Battery & Charging
Power Cables: Assuming I wouldn’t get what I specifically wanted from anywhere, I decided to make my own cables out of 25 mm2 x 170 Amp cable. This would ensure the cable runs and terminals were neat and tidy.
One thing I was particular about was the orientation of the terminal ends.
Comment: Try going into a car accessory shop and asking for a 35 cm length of 25 mm2 x 170 Amp rated cable, black, with 10 mm ring terminals on each end, each being 90o out of phase with respect to each other and with the flat bit facing the vertical on the kerbside side, and horizontal on the chassis side... And no, I didn’t... And I had no intention of doing so to see what reaction I would get.
Ring Terminal Connections: Tried soldering and blow-torching but these methods didn’t work for me. The solder just ran out of the little hole, and there was melted and toasted plastic everywhere when I tried the blowtorch method.
So it was over to plan “B” and that was, crimping. A much neater job and I did put some heat shrink on the ends to further neaten things up.
I also sourced the correct size ring terminals for what I had to do. A small detail but it had to be right. It really was so important to get a good solid conductive connection.
Terminals sizes used:
- 10 mm ring terminal (earth and main power cable to the battery posts)
- 8 mm ring terminal (starter terminal)
- 6 mm ring terminal (alternator “B” terminal)
Battery Cubbyhole: As my battery tray is under the wheel arch in its own little cubbyhole with the water-filled heater heat-exchanger directly above it, I needed to ensure the battery terminals were properly protected against potential water spray. So I went for the brass screw type and associated covers from CBS.
Alternator: I have a GM 10SI “one-wire-hook-up” alternator, so I thought I’d write something about how this alternator type fits in with my grand scheme of things.
Wiring up was straightforward; a single cable to the “B” [battery] terminal on the back of the alternator and one to the starter motor and job dun’... Not quite!
I had an issue with the ignition warning light. On a GD LS setup, it’s just plug-&-Play to the dashboard loom via the engine plug; that being the ign’ warning light (NY and N, L14 wires.) But, as I imported my alternator from the USA, I had to wire up my ignition “dummy light” [US terminology] directly from the alternator’s auxiliary spade terminal 1R. This to one side of the ign’ warning light and a 12v switched feed to the other side.
A simple job but there was a problem... I couldn’t get it to function as it was supposed to.
Then, after an age of faffing around and troubleshooting and research, I discovered the alternator’s auxiliary 1R and 2F terminals were bridged, or webbed [again to use US terminology.] This meant that BOTH terminals had 12v all the time – even with the key out. Essentially, the 1R terminal was always live as it always had a direct path back to the battery via the 2F [voltage regulator] terminal.
The theory is: a 12v switched feed to the bulb [engine not running] would provide the necessary differential to keep the bulb lit when the ign’ is on; and would equalise [the differential voltage] when the engine was running i.e. no voltage differential, therefore the bulb would extinguish. But it didn’t work like that because of the 1R & 2F terminals was bridged.
The problem was, the supplied voltage regulator was for the US market. Totally mind-boggled me for ages, but I got it sorted in the end and I changed the voltage regulator (which wasn't a big job) for one that was configured for how I needed it to function... I really could have done without this issue, but I did learn how an alternator worked.
- 25 mm2 x 170 Amp cable
- 1R Terminal: Connected to Ign warning light(s)
- 2F Terminal: Connected to 12v switched ignition
Now I have three ignition warning lights:
- On the dashboard (LED): Standard warning light. Nothing special about this.
- Starter Button (LED): The [Pilgrim Motorsport's] ‘Cobra’ starter button has an integral LED that lights up when the ignition is on, and goes off when the engine is running. This looks really good and functions as a regular ignition warning light.
- In the engine bay (LED): I needed an electrical load for the Pilgrim 'Cobra' starter LED light; so rather than having a regular bulb sit behind the dashboard shining away meaninglessly, I decided to put an additional ignition light in the engine bay. No real practical reason for this but it serves as an additional awareness [safety] feature when looking under the bonnet.