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Publication Title | Make Your Own Battery Inverter Cables

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Richard Perez ©2002 Richard Perez

Distributing low voltage electricity around renewable energy systems has always been a

problem. Every element in every circuit, especially in wiring and connectors, is a potential source of voltage drop. And in 12 or 24 volt systems, we need all the voltage we can get.

Nowhere are low resistance wiring and connections more important than within the battery pack and between the battery and the inverter. These wires may have to carry more than 500 amperes. Even small amounts of resistance in the connections can lead to unacceptable voltage losses at high rates of current. Here’s how you can make your own very low loss, long- lived battery and inverter cables.

Connectors

The method of attaching the connectors to the cable’s ends is very important. Connectors that are merely mechanically crimped to the wires’ ends are unacceptable. These mechanical connections oxidize over time. Copper oxide is a very poor conductor of electricity. Mechanical connections may have relatively low resistance when they are first made, but after several months, their resistance increases as they oxidize.

Step 6: Flattening the tubing in a vise.

The decay of mechanical connectors is accelerated when the connectors are attached to the poles of lead- acid batteries. Lead-acid batteries always collect some sulfuric acid on their surfaces and on their wiring and connectors. This acid rapidly attacks mechanical connections, and quickly results in unacceptable voltage losses.

So it is not enough for us to use large diameter, low resistance cables on our batteries and inverters. We must also have low resistance, durable connectors. Soldering the connector to the cable is really the only way to keep the battery’s acid electrolyte from attacking the connectors.

Steps 1–3: Strip insulation from cable and cut copper tubing to length.

Step 7: The end of the tubing without Step 8: Fold the end over in a vise, cable gets pounded flat. shown half completed.

60 Home Power #89 • June / July 2002

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