Battery Terminals

Discussion in 'General Ranchero Help' started by Mike, Jan 14, 2016.

  1. Mike

    Mike In Overdrive

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    So there I was heading down to the doctors when the damn gate wouldn't open. Shut the engine off, played with the remote and found the remote battery dead. Started the engine and tried to reverse up the driveway to get a new 9 volt battery and began sliding in the ice and snow. Pulled forward and used the extra runway to build up speed and only made it halfway up the hill before coming to a dead stop.

    Unable to make it out of the gate and with the driveway to narrow to turn around and not enough momentum to make it up the hill, I shut the engine off and marched through the snow to get the replacement battery. Returned, replaced the battery, started the engine, this time the gate opened and I finally made it down to the doctors office.

    Afterwards, I went to start the engine and... click! Tried again and nothing. Found that I could move the battery cable and see the copper strands slightly wiggle underneath the battery terminal end cable clamp .

    Which brings me to why I mentioned the above and to my first dumb question. How is it that the cable clamp, which previously started the engine three times without a hint of trouble, suddenly can't even make the solenoid click?

    Surely the battery cable clamp didn't only become lose driving down to the doctors a few miles away. When I checked the two bolts that clamp the cable they were tight. In fact, I was concerned that I would crack the lead from over tightening the bolts. I wrapped some extra copper around the battery cable and tightened the clamp, which seemed to work.

    Which brings me to my second dumb question. Which is better, a battery terminal end with removable cable clamps or the kind where the cable is molded into the battery terminal end?

    I've heard that the molded kind aren't very good and the cable can pull out over time, that the terminal ends that allow you to clamp the cable are better. Any truth to that?

    Ideally, I'd like to get a better terminal end that has provisions for accessories. I run independent power for the ham rig and amplifier. Each device is positive and negative fused. The combined maximum draw is 25 amps. I'd like to be able to attach their power to the terminal end without having to stuff their wires under the main power cable at the terminal end. Which brings me to my final dumb question, what would be a better terminal end to purchase?

    Thanks.
     
  2. aquartlow

    aquartlow In Maximum Overdrive

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    I use this one on mine, allows (1)-1/0ga cable, (1)-4ga cable and (2)-8ga cables and it has a digital battery voltage readout that turns on when there is a sudden voltage draw or when the alternator is charging the battery. The display will turn off after voltage is stabilized, usually within 2-3 minutes.
    [​IMG]
    This is the newer version of the battery terminal I use, it shows the layout of different cable sizes.
    [​IMG]





    In all my time of "messing" with car audio, I never liked the fact that you would just take the cable end (after removing the PVC/nylon/vinyl sheathing), insert it into a socket and use an allen set screw to secure it and call it a good connection. I always try(if possible) to cut a 1" length of copper tubing/pipe that has the same ID as the cable's OD I am using, insert it into the copper pipe and use propane torch to melt solder to encapsulate all the wires within the cable. Once cooled enough I use a piece of marine heat shrink to cover both the cable sheath and a bit of the copper tube, I then cut the soldered pipe/cable to be an appropriate length to fit inside the socket where the cable would have been inserted. Doing this gives better conductivity as now I am using the whole cable end as apposed to just the cable that touches the socket or the allen set screw. I have done all my cable ends larger than 8ga this way and have never had a failure or cable corrosion issues. Hope this helps.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2016
    andrewok1 and LSChero like this.
  3. ribald1

    ribald1 Banned PLATINUM MEMBER

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    Everything choses a time to fail.
    While it is always possible to determine the cause of the failure, it is rare to know why it happened at a particular time.
     
  4. Johnnycoast

    Johnnycoast In Second Gear

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    The ground cable to the motor fried on my ranchero. It corroded so badly it finally came loose. I soldered a connector to the new cable and then went thru and made these connections at the battery as well. I just picked up the connectors from auto zone.
     
  5. Steve 74gtQ

    Steve 74gtQ In Overdrive

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    Those battery ends that clamp together were designed to be a temporary emergency repair. Just to get you home or to a shop. They work loose from vibration and corrosion. Add a 10 gauge wire to the starter solinoid post for your accessories and fuse it or use a circuit breaker. Get your negative from engine
    Bolt.
     
  6. Mike

    Mike In Overdrive

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    I looked at the Sonic Electronix website and could not find either model of Tsunami products that you posted. I did find the older one on E-bay, but I don't do E-bay. I'll take a look over at Amazon later tonight. Also thanks for the copper tubing idea.
     
  7. Mike

    Mike In Overdrive

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    Yeah, it was odd to say the least. Started the engine three times, no problem. Forth time, nothing.
     
  8. Mike

    Mike In Overdrive

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    Interesting, I didn't know they were only to be used as a temporary fix. So when it comes to basic terminals, something that you could walk in and get at O'Reilly, the molded kind are better.
     
  9. Steve 74gtQ

    Steve 74gtQ In Overdrive

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    Yes but buy premium ones not the cheap ones. There are heavy duty ones and light duty ones. You get what you pay for. 4 gauge will start your car but a 1/0 will last for years and years. When I started out being a paid wrench. Mid 70,s. I used one of those on a customer. The boss politely told me where he would stick it if I did it again. Then over the years I saw why they fail all the time.
     
  10. pmrphil

    pmrphil In Maximum Overdrive GOLD MEMBER

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    It's possible that the resistance in the connection was getting higher with use and finally failed when it got too high - I didn't see if you had said if there was any corrosion in the connection.
     
  11. handy_andy_cv64

    handy_andy_cv64 In Maximum Overdrive SILVER MEMBER

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    The resistance likely was from heat expansion. I go the full tilt boogie repair procedure when I use those repair ends to prevent corrosion or heat expansion. Oh, and if you have to use a spray or jelly to protect from corrosion, bear in mind they eventually make their way in and increase the resistance themselves. "A little dab will do you."
     
  12. Mike

    Mike In Overdrive

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    What I usually do is take black and red spray paint and place a short burst of paint on top of each terminal. I don't over spray so that it seeps down into the connection. It drys quickly, seals the top of the terminal and the polarity of the posts are easily identifiable.

    I have temporarily fixed the problem by taking things apart, clean and put it all back together. The only one I didn't clean is the one on the starter as it is heat wrapped and is buried behind the headers. The starter is turning noticeably faster. Eventually I would like to get larger than 4 gauge cables, but that will have to wait. I was talking to someone in line the other day and he suggested military terminals.

    Thanks guys.
     
  13. ribald1

    ribald1 Banned PLATINUM MEMBER

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    Due to the fact that sulfuric acid is present it is best to use products, such as petroleum jelly, that you are certain will not react with the acid and end up enhancing corrosion.
     
  14. Sophie948

    Sophie948 In Overdrive

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    The geezers among us were taught to clean battery terminals with baking soda and smear Vaseline over them.
     
  15. handy_andy_cv64

    handy_andy_cv64 In Maximum Overdrive SILVER MEMBER

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    Baking soda is the cable terminal's best friend. Just make sure you put it in hot water; that makes the chemical reaction work faster. I take an empty coolant jug and cut the side off. That way, you can pull the battery and lay it down in the tray to dip cable ends in and watch that s#!t boil off.
     
  16. burninbush

    burninbush In Maximum Overdrive

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    Or you could just use an old paint brush and not hassle with removing the battery.
     
  17. ribald1

    ribald1 Banned PLATINUM MEMBER

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    Word to the wise.
    Never put baking soda on top of a battery unless your intent is to dispose of it afterward.
     
  18. Mike

    Mike In Overdrive

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    The battery acid on top of the battery should be removed as there is a potential for phantom power loss. In this case I used a clean rag to wipe the top of the battery. The battery is only a little over a year old and since I don't drive the vehicle all that much there wasn't that much to clean.

    I've never heard of paint in these low of quantities reacting badly, I'm not saying it couldn't happen. I suppose it depends on the type of paint as I've not had an issue, nor was the paint the cause of the issue I described in the head-post.
     
  19. handy_andy_cv64

    handy_andy_cv64 In Maximum Overdrive SILVER MEMBER

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    You have to disconnect the cables, for if the crunge gets in between, no amount of brushing will get it out.
     

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