One of the board members messaged me privately w/ some wiring questions and it got me thinking--I need to update this thread.
For anyone that's looking at re-doing their wiring, here are a few techniques that I've picked up over the years. Some come from folks on here (Bill Adams, etc.) and others are just things that I've figured out.
1. I don't use dual battery systems. A single industrial-grade group 31 battery like the Odyssey PC210 is all most folks will ever need. Ben Little left his Engle turned on in his truck in the middle of summer and forgot all about it and went on vacation for a week. When he came back, the battery still started his truck. The PC2150 will run your fridge on battery alone overnight no problemo
. Dual-battery systems add unnecessary complexity and expense.
2. I don't solder battery terminal lugs on cable any more because the solder can break loose over time. I only do crimping after Bill Adams schooled me on this. I don't like the hammer crimpers so I use the big levered crimpers that look like bolt cutters. They are expensive to buy but if you buy your battery from Battery Systems, they'll let you borrow theirs
3. Never run bare wire around your truck. Wrap it in some kind of protective coating. Some people like to use wiring loom and electrical tape from Autozone and that's fine. I prefer to use expandable braided sleeving for internal runs and industrial-grade, diesel-resistant heat shrink for external runs. Genuine Dealz
is a good source for the braided sleeving. The easiest way to cut braided sleeving is with a piece of bare wire, tied between two supports and heated with a torch. (Thanks to Brian Hall for that one)
4. Always use grommets. Never, ever run cable through a bare hole in your battery box or anywhere else. You're just asking for an electrical fire if do.
5. Always use a fuse block. Don't pile a bunch of wires on your battery terminals or use some crappy splitter. Blue Sea Systems makes the fuse blocks that I like.
6. Match your fuses to the device being hooked up. Find out what it's max current draw is and round up to the closest appropriate fuse rating. Using a 30A fuse for a 3A device is creating a potential fire hazard.
7. Fuse everything except your starter and your winch. Use an inline Maxi-Fuse when hooking up high-draw components like a fuse block.
8. Use quality connectors and wire. I recommend Ancor marine-grade wire and connectors. You can buy it from West Marine or places like GenuineDealz and Defender.com. With marine-grade wire, the individual copper strands are solder-coated before being braided. This helps reduce corrosion at the terminals. Ancor makes heatshrink connectors that do a nice job of sealing up to the wire. West Marine stocks these in their stores. Also, use the correct gauge and style of connectors. The connector needs to match the wire you're attaching as well as the terminal post size it's connecting to. For the Blue Sea Systems boxes, look in their technical specs for the specific terminal sizes and buy ring connectors to match.
9. Bring spares. I bring a little spare wire along with spare terminals/lugs for everything. I also bring solder and a torch in case I need to reattach a lug and don't have a crimper available.
10. Keep it simple
. Avoid battery switchers, gauges, etc. The less wiring, the better. The less crap crammed in your battery box the better. If something goes wrong and you have an electrical fire, you need to be able to get into your battery box and pull the Maxi-Fuse quickly.