment, they always tightened the copper wire in the power connectors twice. They would tighten it up and then come back in 10 or 15 minutes and give it another twist. They explained that when you first compress the wires the copper tends to 'flow' just a little and the connection loosens up. This may be the probelm some are having with the crimping methods they are using.

Try giving it a shot, let it rest for 10 or 15 minutes and give it a final squeeze.
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