Tech information furnished by Herb Payerl
From: Herb Peyerl firstname.lastname@example.org
On Tue, Feb 19, 2002 at 09:09:24AM -0800, Mike Trippett wrote:
> Now for the question...what is the best way to fab one's own battery cables?
> I have everything together for my dual batteries (thanks to Jeff Z. and
> others!), with the exception of the wiring. I'm looking at 6&0 gauge cable,
> depending on where it's going. I'm not sure whether soldered terminals or
> crimped would be better, (I've read arguments for both), but the soldered
> would seem easier to do. Any recommendations on a crimping tool for a HD
> cable terminal?
Here's what _I_ do.
First, I use 1ga cable. Not by any specific choice but I happen to
have a relatively significant stockpile of 10ft lengths from some
old decommissioned cellsites. I've been working my way through this
pile making battery cables, jumper cables, and winch cables for my
Second, I go to Princess Auto (canadian discount junk store) or a
welding supply place, and pickup some copper lugs. They're basically
just a thick copper tube flared out at one end, squished flat at the
other with a hole drilled in the flat end.
I trim about .75" of insulation off the cable, clamp it in my vice
and with my propane torch, I saturate the exposed end with solder.
Then I put the flat end of the lug in my vice, I take my propane
torch and heat up the lug and fill it about 2/3 full of molten
solder, and while applying heat, I dunk the exposed and tinned
end of the cable into this molten solder and continue heating for
another 20 seconds or so, so that I'm sure the previously cooled
down solder in the end of the cable has a chance to re-melt and
'join' with the molten solder...
In theory, you now have one solid hunk of copper/lead. I once
screwed up one of my ends so I had to cut this joint off, so on
a lark, I sliced right into the lug and the cross-section was
very nice. No voids. It was like solid copper/lead.
Once sufficiently cooled, I then spin the lug against the back of
my vice while tapping the flare down with a hammer until it's
pressing into the little bit of rubber insulation entering the
lug. Now you've sealed the solder in the lug so corrosion can't
even get a foothold in there.
Next, once it's really cooled, I take self-fusing tape from an
electrical supply store and wrap it tightly around the insulation
and all the way down the lug until just the hole is exposed.
Do _not_ use that cheap-azz electrical tape. It blows goats.
Go out and buy self-fusing tape. you will _not_ regret it.
I did this to my '72 about 3 years ago when I got my Optima
Gold tops. I've never been stranded even in the deadest of
cold temperatures, there was plenty of cranking life there,
due in part to the cables.
For battery clamps, I got some of the military style to
bolt my cables to. Coat with some of that grease that I
can't remember the name of right now.