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Welding cable Good or Bad?

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by BigJohnson, Dec 9, 2002.

  1. BigJohnson

    BigJohnson 1/2 ton status

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    I have thought about using welding cable for my battery cables. I thought that welding cable would make good battery cables but I was watching Shadetree Mechanic, or whatever it's called now, and they said welding cable wasn't good for battery cables. They said the insulation wouldn't work and it was fine stranded and that was bad. I assumed fine strands would be better since Wrangler's very expensive battery cables are fine stranded. What's the deal here? Welding cable good or bad for battery cables?

    Thanks
     
  2. Blazer1970

    Blazer1970 1/2 ton status

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    I think it would work OK. The reason for the fine strands is to make the cable more flexible, which is good for a welding cable or jumper cables, but not really necessary for the battery cables in a vehicle.
     
  3. HarryH3

    HarryH3 1 ton status Author

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    The insulation on welding cable is typically pretty soft, so it will stay flexible. It can be chafed pretty easily. I don't think it's rated for high temps either. /forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif But there are heavy gauge battery cables available that can take the abuse of living under the hood. /forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif
     
  4. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    Our welding cables at work get hotter than you can hold and survive being run over by the forklift, dragged on the floor and generally abused while having 500 amps and 35 volts run through them. I certainly wouldn't hesitate to use em for battery cables.

    Rene
     
  5. BigJohnson

    BigJohnson 1/2 ton status

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    Man that's what I wanted to hear. What brand and type of cable do you use at work, or what would you suggest? I may go buy the local welding supply this afternoon and pick some up.
     
  6. Fine strands serve two purposes: 1) to be more flexible 2) It handles more amperage than the same size solid wire since the electrons travel on the surface of the wire ... more strands=more surface area.
     
  7. jcg

    jcg 1/2 ton status

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    Welding wire is much cheaper than a set of battery cables too since welding shops sell so much of it. One of my friends is using it to remote mount the solenoid pack for his Warn 8274 to keep it out of the weather, it works great!
     
  8. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    Brand unknown, size is who knows/forums/images/graemlins/rolleyes.gif I never paid much attention to it and I didn't source it. I'd head to the local welding supply place and see what they got. Big is good/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif

    Rene
     
  9. Grim-Reaper

    Grim-Reaper 3/4 ton status Author

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    Sam and Dave blew it on that big time. The only thing they got right was the stuff about the insulation.
    Sam lives accross the street from some friends.....I should see if I could grab his ear and set him straight.
    Fine strand is more amperage and less voltage drop. it's also much more expensive to make. Like was pointed out the electrons that are the energy don't travel IN the wire they tavel ON the wire. So more strands equals more surface area equals more current , less resistance less voltange and amperage drop.
    I was lucky enough to get a tour of Esoteric Audio's plant in Winder GA a few years back http://www.esotericaudio.com http://www.eau.com/ (Streetwires) including their wire making equipement. I use to do specialized printing as well as help set up printing equipment that the company I worked for distributed. The machines that print the labling onto their connectors. I did the original set ups and helped build the jigs for it. Hit the Esoteric.com site and those wires in the picture have Video printed on the connector...the printing gear that did that lable is what I set up.
    Anyway it's pretty wild to see wire cable made. They have each individual strant on big spools. They all feed into a machine that twists them together at an unbelivable rate. once they go through the steps of twisting up to the gage they are making on the last step they run it though an machine that puts the jacket on it. Then the wire is pulled thought a 50ft long 4 inch wide trough with chilled water to cool the jacket. It gets dried and runs back up towards the forming head and goes through the masive printer that puts the lable on it. The massive printer is a roughly four inch diameter wheel the has the lable etched into the surface and a plastic scraper removes the excess ink hehehe nothing to it at all. Whole device takes up about 8 inch cube and only moving parts is the printer wheel and a pair of pinch rollers. I was disappointed at how easy it all looked from start to finish LOL.
     
  10. BobK

    BobK 1/2 ton status

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    I made my battery cables out of 2 gauge welding cable.Used brass terminals as well.Got everything from a local welding shop.I think it was less than a dollar a foot.
    It's nice and flexable (as stated) and routes easily in the eng. bay.
    I have marine terminals on my battery so the welding terminal lugs I put on the cable ends work great.
    I had some issues with my cables overheating and smoking(cheap pieces of crap!)Since I made the new cable I've had no problems and the starter JUMPS to life when I turn the key.
    I started with the termianl lug clamped in a vise.
    I stripped approx an inch of insulation off the cable then with a mini-torch heated up the lug.I then added solder into the heat cup of the lug untill I had a pool of liquid solder in the lug.Then,qiuckly,I inserted the cable end into the terminal lug and held it in place untill the solder hardend.Once things set up I gave the terminal a whack with a large flathead screwdriver to mechanically clamp it in place.
    They work awsome /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif
    Here is a crappy pic.Sorry this is the only one I could find.
    [​IMG]
     
  11. BigJohnson

    BigJohnson 1/2 ton status

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    Thanks everyone for the replies.

    Grim- I wondered what Sam and Dave were smoking. Good to know you can let them know they were wrong in person /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif

    BobK- those cables look awesome not to mention you entire engine compartment and motor. Very slick. I was going to use the military style clamps with studs for the ring terminals. I think it will work well.
     
  12. Grim-Reaper

    Grim-Reaper 3/4 ton status Author

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    I'll see what I can do. My friends have a 26 cher lot with a pond and stuff. We about have them convinced to make a rock garden LOL.
    Here is a picture Of Brian (friend in club) with a H2 Sam brought over to show him.
    [​IMG]
     

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