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Last minute wiring advice?

hawk flat bed wiring

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#1 Durango1


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Posted 17 October 2015 - 02:47 PM

Hey folks,


So Sioux and I are driving up Monday to Jackson, WY to have Denny mount our new Hawk on our new aluminum flat bed. (I sure wish I didn't struggle so much on adding photos to this site.)


Any way, I am super "electrically challenged" and all this talk about amps, wiring size and voltage drop just makes my head spin.:) Yet I also want (as much as possible) to have this install be done right.


I know the wiring kit from FWC comes with 10 gauge wire from the battery to the camper. Denny says I can bring a heavier gauge and we'll just need to whittle it down to fit their standard connector. So my questions:


1) Is it worthwhile to go with a heavier gauge? If so, what size? 6 or 8 gauge? Bigger? Denny says I only need 14 feet.


2) What type of wire? Stranded? Duplex?


3) Given that we'll be "throttling the wire down" by inserting it into a smaller connector will we lose the value of the heavier gauge?


Thanks in advance and I'll (painfully) try to post photos.



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#2 LookyLou


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Posted 17 October 2015 - 02:55 PM

Go with the standard install. Everyone has their opinion and the others that don't "know" as much wring their hands and worry. Don't fix a problem that may or may not exist.

The output of your alternator is more important than going to a bigger wire.

Edited by LookyLou, 17 October 2015 - 02:57 PM.

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#3 ntsqd


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Posted 17 October 2015 - 03:33 PM

I have to disagree. Doesn't matter what the alternator's output is if the wire used is too resistive for the charging current. The problem with highly resistive wire is that it causes too much drop in the voltage at the camper battery. If that charging voltage is too low then the charge rate of the camper battery will be low to non-existent. It is possible to adjust the alternator's output voltage to get the charge voltage at the camper battery high enough to do the work. Doing so on a single alternator vehicle like most of ours will cause more problems than it fixes.

FWIW most electrician's would shudder at the thought of trimming a wire's strand count down to fit in a sub-sized connector.

You definitely want stranded wire in a mobile application, the finer the stranding the better - just don't obsess over strand count.


That said, I would also suggest starting with the FWC kit. If that proves to not be enough charging for your use of the camper (driving time vs. in the camper time) I would suggest going with a properly sized solar system. I did use 6 ga. wire on our install and I'd do it again because of other needs, but our single 100W solar panel is more than keeping up with our demands on the batteries.

Edited by ntsqd, 17 October 2015 - 03:34 PM.

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#4 billharr


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Posted 17 October 2015 - 05:06 PM

Let see you can go up to 6 or 8 gauge if you just bring 14 feet of wire to the dealer? Seems like a no brainer to me. 


Also pick up some gauge reducers and do not trim the wire. 


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#5 Beach


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Posted 18 October 2015 - 02:22 AM

You can't go wrong installing heavier ga wire, especially since they are not up charging to install it. There is not reason to trim down the wire, get the correct connector when you pick up the wire. Putting a sub size connect on is like running a 2" water pipe for increased flow, but you use a 3/4" pipe for the last foot. Always use stranded wire in a high vibration environment.

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#6 Basin Deranged

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Posted 18 October 2015 - 03:23 AM

The standard 10 gauge wire does the job... but slowly.  The advantage to the larger wire is that it will allow your alternator to charge your camper battery more quickly.  If your camping trips all include a two hour drive every day then you will be fine with the stock setup. 


But if there is going to be a time when you want to charge your battery quickly, such as staying two nights in the same place and only taking a short drive to the trailhead, then go with the bigger wire.  If you are installing lots of solar capacity then the larger wire isn't so important since your solar panels will charge the battery whether you are driving or not (if there is sun.)


Trimming the wire down to fit a smaller connector is not ideal but it only slightly negates the extra capacity of the larger wire.  You might ask 4WC if they will install one of the 8 gauge trolling motor connectors for you instead of their standard 10 gauge connector.


Regarding your question of wire size you will get to a point of diminishing returns once you get bigger than about 6 gauge.  In your shoes I would go with 6 gauge.  On my own camper I went with 4 gauge for a 19 foot run.

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#7 Wandering Sagebrush

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Posted 18 October 2015 - 04:19 AM


Here's a link to a voltage drop calculator... You can compare the various gauges.

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#8 PaulT


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Posted 18 October 2015 - 05:57 AM

Here's a link to a voltage drop calculator... You can compare the various gauges.

+1 On using the calculator.
Remember that this calculator says use only the one way distance. Some want the round trip length.

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#9 Trailbob


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Posted 18 October 2015 - 01:44 PM

You would never regret going with 6 or 8 ga from the start, as there is no disadvantage (other than initial cost).  You very well may regret 10 ga wire.  I have 10 ga, and may replace it this winter with 6 or 8 ga for those times, like Basic Deranged outlined, when you need to get a quick recharge.    

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#10 craig333


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Posted 18 October 2015 - 05:52 PM

I agree, might as well do it to start. On mine since it already had the factory 10ga wire, and my truck has dual batteries, I added another set of 10 ga (10 because thats what I had laying around) from the second battery back to the camper. One day I'm going to think the power is off and have an interesting experience :)

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Craig K6JGV_________________________ 2004 2500 CTD 4X4 FWC HAWK 1960 CJ5

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