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HomeTips & GuidesDIY Battery Cables – How to Make Yours Locally

DIY Battery Cables – How to Make Yours Locally

About DIY Battery Cables: As a vehicle owner, you will need battery cables at some point, especially when your old ones get worn out. 

These wires transfer power from your car battery to the ignition, starter, and circuit systems. 

While you can buy a ready-made cable from the store, they are usually expensive and may not suit your project. 

For this reason, I will show you how to make DIY battery cables for your car, camper, or boat.

Preparations

While DIY battery cable making is not rocket science that needs complex machinery, it requires proper preparations. 

With that said, let’s discuss some of the preparation steps to ensure a successful undertaking:

Check for Cables that need replacement

As you may know, damaged cables result in slow starts or low-power transmission in RVs and boats. 

Therefore, the most obvious preparation step is to inspect the cable and the circuit system needing replacement. 

Remember, these cables can also be new for distributing power to your newly acquired RV. 

When inspecting battery cables, check for crooks, wear and tear, corrosion, rust, and other deformities. 

You may also perform a voltage drop test if the damage is not obvious physically.

Inspecting battery cables for damages

Inspecting battery cables for damages

Ensure the same Gauge.

Another preparation step is to ensure the items you purchase for making your cable are of the correct gauge. 

You can check the terminal, lug, and old cable to ensure the same gauge. Here, a number like “6/0” indicates the gauge in each item above. 

Then check the letters following the number to see if it’s AWG, indicating you purchased both positive and negative terminals. 

If your cable gauge and battery don’t coincide, get a cable clamp adjuster to ensure a perfect fit.

Choose the Right Cables

Apart from the gauge indications discussed above, you must also ensure you have the right cables. 

Doing so does not only ensure a successful project but also the efficiency and longevity of your cables. 

That said, if dealing with dry machines such as RVs and cars, get untreated copper wires

On the other hand, if your machines are for in-water usage ag boats, then buy electroplated wires for corrosion resistivity.

Buy Terminals preloaded with flux and solder.

First, you should note that active core wires or acidic connections can corrode the battery, especially when connected. 

For this reason, you need to purchase terminals preloaded with flux and solder, available only from some manufacturers. 

If you do not get such a terminal, I advise using Rosin core solder wire, which is non-acidic and nonactive. 

If this is too much for you, the best idea is to carry your damaged cables to the store to compare. 

You may also bring your car model and year to the store attendant and ask for their assistance.

Tools and materials

  • Correctly sized Copper lugs
  • Red and black heat shrink with an adhesive lining
  • Copper stranded wire (red and black)
  • Heat gun
  • Cable striper
  • Shrink tubing
  • Cable cutter (10 inch)
  • Hydraulic wire crimpers
  • Solder
  • Rosin paste
Using a heating gun to melt solder

Using a heating gun to melt solder

How to DIY Battery Cables

Now that you know the preparation steps and materials needed, let’s the steps to make your batter cable:

Step1: Cable Preparation

First, cut the end of the cable using a cable cutter to ensure it’s smooth and even. Here, you need to avoid using a saw or a knife.

Now, using the cable striper, cut about one inch of the rubber insulator at the end of the cable. Make sure not to cut too deep and destroy the wire strands inside. 

You may also use the terminal lug to help you know how much stripping you require. 

Use your fingers to remove the cut sheath and any other loose wire strands. 

From there, twist the wire slightly and insert two 4-inch shrink tubbings. 

You will use the two tubings later to insulate the exposed metal when done.

Step 2: Inserting Terminal Lugs

Once done preparing the cable, apply some flux paste on the exposed cable and in the terminals. 

The paste ensures a strong connection between the wires and the terminal when heat is exposed. 

Insert the lug into the exposed wire and push as much as possible to ensure a snug fit. After that, use the crimping tool to crimp the terminal into the cable. 

You may also use a hammer and a flat nail punch if you do not have the crimping tool.

 Just place the nail punch at the center of the terminal, then hammer hard on both sides.

Different terminal lug types

Different terminal lug types

Step 3: Soldering and insulating the connection

In this step, use any heating source, such as the butane flame, to heat the connection until the rosin boils. 

Doing so heats the flux paste for a strong connection while preheating the joint to aid soldering. 

Now apply the non-acid solder where the wire and the terminal meet and heat until the solder melts. 

Once done, put the setup aside for about two minutes to cool before going on with the process. 

Then, test your connection using your hands to ensure a snug fit and the battery to ensure it works. In this step, slide the shrink tubing to cover the join and expose the terminal lug.

 Gently pass a flame over to ensure a snug fit with the cable sheath to prevent corrosion. 

Wrap Up

With the above easy-to-follow steps, your DIY battery cable is ready for use. Remember, the process discussed above is for one cable, and you need to do the same with the other. 

Also, use red shrink tubing for the red cable to show the positive terminal and black for the negative.

Hi I am Christa, sales manager of Cloom.

I have extensive expertise and experience in wiring harnesses and I believe I can help you.

And we have a very professional technical team who can clearly understand the customer’s needs and give professional suggestions and solutions after receiving the drawings.

If you also have wiring harness needs, please send me the drawing so that we can give you our quote and start our business.

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