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Old 11-09-2012, 11:27 AM   #1
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Cheap extension cord to connect batteries

I am building a bus conversion to live in full time. I want to get your ideas if my logic is sound when it comes to gauges of wire to connect up my 10 each golf cart batteries.

This is what sounds good to me: If I buy a cheap 50ft extension cord from Wal-Mart (16 gauge) I will get 3 strands of 16 gauge wire bundles. If each bundle is 0.015” thick then all 3 bundles together it is .153” or just under 6 gauge. If I took 6 bundles of 16 gauge and put them together I would get .306” or a little smaller than 1 gauge. Here is where I am getting my size info from: http://www.wescomponents.com/datasheets ... ersion.htm

So my plan is to use 2 lengths of 16 gauge extension cord bundled together (1 gauge) to connect all my 6 volt golf cart batteries together with commercial battery connectors. What am I missing? Isn’t 1 gauge of wire good to connect up my batteries in series/parallel? Why will this not work and will it be unsafe?

I will be charging with 580 watts of panels on the roof, with a MorningStar TS-60 charge controller. The biggest thing I will be running is my 37” TV and DVD player and 100watt sound system (less than 500 watts).

Any help or advise would be appreciated.
Thanks

Vince
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Old 11-09-2012, 12:22 PM   #2
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Re: Cheap extension cord to connect batteries

Certainly not the place I would be trying to save $20. Battery wire in bulk is cheap-and welding ground wire is even cheaper. Trying to twist 6 wires togerther X 10 batterys X pos + neg. sounds like alot of work. And what if you get a poor connection on one? Now you got a smaller wire going to one place. What if it starts to get hot there in the middle of the nite? How quick could you dissconnect it? Again-not the place I'd scrimp.
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Old 11-09-2012, 12:38 PM   #3
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Re: Cheap extension cord to connect batteries

Interesting point of view...I guess I will look into the price of 2 gauge wire.

Thanks
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Old 11-10-2012, 04:13 PM   #4
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Re: Cheap extension cord to connect batteries

I also agree. Plus one further improvement: have a professional SOLDER the lugs on for you. I once worked in an auto-electric shop, and the technicians never crimped anything, since moisture can get in and start corrosion, and vibration can also contribute to loosening.

For short lengths, like from one battery to the next, I would consider buying ready-made cables from a reputable store like NAPA Auto Parts or a big-truck store.

But I am a big fan of welding cable, because it is more flexible than battery cable.
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Old 11-10-2012, 05:53 PM   #5
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Re: Cheap extension cord to connect batteries

From an electricians thread
Quote:
There are good arguments on all sides of crimp vs solder vs crimp & solder. Some of the high points are that a good crimp provides the same quality connection as a soldered joint. Soldering expands and anneals a crimped copper lug..... not good. A bad solder joint is worse than a mediocre crimp joint. When solder flows out into the wire(VERY hard to avoid) it causes a stress point at the end of the solder flow. Any vibration will cause the wire to be fatigue prone at that point.
I was an aviation electrician in the Navy, we never soldered anything.
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Old 11-10-2012, 07:10 PM   #6
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Re: Cheap extension cord to connect batteries

Quote:
Originally Posted by somewhereinusa
From an electricians thread
Quote:
There are good arguments on all sides of crimp vs solder vs crimp & solder. Some of the high points are that a good crimp provides the same quality connection as a soldered joint. Soldering expands and anneals a crimped copper lug..... not good. A bad solder joint is worse than a mediocre crimp joint. When solder flows out into the wire(VERY hard to avoid) it causes a stress point at the end of the solder flow. Any vibration will cause the wire to be fatigue prone at that point.
I was an aviation electrician in the Navy, we never soldered anything.
Thank You! Maybe the fellas I worked with did not know everything.
I did mention that soldering should be done by professionals. A bad solder joint is indeed bad.
Same goes for crimping. The proper crimping tool in a skilled hand. Not me with vice grips!
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Old 11-10-2012, 11:02 PM   #7
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Re: Cheap extension cord to connect batteries

Quote:
Originally Posted by somewhereinusa
I was an aviation electrician in the Navy, we never soldered anything.
Interesting, I have a friend that was in the Air Force, probably in the late 70's, that did the same. He said they soldered everything. I bring things to him when I need soldering.
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Old 11-13-2012, 05:14 PM   #8
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Re: Cheap extension cord to connect batteries

Thanks guys...I looked at the prices and 1 gauge isn't very expensive. I do like the idea of copper tubing for the straight connections, not sure if it is cheaper than $2.25 a foot though.

I will use the cheap extension cord for my lights and areas where low watts are only going to be used, I have some good 14/3 wire from a home project that will connect up the areas that will need any real watt power (kitchen and big TV)

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