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Old 12-08-2013
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Good mail order place for battery cables?

I seem to have some excessive voltage drops, between the battery and starter motor, and between battery and breaker panel. It looks like I'm going to need new cables.

Can anyone recommend a place that supplies battery cables made to order, probably by mail?
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Old 12-08-2013
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Re: Good mail order place for battery cables?

Maine Sail has an excellent writeup on how to make battery cables. In it he has references to some sources that he feels are excellent. I believe GenuineDealz.com is who he suggests for cables.

Making Your Own Battery Cables Photo Gallery by Compass Marine at pbase.com
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Re: Good mail order place for battery cables?

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Originally Posted by MarkSF View Post
I seem to have some excessive voltage drops, between the battery and starter motor, and between battery and breaker panel. It looks like I'm going to need new cables.

Can anyone recommend a place that supplies battery cables made to order, probably by mail?
Mark,

Unless you measure exactly, plan very, very, very carefully, get every lug hole size correct and the angles right, then making your own will be the best bet.

Buy the good tool from KL Jack and sell it here for $40.00 less when you are done. Someone will snap it up in a hear beat. In the end you are out $40.00 but will have better, neater wiring with more exact lengths of wire... Trust me there are things that can't be accounted for in a re-wire with larger cable.

If doing one wire then ordering pre-made can work fine but for all your heavy gauge wiring just buy the right tool and sell it when the job is done...
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Re: Good mail order place for battery cables?

Thanks for the info Maine Sail. I like the idea of making the cables, but that site looks great for custom cables, too.

So as far as cable sizing goes, what would you use for a 12ft run (each way) to a 1 litre diesel with a 1500W starter (should be 140A).

The calculator on that site indicates 1/0 gauge will give me a voltage drop at the starter of 0.34V, or 2.8%. Sounds reasonable to me, what do you think?
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Re: Good mail order place for battery cables?

When I made new battery cables my local chandler lent me the lug crimping tool.
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Re: Good mail order place for battery cables?

Are you certain the cables themselves are bad and not just the connections to the starter or neg bus? Corrosion can be between the connector and terminal, while it looks visually clean from above. I've cleaned these all up and applied dielectric grease and often noticed a dramatic improvement.

If you do need cables, its the perfect excuse to buy the tool. Even if you exactly measure what you have, you'll undoubtedly find that a small re-route or another inch or two could make all the difference in your install when you get down to it. The manufacturer would have been looking for the least expensive build, but for a few more inches on DIY cables, you might really improve serviceability. It would be nice to be able to do that on the fly.

Also, I've replaced batteries over the years, with lugs in slightly difference places or even different sizes. So far, I've managed to stretch or scrunch the old cables to work or even used terminal adapters. A few times, it would have been really nice to just make a new cable, but I could not justify buying the crimper just to make one jumper.
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Re: Good mail order place for battery cables?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkSF View Post
Thanks for the info Maine Sail. I like the idea of making the cables, but that site looks great for custom cables, too.

So as far as cable sizing goes, what would you use for a 12ft run (each way) to a 1 litre diesel with a 1500W starter (should be 140A).

The calculator on that site indicates 1/0 gauge will give me a voltage drop at the starter of 0.34V, or 2.8%. Sounds reasonable to me, what do you think?
Mark,

The in-rush will be 250A - 400A+ and loaded cranking will generally be more than 140A. Starters are an odd lot ratings wise. That said I would probably choose 2/0 on a 24' run but 1/0 will certainly do it and do it better than what the factory likely used..
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Re: Good mail order place for battery cables?

Well the cables to the starting battery look horrible. Untinned wire, no heat shrink, sheath cut to the wrong length, and badly done crimps. So I'm pretty sure they should be replaced regardless.

2/0 is fine, I can use that.

What started this, is the starter turns over quite slowly (and now and then just goes click) on the starting battery. It's better on the house bank. But, the starter battery only drops to 11.5V under starting load, so I think it's strong.

Also, all the instruments reboot when I hit the starter, which I'd like to fix.

So I think I need to take some detailed measurements of voltage drops between the battery and the starter, as a benchmark before I start trying to improve it.
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Re: Good mail order place for battery cables?

I've ordered cables in the past from these folks. Gregs Marine Wire Supply, Welcome Aboard!
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Re: Good mail order place for battery cables?

Usually, my approach to any job is if I can do it myself but need to buy a tool, I will. The tool will more or less pay for itself, and nice tools have a value all of their own.
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