Saturday, October 12, 2013

Arc Welding Cable

In my last post, I mentioned that a longtime friend and fellow Airhead said that he had several arc welding cables that someone gave him when they were leaving town. I stopped by his shop and I selected one of the lighter gauge ground cables. When I got home, I pulled the end to measure the cable and it was very fine conductor 1 AWG. Today, I stopped by the hardware store and picked up a couple of copper terminals. After coating the inside of the terminal and the copper wire with flux, I heated the terminal with a propane torch. Added solder until the terminal was filled about ¾ full of molten solder, heated the stripped copper cable and quickly pushed it into the solder pool in the terminal.I added more heat until to the terminal to help the solder flow into the terminal.

In this photo you can see the difference between the 4 AWG red cable and the 1 AWG black cable. I really didn't need more current carrying capacity but less resistive loss and a much more flexible cable can't hurt. The new cable has twice the current capacity for a given length i.e. half the resistence. Instead of using the factory grounding point on the back of the transmission, I connected the new cable to one of the engine mounting bolts. I still need to pull the starter to check out the bushing in the nose and check on the condition of the brushes. The bike has 76K miles on it now and the worn bushing could cause the starter to drag.
I still am planning on switching out the positive cable but need to wait until I can find two more terminals.

4 comments:

Coop a.k.a. Coopdway said...

I like the idea of the fine wire, looks and sounds like a great addition Richard.

redlegsrides said...

When you first mentioned arc welding cables, I thought you meant the stuff you feed into the welder to create welds. These are cables used to feed power to the welder right? I never gave the stuff I used for my old rig with the total loss system....I wonder if it would have extended battery life.

RichardM said...

Kind of overkill but there's nothing wrong with that. I have always liked to use arc welding cable as battery cables due to their much higher current carrying capacity and flexibility.

RichardM said...

Yes, this is the cable from the welder to the stick holder. High current low voltage…

It probably have no affect on battery life. I just wanted to maximize the current to the starter given that the cables are now much longer than stock. Over six feet versus one foot.