Jumper Cables as Battery Cables

WolfMTWolfMT Registered Users Posts: 21 ✭✭
Since I have a couple sets of 2 Gauge Jumper Cables Can I use them as Battery Cables?

Comments

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 28,877 admin
    Possibly... Jumper cables (from major brands) tend to be much thinner (cheaper) than real battery/welding cables (seeing 12 AWG and smaller cables these days)--And I would not trust the packaging marking (measure the actual copper to see if it 2 AWG or not).

    If you go by "code"--The insulation is actually temperature (and typically flame) rated and you know what you will get. The insulation in jumper cables may crack with age and/or melt easily if it gets hot.

    In any case, get rid of the alligator clips on the jumper cables--Those clips will (almost never) reliably carry enough current to reliably run your AC inverter or heavy DC loads. You need bolted connections for these high levels of current.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • WolfMTWolfMT Registered Users Posts: 21 ✭✭
    BB. said:
    Possibly... Jumper cables (from major brands) tend to be much thinner (cheaper) than real battery/welding cables (seeing 12 AWG and smaller cables these days)--And I would not trust the packaging marking (measure the actual copper to see if it 2 AWG or not).

    If you go by "code"--The insulation is actually temperature (and typically flame) rated and you know what you will get. The insulation in jumper cables may crack with age and/or melt easily if it gets hot.

    In any case, get rid of the alligator clips on the jumper cables--Those clips will (almost never) reliably carry enough current to reliably run your AC inverter or heavy DC loads. You need bolted connections for these high levels of current.

    -Bill
    LOL, yes I certainly would get rid of the ends, I work on aircraft so yes I understand wire size, this happens to be a set I made up years ago from welding cable and the ends are bad, My main concern is wondering about corrosion and broken wires  not the size of the wire, I never considered looking at the rating of insulation.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 28,877 admin
    In general, welding cables have "fine stranded" cables which are much more flexible than standard "House" wiring--For increased flexibility. If you used "crimp" connectors--Fine stranded cable has more "air space" and will not usually fit standard coarse stranded cabling.

    As long as you have not "folded" the cable in 1/2--or run over twisted cables (and "crimped" them)--I would not worry about broken strands (work hardened copper then breaks).

    Some/Much of the new welding cables are marked/rated these days.

    https://www.solar-electric.com/mtwraca20awg.html
    MTW UL listed cable. MTW cable utilizes moisture, heat and oil resistant thermoplastic insulation. The PVC insulation is flame retardant and is suitable for wet and dry locations. The fine stranded wire makes the cable very flexible for easy installation. For use on circuits up to 600 volts. The National Electric Code (NEC) Table 310.104(A) has detailed information about the MTW rating. Click here to see the MTW description and specifications from that table.
    -Bill


    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • JohannJohann Solar Expert Posts: 240 ✭✭✭
    Many jumper cables what I seen lately have copper plated wires. The strands itself are aluminum etc etc. . If I remember right the amp rating on them are at 0 degreese temperature and for 30 seconds.

  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,207 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I admit to buying some copper plated aluminum jumper cables, as power line for my genset starter. I ran each lead in it's own PVC conduit, because the insulation was butter soft,  Crimped (with my hydraulic tool) ends on, and bolted it up.
    On sale, at NAPA a couple years ago, much cheaper than real copper !!  Works fine for 10hp Hatz diesel engine starter.
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