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View Full Version : Cutting and Crimping 2/0 Gauge



hgvandy
03-17-2012, 07:13 PM
I have read a lot on these battery installations and not 100% confident in what I am doing. I bought a switch that can go to 1, 2, or both. I am hooking all the wires in like in the directions and the 2/0 gauge + wire from the engine is the one making me nervous. For it to fit on my switch, I need to cut the terminal off and put a 2/0 end with a 3/8 circular connector. I really don't want to cut this if I don't need to, but don't know any other way. Does anyone have any suggestions on getting around this? Also, I would rather not have to buy a big wire cutter and a crimper. Suggestions here would be appreciated.

bzubke1
03-17-2012, 08:15 PM
I used a scissors to cut the wire and a vise grips to crimp the connector on.

ian ashton
03-17-2012, 09:20 PM
A cheap alternative is a hacksaw to cut, and a hammer and piece of 2x4 to crimp. It won't be pretty, but it will get the job done.

Another alternative is to buy set screw rig terminals, rather than crimp.

MLA
03-17-2012, 09:50 PM
A hacksaw is a good way to cut large gauge wire, as well as a rotary tool with a metal cutting disk.

For attaching the terminal lug, I would suggest soldering it over a crimp.

Here is a nice YT showing how to do it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXDkNMDDrBs

If you need to do this in the boat. I use vise-grips to hold the terminal an place it on a block of wood. Instead of a torch, I use a heatgun.

hgvandy
03-17-2012, 11:21 PM
Thanks guys. I will give the hacksaw and 2x4 a go.

Razzman
03-18-2012, 01:16 AM
I took mine down to the local battery dealer which was a mile away. For $1 an end he cut & crimped my lugs on the 1/0 cable with a hydraulic crimper.

wolfeman131
03-18-2012, 10:22 AM
A hacksaw is a good way to cut large gauge wire, as well as a rotary tool with a metal cutting disk.
.

If you have a dremel style tool, go this route vs the hacksaw.

I like Razz's idea best.

hgvandy
03-18-2012, 11:42 AM
I like Razz's idea as well, but just don't want to take out the cable and fish it back into the boat. I may do it just to make sure it gets done right. I have a week to think about it. I loved the soldering video as well. Very clean looking.

Brianinpdx
03-18-2012, 12:08 PM
Hgv - I'd second Razz's idea of taking to a battery shop. MLA's video is a good one but unless you already have a torch and solder pellets and flux, your buying a bunch of stuff. The key to solder is making sure you have enough flux applied to the copper conductors and not OVER heat it. Doing so can create a resistive connection when it burns off the flux. To little heat and you run into the opposite problem. A proper solder joint will offer more surface contact.

On the crimp subject, make sure it gets crimped with a real crimp tool. The oversized crimp (hammer style) actually drive the metal sleeve back down into itself creating a physical pinch and not just a compression joint around the whole outside. So for a 1.00, I don't think you can beat the battery shop.

-Brian
Exile Audio

lsvboombox
03-18-2012, 08:13 PM
If you are installing battery lugs you dont need to crimp just solder them.


Like this
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXDkNMDDrBs&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Just put something on the floor if you cant pull the wires out. You can do it with a much smaller pocket torch...

MLA
03-18-2012, 08:37 PM
I do a handful of cables a week, so I buy flux and pellets in bulk, but for those that are only doing this for a couple of terminals on a DIY project, no need to buy pellets or flux. All you need is a role of Rosin-core solder with Flux in it. Most would have that around. Heat-guns are like $15.00 at Harbor Freight....and you can use it again when you do your next ballast upgrade. A butane torch and a bottle of butane are cheap at any hardware store.

Soldering is a FAR superior electrical connection and you wont have to worry about it coming apart in a season or two.

newty
03-19-2012, 10:01 AM
If you are installing battery lugs you dont need to crimp just solder them.


Like this
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXDkNMDDrBs&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Just put something on the floor if you cant pull the wires out. You can do it with a much smaller pocket torch...


I do a handful of cables a week, so I buy flux and pellets in bulk, but for those that are only doing this for a couple of terminals on a DIY project, no need to buy pellets or flux. All you need is a role of Rosin-core solder with Flux in it. Most would have that around. Heat-guns are like $15.00 at Harbor Freight....and you can use it again when you do your next ballast upgrade. A butane torch and a bottle of butane are cheap at any hardware store.

Soldering is a FAR superior electrical connection and you wont have to worry about it coming apart in a season or two.

This is how I do it. I messed around too many years with crimp fittings.

kaneboats
03-19-2012, 12:25 PM
On mind I twisted the connector off the end and then found a great ring connector at Home Depot that had it's own crimper built in -- I think they are normally used for lightning rods or ground wires or something. Worked great.

Razzman
03-19-2012, 12:59 PM
I do a handful of cables a week, so I buy flux and pellets in bulk, but for those that are only doing this for a couple of terminals on a DIY project, no need to buy pellets or flux. All you need is a role of Rosin-core solder with Flux in it. Most would have that around. Heat-guns are like $15.00 at Harbor Freight....and you can use it again when you do your next ballast upgrade. A butane torch and a bottle of butane are cheap at any hardware store.

Soldering is a FAR superior electrical connection and you wont have to worry about it coming apart in a season or two.

Not so sure in this case soldering is far superior, superior yes but not to the degree we'd see a remarkable benefit. A good quality 360 degree crimp connection is just as sturdy and will last just as long without issues. If it was that big of a deal automotive manufacturers would solder theirs. Using a handheld or hammer crimp tool however can produce a lesser quality connection and I have seen those work loose.

philwsailz
03-19-2012, 01:09 PM
I use a hot air gun and solder. Clean.... Yes, hot air will make this connection and gets hot enough to wet it all out...

I will say I have never seen a resistive solder joint from over-heating; that just is not possible. The usual cause will be moving the soldered joint around while still liquid. This will cause early crystallization of the solder and lead to a cold solder joint, (ironic). Brian's comment re: overheating probably comes from someones experience with not being able to hold still long enough while the really hot solder joint cools.

That being said, the ABYC requires a crimp connection and prohibits soldering. I agree with their reasoning for new boat building but I can make a better connection with tools i have available putting rings on large wire with solder. You will never see me soldering small wire on a boat for the reasons ABYC cites.

Phil
Kicker

EarmarkMarine
03-19-2012, 01:44 PM
Phil,
I am a proponent of first crimping, then soldering and then heat shrinking. Our soldered connections have lasted in the field since 1998 when we started our dedicated marine division. I am not familiar with the ABYC standards but I have read comments about the solder fracturing under stress. I believe that would apply to those connections terminating into a circuit board where the un-strain-relieved weight of the cable times shock and vibration could place an inordinate amount of physical stress on a connection that is structurally dependent on the solder joint. If that is the case then that would be a very bad thing to do. But I wonder if those circumstances are out of context with what we normally do in audio and lighting. Would you mind being more specific on this. Inquiring minds want to know....at least one does.

David
Earmark Marine

Brianinpdx
03-19-2012, 04:10 PM
yes Phil - thats exactly what I mean by over soldering. Same can happen without proper cool down. Every rookie does it once (moves the cable to fast). I've seen soldered joints last upward of 15+ years, and think if one really wants to do it primo: crimp+shrink+ solder is pretty much a weapon of perfection.

-Brian
Exile

ian ashton
03-19-2012, 05:09 PM
ABYC Commentary on soldering:


Another common misconception dictates that the best of all connections is a soldered connection. However with stranded wire, the solder bonds the individual strands together, making a solid, inflexible wire. ABYC standards prohibit soldering as the sole means of making a connection because the newly solid wire is subject to cracking or breaking through vibration and flexing. A more practical solution is to use a crimp connector described above. Wires should never be joined simply by soldering and taping (or heat shrink); however, if solder is used, use only 60%/40% rosin core or solid solder, soldering after the butt connector is crimped. Acid core solder as used in plumbing may never be used in any electrical wiring.

pppeterd
03-22-2012, 04:27 AM
Whether you need to cut depends on what you are doing and capabilities you want. If you just want to add a house battery that can parallel to start the engine if needed there is little reason to cut into the 2/0 engine run. Just connect up to a free post on the existing battery.

Your arguably a little better off being able to select the battery you want to use vs. separate or parallel only options to isolate a bad battery with an internal short..etc. With most 1,2 switches you also get a bonus "off" switch to the engine.

Personally I don't see the benefit in cutting into the engine run. You could isolate the battery manually if you really needed to and the existence of the "off" position to a curious guest while the engine is running can blow the voltage regulator.

lsvboombox
03-22-2012, 07:53 AM
Pp terd, thats an interesting user name.

wolfeman131
03-22-2012, 11:32 AM
Pp terd, thats an interesting user name.

it may be PP Peter D.

gcnettl
04-02-2012, 12:46 AM
Lowe's and Home Depot sell lugs which have a "set screw" in the butt where the large diameter wire goes. operates the same way you use the "set screw" on your audio amplifier when terminating ground or power to the amp. You can find these where the electrical hand tools are, usually on the bottom row well hidden from sight.

philwsailz
04-02-2012, 03:15 PM
Phil,
I am a proponent of first crimping, then soldering and then heat shrinking. Our soldered connections have lasted in the field since 1998 when we started our dedicated marine division. I am not familiar with the ABYC standards but I have read comments about the solder fracturing under stress. I believe that would apply to those connections terminating into a circuit board where the un-strain-relieved weight of the cable times shock and vibration could place an inordinate amount of physical stress on a connection that is structurally dependent on the solder joint. If that is the case then that would be a very bad thing to do. But I wonder if those circumstances are out of context with what we normally do in audio and lighting. Would you mind being more specific on this. Inquiring minds want to know....at least one does.

David
Earmark Marine

David-
In literal terms, those who wrote the ABYC documents restrict the use of single-strand, (read romex) wiring due to work-hardening due to flexing. A soldered joint creates a single-strand conductor for the soldered length; this is the primary argument against it. To your point it might very well be out of context and it is only required for ABYC/NMMA member boat builders building new boats. However, if it is that important to them I will usually try to conform. that being said, I solder mine with a heat gun and then shrink them. Not because it is preferrable, but because it is the best connnection I can make with tools available and no more than I do the work, I am not going to go buy a big proper set of swaging crimpers... :) As an aside, U.S.C.G. doesn't specifically endorse or restrict any termination method; this based on my research since the other day. SO if I were building a new boat, I can be assured when I solder I am only neglecting ABYC guidelines, and not breaking any law....


Lowe's and Home Depot sell lugs which have a "set screw" in the butt where the large diameter wire goes. operates the same way you use the "set screw" on your audio amplifier when terminating ground or power to the amp. You can find these where the electrical hand tools are, usually on the bottom row well hidden from sight.

Similarly, ABYC will prevent a set screw from impinging directly on stranded wires like described here, rather requiring that a set-screw-style termination be made where the set screw applies force to an intermediary surface which then compresses the stranded wire bundle. An example can be found on some amplifiers where there is a metal leaf under the set screw. You stick the wire in and when you tighten the set scerw the metal leaf tightens down on the cable. The big box home improvement store connectors like you mention are for large single conductor cables, or large cables where very few strands are twisted up. I personally would not use these on our typical fine multi-strand automotive power cable as they are too big a mis-match application-wise.


Phil
Kicker

EarmarkMarine
04-02-2012, 05:28 PM
Phil,
Okay...I get it now. We'll be in the dog house with some regulating body no matter how we make the connections!

All kidding aside, I see many examples of non-strain-relieved RCA female connectors and other rather heavy gauge wires that terminate directly into a fixed circuit board via a soldered connection. And because that wire or cable end bears the weight of the wire/cable and the wire/cable is inflexible at the end, I absolutely know that the solder will fracture over time with the shock and vibration in a boat and the connection will eventually go cold. However, with a Western Electric connection that is soldered and heat shrunk in line with a moderate gauge wire and freely strung or securely clamped or supported in a rigid loom this is mechanically very different than something that terminates into a fixed board, barrier strip or chassis.

David
Earmark Marine

philwsailz
04-02-2012, 06:11 PM
Phil,
Okay...I get it now. We'll be in the dog house with some regulating body no matter how we make the connections!

All kidding aside, I see many examples of non-strain-relieved RCA female connectors and other rather heavy gauge wires that terminate directly into a fixed circuit board via a soldered connection. And because that wire or cable end bears the weight of the wire/cable and the wire/cable is inflexible at the end, I absolutely know that the solder will fracture over time with the shock and vibration in a boat and the connection will eventually go cold. However, with a Western Electric connection that is soldered and heat shrunk in line with a moderate gauge wire and freely strung or securely clamped or supported in a rigid loom this is mechanically very different than something that terminates into a fixed board, barrier strip or chassis.

David
Earmark Marine

True. I used to work for a company that had an accessory electronics piece that would fail as a result of simply installing the RCA cable... You can't fix stupid.... I routinely went in on those and pre-installed stranded-wire jumpers to prevent the inevitable.

I think a point to keep in mind too is that either one of us in controlled repeatable manner can create a reliable connection, be it crimp, or solder or other, and given the method protect it in an appropriate manner. Given proper crimp tools and I will make a repeatably solid power cable termination that will likely be better than my soldered connection, or at least it will be more repeatable.

Remove us from the equation and place a minimum-wage worker on an assembly line and you can begin to understand the possible "why's" for the language and the way it is written. I have no doubt that some of the language as currently written was put in place to prevent the "expert of the week" from inadvertantly introducing a common problem over multiple boats due to his introduction of some process that he always used at his previous job as a TV repairman....

Put an iron and a roll of lead/tin solder in the hands of 30 people and train them for half a day, and I will bet you still find that 30% of the group cannot execute a proper solder joint by the end of the day. Ironically, one can say the same or similar thing with regards to crimping terminations, especially with the average consumer crimping tools available, but that is another topic, isn;t it? :D

Finally, with regards to ABYC, most of it is good, and we can argue it, but we can't change it. A consumer does not have to comply while performing updates to his boat, but they are good to have in hand, with some knowledge as to why the boat manufacturers comply; in some instances it can save a life... Consider the automotive starter or alternator accidentally installed on a boat...

EarmarkMarine
04-02-2012, 07:26 PM
Phil,
That is presented so logically how could anybody argue with it.

David
Earmark Marine
(Pssst...we may solder and heatshrink)