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Author Topic:   Battery Cables
Florida15 posted 08-29-2006 09:19 AM ET (US)   Profile for Florida15   Send Email to Florida15  
What's the main difference in battery cables for different models of outboards ? I've seen cables on E-Bay and it says will fit certain models. I called the dealer about a set of cables for my '82 Johnson 35 and they said they will have to order them. Is it the size of the wire or what ? Seems like as long as they get power from the battery to the engine and will fit through the hole in the engine, they would work.
The ones on E-Bay are about a third in price of the ones at the dealer and I just want to make sure there's a reason that I'm paying that extra money.
bobeson posted 08-29-2006 01:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for bobeson  Send Email to bobeson     

The length of the cable, the size of the cable, and the type of cables, lugs and heat-shrink can vary. Make sure you are getting marine-grade cables of the appropriate gauge, with marine-grade lugs and heat-shrink. Oh, and double-check the bolt size that the lugs need to fit at both ends of the cable - there are a wide range of commonly-used sizes.

The marine-grade lugs have a design that allows the adhesive-lined heat-shrink to seal them off entirely - they are not open at the bitter end of the cable as more common lug types are. Make doubly sure you are getting marine-grade (which basically means Ancor brand only) components in your cables. That said, the dealer parts are probably just plain overpriced.

And don't forget to make absolutely certain you are getting marine-grade components in your battery cables. Corrosion in high-amperage electrical components is very dangerous, and can lead to electrical fires, which are a terrifying prospect on a boat. Marine-grade components cost a lot more, but they are vastly superior to non-marine-grade components in terms of their susceptibility to corrosion. If I were buying off E-bay I would email the seller to verify that every component on the cables, including the heat-shrink, is Ancor brand marine-grade. There are a few other brands of marine-grade components out there, but personally I know and trust Ancor - maybe if you research the individual brands and models carefully you'll find acceptable alternatives, but you're probably best off just sticking with Ancor brand.

Is this horse dead yet?

Florida15 posted 08-29-2006 02:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for Florida15  Send Email to Florida15     
Yep, it just died about an hour ago. I went down to the Johnson dealer at lunch and ordered some OMC cables. I would think being OEM that they would use the top grade marine components that you speak of.
They had to order them out of Atlanta so it will be Thursday or Friday before I get them.
I've been meaning to do this for about a month now and just now got around to it. I thought about E-Bay because it was cheaper but decided against it.
Revenge 25 posted 09-01-2006 01:38 AM ET (US)     Profile for Revenge 25  Send Email to Revenge 25     
I started making my own battery cables using ancor marine products. It is actually really easy and only takes about 20 minutes. The quality is much better than the OEM cables. In addition, you can make them the exact length you want.

The cost of the battery lug crimper and batery cable cutter makes the first set of cables a little expensive, but by the third set you have recouped the cost and have much battery cables.

Florida15 posted 09-01-2006 01:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for Florida15  Send Email to Florida15     
The cables on my '82 were original so I doubt that I could recoup the cost of the crimper and cable cutter in my lifetime.
I sure am glad I ordered those cables. I took my boat over to the mechanic yesterday to replace a corroded key switch.
He called me yesterday afternoon and said the positive side of the cable was heating up and there must be some corrosion on the cable somewhere.
The dealer had just called me and said the cables were in so I went over and picked them up and dropped them by the mechanic this morning.
So, I'll have my boat for the weekend.

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