Wire recommendations

We have the wires that are supplied in the kit, but I remember seeing somewhere on CD a post recommending other (better) brands of wire. Since I can’t seem to find that post, I decided to ask again. Where can I go to get some good wires (#6, #10, #14, ans #18), and what specifically do you recommend. Why?

edit: Also, what about quick connectors? Are there better options than what comes in the kit? Perhaps ones that “latch” together, like a clip on a book bag? I’m thinking specifically of the connectors that are between the speed controllers, and the motors.

Stranded MTW (Machine Tool Wire) or THHN (typical house wire) is similar to MTW in that they both have a PVC jacket, and THHN adds a Nylon skin over the PVC jacket to help with abrasion resistance.

THHN you can find at home centers and hardware stores. MTW is commonly used for machine wiring, so other than buying 500’ spools, you might find a local manufactuer willing to give you some lengths of wire.

The heavy wire included with the kit has a strand count a little higher than you’ll find with normal house wiring, and is correspondingly more flexible. For your battery connections, and high current wiring, the included wire should probably suffice. If not, check out some of your local automotive stores such as NAPA, AutoZone, etc. The wire they have is suitable for low voltage use, and they are apt to have some higher strand count wire available. Cannibalizing a cheap set of jumper cables may be another way to get some additional short lengths of heavy gage wire.

Unless you have a specific need for a connector, I would recommend avoiding them as they invariably add additional resistance to your high current paths.

The Anderson Power Products connectors (such as the one on the battery) are good choices for high peak current applications, such as the motors. Anderson has a broad line of products, and the one on the battery is one of their medium sized ones in that series. For lower current connections, their “PowerPole” line is fairly popular.

If you are simply anticipating needing to change a motor, I suggest designing your electrical system such that you can wire the motors directly to the speed controller, and if you need to extend the motor wire lengths, do so with a soldered connection and then protect it with heat-shrink tubing. Alpha’s FIT-221 series heat shrink is good to work with.

If a motor does fail, cutting the wire and soldering the new one into place should take no more than a minute or two. Alternately, keep a spare motor with extended wire lengths and lugs as a spare item. Worst case you cut the existing wires, zip tie the new wires in place, make the screw connections at the speed controller and you are good to go.

For wire our team uses the BaneBots silicone 14 awg wire for our connections after the fuses. To connect the battery to the distro we used the wire that came in the kit and that same wire after the distro block to the fuse panels.

As for connectors we used the “powerpole” connectors for our lower current motors and the drive motors were connected directly to the speed controllers.

-Daniel

Joel,
MCM electronics has a variety of wire. (www.mcminone.com) We use the “zip” wire that is paired red and black wires bonded together. They can be separated by “zipping” them apart. I suggest #10 for all high current motors regardless of what breakers you use.
We use Anderson Powerpole connectors when needed. They are available in a variety of colors and can snap together to form multi contact connectors. You can purchase them through Terminal Supply or West Mountain Radio. At West Mountain you can also purchase a really good crimper for these contacts.
I also recommend you position the Victors close to the motors so you don’t have to add a connector in series with the motor leads. Then you cut to fit the wiring from the breaker panel to the Victor and use the existing motor wire to the Victor. We use a bent pushon male adapter with a screw mounting hole. These are available from Digikey. We add them to both sides of the Victor and then use normal pushon females for connections. This allows us to swap out a motor or controller that has failed without tools.
The house wire suggested before is also available at most home centers like Menards or Home Depot and you can buy it by the foot.

We use #6 neoprene insulated welding cable for the main power
connections. Our current source is http://www.electricvehiclesusa.com/
for red and black, sold by the foot. It is very flexible and easy
to route.

We use ancor marine primary wire, 10 gauge and smaller, for the
rest of the power wiring. This wire is tinned, and is quite flexible.
It is available from many sources on the web, and you can likely
walk in to any boating supplies store and buy it. One supplier
is www.westmarine.com

We don’t use quick connectors, other than the main battery
connector and the minature powerpole connector we use on
the backup battery for reliability. These connectors are
available from <<<www.powerwerx.com>>> The terminals from
powerex for the anderson connectors are of very high
quality.

We use megalugs from Spectro Wire and Cable on the
6 gauge wire. http://www.spectrowireandcable.com/
You can’t do better than these lugs, and the correct
crimper for them.

We use AMP PIDG push on terminals and rings, and the correct
AMP crimper for them. My favorite thing to do is crimp
a ring terminal on a foot of 10 gauge wire, grip the ring in
a table vice, and let students try and pull the wire out with
vice grips on the wire. Some students have been strong enough
to break the wire, but it is never slipped out of the crimp
unbroken. We get our terminals and crimper from DigiKey.

Have fun,
Eugene

I think you mean www.powerwerx.com, not powerex, as a source for Anderson connectors. They also carry a variety of wire.

Thanks for the correction. The powerwerx red black zip cord looks interesting from the point of view of clean wire layout.

Hi,

What do these pushons look like (the old network connectors?)? Is “male push on” the actual name of this adapter? I tried a search on Digi-key, but it turned up nothing as a result.

We use part # 7479K241 from McMaster. It’s very flexible and much easier to work with. Doesn’t leave that kinked look.

We used the Anderson connectors last year and had nothing but bad luck. It may have been that we just weren’t getting good crimps on them, but we had a ton of problems with intermittent contact, even after going back and trying to fix the problem. Eventually we just moved to standard barrel terminals, which allowed us to take the wires off with slightly more effort, but no worries about contact problems.

Joel,
A male push on is the type of connector on the black fuse panels. Each manufacturer has their own name for them but we justs call them “push on” because that is how you mate them. Check the 3M section in the digikey catalog.