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Author Topic: Motorola shop question  (Read 1896 times)
CERTNEAL
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« on: August 07, 2009, 10:13:15 AM »

I am in need of some help installing my 2 meter radio. The local Motorola 2 way shop seems a good choice but do I need to worry about the quality of anything they use. Mainly I am wondering about the power wire they might use, he said he may have some "laying around" that he could use.

These guys do a ton of cop cars and I figure they know what they are doing but should I be at all worried they may use some lower gauge wire to get by? My radio is an older Azden but it is 50 watts and I want to get all I can out of it. I plan to get a larsen NMO 150 antenna and NMO mount for them to install as well, the price seems well worth it so far.

Thanks in advance!
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2009, 10:49:55 AM »

I'm sure they'll use appropriate wiring, this isn't rocket science.

For the Azden #12-2 should be plenty if the "run" is 20 feet or less, which it certainly ought to be for any conventional car or light truck.
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KB1LKR
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« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2009, 12:45:34 PM »

Just ask them to run 10 AWG (or perhaps 12 AWG) wires for power, so they know what you need/want.
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N2HBX
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« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2009, 06:18:37 PM »

Let them know the power output of the radio. Any MSS worth the name will install the correct gauge wiring.

73,
Larry, N2HBX
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CERTNEAL
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« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2009, 06:53:07 PM »

I appreciate the answers, makes me feel a bit better about using them.

Cheers,
Neal
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KF5BTI
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« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2009, 09:04:03 PM »

Why not ask them about the install details to before they perform the install.  Depending on the shop they might also allow you to watch/supervise the install to ensure its up to your standards and you may learn some new tricks/techniques.
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K0BT
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« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2009, 11:01:53 PM »

I wouldn't worry about the phrase "laying around" when they talk about wire.  An MSS will probably have a lot of old wiring harnesses in boxes.  They were sufficient for 100W Motracs, so the wiring will work fine for your purpose.  As the other poster indicated, any MSS worth its salt will install your radio correctly.
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CERTNEAL
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« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2009, 05:07:51 AM »

I do hope to be able to watch, as this is my first radio I want it done right, but the next time I hope I can do it myself.

Once again I appreciate the help and look forward to being on the air soon!

Aloha,
Neal
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K5LXP
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« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2009, 08:36:54 AM »

You could also eliminate all doubt and supply them with the materials you want them to use.  Wire, fuseholders, powerpoles, premium NMO mounts, coax, you name it.

Just because a two way shop does a lot of installs doesn't mean they do it well.  I've had to repair more "professional" installations than I care to recount.  In general you get what you pay for.

Odds are they'll do a clean professional job. But there's nothing wrong with "helping" them to make sure it happens.  

Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
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CERTNEAL
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« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2009, 05:23:06 AM »

Mark I appreciate your comment, I had the same idea and plan to give them a Larsen NMO mount and 150 antenna to install. My friend volunteered to help mount the radio and power wire, he is very good at most all automotive stuff like that.

Now I just need to find some 8 guage wire, I think Lowes has some. I know I probably don't need that heavy of wire but if I upgrade my radio I will have that part done anyway.

I plan to use a 49 stranded copper wire, does that sound about right? Should be about a 6-8 foot length so I don't think I will drop much voltage.

Thanks a bunch,
Neal
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K5LXP
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« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2009, 06:39:24 AM »

6-8ft of number 8 is way overkill for a 50W radio, 12ga would be plenty.  #8 house wire from Lowe's will be kind of stiff, the real flexible stuff has many more strands, like this:

<http://www.powerwerx.com/product.asp?ProdID=30204&CtgID=1002>

8ft of 8ga is good for about 75A continuous draw, so you should be good for any 12V radio you'll ever connect to it.  FWIW, 8ft of 12ga is good for half that, which is still more than enough for almost any 12V radio...


Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
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AA4PB
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« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2009, 06:43:45 AM »

I'd look for the wire at an automotive supply store. The wire is generally more flexible and has a stronger insulation that what you'll find in Lowes and other home supply stores. #10 is probably plenty big enough for what you want to do and you can find it in a red/black pair that makes for easier routing.

Many modern vehicles have power attachment points close to the battery where you can make the connections (fuse the wire at the connection point) rather than going directly to the battery. This avoids the possiblity of your wires being corroded by battery acid over time.

If you attach directly to the battery then you need a fuse in the negative lead as well. If you connect to the attachment point at the ground end of the factory battery negative wire then you do not want to fuse the negative lead.
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AA4PB
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« Reply #12 on: August 11, 2009, 06:50:54 AM »

By the way, #10 wire has a resistance of 1 ohm per 1000 feet or 0.001 ohm per foot. An 8-foot run (16 feet total down and back) will have a voltage drop of about 0.15V maximum for a 50W radio.
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CERTNEAL
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« Reply #13 on: August 11, 2009, 10:34:50 AM »

Thanks again for the help guys! I am going with a 10 gauge wire I can pick up at Advance auto. Any recommendations on how to fuse the ends, the connector to use?

Thanks much,
Neal
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K5LXP
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« Reply #14 on: August 11, 2009, 02:29:22 PM »

You can get inline blade fuse holders in the same aisle you found your wire.  The local Auto Zone here has two sizes, I go for the 40A version (#10 wire).  The fuse you use in it is dictated by the current draw of the radio.  I would use whatever the OEM used in the factory power lead as a starting point.

Use butt splices to connect the inline fuseholder to your wire, and then crimp an appropriately sized eye lug onto the remaining fuseholder lead.

Attach to the battery terminal/power distribution stud per AA4PB's post.

Personally I never would connect the negative lead directly to to battery, so a negative lead fuseholder isn't necessary.  Just an appropriate eye lug on the negative lead and ground it near the high current battery chassis ground connection.

Routing is important.  At a minimum secure it with tie wraps to stable points so that it doesn't flex or abrade against anything and to keep it away from anything hot.  As an extra measure of protection you can use split loom.  Leave a little extra slack at the end to allow servicing later.  I usually bundle a fold of wire along with the fuseholder and secure them together with tie wraps to a convenient support.

As far as radio end termination the sky's the limit.  You can butt splice it directly to the radio harness, use powerpoles or come up with your own distribution bus.  

Hint: Leave the fuse out until you're ready to test the installation.  Check everything with a meter before you connect the radio.


Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
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