Making your own jumper cables- tips?

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  #1  
Old 06-20-14, 05:26 PM
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Question Making your own jumper cables- tips?

I seem to have the worst luck. Every pair of jumper cables that I've bought never seem to do the trick. They're either thin and crappy quality. Or too short. Or the jaws don't fit around my Elantra battery's wide terminals.

I've been shopping around for some new ones after my Costco ones lost some teeth after their first use. Every other store I've been to sells these crappy, aluminium, dinky thin ones. I've also had other cables that can charge a battery, but not jump start them. I really don't want to get stranded with crappy cables, anymore. Quite a few people online have recommended simply making your own, but I want to know if anyone here in has experience doing this.

According to what I've been reading, DIY Jumper Cables need:
  • 2/0 welding cable (20 foot long)
  • Copper parrot-style clamps
And you simply just attach the cables to the jaws. Am I missing anything? And am I crazy for wanting to do this?
 
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Old 06-20-14, 06:05 PM
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2/0 seems WAY over kill to me. I would think #4 - #1 welding cable would plenty large.

Do a search on Google for "copper parrot clamps". I got some pretty good hits.
 
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Old 06-20-14, 06:41 PM
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#4 superflex welder cable.
 
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Old 06-20-14, 06:43 PM
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I have a 20' pair made from #4 welding cable and parrot clamps. Heavy, for sure, but really do the job. The welding cable won't be cheap, just so you are aware. My clamps had crimp over handles, so no soldering was needed.
 
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Old 06-20-14, 06:51 PM
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I second the motion.
#4 welding cable and good heavy duty clamps. Make them at least 20' long so you can boost an angle parked car from behind. (in the street)
Have a set of commercial 20' boosters that I have used for 30 years. They are #4 twin lead.

RR
 
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Old 06-20-14, 07:50 PM
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Exclamation

Thanks for the tips, guys.

I was hoping to avoid having to solder anything (I'm not familiar with that process at all). If I went and bought these clamps would they still requiring soldering?
 
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Old 06-20-14, 10:22 PM
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Those are $41 a pair and require soldering or crimping with the tool they show at the bottom of the page.

Have you looked at the auto parts stores. They sell twenty foot cables with #4 flex cable (duplex) and good ends for $45-$65 complete. I've bought several sets for family and they are a quality product.
 
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Old 06-21-14, 05:43 AM
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Skip the cables and buy a decent portable jump-box. Has major advantages. Many contain polarization protection to prevent mistakenly hooking + to -. In addition some car electronics nowadays do not react favorably to being jumped by the higher voltage being put out from a running engine vice the static voltage - 12.5-13.0v - of the jump box. Also negates the need to be able to get the two cars close enough for the cables to reach, i.e. you can jump a car in a garage without a push-out.

Last word of advice, ALWAYS consult the owner's manual on the car with the dead battery; some cars have very specific procedures for a jump start that go beyond simply hooking up the cables.
 
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Old 06-21-14, 06:01 AM
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Good point, John. We have one of those at our church for those who choose to ignore the ding, ding letting them know their headlights are on works great!
 
  #10  
Old 06-22-14, 08:16 PM
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Thanks for his suggestion. But is it safe to keep a portable jump-box in a car trunk with temperature extremes? Here in Canada the winter can get extremely cold, and the summers can be scorching hot.
 
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Old 06-22-14, 10:24 PM
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No, if you are going on a long trip, put the box in the trunk, otherwise it stays in the garage. Problem is, you have to treat it like any other battery device. It needs to be charged and discharged regularly. Unless you are in the business of jumping cars, a box won't replace a pair of cables.
 
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Old 06-23-14, 04:21 AM
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Mine sits on the floorboard of my wrecker 365 days a year except for when I use it or set in on my bench for a recharge and the charge lasts a long time. Granted, our temp range is a little narrower. The batteries in the box are sealed. I hook up the power to refresh every couple of weeks if I haven't had a jump to do. While it's obviously more reasonable for me to use, I wouldn't totally count them out for routine use in lieu of cables.

Great thought on the church keeping one around, what a great idea! Hope the users are careful, though.
 
  #13  
Old 06-23-14, 04:39 AM
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You were right expressing concern over the extreme temps in Canada.
Many welding cables are not flexible at the lows we get.
If you store it coiled in your vehicle and straighten it @ -30 degC make sure you have some good electrical tape to fix the insulation that breaks off.

Good low temp welding cable is not cheap.......you would be further ahead just biting the bullet and buy a good pre-made cable.
 

Last edited by GregH; 06-24-14 at 04:54 AM. Reason: Typo
  #14  
Old 06-24-14, 04:17 AM
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Thought all the Canadians wintered over in Florida.....
 
  #15  
Old 06-24-14, 04:53 AM
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Only the rich ones! ...........................
 
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