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HomeTips & GuidesBattery Cable Disconnect Switch – How to Wire It Correctly

Battery Cable Disconnect Switch – How to Wire It Correctly

Are you looking for an affordable and quick way to enhance your battery life and protect it from theft? Then, I think you should try using a battery cable disconnect switch. For those who do not know, this switch disconnects your battery when you store your car. It protects your battery from draining completely while also extending its life span. Here, we will discuss the battery cable disconnect switch, including its importance, types, and how to wire it.

The Importance of Battery Disconnect Switch

As you may have noted, I have highlighted some of the importance of a battery disconnect switch in the introduction. In this section, I shall elaborate on these benefits and also discuss some more:

Prevents battery drain: You mainly use this switch to prevent your car battery from draining completely, especially when stored. With such a switch, you are sure the battery will have enough charge anytime you need to restart your car.

Functions as an antitheft gadget: Now, assume the thieves get your car keys when your car is in storage. The disconnect switch can prevent them from stealing your car because cars can’t start without a battery. It keeps your mind at ease when you store your car far away from home for long.

Maintenance battery power: Amazingly, the little gadget also maintains the power of your battery, especially when you have two batteries. Therefore, it helps your car be ready when you need it without any power issues.

A battery disconnect switch

A battery disconnect switch

Types of Battery Disconnect Switches

You will mostly find the following types of battery disconnect switches in the market: 

Knife Blade

As the name suggests, this battery switch shape resembles a knife’s. What most people love about it is that it is quick and easy to install. In addition, you install it directly on your battery terminals, thereby controlling the current to your car components. 

For instance, you just install it vertically or horizontally on the battery terminal, and that’s it. Therefore, I would recommend this disconnect switch where there is not much space above the battery.

Knob Style

Another type of battery switch that most people like is the knob-style disconnect switch. It got its name from the knob that it has to control the battery power. Using it, you just turn the knob/ switch, anti-clockwise or clockwise, to cut off battery power or provide it.

 Like the knife blade model, they are easy to use and mount directly on the battery terminals. What I like about this type is that it can also be used as a very effective anti-theft device. In addition, it features a side post or top post for tight-space installation.

Keyed and Rotary

While the keyed rotary switch can be found in cars, most people use it in RVs, agricultural machines, and boats. 

It uses a rotary switch or a key for added security. You just install it, then turn the key to cut the battery power off/on, keeping your car battery from theft and draining. However, remember to be careful not to lose the keys or make extra key copies.

An example of a battery disconnect switch

An example of a battery disconnect switch

Tips for Selecting a Battery Disconnect Switch

I know selecting the best and appropriate battery disconnect switch can be tough, given the available selection today. For this reason, I recommend considering the following factors: 

Check amperage

As you know, cars have different types of alternator power output depending on the model. Therefore, amperage is the first checkpoint before choosing any disconnect switch.

 That is, ensure the type you buy can handle your battery amperage for long without short circuits. 

Choosing the correct amperage ensures not only enhanced life switch life but also that of the battery.

Inspect the Design

After the amperage, now check the design to know if it’s small or big enough to fit your car battery. While here, also see that the switch features extra protection from short circuits, elements, and heavy usage. 

For instance, check its IP rating to know if it can withstand moisture, dust, and other harsh environments.

Installation

You do not want a demanding battery switch that can cost a lot to install. All you need is a simple device for easy self-installation. Therefore, I recommend top post models, which mount on your battery top without extra accessories. 

Note that when installing side post models, you may need accessories such as mounting plates and housing.  While here, check the available space near your battery, then choose the types we discussed above.

How to Wire a Battery Disconnect Switch

Now that you know the importance of a battery disconnect switch and how to choose it, let’s see its installation procedure:

Gather the right tools and materials

As a rule of thumb, collecting the necessary materials and tools should always be your first step in any DIY endeavor. 

In this step, you first need to buy a new battery disconnect switch, depending on the tips we discussed earlier. 

For instance, check your car manual to know the rating of your battery before buying the switch. 

Note that a poorly rated switch can destroy your battery and cause a fire. Now gather tools such as wrenches, screwdrivers, a wire stripper, a wire cutter, and a crimping tool for easy installation. 

Operating a car battery switch

Operating a car battery switch

Disconnect the Battery

Before you can start the wiring, you will need to disconnect the battery cables to prevent electro shocks or short circuits. 

While here, I would also advise you to clean the terminal using a brush for any corrosion and dirt. Doing so ensures a reliable connection to your battery terminals.

Prepare Installation Location

You need to choose a good area where you will mount your switch. For easy access, I recommend the dashboard. Here, you drill a hole to pass the wire through the dashboard to the battery and also another to install the switch.

Prepare the cable

Remember, you will also need a right-gauge battery cable to run from your switch on the dashboard to the battery. 

If you have these two wires and they are of the correct length, use a striper to stip insulation about an inch on both ends. 

Then, install appropriate terminals on both ends of the wires and ensure you crimp them tightly.

Mount the switch

Now that you have mounted the terminal on the wires, it’s time to connect them to the switch. It may not matter which wire should be positive or negative since it’s an on/off switch. 

Once you ensure both wires are in place, feed them through the hole you drilled to the battery location. 

Now mount the switch to your predrilled hole using screws, bolts, or other provided installation hardware.

Connect the switch wires to the battery.

From there, connect one of the wires to the positive battery terminal. Now, take the other wire and connect it to the battery cable that served as the positive battery connection. 

Remember, this is a generic connection, but for specific details, you have to check your switch manual. 

Once you’ve done this, reconnect the battery negative cables as they were and test your switch to see if it works.

The front side of a car battery disconnect switch

The front side of a car battery disconnect switch

Conclusion

With my research and about $15, I believe you can now purchase and wire your battery disconnect switch correctly.

I am Lillian Yang, having been a sales manager for over 10 years.

I have received many positive reviews from customers. They have praised our excellent service, on-time delivery, and high-quality cable assemblies.

For your projects, please provide cable assembly files/images/smples, etc., so that I can send you a quotation within 24 hours.

Contact me now and let’s get started on building your wire harnesses!

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