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Author Topic:   Moving batteries to console in Montauk, how do I connect the terminals to the cable?
acassidy posted 04-30-2002 08:39 PM ET (US)   Profile for acassidy   Send Email to acassidy  
I have 28' of new marine grade 2 AWG battery cables for my boat and new battery connectors/terminals for the ends. QUESTION: How do I crimp the connectors to the end of the cables? Can I crimp it with vise grip pliers? How do I solder it? Thanks a lot. Archie
Landlocked posted 04-30-2002 08:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for Landlocked  Send Email to Landlocked     

I recently ran new cables to a battery in the console. Since I purchased the cables at West Marine, I went ahead and had them crimp the terminals on at the store. According to their master catalog, all stores have crimpers. I'd take them over there and even if you bought them elsewhere, they might be willing to crimp for a fee.

Otherwise, I'd suggest you find a crimping tool to rent. I doubt if you can get enough force with Vice-grips. An alternative might be to use a hammer and an anvle but you would end up with a flat crimp which wouldn't be as strong.

Good luck.


Landlocked posted 04-30-2002 08:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for Landlocked  Send Email to Landlocked     
Oh yea,

For splicing at the motor end, I used a brass splice connector for 2-4 awg avail at Home depot. The splice comes with heat shrink tubing to seal the joint.


whalerron posted 04-30-2002 10:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for whalerron  Send Email to whalerron     
I soldered the ends on my new cables. I used Ancor Marine grade cable and it is already pre-tinned. The soldering was extremely easy. I then used Ancor adhesive lined Heat Shrink tube to seal the spot where the cable enters the lug on each cable end.
Smallfrye posted 05-01-2002 05:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for Smallfrye  Send Email to Smallfrye     
Sorry to say guys, but if you tried to solder with out the use of a large solder pot, you probably have a "cold" solder joint. Only the outer few strands bonded to the terminal and will corrode in a short time. Mechanically the joint is not sound.
The only way to crimp wire of this size is to use qualified crimping tools and matching terminals. I could provide a disertation on crimp height vs electrical and mechanical performance, but instead, trust me.
West Marine and other electrical suppliers have components and tools that anyone can use. My local WM store sells the crimper then refunds 100% when returned. I regularly make custom cables at home with their tools.
good luck, jim
jimh posted 05-02-2002 12:06 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Often it is recommend to not solder connections like this, particularly in environments with vibration. The soldered wired becomes stiff and can be subject to failure from vibration.

At wire gauges of 2-AWG you can't get good crimps with hand tools. You'll need a hydraulic crimping tool or one that rachets in with some big mechanical advantage.

Andy Holmes posted 05-04-2002 08:41 AM ET (US)     Profile for Andy Holmes  Send Email to Andy Holmes     

If you are going to solder the terminal on, you should use a propane torch, get the whole assembly clamped down on a wood (not metal) workbench so it doesn't move, and preheat the cable really well, so it is good and hot all the way through. Then, use some flux applied with a small brush, apply the solder to the cable and terminal where they meet together. The solder should flow into the joint by itself. you should not have to melt the solder with the torch.

I have had good success with this. The key is to get the terminal and cable end hot enough to melt the solder, and the same temperature. Also, to keep the assy. still while you work. If you try to use a steel vise to clamp the two together, the vice will act like a heat sink and wick away all the heat and you will never get it hot enough. Hope this helps.

whalerron posted 05-04-2002 11:21 AM ET (US)     Profile for whalerron  Send Email to whalerron     
If you solder it correctly, it will last indefinitely. Using a propane torch with "just enough heat" works like a champ. If you don't solder the end, it is only a matter of time before the moist salt air causes enough corrosion in the crimped joint to cause electrical problems and possible overheating at the connector.

The original cables in my boat had the ends soldered on in 1970. In the spring of this year, 32 years later, I repowered and replaced the cables. There was absolutely no signs of corrosion at the cable ends and there was no sign of cable failure. I also had no indication of voltage drop at the motor.

It is my humble opinion that, in a saltwater environment, a correctly soldered cable end is superior to crimped joint.

- Ron

andygere posted 05-04-2002 09:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
Mmmm...why not do both? First crimp for a strong mechanical joint, then use Ron's solder technique to help prevent corrosion. Good idea? Bad idea?
acassidy posted 05-05-2002 07:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for acassidy  Send Email to acassidy     
Thanks a lot far all of the help. After a trip to West Marine with cables in hand, I now have crimped cables and batteries in the console (holes in center console floor, attached to boat floor instead). They also have very heavy weigh shrink tubes with adhesive in them for battery cables. One for West Marine: Even though I did not even purchase the cables there they crimped them for me no questions asked. Archie
whalerron posted 05-05-2002 10:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for whalerron  Send Email to whalerron     
That adhesive lined heat-shrink tube is great stuff! It works really well!
andygere posted 05-06-2002 07:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
I made up a complete set of battery cables (5 in all) at a West Marine near my office today. I used 4 AWG cable and crimp on cable ends. It was strictly a self-service affair, but I prefer it that way. The crimper they had looked like half a bolt cutter mounted on a bench, but instead of cutter blades there were several notches for crimping different sized fittings. Total cost including flexible cable shielding and zip ties was $72 with tax. It was still a lot cheaper than buying comperable pre-made cables, and I got exactly the lenght I needed.

I also slipped a section of the heat shrink tubing over each connector. Any thoughts on the best way to shrink the tubing? It seems a little large for a Bic lighter, but is a propane torch overkill?

ratherwhalering posted 05-06-2002 07:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for ratherwhalering  Send Email to ratherwhalering     
I use a heat gun...the same one used to strip varnish. Works great on large heatshrink. This was after I killed my girlfriend's hairdryer replacing my battery terminals. Now she uses my heatgun to straighten her hair ;-)
andygere posted 05-06-2002 10:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
Did the hairdryer work?
ratherwhalering posted 05-07-2002 02:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for ratherwhalering  Send Email to ratherwhalering     
Yep, but it took awhile, the heat gun has more temp, and a narrower barrel, and even comes with a little attachment that surrounds the wire.

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