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Old 11-14-2013, 07:38 PM   #57
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And some of the lugs... More on e way. The ones in the center are 2/0 and the biggest are 4/0. The case of 100 is also 2/0 and was just too good of a deal to pass up on ebay, so I will try to repost and sell most of those off. I just ordered an assortment of lugs in different sizes to hopefully have what I need on hand when wiring. Some came in assorted sets with things I won't use. I figure if needed, I can whack off one of the holes on the two hole lugs.

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Old 11-14-2013, 11:33 PM   #58
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Just ordered some 2ga welding cable for wiring alternator to charger and then back to truck batteries along with grounding the charger (stuff listed as 2 to 4 gauge a few posts back). I think 4 would have worked but I decided to err on the larger size (with such erring being the reason everything on this project is crazy big).

I'm slightly concerned about getting enough voltage to the truck battery to charge it fully so didn't want to risk the extra voltage drop with smaller cable on the longer cable run from the alternator through the charger. Again, the unit does not boost on the vehicle charging side. But if I am now understanding voltage drop better, it occurs more at greater amperage... So I'm thinking bulk battery charging won't be affected by voltage drop... The current should get there even with voltage drop, and as the voltage comes up on the batteries, the current should be able to drop by that point meaning low voltage drop.

I figure I'm adding between 8 to 15 feet at 2awg to the alternator to truck battery run, depending on how I wire things. If I can manage it, I might upgrade the wiring from the alternator to the charger to 2/0. I have enough cable but will decide based on how crowded it is feeling trying to route charger cable runs.
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Old 11-15-2013, 11:41 AM   #59
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Originally Posted by CA_Tallguy View Post
If I can manage it, I might upgrade the wiring from the alternator to the charger to 2/0. I have enough cable but will decide based on how crowded it is feeling trying to route charger cable runs.
Be careful. The alternator output stud can break off over time as a result of vibration stress from oversized cable, especially if the cable is not tied security in place at the alternator. Remember that there will be some relative motion from torque flex in the motor mounts, so leave a loop where you go from the engine to the body or frame, and be sure the cable is well secured. I use neoprene-covered steel strap tiedowns for cable this large.

Having the output stud break off will end your trip early unless you carry a spare alternator around with you.

You may be able to get a custom alternator with an oversize output stud.
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Old 11-15-2013, 02:04 PM   #60
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I think I found your vendor, or a similar one? A rare series of 140 piece auctions, and yes, copper-lust here bought one with the huge lugs they advertised swapped for smaller sizes – for 80 each! I’m not expecting much for those prices but may be perfect for a house battery bank in the future.

Kind of a general review here, spent a lot of hours playing with 750VDC for a living.

Getting odd-lots of lugs is a compromise If the bolt holes are way oversized for the fasteners, the washers will cave in to the void, maybe all at once or maybe over time and loosening the connection – I’ve seen small rings that will center the lug on the bolt(s) and not interfere with the bolts clamp by being thinner than the lug flat but keep the washer from excessively yielding. The ones I used were a silicon bronze alloy and provided by the jobber, I’ve no clue where to pick up a box of them. If none are available at minimum use a thick high-grade washer IF there is enough contact area left once the missing metal of the over sized hole contact area gets fitted & examined.

It is a mistake to call those crimp connectors, they are actually swaged lead lugs. Since they are of unknown age you will want to burnish the flats and the cable barrel with a soft (used) piece of nylon abrasive pad (scotchbrite green) to brighten (not scour away) the plating before assembling them. Tack rag – solvent wipe gets the micro-junk waiting to form mo’better oxide crystals..

Automotive/marine systems are usually in constrained spaces, those lugs are full size. If you need to round off a corner(s) do so but leave the lug flat greater than the diameter of the washer by as much as you can.

And Jammer is spot on with the vibration warnings – everything must be anchored within a short distance. The original leads on your truck are a great model to follow, but their wire insulation is designed not to ring with vibration so the super-tough stuff may need to be bundled tighter or have some tray to snub against.
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Old 11-15-2013, 08:04 PM   #61
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Be careful. The alternator output stud can break off over time as a result of vibration stress from oversized cable, especially if the cable is not tied security in place at the alternator. Remember that there will be some relative motion from torque flex in the motor mounts, so leave a loop where you go from the engine to the body or frame, and be sure the cable is well secured. I use neoprene-covered steel strap tiedowns for cable this large. Having the output stud break off will end your trip early unless you carry a spare alternator around with you. You may be able to get a custom alternator with an oversize output stud.
Thanks... Good ideas. I hadn't thought of that added stress. Can I get the neoprene straps at Home Depot? I've wanted to pick some of those up for awhile but keep forgetting to look and/or have not come across them when shopping for other things.

I'm not 100% sure how the wiring to be alternator is going to work yet. It appears my alternator has a little black regulator box on the side and the positive and negative plus a few small wires run through it. Need to figure out if I should tie into the positive after the regulator or before (on the alternator stud). That's one question I was going to ask the maker. On one hand, the unit contemplates using the OEM regulator so I would think it might need to be in-line. On the other, seems like some directions say to wire directly to alternator post. The latter would mean the regulator wouldn't be sensing any amperage -- not sure it if needs so but since it is in-line I thought that might be a reasonable guess.

I have a few wiring plan alternatives I'm thinking over aside from that. One would be to pick up the charging line after the 140 amp OEM fuse, leaving the 4ga OEM wire run to there in place. The other would be to beef up the above run to 2/0 and still pick it up at the fuse block to go to the charging unit.
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Old 11-15-2013, 09:32 PM   #62
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I think I found your vendor, or a similar one? A rare series of 140 piece auctions, and yes, copper-lust here bought one with the huge lugs they advertised swapped for smaller sizes – for 80 each! I’m not expecting much for those prices but may be perfect for a house battery bank in the future.
I bought several sets of lugs from different people and tried to get them at $1 on average. Seems like most sellers were wanting $3+ for decent brands etc. 95% of the stuff I got is name brand... I spent far too much time shopping for great deals on them to get an assortment to have on hand. I didn't want to end up going to napa auto parts for some random crappy lugs costing 3 to 5 each finding it I was missing something I needed during the install.

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Getting odd-lots of lugs is a compromise If the bolt holes are way oversized for the fasteners, the washers will cave in to the void, maybe all at once or maybe over time and loosening the connection....
Thanks for the notes on washers and caving in. Will be careful about that.

Some of my lugs are large holes but most are 3/8 or smaller. 1/2 is the max hole size. I think the holes on the charger were 5/16 and I set out to try to find some specifically for that. Tried to avoid 1/4 holes as I thought that to be too small for most needs I'll have (but there is the potential for drilling holes bigger). Many lots I got were of one type, and when I got an assorted set, I usually tried to make sure it had a few sizes I was looking for.

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Automotive/marine systems are usually in constrained spaces, those lugs are full size. If you need to round off a corner(s) do so but leave the lug flat greater than the diameter of the washer by as much as you can
GREAT idea! I also have been thinking some of these lugs have room to bend to right angle if needed.
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Old 11-24-2013, 04:12 PM   #63
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Doing a little bumper refurb and modification to add a mounted anderson connector. Getting close to wiring the system up! In the next few days.

Been distracted by some frame repairs on the trailer.

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Old 11-26-2013, 11:47 AM   #64
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The install now commences! Whew, took a long time to try to insert the 2awg welding cable into the thomas and betts #2 lugs. Didn't quite get all the strands in unfortunately.

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My first task is to try doubling up the factory alternator wire to the factory 140 amp fuse. It looks like the positive and negative leads run through the external factory alternator regulator so I am unsure how this will work out. Not sure what the regulator is doing with those leads... Hopefully not much. As hey run through, that leads me to wonder if it is measuring current. Hope it doesn't or that it doesn't need accurate current measurement if it does.

Doubling up the wire was an idea I got from instructions for big output alternator installs. Many said to double the wire and leave all the factory wire/regulation alone.

I'll watch the Sterling charging unit control panel closely for any weirdness on how many amps it is getting.
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Old 11-26-2013, 08:50 PM   #65
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Whew. Probably a but more than half way done with the wiring. Ended up drilling a big fat hole in the truck cab over the transmission to run the 2/0 back to the bumper for the trailer connection. I was able to get the other wires in pretty good through an existing firewall hole.

After the fact, I realized the starter is right below the installation point with a big fat 2/0 or so positive cable. Maybe I should have tapped that for the charging line to the truck battery from the unit.

On the truck end, I'm thinking about using the negative chassis ground quite a bit. The manufacturer said that would be fine. So, just after the anderson connector on the bumper, I'll likely just ground to the frame rail.

For the ground on the unit itself, there is a 2awg or so pigtail that needs to be extended. I am thinking I will stick with that size. I don't know dc current very well but I was thinking... That ground serves both incoming (from the alternator) and outgoing purposes (truck and trailer batteries). So, if anything is coming in or out, current wise, isn't it a wash or close to a wash for the ground? Just wondering for wire sizing reasons. Logically it would seem to have to be the case. So a big wire is probably not needed. (But hmmm.. Just testing the logic... That would seem to say that a #18 would work and that just seems out of the question. So still a but unsure.)
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Old 11-27-2013, 10:38 AM   #66
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I think that I've gained a couple tenths of a volt increase from doubling the alternator positive. So far so good. Everything seems to be behaving normally otherwise.

This has me second guessing my idea to use the factory 140 amp fuse on the incoming alternator cable. That fuse is pretty wimpy and is probably adding to voltage drop. I will file this away for now and circle back if the need arises. Or maybe I'll just keep that as a fuse on the truck batteries and put another fuse in place on the incoming alternator power.

One thing I've been reading on the boating forums is that those folks don't always fuse the alternator. Something about it being self limiting and that it doesn't have the stored energy that the batteries do. They point out that the alternator can only unleash the power it is generating so like 100 amps or whatever. Also that the diodes would blow in it. Seems like I'd rather try to have a fuse blow than something in the alternator... or this Sterling charge unit. Either way, some serious work would be needed while underway to have a functioning charging system again vs just replacing a fuse. That is assuming that a fuse would be functional in this capacity.
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Old 11-27-2013, 10:46 AM   #67
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A very helpful person in the boating community called "Maine Sail" explains...

"Even if the alt continued to work it can not exceed its rating. This is called a "self limiting device. The wire is sized to handle 140A continuously so the wire can handle all the alternators current safely and no fire. The max allowable ampacity of 2/0 wire, inside an engine space, and under ABYC E-11 is 420A @ 150% and 280A @ 100%. So the alt can't even touch with wires max ampacity with its 140A.

What the wires can not handle is the short circuit current that can be created by an AGM battery bank. With some AGM batteries this can approach 5000A of short circuit current for each parallel wired battery. As single group 31 AGM by Odyssey/Die Hard is capable of 5000A of current into a short. 5000A for just one battery!!!! If you have a bank of four, 400Ah, this is 20,000A. Your alt is still only 140A into a dead short........ The batteries are not self limiting and can easily exceed the capability if the wire, the alternator can not exceed this.."

http://forums.sbo.sailboatowners.com...d.php?t=154643
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Old 11-27-2013, 08:32 PM   #68
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Unexpectedly, the shunts took the most effort to install thus far. Trying to cram them behind the unit was part of it... Tried horizontal, then vertical, and finally diagonal - the cable needed plenty of room on each end. And then four big crimps were needed for the pair. Finally, attaching the small gauge voltage sense wires and then fumbling with the dozen TINY screws for attaching them along with the plexiglass covers. Ugh!

But I am excited to see it coming together. I believe I have all the cables and wires roughed in for hooking up the unit. A few more lugs to crimp in the cab, and the anderson connector on the bumper. Oh, and I have a three conductor wire to hook up back there too (one voltage sense for drop and two for the trailer battery temp). Voltage will be the positive lead in my seven way connector and I have a simple two pole rubber connector for the other two.

Then I still have to do the trailer side. Should be extremely simple compared to the truck... Just a pair of 2/0 into an anderson with lugs on the other side to fuse and battery bank. And of course the same three wires for voltage drop sense and temperature on the battery bank.

This thing better work! It will be a major bummer if there is any manufacturing defect requiring warranty repair before I can see it run.
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Old 11-28-2013, 11:04 AM   #69
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First Anderson crimp! The Anderson 2/0 connectors fit the wire a LOT better than the other standard lugs. I'm guessing that portable power cord is bigger than standard wire by a smidge. The 2/0 barely fit the hole for the sb175 connectors. They normally only take up to 1/0 but anderson has a terminal you can buy to make 2/0 work. The fit is so tight I worried the heat shrink would get in the way. I used smaller diameter heat shrink than I otherwise would have to reduce the bulk it would add.

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Old 11-28-2013, 01:57 PM   #70
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Bumper repainted and anderson connector installed permanently. Unfortunately I can't test it yet for clearance as the only other installed anderson connectors I have are blue, and they are not compatible with other colors. I did do a test fit with the blue and clearance was tight for the handle I am going to use to connect the trailer cables. So, still a bit anxious until I can confirm the final install.

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For the ground behind the bumper, I sanded down to bare metal on an area of the frame for the crimped lug to contact. Then I buttered it up with antioxidant and bolted it together with stainless 1/2 inch hardware. Then I covered it with vulkem. That should do the trick!
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