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Author Topic: Battery terminal question  (Read 10683 times)
KK4LGR
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« on: January 28, 2014, 09:43:48 AM »

Howdy all,
I've got a Chevrolet S10, and it's got the damnedest battery terminals.  Most car batteries I've encountered have posts that the cables clamp onto with a screw-based clamp system.  Want to attach something directly to the battery?  Get some ring terminals and attach them under the screw on the cable clamp.  Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.

Not my truck.  The clamps on the truck are basically big ring terminals themselves, each with a big, permanently attached bolt that screws directly into the battery.  I have no idea how to attach something directly to this battery other than using alligator clamps.  Any advice would be appreciated.

73,
Adam
KK4LGR
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AA4PB
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« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2014, 10:02:11 AM »

They make a variety dual cable adapters and post extenders for battery side terminals. Try looking as car part suppliers and sound equipment installers to find something that will work for you.

Also, does your vehicle have a + post located somewhere near the battery? If so, that's a good place to get your connection. Often there is only a few inches of heavy cable between the battery and the connection so it's essentially the same as connecting directly to the battery. It also keeps your radio wiring away from the corrosion of the battery.
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K5LXP
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« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2014, 12:36:03 PM »

Quote from:  link=topic=94750.msg732383#msg732383 date=1390931028
I've got a Chevrolet S10, and it's got the damnedest battery terminals.

Side terminal batteries were introduced in the 1970's.  I know for sure my '85 S-10 had one though my 2013 Impala has standard posts.

I would go for the remoted positive terminal, usually found as an input to the underhood fuseblock/relay box.  Batteries are nasty things to directly connect unsealed terminations to.

Not sure about the exact side terminal setup you have, but I've used a standard ring lug underneath the bolt of the battery cable ring terminal.  The bolt is held captive by the molded rubber around the ring.  Remove the bolt, cut a little notch in the molded rubber as a relief for the lug, put the lug onto the bolt and put the bolt back into the molded ring, then reconnect to the battery.

In my stash I still have some replacement side lug bolts that include a threaded stud you can put a regular lug onto.  I recall that they sometimes made the connection point stick out too far from the side of the battery in some installations.  By putting the lug under the existing bolt the stock profile is retained.


Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
« Last Edit: January 28, 2014, 12:43:19 PM by K5LXP » Logged
KK4LGR
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« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2014, 02:56:01 PM »

Thank you for your replies.  I am currently tired and cranky because I've been awake too long, so please read nothing into the following bitchy language.

GM has the following guidelines published about installing 2 way radios in their cars:  http://service.gm.com/techlineinfo/radio.html  These guidelines seem to be designed to make installing a radio in an S10 difficult.  I'm not good enough with wires to route them across the front of the engine compartment from the (passenger side mounted) battery to the driver's side firewall without it getting abraded by the hood opening and closing, or falling into the radiator fan and causing massive damage.  There's also the fact that the S10's engine is actually bigger than the firewall, so to route the wires through a grommeted hole, the engine has to come out for access.  Add to that the worst battery terminal design in the universe, and I give up. 

I will buy a mag mount antenna with an SMA fitting, and I will use my handheld rather than go through the anus pain of running a wire from my battery to my dashboard. 
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W5ARP
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« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2014, 05:16:08 PM »

Just a suggestion--for running power wires to/from the battery.  There are likely bits of wiring harness already traversing much of the path your wires need to take.  Just look for those, and zip-tie the radio's power wires to the existing harness.

Geof
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N9KTW
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« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2014, 08:31:48 PM »

Adam:

Please contact me "off list" and I will give you some pointers on connecting to the battery in your S-10. I have a 1999 Blazer with both a dual band rig, and a tap for my Icom 706.


de Howard, N9KTW
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K1CJS
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« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2014, 06:26:24 AM »

Although I have to agree with you about side terminal battery design, there are aftermarket side terminal battery bolts that have extended posts and screws in the middle of them--for the purpose of attaching extra wires and for jump starting.  I believe you can still get them at AutoZone and similar auto product stores. 

Way back when those monstrosities came out, I made the original bolts into something similar except for the jump starting simply by drilling and tapping holes into the center of the 5/16 hex used to tighten them.  No, that doesn't weaken the hex appreciably as long as you don't make too big a hole (I believe I drilled and tapped for a number 8 SAE screw) and it works well.  73 and good luck!

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K5LXP
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« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2014, 06:50:20 AM »


These guidelines seem to be designed to make installing a radio in an S10 difficult.

Uh, no.  They're guidelines to make the installation reliable.


Quote
Add to that the worst battery terminal design in the universe, and I give up. 

It's a 5 minute operation to put a lug under a side terminal bolt.  I've done it hundreds of times in my past life as a radio tech.

If you think that's a pain, I've been there and back with my S-10:



Not to mention it's a battery EV with 24 lead acid batteries, 600 amp controller and associated traction and control wiring.



Your little battery terminal troubles are a walk in the park.  Understandably a lot of folks don't want to mess with it, in which case you can always take it to a 2-way radio shop or stereo installation place where they do this stuff all day long.


Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM


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KK4LGR
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« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2014, 01:01:42 PM »

Wow Mark, I was being sarcastic when I said you have to remove the engine to access the firewall, and you've actually done it.
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KK4LGR
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« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2014, 01:04:34 PM »

In other news, my battery bolts seem to be molded into the wire terminals somehow.  It would be ideal to replace them with some that are tapped for another bolt, but I don't think Chevrolet wants me to.
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KB4QAA
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« Reply #10 on: January 29, 2014, 01:26:37 PM »

'Get an adapter that has an extra bolt for 'stereo' accessories. You can pick them up in any auto store or stereo shop section.  About $10.  I've used them on my batteries for 14 years.
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AA4PB
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« Reply #11 on: January 29, 2014, 01:47:15 PM »

In other news, my battery bolts seem to be molded into the wire terminals somehow.  It would be ideal to replace them with some that are tapped for another bolt, but I don't think Chevrolet wants me to.

Are you sure that you can't open the molded part enough to get the bolts out?
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KK4LGR
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« Reply #12 on: January 29, 2014, 04:09:36 PM »

Welp, I'm not installing a radio in my truck.

The simple fact is, after a day of googling, I can't find anything short of a new battery that looks remotely safe.  So, best case scenario, I die in a car fire.  But I'm nowhere near lucky enough for that.  Best I can honestly hope for is to be horribly disfigured in the car fire and left in severe chronic pain for the rest of my life, and a huge hospital copay from my shitty health insurance.  With all the contradictory advice out there (in this very thread I've been told to wire directly to the battery and to wire into the fuse box) and my beginner-grade wiring skills, I'm beginning to think mobile ham is a bad idea.

In fact, since I read that thread about antenna-based attic fires, I think I might take a hammer to my radios. If these radios are this damn dangerous, I don't feel okay selling them, I can't afford the lawsuit.
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"Well I'm sure glad we've got these ham radios to talk on."
--Unidentified station heard on 2 meters
AA4PB
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« Reply #13 on: January 29, 2014, 05:26:37 PM »

Talk to service people at Best Buy or other place that installs high-power audio equipment in vehicles every day. They should be able to give you some hints and sell you the necessary terminals, or make the connections for you if you are unwilling to do it. It's not all that's difficult or dangerous if you have the correct equipment and know how to do it.
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K1CJS
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« Reply #14 on: January 30, 2014, 07:35:24 AM »

In other news, my battery bolts seem to be molded into the wire terminals somehow.  It would be ideal to replace them with some that are tapped for another bolt, but I don't think Chevrolet wants me to.

Yep, all GM OEM cables are like that--it's only a way to keep those bolts from falling out of the connector.  You can get them out easily enough.  Simply place the cable end with the threaded part of the bolt on a piece of wood and press down hard on the edges of the terminal.  If the bolt is still not coming out easily, just turn the bolt with a wrench while pressing down and it will.
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