Battery Cable Assembly: An Ultimate Guide on Battery Cables

Automobile batteries frequently die in the bitter winter, but the problem may not lie with the battery. The battery cable assembly could be at fault. Today, we will have a clear picture of the ideal cable.

What are Battery Cables?

They are a pair of thick cables connecting the battery to the electrical system. The positive charging cable is the red-sheathed wire that runs from your car’s battery to its onboard computer. Additionally, you will connect the battery’s negative terminal to the vehicle’s chassis through a black-sheathed wire known as the negative dc cable (sometimes called the ground strap or ground cable). They form an autonomous circuit that allows for constant energy transmission.

Red and black battery cables with 6mm hole connectors

Red and black battery cables with 6mm hole connectors

Where Are Battery Cables Used?

The most effective method for connecting the batteries to a starter is with a battery cable. Boats, trucks, buses, vehicles, RVs, and tractors use battery cables. Boats, trucks, buses, vehicles, RVs, and tractors use battery cables. The battery cable’s strength and longevity shine through straight lines with minimal battery cable 90-degree bends.

Compared to other types of wire, like welding cable, battery cable is a simple and inexpensive way to connect batteries. Hence, there are numerous cable types to choose from, and the one you use will depend on your unique requirements. In general, the voltage rating of this cable is 60V DC, and the gauge sizes available are somewhat varied. In general, the voltage rating of this cable is 60V DC, and the gauge sizes available are somewhat varied.

Copper battery cable

Copper battery cable

How do Battery Cables Work?

The wires connecting your car’s battery to the electrical system are in plain sight. Additionally, the starter solenoid is often the immediate target of the positive cable. Then the route proceeds to the starter’s positive lead. Also, the negative battery wire of the vehicle is connected to the vehicle’s chassis, so electrical components like the starter can operate when the relevant switches are engaged.

Jumper cables

Jumper cables

Symptoms of Bad Battery Cables

  • The illumination inside your car gets dimmer.
  • Your engine cranks slowly.
  • Your engine won’t turn on.
  • When you press the key, you hear a clicking sound, but the engine won’t start.
  • Your car’s electrical system is down.
  • Without moving the car, the engine stalls.

How to Check Your Battery Cables

For a deep examination of your battery, follow these simple steps.

  • Check the terminal and battery electrical connection; they should be in perfect condition, and the work environment can expose the wire’s conductor.
  • Clean the corrosion on the terminals, if any
  • Check the negative battery cable for any grime on it.
  • Look for any wear and tear that loosens the cables or expose the conductor.

When to Replace Battery Cables

Unlike oil changes, there is no standard for how frequently damaged you should replace battery cables. Moreover, you should regularly inspect the battery cable sheathing for cracks since a crack could expose bare wires to corrosion and other factors.

Pay attention to the signs of a bad battery cable described below, such as difficulty starting the vehicle, dimmer interior or exterior lighting, or stalling while the vehicle is running.

The lithium battery pack in electric car

The lithium battery pack in electric car

Things to Double-Check When Choosing Battery Cables

Let’s analyze their functionality, inspect their condition, and determine the following characteristics of battery cables.

Wire Gauge

Electricians can meet power requirements with the help of the many different wire gauges available in battery cables. Also, power capacity increases with cable size. Hence, its intended use, location, and surrounding temperature determine the maximum current that can safely flow through a cable.

  • 10 gauge is for low-power alternators, accessory leads, and trigger wires
  • 8 Gauge is best in Low-power alternators and accessory leads
  • 6 Gauge is for most stock alternators and accessory leads. It also works for battery cables on small engines.
  • 4 Gauge is mostly for battery cables. Also, it works well for wiring the alternator and other accessories.
  • 2 Gauge wire is best for four small 6-cylinder engines, power converters, and other things.
  • 1 Gauge is best for big 6-cylinder engines, small V8 motors, and high-output alternators with a current rating of 200A or more.
  • 1/0 Gauge is for simple V8 motors and 6-cylinder engines
  • 2/0 Gauge is for engines that are hard to turn, battery banks, electric cars, and large power converters.
  • 3/0 and 4/0 Gauge is best for the high-power energy banks and big diesel or marine engines

Stranding

Battery cable assemblies’ adaptability is significantly affected by the wire’s stranding. So, when a wire’s current is more likely to travel along its outer surface, a greater strand count will have slightly better conductivity and power distribution than a lower one.

Connectors

Standard battery terminals, which fit over lead posts, and ring lug terminals are two of the most popular connectors used for battery hookups. They are available in straight and right-angle shapes to accommodate a wide range of wire diameters. These can be found in both plated and unplated copper forms.

Insulation

It is common for the oil and toxins present beneath the hood to increase the temperature of a car’s battery cable assembly. Battery cables of SAE type SGT and SGX are designed for usage in cars and other vehicles. A standard SGT battery cable will suffice for most uses, but it lacks the advanced capabilities of the SGX battery cable. 

SGT: A common battery cable with several uses is the SGT variety. Because of its resistance to moisture, oils, acids, and cracking, SGT is great for electrical work like replacing batteries and other similar operations.

With its thick PVC insulation, your connection will remain intact and trustworthy. According to a general opinion, this cable is the most cost-effective choice for many common tasks. The SGT battery cable is rated for temperatures up to 80 C (176 F) and complies with SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) standards J-1127.

SGX: SGX distinguishes itself from its rival by using XLPE insulation as its insulation. As a result, there is resistance to coolant, ethanol, diesel fluid, fires, gas, ozone, acid, alkalis, abrasion, acid rain, power steering fluid, transmission fluid, and oils. In addition, as they can endure up to 125°C/257°F, it offers more heat protection than SGT. 

Engine compartments are the best for SGX battery cables because of the enhanced protection. Boats, buses, trucks, RVs, tractors, and other large vehicles can all be supported by SGX cable. This cable typically costs more than the SGT power cable since it is more dependable and long-lasting.

Length

The voltage drop, or the voltage lost across the length of the automobile wire or cable, must be considered while deciding on the length. Also, electrical resistance increases with wire length, reducing the voltage to an unsafe level if the wires aren’t short enough. 

As the resistance of a wire depends on its cross-sectional area over distance, thinner wires with a larger gauge will have a greater drop rate than thicker wires with a smaller gauge.

Conductor material

The conductor material of the wires is also a significant influence. 

OFC (Oxygen Free Copper): To connect speakers or a high-powered amplifier, stereo shops frequently sell OFC (Oxygen Free Copper) wire. As for the benefit, OFC has a purity level of 99.5% or higher, which is 0.05% more copper than a simple one. However, it costs twice the standard cable, making it an expensive option.

CCA (Copper-Clad Aluminum): Copper clad is just aluminum that has been coated in copper. With only 60% of copper’s conductivity, a CCA wire would need to be around 2 times larger to match the performance of a standard copper wire. As an alternative, a CCA wire of 2 gauge would be required to replace a 6 gauge copper one. Hence it’s better to stick to the plain old copper battery cable.

The battery in an electric car

Custom Battery Cable Assemblies according to your needs

Cloom continues to be a cable assembly manufacturer that leads the way in conventional and custom battery cable assembly.

Marine rating Battery Cable

Many different kinds of wire go by the name “Marine.” The “wet” or marine environment is where it shines. Another requirement is to be a “self-extinguisher” in the event of a fire. That is why all products intended for use at sea must have a special marine rating, as required by the manufacturers.

Fuse Link or Fusible Link Battery Cable

The high-temperature shielding of the fuse link will keep the cable secure if it overheats and fuses open. The most typical use is in automobile alternator wires. Common applications include harsh environments, relay wires for heating systems, and diesel engine plugs.

Tapered Post-Battery Cable

The terminals of the tapered post cables might be made of lead, brass, or forged bronze. Furthermore, it can be with various coating options and features lead cast heads made from 8-gauge wire. Additionally, it offers numerous choices for covering connections, such as heat shrink tubing, to ensure their safety.

Ring to Ring Battery Cable

Ring-to-ring battery cables enable you to crimp many wires onto a single lug. In addition, you can dip it in tin, which increases its corrosion resistance and gives it a powerful pull.

Booster Cables

Finally, the booster cables are useful when you have limited space yet still need to charge the car’s battery. In addition, it is built with purpose-built components for certain applications.

Ground/Flat Straps

Connecting to the ground with a flat strap takes up very little room. Additionally, it offers various crimp alternatives, such as lugs, open-barrel, and lead cast battery terminal connectors.

Battery Cable Repair Splices

Batteries with built-in cable repair splices allow for speedy and easy replacement of worn or broken connectors. Moreover, fixing a damaged battery terminal is easier than changing the entire battery cable harness.

Just unplug it, strip back the insulation, splice in the new terminal, and reconnect the connection to the battery. Since you can replace the terminal end of a battery cable independently, battery cable repair splices are more convenient and cost-effective than replacing the entire cable.

Booster battery cable assemblies

Booster battery cable assemblies

How to Change Battery Cables

Reinstalling battery cables is easy if you know the basic phenomenon. 

Materials Needed

  • Terminal Cleaning Tool
  • Battery Cleaner
  • Extra Battery Cables for Replacing
  • Diagonal Cutters
  • A basic set of Hand Tools

Procedure

  • Carefully look into the battery cables and see where they connect inside the engine compartment
  • First, remove the negative battery cable from the car. That way, you will disconnect the ground connection from the vehicle’s electrical system, avoiding accidents.
  • Next, remove the positive wire from the car.
  • Once you have removed all the cables, remove the battery from the chassis. Remove the battery cables from the battery as well,
  • Check whether the new cables are the same length as the previous one. If so, connect these new wires to the car.
  • Reinstall the battery inside the vehicle and clean its terminals. Then connect the cables while installing the positive one first and then the negative one.
  • Test the vehicle by starting it. In case of any issue, talk to professionals around you.

Conclusion

It would help if you replaced the battery cables before any further problems. Hopefully, with this information, you will choose the correct one for your lasting battery connection. Also, here at Cloom, we offer wiring harnesses and cable assemblies to make your connection reliable and safe. 

Hey, I am John, General manager of Cloom and OurPCB.

I am a responsible, intelligent and experienced business professional with an extensive background in the electronics industry.

Reach me at [email protected] to get a quote for your projects.

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