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Old 03-27-2013, 07:37 PM   #1
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Improving battery terminals

I'd like to hear what people have done to deal with the problem that everything seems to need to be wiring to the battery terminals. Winch, inverters, lights, etc etc.

I have wired an inverter to the van battery, and slightly modified the clamping bolt on the wire terminal so I could fit about a 6 AWG wire on there; it runs to a 60 amp bar-type fuse in a holder that is in a plastic box, with bolts for the wire at either end. Secured it with zip ties to top of battery, although the wires hold it there.

Now I have to add a circuit breaker and two (+/-) about 4 AWG cables to the battery terminals, and I'll probably want to enclose the circuit breaker in a project box or something. See photo.

I'm thinking of connecting one end of the circuit breaker to the bolt that holds the 60 amp fuse on the battery side; it would stick out at 90 deg and I could bore through the plastic of the fuse holder and build a cover on it. I could use the clamp bolt on the other battery terminal for the negative, although I might have to use a bigger bolt.

But it's ugly. Ideally I'd have a sort of bus bar there like I've got for the house batteries, so I could neaten it all up. But that's all sort of predicated on changing out the current Ford cable ends to ring terminals, and there is no slack in those babies, so once I remove the clamps there isn't much to work with.

Anyone have a more elegant solution?


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Old 03-27-2013, 09:21 PM   #2
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Re: Improving battery terminals

I like this kind of stuff:

http://www.solar-electric.com/infubr.html

http://www.solar-electric.com/mr60ampdccib.html

http://www.solar-electric.com/podibl.html
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Old 03-27-2013, 10:55 PM   #3
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Re: Improving battery terminals

You could do something like this:
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Old 03-28-2013, 11:50 AM   #4
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Re: Improving battery terminals

I like that, carringb. I think I saw that in another thread; isn't that in your winch box?

I am thinking of sorta making one; I've got some brass bar that size that I could use.

And the Wind/Sun stuff is nice, but I think I'll stick with the circuit breaker rather than fuses for the winch; it's gotta be about 350-400 amps. Those insulated power distribution blocks look nice, though. I've been looking at a bunch of ones produced for the car stereo guys, which serve the same purpose, although many look pretty cheesy bolt-wise. And I have some terminal posts.

The biggest problem is still the end of the Ford battery cables. Both + and are combo cables, with two strands (hard to tell what gauge) coming together right at the crimp-on terminal. So some of the nicer solutions (there are some good screw on ring terminals at JEGS, e.g.) may not fit. Nor could I be sure I could even solder on a lug or get a clamp-on to work, although that is the likeliest solution if I want new terminals. Messing them up means some big $$ new cables and the hassle of attaching them.

What I wish for is a terminal block like the one pictured with a battery post on it. I've have to check threads; maybe one of the adapters at auto parts store will fit (5/16 18 maybe?). Then I clamp that, and get another marine terminal clamp for the battery itself. Or can anyone point me to a terminal that has bolts for ringed lugs AND a battery post?

thanks,
Rob
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Old 03-28-2013, 01:20 PM   #5
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Re: Improving battery terminals

Quote:
Originally Posted by rob_gendreau

The biggest problem is still the end of the Ford battery cables. Both + and are combo cables, with two strands (hard to tell what gauge) coming together right at the crimp-on terminal. So some of the nicer solutions (there are some good screw on ring terminals at JEGS, e.g.) may not fit. Nor could I be sure I could even solder on a lug or get a clamp-on to work, although that is the likeliest solution if I want new terminals. Messing them up means some big $$ new cables and the hassle of attaching them.

What I wish for is a terminal block like the one pictured with a battery post on it. I've have to check threads; maybe one of the adapters at auto parts store will fit (5/16 18 maybe?). Then I clamp that, and get another marine terminal clamp for the battery itself. Or can anyone point me to a terminal that has bolts for ringed lugs AND a battery post?

thanks,
Rob
NAPA has everything to put new ends on your existing cables. You will simply need some large gauge (probably 0/3 gauge), leaded solder, flux, and heat shrink with at least a 3-1 shrink ratio (Fastenal actually has better heat shrink than NAPA).

You could also install a Dual-terminal battery, keep your stock cables as is, and build a lead to go from the side terminal to your new junction block. My optimas are dual terminal, although at the moment I'm just using the posts. There is also a couple bolts at the power distribution box that I use to pull all my add-on power from, except the winch (which goes directly to the battery posts).
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Old 03-28-2013, 01:54 PM   #6
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Re: Improving battery terminals

I checked; the usual battery terminals all are for single-wire. The cables are like more like two 4 gauges crimped together and I don't think I could cram them both into a 0 lug for soldering (I actually have them and the equipment to solder them already). It's as if I'd need a giant twist connector. If the battery cable was removed and I had enough length I might be able to braid it into a rounder shape, but no way that's gonna happen where they are now. They're almost .5" wide, and wouldn't even fit in a 00 lug. Maybe I could add two ring terminals on each though....

Seems simpler to attach existing clamp to a side-to-post adapter. Screw this into a distribution bar (it looks to be 3/8" 18 so I should be able to find something that fits). Then make a short cable with dual ring terminals, one to bar, one back to a post-to-marine terminal adapter, which has a 5/16 or 3/8 on top.

BTW, for soldering biggish lugs I really like those solder plugs you can drop in. Invert lug, heat, push in cable, done. And note that in the past Optima warned not to use the side terminals for winch wiring, since it pulled too much current. The internal connections weren't direct to the plates or something, and therefore they could fail. That might be old info, however; I was surprised to see it. I'll also try to leave some room to attach some supplemental wiring, probably using the same 60 amp fuse. I'll attach some power poles and then I'll have connectors for my compressor.

Thanks for the help.
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