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  • How to make 4/0 battery cables

    Someone asked on the custom GBS battery lug video, so:



    I welcome feedback on the quality of crimp produced by this setup.
    Last edited by createthis; 09-16-2016, 09:49 AM.

  • #2
    OK Jesse a few comments.

    Let's start with cutting large cable 1/0 and up. You can buy all the cutting tools you want, but electricians and pros use either Portable Band Saw, Table Band Saw (in shop), or Hand Saw to cut cables. As for a hand tool cutter a few like to use a Ratcheting Cutter.

    As for your wire Skinner or stripping the cable. No-No you do not use Lobster Claw for the very reason you clearly demonstrated. Not only did you nick conductors, you cut right through them. If a pro nicks a wire, they start over. Do it more than once they get fired. There are a few ways to do it. Most use what is known as a Power Knife a razor sharp knife sharpened at wide angle so the knife does not penetrate deeply. They even make a Razor Stripper that uses the old fashioned Injector Razor Blades your dad used to shave with. The insulation is SCORED, not cut all the way through.

    Once stripped you missed an important step. You did not apply any NO-OX-ID A Special grease to the Skinner before compressing the terminal on. Use the grease on wire skinners and all contact surfaces.

    Next let's move on to your Crimper. Either you do not know how to use the tool, or the tool is a POS. The price you paid indicates a POS because a good 15-tom Crimper cost a few thousand dollars. OK so what was wrong. You did not complete the crimp. Any of the Hydraulic or Compound Lever Crimpers have a Locking mechanism that will not let go until you complete a full Crimp Cycle. You keep pumping until you hear a load Pop and the dies releases itself. In other words you have to pump it up until the full 16-Tons of pressure is reached. You stopped short and used the Emergency release in case you accidentally got you Slick Willy or family jewels caught in the dies.

    FWIW to test a crimp, it is done by pulling the connector off the cable. If it pulls off, it failed and was done incorrectly. The crimp should not pull off, rather the cable breaks. To test on get a cable about 6 foot long with Connectors on each end Bolt one end to one truck, and the other end to another truck and play Tug-Of-War. The cable should break somewhere between the connectors. If you pull the connector off, fire yourself as you failed.

    Now for cable types and lugs. Again you have some issues. You can use MTW which means Machine Tool, and Wire Cable. MTW is made for machinery. In a hot location with movement and vibration. The insulation is a thermoset rubber aka silicon rubber which can take heat and abrasion. It also has Class H Wire Strands or very fine stranding which is also fine as long as you know how to deal with it. I would not recommend MTW Insulation as you stated i snot rates for wet or sun light. applications. Instead use RHW/RHH-2 for indoors,

    OK let's talk about a point you missed. You noted some Terminals had a Short Barrels, and some had Long Barrels. Here is what you missed. Long Barrel is for [U]fine stranded[/U] cable (Class H or finer) like your MTW, and Short Barrel is for Class B Stranding or in a 4/0 is 19 strands, You put a short barrel connector on a cable that required a Long Barrel lug. Those Long Barrel lugs require 2 to 4 crimps each.

    I will not go into the quality of Terminals you used, I suggest you look into Thomas & Betts or Burndy color coded terminals with Inspection Ports.

    Anyway as you noted you spent a lot of money on material and tools. I would suggest others go to a cable shop or even online you can order terminated cable done right. It is also less expensive in the end. Let the pros buy the $4000 dollars worth of tools, with years of experience terminating cable and can do it in their sleep.
    MSEE, PE

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    • #3
      I knew someone would have some cool info for me. Thanks. Reading through this. Looks like great stuff.

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      • #4
        Here is one of the Ratcheting cable cutters. They are OK if you are terminating to a mechanical Terminal, but not worth a darn on Compression Terminals where tolerances are tight. As you noticed you cannot get a flush, squared, plumb, and clean cut. They will set you back some $500.



        Band and hand saws are very accurate and clean cutting.
        Last edited by Sunking; 09-16-2016, 01:42 PM.
        MSEE, PE

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        • #5
          Did someone say a Hydraulic Compression tool? These Burndy tool will set you back $4000 each. FWIW you can get the Cable Cutter head for the and one is in the picture.
          Last edited by Sunking; 09-16-2016, 01:53 PM.
          MSEE, PE

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Sunking View Post
            Did someone say a Hydraulic Compression tool? These Burndy tool will set you back $4000 each. FWIW you can get the Cable Cutter head for the and one is in the picture.
            [FONT=comic sans ms]Hmm. All I want for Christmas is one of those!!! [/FONT]

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Sunking View Post
              Let's start with cutting large cable 1/0 and up. You can buy all the cutting tools you want, but electricians and pros use either Portable Band Saw, Table Band Saw (in shop), or Hand Saw to cut cables. As for a hand tool cutter a few like to use a Ratcheting Cutter.
              band saw is a cool idea. never thought of that.


              Originally posted by Sunking View Post
              As for your wire Skinner or stripping the cable. No-No you do not use Lobster Claw for the very reason you clearly demonstrated. Not only did you nick conductors, you cut right through them. If a pro nicks a wire, they start over. Do it more than once they get fired. There are a few ways to do it. Most use what is known as a Power Knife a razor sharp knife sharpened at wide angle so the knife does not penetrate deeply. They even make a Razor Stripper that uses the old fashioned Injector Razor Blades your dad used to shave with. The insulation is SCORED, not cut all the way through.
              How is the insulation removed if it is only scored? That stuff is tough.

              Originally posted by Sunking View Post
              Once stripped you missed an important step. You did not apply any NO-OX-ID A Special grease to the Skinner before compressing the terminal on. Use the grease on wire skinners and all contact surfaces.
              I'm not so sure that's necessary. This guy doesn't mention it anywhere: http://www.pbase.com/mainecruising/battery_cables

              Originally posted by Sunking View Post
              Next let's move on to your Crimper. Either you do not know how to use the tool, or the tool is a POS. The price you paid indicates a POS because a good 15-tom Crimper cost a few thousand dollars. OK so what was wrong. You did not complete the crimp. Any of the Hydraulic or Compound Lever Crimpers have a Locking mechanism that will not let go until you complete a full Crimp Cycle. You keep pumping until you hear a load Pop and the dies releases itself. In other words you have to pump it up until the full 16-Tons of pressure is reached. You stopped short and used the Emergency release in case you accidentally got you Slick Willy or family jewels caught in the dies.
              It's a cheap tool. No pop indicator. You just crimp until the dies meet.

              Originally posted by Sunking View Post
              FWIW to test a crimp, it is done by pulling the connector off the cable. If it pulls off, it failed and was done incorrectly. The crimp should not pull off, rather the cable breaks. To test on get a cable about 6 foot long with Connectors on each end Bolt one end to one truck, and the other end to another truck and play Tug-Of-War. The cable should break somewhere between the connectors. If you pull the connector off, fire yourself as you failed.
              Cool test idea. I like it. I think I can rig something similar up to my hydraulic press and rip the cable apart. This would make a good video.

              Originally posted by Sunking View Post
              Now for cable types and lugs. Again you have some issues. You can use MTW which means Machine Tool, and Wire Cable. MTW is made for machinery. In a hot location with movement and vibration. The insulation is a thermoset rubber aka silicon rubber which can take heat and abrasion. It also has Class H Wire Strands or very fine stranding which is also fine as long as you know how to deal with it. I would not recommend MTW Insulation as you stated i snot rates for wet or sun light. applications. Instead use RHW/RHH-2 for indoors,
              I'm actually using this inside a pelican case in a wooden frame'd machine, so I think MTW is quite appropriate.

              Originally posted by Sunking View Post
              OK let's talk about a point you missed. You noted some Terminals had a Short Barrels, and some had Long Barrels. Here is what you missed. Long Barrel is for [U]fine stranded[/U] cable (Class H or finer) like your MTW, and Short Barrel is for Class B Stranding or in a 4/0 is 19 strands, You put a short barrel connector on a cable that required a Long Barrel lug. Those Long Barrel lugs require 2 to 4 crimps each.
              I'm, again, not so sure about that. This guy agrees with you that the longer lugs are better for power transmission, but I don't see any evidence that they're not designed for fine stranded wire: http://www.pbase.com/mainecruising/battery_cables

              Originally posted by Sunking View Post
              I will not go into the quality of Terminals you used, I suggest you look into Thomas & Betts or Burndy color coded terminals with Inspection Ports.
              I'm really open to alternative lugs. However, one of my requirements is that they not be ridiculously expensive (panduit) and that they be readily available online without some special account or distributorship or something. These lugs were the best I could find that met those criteria. Link me if you've got an alternative I should consider.

              Originally posted by Sunking View Post
              Anyway as you noted you spent a lot of money on material and tools. I would suggest others go to a cable shop or even online you can order terminated cable done right. It is also less expensive in the end. Let the pros buy the $4000 dollars worth of tools, with years of experience terminating cable and can do it in their sleep.
              Yeah, I don't think most of the pros even own the $4k tools these days. I asked the wire company what they recommended for a crimper and they said they didn't know. That was the answer I got most of the time. I've got three cables I ordered from Powerwerx recently that had the crimps fail and the ends fall off.

              I bought an organic transit elf last year and had a bad crimp AND a bad solder joint, the former causing the trip computer to not read amperage correctly and the latter causing a small electrical fire.

              You trust someone else if you want. Me, I plan to learn to do it myself the right way, because I trust me more than these supposed "pros" I keep running into.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Sunking View Post
                Here is one of the Ratcheting cable cutters. They are OK if you are terminating to a mechanical Terminal, but not worth a darn on Compression Terminals where tolerances are tight. As you noticed you cannot get a flush, squared, plumb, and clean cut. They will set you back some $500.



                Band and hand saws are very accurate and clean cutting.
                So, again, I like the bandsaw idea, as I clearly own one and I've seen first hand the cut quality. However, I'm curious... are you recommending these other tools because you think the Greenlee 718 does a poor job? Or just because you see easier tools to use?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by createthis View Post
                  How is the insulation removed if it is only scored? That stuff is tough.
                  The scores are deep, and if you used RHH/RHW would have had a paper/plastic protective wrapper around the conductors to protect them from being cut. MTW does not have that as it would stiffen the cable up and defeated it purpose to be under free movement to move with the machinery.

                  Anyway once scored you bend sharply at the scores, and just touch the stretched rubber with a sharp blade to finish the cut. They also make a tool that will strip cable faster than my wife can strip off the ole bra. Once you have done it for a while, you get the feel for it. Rubber insulation like MTW is the most difficult. Thermal Plastic is super easy, just score it, and bend on the score. The insulation will snap like glass and rock and slide right off. For Rubber and/or Flexible strands use cable a Sheath between Insulation and conductors to protect them and allow the insulation to slide right off when scored. .

                  Originally posted by createthis View Post
                  I'm not so sure that's necessary. This guy doesn't mention it anywhere:

                  I'm, again, not so sure about that. This guy agrees with you that the longer lugs are better for power transmission, but I don't see any evidence that they're not designed for fine stranded wire:
                  What can I say other than that is your problem to figure out who to believe. Some guy you saw on You-Tube, or the Industry and Codes. I am a professional and say he is full of it.

                  Let's start with the NoOxId and despite every utility including water, civil like bridges requires it to be used on every electrical connections and bridge bolts and joints are required to use it. Here is the big deal about it. You will long be dead before connection will fail from corrosion or environmental contaminants. Batteries tend to spew corrosive gases and finds it way into wire strands and eat away. Dissimilar metal connections can get nasty if you do not cut off the oxygen and neutralize it. Do you have to use it? [B]Heck no[/B] DIY's on You Tube ever thought about it. Pro's know about it. Terminate it correctly and it will last over 50 years.

                  As for the short vs long barrel .being used on fine strands. Well the guy on You Tube has never heard of UL or ASTM. Look Up T&B LCN Terminals

                  Type LCN — Copper Two-Hole Lugs, Long Barrel Made of high-conductivity seamless copper tubing, tin plated for corrosion resistance. Copper Compression Connectors • For use with copper conductor: AWG stranded, [I][U]flexible cable, welding cable and portable cord [/U][/I]• Specially designed for industrial and building applications • Made of high-conductivity seamless copper tubing • Tin plated for corrosion resistance • Specially chamfered barrel for ease of installation • Color coded for matching die identification • Can be used for high-voltage application up to 35kV provided proper high-voltage insulation techniques are used • UL® Listed for AWG conductor when installed with Blackburn®, Burndy®, T&B® or Anderson tools • Comply with Subpart 111.60-17 of Federal Register’s Coast Guard Electrical Engineering Rules and Regulations Long-Barrel Connectors • Ideal for industrial, oil rig, mining, welding and transportation electrical termination applications • Heavy-duty design permits additional crimp for added mechanical strength.

                  Be careful what you watch on You Tube. Anyone can post anything they want, even if they do not know what they are doing like terminate a 4/0 cable.

                  Edit note:

                  Jesse next time look up [B][U]DLO/RHH/RHW-2 cable[/U][/B]. Would have made life a little easier for you. Very easy to strip and can be used in more places than MTW.
                  Last edited by Sunking; 09-16-2016, 05:12 PM.
                  MSEE, PE

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    lol. Sunking, that's me, man. I'm the guy on youtube. I sent you links to some guy who does a lot of solar battery cable work with boats. I think he's an engineer of some sort. Anyway... cool info about the utilities using no ox. That makes a lot of sense given the time scales they're dealing with.

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