Electrical Best Practices

Hi all. I need something I can give to rookies who want to learn wiring to show them proper techniques. I have been searching for a video I once saw about wiring best practices. I believe it was a talk given by Al Skierkiewicz. I would also be interested in any papers or Powerpoints that have been created. I plan on using it as a guide to a document geared to how our team does things with the tools we have.


I’d contact Kiet on 1538 and see if they have any publically documented info. Their wiring is 2nd to none.

  1. Be Neat
  2. Label Everything
  3. Work with the assumption that you will have to replace something. Don’t make your components hard to access.

There are a number of threads with many good suggestions for wiring. Having wired machinery for 15 years before becoming an engineer I have a pretty good idea of how to make the wiring look very neat and be very durable and serviceable but as a mentor I do not want to be doing the wiring. I can hover and teach as the students work but the last couple of years they have had to do much of the wiring when I was not around.

I want to be able to teach them ahead of time things like the proper way to crimp a wire, how tight to tighten screws, the importance of staying away from corners, etc.

I can write a document but I am being lazy…I mean I would like someone else’s work to get more use.

Knufire, to contact Kiet on 1538 should I just go through their website or do you have contact info you could PM to me?


Send a PM to http://www.chiefdelphi.com/forums/member.php?u=14838

I made that presentation at Champs for several years in Atlanta. While much of it still applies, the hardware has changed. I can send that Power Point if you would like.
Beyond that, I prefer to wire with the PDP as close to the center of the high current loads as possible. Keep high current load wiring short to minimize loss. Similar length wiring to each side of the drive system gives best performance for auto driving and teleop by balancing the losses to each side. While crimping is essential for a good connection, following up with soldering is extra insurance that the connection will not fail. I add “star” washers between the battery terminal and the wire terminal in addition to the standard locking hardware. This small addition bites through surface corrosion and prevents the terminals sliding past each other. If the terminals cannot move they will never loosen. Make sure to tighten the hardware on the PDP and main breaker using the correct tool. If you want max power out of your motors, consider using a larger wire. #10 for CIM motors in your drive system will work better than #12. Use some method of identifying wires. We use a 3M tape product available from Digikey that has EIA colors. Everything in the branch is colored the same, PWM, controller, wiring and motor. If the yellow motor stops, look at the yellow controller, yellow wiring and yellow PWM. Use some kind of battery test device to check your battery health. I have used the CBA-II for several years. I recently bought a CBA-IV but haven’t had a chance to bust it out of the box. Use this with an intelligent method for keeping and identifying batteries as charged or used. We use the AndyMark plug to identify batteries that are charged.

Here is a link to a PowerPoint presentation on Electrical Layout and Construction Techniques that I taught several times to our team and some others in the Houston area. Please also read the Notes pages that go with each slide for additional information.

FRC 2587 Electrical Layout & Construction Notes

Thanks Al and Philso.

Al, I would love a copy of your Powerpoint info. Between that and the Powerpoint that Philso sent I should have a good start. I need to create a document to help me train new wirers, mostly in proper techniques like crimping, stripping, dressing, etc.

I uploaded the Power Point presentation I gave at Champs in 2007. It can be found here…

Please remember that the control system and some motors were different then. The supplies list is in 2007 dollars.