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Battery Cable Size Calculator-Choice, Calculating and Buying

# Battery Cable Size Calculator-Choice, Calculating and Buying

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Battery cables are essential to any electrical system. They connect the battery to the device to allow the flow of current. Cables are made of strong gauge wire and insulation because of high flowing current. Even though their build and operation are simple, they can result in problems in the device. You should always monitor the cables to determine any fault. For instance, a vehicle will alert the driver in case a problem has occurred hence needs to be serviced.  Let us get knowledge on the size of the cable, how to calculate and buying guide.

What size battery cable do you need?

Battery cable that powers your electrical system is sized depending on American wire Gauge (AWG). It comes in sizes of 1,2,4,6, 1/0, 2/0, 3/0 and 4/0. Battery cable size is based on length cable and amperage.

• 1 AWG handles 200amps at length of 9.4feet, use 1 gauge cable.
• 2AWG has 150amps at 10feet, use 2 gauge cable.
• 4AWG has 100amps at 9.4feet, use 4 gauge cable.
• 6AWG has 50amps at 11.8feet, use 6 gauge cable.
• 1/0 AWG handles 300amps at 8 feet.
• 2/0 AWG battery cable handles 60 volts.
• 3/0 AWG battery cable has 300amps at 5 feet.
• 4/0 AWG battery cable has 600amps at 9 feet.

Selecting cable

Voltage drop

All electrical circuit including cables has resistance. For this reason, energy will be lost as voltage drop got from the length of cable. For example, a bulb will change electrical energy to light and heat. Similarly, Copper conductor will also convert energy conducted. However, the voltage drop will not be useful like the one resisted along a bulb. Make sure the cable is not too large because it can cause problems.

Current carrying capacity

Every appliance linked to circuit has a current draw back that is connected with the operation. The cable should carry the expected current and safety margin. If not, the power supply will catch fire. Despite the cable has fuses in the circuit to offer protection, it should not over- heat. As an example, we have a power rating of 50W, use the equation of I=P/V, the current drawn will be 50W/12V=4.17A.  Therefore, you can use a cable with a rating of 4.17A or above. Furthermore, choose a cable that has additional capacity.

Material

Cables exist in different materials. Thin wall have less wall thickness insulation unlike a standard PVC insulation. Others are made of tinned copper cable and double insulated cable. These materials have different properties for various purposes. It is important to get the properties right before selecting a cable.

How do you calculate cable size?

Cables have amount of resistance. The resistance is inversely proportional to the cable’s diameter and directly proportional to length. Voltage drops when current pass through a conductor. Here are steps to get cable size.

VDI=AMPS by FEET dived by PERCENTAGE VOLT DROP by VOLTAGE

• Amps= watts divide by volts
• Feet= wire distance for one way
• Percentage volt drop= % of volt drop that is acceptable for the circuit.

Select a cable with thickness that will meet expected level of resistance. For example thick cables have lower resistance to the flow of electricity. The cable gives many electrons carrying charge and high paths which allow travelling of electrons. Thick cables carry enough current even at same voltage.

You can use an online calculate to get a cable size. It will be simple for you to determine the correct size for powering your system. Here are simple steps to use an online calculator

• Put percentage acceptable loss of a cable, approximately 2% or 3%.
• Put nominal system voltage
• Enter amps carried by the battery cable
• Put cable’s length run that is needed
• Click “calculate” to get results shown in AWG cable sizes and closest standard metric.

Size of cables is used as a guideline and it is important to check figures in the manufacturer’s sheet. Additionally, you should ensure the cables are properly fused to get maximum protection on current rate. If a cable is too small, it can result to dangerous outbreaks seeing that the cable will heat and bring fire. Also, they waste energy from their undersize. On the contrary, too large cables are a waste of money on copper that you will not use.

How do you buy a good battery cable size calculator?

Battery cable is a critical piece in management system of a battery. It brings power and prevents battery drain. However, this can be enabled by getting a good calculator to give correct battery cable size. Consider the following things when buying a battery cable’s calculator.

Accuracy

A good calculator should display calculations on the screen as you are working out. Besides, the information given should be closest to the answer or approximate. Before purchasing, make sure the calculator will give you correct result. Accuracy can be improved by having a ten digit display.

Flexible

Calculator should be in a position to do rough calculations at the button. It should handle the tough math with ease in order to get the size of a battery cable. Also, it should have conversions for converting digits if necessary.

Case protector

Make sure you do not spend more money buying a new calculator. Therefore, it should be protected with a plastic case. This will prevent any damage in case the item bumps or drops unknowingly.

Solar powered

A good battery should be able to provide power when power is not available. With solar powered calculator, you are sure of being environmentally friendly. You can choose solar powered with extra battery back-up over battery powered.

Price

Not all the battery cable size calculator costs at the same price. Choose the one which fits your budget. Level of sophistication affects the price.

Final thoughts

Designing and building part of an electrical system is an important aspect. Type of cable and correct size should be determined properly for every circuit. Small sized cable can result to production of heat inside the cable. On the other hand, a large one will make you waste money copper that you do not need. Moreover, you have to determine the type of copper, is it plain? Tinned? Or has a standard PVC insulation. Before selecting a cable, make sure it has enough current rating, proper material and right cable run length.