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Author Topic: Wiring for a mobile setup  (Read 618 times)
AB9DF
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« on: June 07, 2006, 11:17:22 AM »

I purchased an FT-897d and I am wanting to wire it up for mobile use.  Does anyone have any recomendation for purchasing something for of setup to run from the battery to inside the van?  I have seen a unit that has heavy gauge wire that connects to the battery directly and then in the vehicle there are several connections all fused on a strip that makes hooking up equipment easy.  Not sure of what you call them but are they good and if so which one would you recommend?  I will be using an FT-897d and will be only using 100 watts.  (no linear)  I will have a LDG tuner but thats it.  Any recommedations?
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AC2RC
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« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2006, 12:07:12 PM »

First read Alan's website to learn all about mobile   www.k0bg.com  Then you can get all the necessary wires etc from www.powerwerx.com. All my equipment for mobile and at home now has Anderson Power Pole connectors.
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K0BG
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« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2006, 01:05:22 PM »

There are a couple of things to keep in mind. First, not all power distribution blocks are of the same caliber. Some come equipped with the power leads already attached. The wiring is universally too small. As pointed out above, the PowerWorx are the best.

The LDG Coupler (tuner) does not have the range to tune an 8 foot whip from 40 through 6 like say an Yaesu FT40 or Icom AH-4 can. They are find for matching the antenna to the 50 ohms the radio like to see, but not much more.

You can read about all of this on my web site.

I'm going through a hosting change, so if there is something that doesn't come up for you, let me know and I'll e-mail it to you.

Alan, KØBG
www.k0bg.com
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AD5OS
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« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2006, 07:26:05 PM »

Ive seen some hams use mobile wiring kits from car audio stores that use heavy guage wire and large fuses. Might give it a try if thats the kind of kit you wanna use.... just be careful and get as heavy a guage as you can install or afford to keep the voltage drop as low as possible especially if you are installing the rig in the trunk area.
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AB2MH
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« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2006, 12:01:56 PM »

For the battery connections I would recommend 6AWG THHN wire, available from Home Depot and other home improvement or electrical stores.  It is oil and gas resistant so it will withstand the harsh conditions in the engine compartment.  I would also recommend that you get split tubing to further protect the wires.  It also gives it a nice stock look.  Get some good 3M electrical tape to seal the deal. (wrap it around the split tubing.)

Solder your wires.  Don't use butt splices.  Use heatshrink tubing to insulate the joints.  

Beware of some of those fuses used for car audio.  Many of them are just for show.  I once had a car audio fuseholder melt with an 80A fuse in it.  Obviously made with cheap plastic. Get one of those inline blade fuse holders and make sure you have a fuse as close to the battery as possible.  The fuse for my mobile setup is 4 inches away from the battery.

Check Alan's site for more recommendations.  I took some of his advice and my installation came out pretty neat and safe.
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AB2MH
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« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2006, 12:05:29 PM »

One more thing - consider changing the battery terminal connector to one that has a separate connector for accessories.  It's much neater than screwing a lug on the bolt.
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K0BG
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« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2006, 03:31:10 PM »

Ryan's suggestion may be alright for some folks who take the time to install a new battery connector like those used in mobile sound installations. But everyone I have seen, wasn't!

One of the problems amateurs face in connecting to existing batteries is where (or how) to connect to the battery. I have always used a second nut for the existing connector, and I've never had a problem. A couple of times, I've had to replace the bolt with a longer one, but that is a minor gripe.

Some batteries have both posts and side mounts to make them more "universal" and this obviously gives you another option.

Power distribution is much easier today when you use the aforementioned blocks. They are the best solution for the AVERAGE amateur. I go beyond these, and I end up spending a lot more money. If your installation is a "no-holds-bared" approach, I'll be happy to send you photos.

The one thing I am REALLY adamant about is taking your time, and do things right. One amateur I have been helping, has spend some three months installing a system I could do in a few hours. It isn't that mine (or his) will be any more (or less) functional, it is a case of knowing your limitations.

It is probably in the TMI category, but I use the seven Ps as a rule. If you want to know what that is, e-mail me.

Alan, KØBG
www.k0bg.com
k0bg@plateautel.net
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AB2MH
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« Reply #7 on: June 20, 2006, 11:06:34 AM »

One of the reasons I mentioned a new battery connector is that it makes things easier for the people who service your car.  Of course if you do your own service this will not apply.  But on more than one occasion I have had the dealership leave my radio connection out or hanging somewhere else.  The worst case was that they left my battery terminal loose because the terminal lug gave them a false impression that the battery terminal was properly secured.

No more of that.  I installed a new connector with spaces for three wires.  One of them for the car, two for the heavy duty wires to go to the radios.  The wires are held in place with set screws which you tighten with hex wrenches.  I tinned the wire so that it would remain stiff and maintain a good connection.  A bit of grease there to keep moisture out and you're done.  No problems thus far.
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