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Lets talk homemade ground wires! #4682770
03/02/18 10:25 PM
03/02/18 10:25 PM
Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 1,406
USA
SOHCman Offline OP
SOHCman  Offline OP
Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 1,406
USA
Greeting to the wealth of knowledge and experience known as BITOG...

Mostly I am looking for advice on building/upgrading factory ground wires as well as the peripheral knowledge that would be of benefit when wiring in a 9,000lb winch, which is the cause for upgrading the electrical system to begin with.

I am thinking military style battery terminals and using mostly marine ring terminals and wire for corrosion resistance. It 2 AWG big enough? Thats the size that came with the Warn winch to go directly from the winch to the battery.

It's going on a old truck with single (should I add a second battery?) 850CCA group 65 napa legend battery, and I believe a 130 amp alternator (Whatever ford used in the mid to late 90s)

Also what are the good standby brands to look for when buying wire, rosin flux, solder, terminals, etc? I have never been to picky on electrical projects in the past but want the best I can get.

Finally, this is mostly going to be used for log retrieval on some decent sized trees I want to pull out of ravines and creeks after cutting them to appropriate sizes, so I am looking to maximize my winches duty cycle without killing my battery(s) or burning anything up electrically. It will obviously be nice having it around for self recovery or pulling a neighbor out of the ditch also.

Thanks!


I urge people not to wait 100K to change out the fluid in their transfer case units. -Kestas
Re: Lets talk homemade ground wires! [Re: SOHCman] #4682776
03/02/18 10:30 PM
03/02/18 10:30 PM
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 42,085
New Jersey
JHZR2 Offline
JHZR2  Offline
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 42,085
New Jersey
Look online, eBay included. Lots of places will make nice quality heavy cables for you, terminated to your liking. Crimped properly with a hydraulic ring.

Did the truck come with a parallel battery option? Id want very heavy (like 4/0) if DIY to prevent imbalance or preferential discharge. If the winch is a big load, I'd consider putting it midway on the harness between batteries if possible, perhaps even on the second (new battery) terminal.

Does the winch slow 10% or 3% voltage drop? There are standard tables for gauge and ampacity.

https://www.bluesea.com/resources/1437

Re: Lets talk homemade ground wires! [Re: SOHCman] #4682814
03/02/18 11:17 PM
03/02/18 11:17 PM
Joined: Mar 2012
Posts: 1,277
San Antonio, TX
E150GT Offline
E150GT  Offline
Joined: Mar 2012
Posts: 1,277
San Antonio, TX
All I can say is bigger wire is better and crimp is the way to go.


1984 Mercedes-Benz 300SD - 100k
1995 F150 XL 4.9 reg cab 5MT - 251k 5w30
2016 Mazda6 Touring 6MT - 57k 10w30
2006 Buick Lucerne CXL 3.8 31k 5w30
Re: Lets talk homemade ground wires! [Re: SOHCman] #4682928
03/03/18 06:42 AM
03/03/18 06:42 AM
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 19,091
Sunny Florida
SteveSRT8 Offline
SteveSRT8  Offline
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 19,091
Sunny Florida
Load is directly related to current draw with max at stall. So big loads mean big wiring is a must!


"In a democracy, dissent is an act of faith."
J. William Fulbright
Best ET-12.79 @ 111 mph
4340 pounds, Street tires
Just like we go to Publix
Re: Lets talk homemade ground wires! [Re: SOHCman] #4683066
03/03/18 10:42 AM
03/03/18 10:42 AM
Joined: Dec 2016
Posts: 6,232
Waco, TX
Linctex Offline
Linctex  Offline
Joined: Dec 2016
Posts: 6,232
Waco, TX
A second battery located near the winch will be vitally needed for long pull times. I have one (Group 34) on the tongue of my trailer hitch for the trailer winch - it charges up from the truck the entire time the pigtail is plugged in. There's no "voodoo required" to make this happen.

Be careful to not overheat the winch - give it time to cool - and the batteries time to charge - and the alternator time to cool down. Your 3G alternator is a good design (internal fan) and can run at max load for quite a while.

Never solder braided copper cable before crimping.
Crimps must be done with a hydraulic crimper and dies - I got on on ebay for $25
You can use just a touch of rosin core solder after crimping as a seal, but it usually isn't ever needed.


"The evidence demands a verdict".
(Re:VOA)"it's nearly impossible to actually know the particular additives that are in there at what concentrations."
Re: Lets talk homemade ground wires! [Re: SteveSRT8] #4683151
03/03/18 12:19 PM
03/03/18 12:19 PM
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 42,085
New Jersey
JHZR2 Offline
JHZR2  Offline
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 42,085
New Jersey
Originally Posted By: SteveSRT8
Load is directly related to current draw with max at stall. So big loads mean big wiring is a must!


Right. Short circuit current of a battery is huge; impedance is low, it will provide the current for a while as it wont be a big number compared to what the battery can put out.

But max current value at pending stall is what should be used as a minimum baseline for cable sizing. Less voltage drop is better of course. OP needs that value to start determining cable size.

Re: Lets talk homemade ground wires! [Re: JHZR2] #4683960
03/04/18 11:11 AM
03/04/18 11:11 AM
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 19,091
Sunny Florida
SteveSRT8 Offline
SteveSRT8  Offline
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 19,091
Sunny Florida
Originally Posted By: JHZR2
OP needs that value to start determining cable size.


Perfect! I wonder if they publish that figure. We use smaller DC permanent magnet motors in our pump out system. If they stall they immediately blow a 20 amp circuit breaker.


"In a democracy, dissent is an act of faith."
J. William Fulbright
Best ET-12.79 @ 111 mph
4340 pounds, Street tires
Just like we go to Publix
Re: Lets talk homemade ground wires! [Re: SOHCman] #4684496
03/04/18 08:27 PM
03/04/18 08:27 PM
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 42,085
New Jersey
JHZR2 Offline
JHZR2  Offline
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 42,085
New Jersey
For kicks, I looked up a 9000# winch on Amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/WARN-27550-XD9000i-9000-lb-Winch/dp/B000182DYW

Which seems to recommend 2 ga wire.

I noted it says its rating is 4.6hp, I assume its like shop vacs, and this is some sort of stalled, worst case number that isn't realistically achievable, but reads well...

4.6hp=3.4kW
Figure 85% efficient, so then its really like 4.1kWe.

4.1kWe/12V=341A

Figure under load the battery will be 12V at best, maybe a little lower.

So 350A, OK?

From the Blue Sea link I provided above, this chart:



It shows that a REALLY heavy cable is necessary.

But that's for steady state.

I found here:
https://www.warn.com/truck/winches/XD9000i.jsp

That the 9000 lb winch pulling 9000 lbs requires 478A.

Pulling a perhaps more realistic 4500lb is more like 300A

If pulling 3000 lb, it would draw about 200A. For 3% drop per above, it would still want a 00 - 1 ga. Not sure why they are saying to use 2ga. I guess because its highly transient and seldom used.

Using the calculator here, I found that for a 10ft run of 00, 478A, you would have 6.25% drop - likely acceptable given that Warn says to use 2ga, which would result in a 12% drop.

So Id probably get a new pass through terminal for the alternator connection to the OE battery, use a 4/0 cable to the second battery, which also has a pass-through connector, and then feed the winch with 2, 1, 0 or 00 depending upon the run length, erring on the heavier side the more likely that high/extended use is going to be common, or not... If a REALLY heavy duty three way connector was available, Id consider connecting the winch to the OE battery side, just so there would be less drop from what is feeding it steady state, which is the alternator... But I think id still err with my first concept, as I think it is less likely for odd stuff to reflect on the alternator, as the battery is the lower impedance path to filter it.

Crimp everything. And use REALLY heavy grounds, perhaps more than one. The winch may use the bolts as a ground path - if that was the case, id still try to add a supplemental, probably 2 ga minimum.

Re: Lets talk homemade ground wires! [Re: JHZR2] #4684824
03/05/18 07:31 AM
03/05/18 07:31 AM
Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 1,406
USA
SOHCman Offline OP
SOHCman  Offline OP
Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 1,406
USA
Originally Posted By: JHZR2
Look online, eBay included. Lots of places will make nice quality heavy cables for you, terminated to your liking. Crimped properly with a hydraulic ring.

Did the truck come with a parallel battery option? Id want very heavy (like 4/0) if DIY to prevent imbalance or preferential discharge. If the winch is a big load, I'd consider putting it midway on the harness between batteries if possible, perhaps even on the second (new battery) terminal.

Does the winch slow 10% or 3% voltage drop? There are standard tables for gauge and ampacity.

https://www.bluesea.com/resources/1437


No factory parallel battery option that I am aware of. Even just fitting a second battery under the hood is going to require some fabrication and moving of components. It would be easy to place a second battery in the bed inside a battery box, but that would be at least a 10 foot cable run.


I urge people not to wait 100K to change out the fluid in their transfer case units. -Kestas
Re: Lets talk homemade ground wires! [Re: Linctex] #4684838
03/05/18 07:49 AM
03/05/18 07:49 AM
Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 1,406
USA
SOHCman Offline OP
SOHCman  Offline OP
Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 1,406
USA
Originally Posted By: Linctex
A second battery located near the winch will be vitally needed for long pull times. I have one (Group 34) on the tongue of my trailer hitch for the trailer winch - it charges up from the truck the entire time the pigtail is plugged in. There's no "voodoo required" to make this happen.

Be careful to not overheat the winch - give it time to cool - and the batteries time to charge - and the alternator time to cool down. Your 3G alternator is a good design (internal fan) and can run at max load for quite a while.

Never solder braided copper cable before crimping.
Crimps must be done with a hydraulic crimper and dies - I got on on ebay for $25
You can use just a touch of rosin core solder after crimping as a seal, but it usually isn't ever needed.


If you don't mind me asking, what size AWG is the pigtail connecting your winch battery to the charging system, and how long is it? Does it have a quick disconnect like the factory Warn quick disconnect cables?

Do you prefer the hydraulic crimpers or would a hammer crimper like pictured below work. Some people say they use a big punch and a piece of angle iron to make crimps also.

Do you paint the inside of the terminal with rosin or anything before crimping? I have seen people on youtube do that and then boil it off with a torch before inserting the wire.



I urge people not to wait 100K to change out the fluid in their transfer case units. -Kestas
Re: Lets talk homemade ground wires! [Re: JHZR2] #4684882
03/05/18 09:00 AM
03/05/18 09:00 AM
Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 1,406
USA
SOHCman Offline OP
SOHCman  Offline OP
Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 1,406
USA
Originally Posted By: JHZR2
For kicks, I looked up a 9000# winch on Amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/WARN-27550-XD9000i-9000-lb-Winch/dp/B000182DYW

Which seems to recommend 2 ga wire.

I noted it says its rating is 4.6hp, I assume its like shop vacs, and this is some sort of stalled, worst case number that isn't realistically achievable, but reads well...

4.6hp=3.4kW
Figure 85% efficient, so then its really like 4.1kWe.

4.1kWe/12V=341A

Figure under load the battery will be 12V at best, maybe a little lower.

So 350A, OK?

From the Blue Sea link I provided above, this chart:



It shows that a REALLY heavy cable is necessary.

But that's for steady state.

I found here:
https://www.warn.com/truck/winches/XD9000i.jsp

That the 9000 lb winch pulling 9000 lbs requires 478A.

Pulling a perhaps more realistic 4500lb is more like 300A

If pulling 3000 lb, it would draw about 200A. For 3% drop per above, it would still want a 00 - 1 ga. Not sure why they are saying to use 2ga. I guess because its highly transient and seldom used.

Using the calculator here, I found that for a 10ft run of 00, 478A, you would have 6.25% drop - likely acceptable given that Warn says to use 2ga, which would result in a 12% drop.

So Id probably get a new pass through terminal for the alternator connection to the OE battery, use a 4/0 cable to the second battery, which also has a pass-through connector, and then feed the winch with 2, 1, 0 or 00 depending upon the run length, erring on the heavier side the more likely that high/extended use is going to be common, or not... If a REALLY heavy duty three way connector was available, Id consider connecting the winch to the OE battery side, just so there would be less drop from what is feeding it steady state, which is the alternator... But I think id still err with my first concept, as I think it is less likely for odd stuff to reflect on the alternator, as the battery is the lower impedance path to filter it.

Crimp everything. And use REALLY heavy grounds, perhaps more than one. The winch may use the bolts as a ground path - if that was the case, id still try to add a supplemental, probably 2 ga minimum.


Wow! Great info!

Yes, that's the winch! It had the longest aircraft wire rope of the whole Warn line. The included 2 AWG pigtail quick connector is just long enough to run to the battery, is quite flexible, and was even made in the US like the winch itself. Unfortunately the quick disconnected pigtail looks like it can use 2 AWG max so anything bigger would have to be direct wired. Not exactly ideal since my winch is on a hitch mount, but I could just leave it hooked up to the front hitch.

When you say pass through battery terminal, do you mean something like this military terminal? I was considering these because it would be easy to hook up another battery with ring terminals.


So, 2 AWG winch to battery, 4/0 battery to battery, 4/0 battery to ground, should each battery have a separate ground? How much does the size of the wires to the alternator matter? Currently there are three smaller maybe 12 AWG and one larger probably 4 AWG to my 3G alternator.

Also, If I run this on one battery until I can fit another battery under the hood, would monitoring the voltage drop at the battery terminals give me an indication of when I need to let the battery rest to recharge to avoid battery damage? What would that look like on a volt meter, dropping below 12 volts?

Thanks everyone for the replies!


I urge people not to wait 100K to change out the fluid in their transfer case units. -Kestas
Re: Lets talk homemade ground wires! [Re: SOHCman] #4684967
03/05/18 10:20 AM
03/05/18 10:20 AM
Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 1,406
USA
SOHCman Offline OP
SOHCman  Offline OP
Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 1,406
USA
Would a battery isolater be of benefit here or not necessary?

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000OTIPDQ/ref=ox_sc_act_title_2?smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER&psc=1


I urge people not to wait 100K to change out the fluid in their transfer case units. -Kestas
Re: Lets talk homemade ground wires! [Re: SOHCman] #4685109
03/05/18 12:36 PM
03/05/18 12:36 PM
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 1
Houston, TX
Rick_Kean Offline
Rick_Kean  Offline
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 1
Houston, TX
Hi all from Houston 77064
No one's mentioned my outdoor preference for Tinned-Copper Wire Conductors and Crimp Terminals. Corrosion is not your friend.
Black Neoprene or SBR Jackets tolerate UV radiation well http://www.awcwire.com/insulation-materials
PVC Jackets are less flexible, but more readily available however.
Adhesive Heat Shrink Tubing seals jackets to terminals.
If 2ga is enough, these ebay guys have tinned copper PVC sold by the ft (I've no ties to them) https://www.ebay.com/itm/Battery-Cable-M...=item646642b5b9
tx
Rick

Re: Lets talk homemade ground wires! [Re: SOHCman] #4685210
03/05/18 02:13 PM
03/05/18 02:13 PM
Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 1,406
USA
SOHCman Offline OP
SOHCman  Offline OP
Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 1,406
USA


I was actually considering Ancor brand tinned copper wire and tined copper terminals. Seems like some of the best based on reviews.


I urge people not to wait 100K to change out the fluid in their transfer case units. -Kestas
Re: Lets talk homemade ground wires! [Re: SOHCman] #4685777
03/05/18 11:30 PM
03/05/18 11:30 PM
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 42,085
New Jersey
JHZR2 Offline
JHZR2  Offline
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 42,085
New Jersey
Originally Posted By: SOHCman


Yes, that's the winch! It had the longest aircraft wire rope of the whole Warn line. The included 2 AWG pigtail quick connector is just long enough to run to the battery, is quite flexible, and was even made in the US like the winch itself. Unfortunately the quick disconnected pigtail looks like it can use 2 AWG max so anything bigger would have to be direct wired. Not exactly ideal since my winch is on a hitch mount, but I could just leave it hooked up to the front hitch.

When you say pass through battery terminal, do you mean something like this military terminal? I was considering these because it would be easy to hook up another battery with ring terminals.


So, 2 AWG winch to battery, 4/0 battery to battery, 4/0 battery to ground, should each battery have a separate ground? How much does the size of the wires to the alternator matter? Currently there are three smaller maybe 12 AWG and one larger probably 4 AWG to my 3G alternator.

Also, If I run this on one battery until I can fit another battery under the hood, would monitoring the voltage drop at the battery terminals give me an indication of when I need to let the battery rest to recharge to avoid battery damage? What would that look like on a volt meter, dropping below 12 volts?

Thanks everyone for the replies!



Let's start backwards.

Yes, monitoring battery voltage will help you know what's going on. Generally don't want to take it below 1.67V/cell, so 10V. Good news is the alternator will try to regulate voltage and boost it somewhat. Bad news is you don't really know battery state of charge because that needs to be done unloaded and open circuit, if the winch is running its drawing current and there is a conduction voltage drop, if the alternator is on it is pushing an over potential to drive current into the battery. But yes, watch it.

Alternator wiring may or may not be important. The alternator can only source so much. What could it be, 130A? 175A? Having heavier cables on the alternator to starter and/or starter to battery runs would reduce voltage drop, which is good, but it only does so much since the alternator can only give so much. This is less important, totally based upon convenience of access, and if you had to just do one, I'd heavy up the battery to starter run since that's where the higher current is routine.

Since you're kind of stuck with the winch wiring, you could do a few things...
1) if the connectors can be rewired, do so. It's even possible sometimes to remove a few conductors at the end to get a heavier run of cable fit into a smaller connector. Heat shrink can be a friend here.
2) run a heavy cable to a terminal block, panel, breaker, etc. then reduce the length of 2ga to just what is needed.
3) retire to the winch with heavier cable.

I'd probably run it as is for a bit to test what the actual draw under real use is first. Won't hurt to use it as designed and with a single battery to start. A D.C. Clamp on ammeter is your friend for doing testing.

There are military style terminals where you can bolt stuff to the terminals, then there are actual pass through lugs that you can crimp a cable to both ends. I was thinking the later, the former may work, especially to start.

Yes, I'd want the heaviest possible cable between batteries so there's effectively no conductor voltage drop between them. This should help them stay balanced. Each should have its own ground, equal in length and design, to the chassis. Not sure if a separate negative jumper is needed. It would help balance potential issues, it it may facilitate other circulating currents. I'd try to look at other wiring diagrams to see how it's typically done.

I'd probably be more concerned with how the winch itself is grounded. And if you need a supplemental.

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