Kelley's Works in Progress

Electrical Upgrades

Here's what got us started...

Battery Cables

This is where we started - aftermarket battery cables were either too small, too big, or too expensive.

Works in Progress uses 1AWG or 4AWG welding cable, with fine strands for flexibility and increased current-carrying capacity. This cable also has heavy-duty oil- and grease-resistant insulation, so you don't have to worry about it getting soaked with oil, grease, fuel, water, or anything else.

All connections are pressure-crimped, packed with corrosion inhibitor, and sealed twice - first with vinyl terminal tape, then with polyolefin heat shrink tubing. This makes a connection that should never be contaminated or work loose over the life of the vehicle.

The long and short of it is that these are probably the most solid battery/mains cables you can buy - anywhere. That's our goal. Goal, Hell; that's our mission.

Click for full-size pic.

Pictured here is the "six-cable" set for RENIX XJ and MJ (1987-1990, 4.0.) It includes replacements for all the OEM mains cables, a replacement for the silly little "ground braid" from the cylinder head to the firewall, and an "alternator case bonding" cable that goes from the back of the alternator case directly to the battery negative terminal. It's a known issue that sometimes the alternator ground (done through the engine) isn't always what is really should be - especially if you've put in a larger alternator! The "bonding" cable provides a direct ground path for the alternator, which stabilizes power output and can also ensure full output for any unit over 100A. This isn't always necessary for OEM power levels, but it can help if things start to "wander." If you have an upgraded alternator, this is very nearly mandatory (if you were to find an alternator with a rated full output of over 150A, I would say it's mandatory - over 250A, and let me know so I can get larger mains cables for you!)

In the center of the image is a pair of the brass battery terminals I offer (for an additional small cost) for people who can't find them locally. They are "marine" style, meaning that they connect using a post rather than directly crimping onto the cable. This not only makes the manufacture and/or replacement of cable easier, but it also simplifies the addition of extra power supply circuits and disconnecting the battery for electrical service (you only need to remove the terminal when changing the battery.)

Here's what they look like installed to your battery:

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And a comparison between the new cables and the OEM cables - that's the original cable on the far left:

Click for full-size pic

Why brass? Well, lead really isn't a very good conductor, but it is relatively stable and much cheaper than brass. Brass, however, has a copper base (brass is an alloy of copper and zinc,) which makes it a much better conductor, is also a harder metal, and corrosion doesn't penetrate as quickly once it gets started. Brass is also easier to clean without actually removing material. There's no good reason to not use brass, except that it's a cost-cutting measure by the OEM's.

Since most people can get brass terminals locally (check boating supply stores,) I don't keep a lot around. Since more people have been ordering them, I might find a bulk supplier sometime soon...

Prices for battery cables can be found on the Parts Pricing page.

Extra-Heavy-Duty Jumper Cables

You want overkill? We got it!

We have three varieties of booster cables - B-series (with clamps at both ends, like regular booster cables. But moreso;) B-G-series (terminated with clamps at one end, and an Anderson Connector at the other - used for quick connects or safe "ganging" of cable sets;) or J-series (terminated with Andersons at both ends - used for extensions and "yard jumps" between "fleet" vehicles.)

These jumper cables are made with the same 1 gauge welding cable used for our battery cables, with clamps that will probably remind you of those black plastic grippers you saw everyone playing with in Study Hall way back when. Watch out - these clamps will hold on to anything you can get in their jaws!

Another plus - if you end up doing a lot of jump starts (I somehow always get drafted into this...) you can have cables that you clamp onto the other battery, then just plug in at your vehicle. You can even get two studs, so you can run your cables easily from either end of your vehicle.

While these aren't exactly what you'll get (I made these quite a while ago, and haven't had a chance to make a "demo" set for what I'm selling yet,) this will give you the general idea. These are made with twinned 2 gage wiring salvaged from an aircraft ground power unit (I had to rebuild it, and they wanted new cables and all.) This set is about 25 feet long, The second set is made from "lesser" cable (about six gage) and about twenty feet long (I tend to do more jumpstarts for people than my wife, so I kept the heavier set.) Also, the handle you see on my set won't come with the cables I make - it's left over from an old job. I have to admit, they're tough! It took running the Anderson over with a 14,000# work truck to break it (that was before I got the handle on there, which is why the handle's in good shape and the connector looks like it's been dragged through a volcanic field.)

These would be representatives of the B-G-series booster cables - if they were B-series, you'd see those clamps at both ends, and if they were J-series, you'd see an Anderson at both ends.

Click for full-size pic

This is a single set of cables. Like I said, it's not exactly what you'd get (I haven't made a demo set yet, and they won't be as beat-up as these.)

Click for full-size pic

Here's a pair of sets - both with clamps and Andersons. The next picture shows why I do this...

Now you see two sets "ganged" together - this makes for about 50 feet of jumper space. Comes in handy...

The "Greylock" connector used for the jumper cable quick-connect will also work nicely for winches that aren't permanently mounted, or that have a quick-connect installed for easy removal and servicing. Even if the color is different, the connector is the same.

Properly called "Anderson Connectors," a Greylock is a standard industrial connector used for heavy-duty battery chargers, and works well for any high-current circuit that needs to be connected and disconnected easily. They are polarized, and cannot be connected backwards. They "make" and "break" without sparking, and the silver-plated copper contacts are something I haven't seen corrode yet.

Another advantage for those of you with driving-age kids or roommates - if you have a greylock set, no-one can use it if they don't have a "STUB" connector on their vehicle. We have gone so far as to do something similar (using a smaller connector) for our battery chargers, since it is our habit to connect the charger as soon as I pull in for work. We can close hoods on them without worrying about sparking, we don't have to worry about pulling one of the clamps loose, and all we have to do is plug it in and unplug it when we're done. Makes life a little simpler...

For those of you who haven't seen an Anderson connector, here's a picture:
We use a 175A Anderson Connectors with our jumper cables, which measures 3 & 1/8" long, 2 & 3/16" wide, and 1" thick. There are two holes for mounting screws/bolts on the centerline of the connector, 1 & 1/8" apart. The terminals do not protrude from either end of the connector housing, and there is a positive "click" when two terminals are mated.

Click here for instructions on how to plan your "STUB" connector

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