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Author Topic: Mobile install newbie questions  (Read 1116 times)
KG4NEL
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Posts: 443




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« on: January 25, 2003, 10:18:23 PM »

Hi-

I'm in the process of my first mobile install, in a '94 Ford E-150 van. Radios will be a IC-706 and a 2m/70cm FM rig. Eventually, I'd like to get a screwdriver antenna with an automatic controller.

For both safety and flexibility in adding future equipment, I'd like to use 6AWG or 8AWG wire, directly connected and fused from the battery. Obviously, I'm going to have to splice the fuse wires and the wires going through the firewall together. Like I said before, I've never done a mobile install before, so what would be the correct way to splice these wires together?

Also, what would be the recommended way to distribute power to several radios once I get it through the firewall? I can't seem to find terminal strips or fuse blocks rated for 6AWG wire...

Thanks for any help,

Jim
KG4NEL





 
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KC0LPV
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« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2003, 01:18:38 AM »

Though I am sure a more experienced poster will chime in soon, I will post my thoughts.

I am in kind of the same boat as you, doing my first mobile amateur radio install.  What caught my eye recently was the power distribution systems used by the "ridiculously loud stereo guys".

They get serious about large gauge wire, and use fairly high quality metal distribution blocks that can take large gauge wire, and have built in fuse locations.

I'm thinking that $40 spent on parts in the local boom-stereo store will pay off in not having to cobble together basically the same thing from parts.

Jim
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N8EMR
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Posts: 235




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« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2003, 08:32:21 AM »

If  your over 10amps you really need to go directly to the battery. Skip the monster cables the DB, big amp stereo crowed uses. They are as much for show as they are for use. Get whatever size wire you need and run it from the battery to inside the cabin. Put a fuse near the batter and on the inside of the cab near the firewall. Get yourself a power distrubution panel, This could be a simple screw lug panel or a fancy rig runner. Now run power to your equipment from this point.
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K0BG
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« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2003, 02:05:38 PM »

I have three articles published on this web site.


http://www.eham.net/articles/4407
http://www.eham.net/articles/4424
http://www.eham.net/articles/4425

If you're a "newbie" mobiler, you should read them.

BTW, the reason for the larger wire is more of a noise abatement scheme than a power requirement scheme.

Alan, KØBG
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WA4PTZ
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Posts: 528




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« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2003, 05:49:07 AM »

It looks like you already have some good answers so
all I will add is that basic electricity and common
sense go a long way in mobile installations. Plan,
plan, plan. Work out all the details before you start.
Be sure that the fuse block and distribution panel
will work properly with the power capabilities.
 40 - 60 amps may be needed to operate all of
the gear . These large fuse holders have been used
by two-way shops for years so I know they can be
found. Be sure to use cable routing that will protect
your cables, not endanger them from heat or sharp
metal edges. Use grommets....  don't route your
coax over your dc power cable and stay as far away
from the auto fuse buss and computer as possible.
If this is not possible then aluminum foil works
great to add shielding . No matter how you do it ,
later you will discover better ways. That's called
learning and it's normal.  
Good luck -  Tim
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KG4NEL
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Posts: 443




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« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2003, 06:58:19 PM »

First of all, thanks for the input...I've decided on a plan and bought some stuff today. However, I've got another question, one that may even be more elementary...I'm going to use two cables from the battery to a fuse block inside the cab (one of those high-power stereo ones with two outputs - figuring I'll use one for a RIGrunner and leave the other for a high power amp in the future). The positive lead goes directly into the fuse block. Where does the negative lead go? I'm assuming it goes to the existing ground tap that's under the dash.  
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K7IHC
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Posts: 269




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« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2003, 02:37:57 AM »

I've found a lot of good 12VDC power accessories from the marine electrical section from suppliers like West Marine and Boat US.  Perko, Cole-Hersee, Blue Sea Systems, and Marinco are a few main brands.
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N2SQV
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Posts: 8




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« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2003, 12:56:06 PM »

If I understand you correctly, you have 2 wires (1 positive and 1 negative) comming from the battery through the firewall to one of those high-power stereo power distribution blocks with two outputs.  Try using a second distribution block for the negative wire.  It's a good idea to have both positive and negative wires directly from the battery to the radio(s). It helps cut down on noise (especially alternator wine) and also eliminates trying to find something metal and grounded under the dash boards of todays newer cars. I'm assuming the the power distribution blocks comes with a fuse that mounts at the battery and then 2 fuses at the  distribution block for each output.  If not, I would highly recomend having the fuse right off the battery as close as you can, at least on the positive terminal.  Happy mobile hamming!
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N9CXH
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Posts: 11




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« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2003, 04:32:27 PM »

   I have installed a 706, and think your choice of wiring may be overkill.  I think that #10 is more than capable of handling the 706, and you will be able to find a terminal strip for this size.
I used ring terminals that fit over the 1/4" battery bolts.  I recommend a coat of grease on the terminal, and then extra over the bolts after being tightened down.
  If you are planning the heavier wire due to plans for a linear amplifier, use the heavier wire to a terminal block, and a separate pair of wires for the 706 from the terminal block.
  I did an"invisible" install in my '95 Jeep Grand Cherokee.  All cabling under carpet or thru door frame trim, etc.  (It took about 8 hours working by myself.)
All that shows is the control head and mic. The 706 & AT -180 are under the curb-side rear seat, only control head shows, and can be removed.
Good luck, John  N9CXH
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KG4NEL
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Posts: 443




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« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2003, 07:15:38 PM »

First of all, I'd like to say thanks for all the responses to my questions...

I've bought everything I think I'm going to need to get started, and will probably get it installed sometime this weekend, if I can find the time. Maybe next week or so I'll post a question on my next challenge...mounting a screwdriver antenna.

Thanks for all the help,

Jim
KG4NEL

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KC2GFS
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Posts: 9




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« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2003, 11:29:08 AM »

To the N9 with the 95 Grand Cherokee, how did you route the 12 power wires from the battery into the passenger compartment? I have a 96 Grand Cherokee and I am puzzled on this issue.

N2IK formerly KC2GFS
Walt
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KZ1X
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Posts: 3229




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« Reply #11 on: February 01, 2003, 07:55:05 PM »

Jim

You may have seen Brian's new install, very nice, and mine (of course), and Chris Pope's, and Dewey 'AHR - all at OCRA meetings.  Brian Collins' mobile setup makes most fixed stations look bad! Some of the best pickup installations by the most talented and gifted craftspeople, right here in Orange County!  C'mon by for some good tips and helpful help.

/steve
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K5LXP
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« Reply #12 on: February 04, 2003, 03:12:22 PM »

After numerous years in the 2-way biz, I did a 'custom' install to see what I could get away with.  Installing mobile radios isn't magic, it's mechanics.  The procedures are well established and it helps to have no fear when it comes to drilling holes.

http://www.qsl.net/k5lxp/mobile/QSTarticle/QSTarticle.html

Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
k5lxp@arrl.net

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KG4GXI
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Posts: 25




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« Reply #13 on: February 06, 2003, 02:46:30 PM »

About the Grand Cherokee cable run. I had a 95ZJ and ran my power thru the rubber gromet used by the throttle cable (to the best of my memory). It was almost straight up from the pedal. Sounds like N9 did something different if he went to the back seat.
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