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Old 05-24-2016, 05:23 PM   #1
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Welding cable vs. regular wire?

I'm getting ready to add an extra wire from my batteries to my converter to assist in charging time and minimize voltage drop. The trailer currently has a single 6 gauge wire and I'm wanting to double it up since manipulating a thicker wire would be tough in certain areas.

My question is: I have only been able to find 6 gauge welding cable in my area, sold by the foot on a spool. Is this type of wire OK? I don't know much about welding cable versus regular wire so please educate!
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Old 05-24-2016, 06:15 PM   #2
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#6 welding should be fine and it is commonly used for battery leads, jumper cables, temporary generator connections etc. A word of caution though… if planning to run parallel feeds you need to replace your existing cable as well. You will run into other problems if using two different cable types. Parallel cables must be exactly the same length & type.

Also, not 100% sure what the rules are on the DC side of RV wiring but electrical code does cover RV wiring and does not allow paralleling in cables smaller than 1/0.
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Old 05-24-2016, 06:29 PM   #3
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Back when I raced, I used to use welding cable as battery cables in my race car all the time. It's much more pliable than parts store battery cables, which makes routing easier.

The ends can be installed on the welding cable with a vice and a punch.
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Old 05-24-2016, 06:30 PM   #4
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It is a higher grade, the more strands the better the wire.
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Old 05-24-2016, 06:32 PM   #5
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#6 welding should be fine and it is commonly used for battery leads, jumper cables, temporary generator connections etc. A word of caution though… if planning to run parallel feeds you need to replace your existing cable as well. You will run into other problems if using two different cable types. Parallel cables must be exactly the same length & type. Also, not 100% sure what the rules are on the DC side of RV wiring but electrical code does cover RV wiring and does not allow paralleling in cables smaller than 1/0.



Just an FYI, my unit came with parallel wires from the battery disconnect to the converter, allows battery charging from the converter even if battery disconnect is off
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Old 05-24-2016, 06:41 PM   #6
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ExChief, that wouldn't be considered parallel wires as being described above. What you have (and most bigger 5ers have) is an option on the Progessive Dynamics panel.
There WAS a jumper in the panel that has been removed. The jumper joined the converter output to the 12v buss. Your two "parallel" wires are now a "send" to the battery directly from the converter and a "return" from the battery to the 12v buss. There are two separate lugs in the converter panel that the wires attach to , where the jumper bar was.

This is so, like you said, to shut off the disconnect switch and still charge the battery.
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Old 05-24-2016, 08:35 PM   #7
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#6 welding should be fine and it is commonly used for battery leads, jumper cables, temporary generator connections etc.

As BCK said... No problem using 6AWG welding cable, but not doubling as mentioned

A word of caution though… if planning to run parallel feeds you need to replace your existing cable as well. You will run into other problems if using two different cable types. Parallel cables must be exactly the same length & type.

I would recommend going with either 4 or 2AWG cables (look on the internet), if you want to increase the wire size. The problem with running 2 cables of 6AWG is that even though you may be able to get them the same length, the crimped lugs (only use compression lugs, no hammered lug tools or screw fittings, you could be asking for problems in the future) may not be compressed exactly the same, both of which will produce a different resistance for each run.. As time goes on and the ends get a little oxidized, that will also alter the resistance of each connector. This would add to the voltage drop you are trying to avoid

As I mentioned above, thin welding cable should only be crimped with a hydraulic crimping tool and compression fittings (lugs). The reason is unlike the thicker stranded wires, the thinner fine wires react more to temperature differences (expand/contract). So when they contract they are not as tight in the lug, a problem with screw in connections or connections that are not compressed with hydraulic crimping tool. Most of these tools create somewhere around 8 to 10 tons of pressure, which makes for a nice snug fit. Try applying that much pressure with a screw in or hammer compressing tool.


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