Today we will see how to make multiple connections. this is something that can be helpful when trying to reduce the amount of messy wiring you’ll have in your vehicle, but can cause a lot of confusion for newcomers to 12 volts.
first, what are the benefits?
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As mentioned at the beginning, it can help make your cable setup much neater by having only 1 battery cable instead of 5, 10, or even 15. The second is to reduce cable size. the cable feeds multiple connectors at our longest point from the battery, meaning we can use a smaller cable from that to the devices we want to work with. this can help reduce costs & weight.
There are many different types of multi-connection solutions and some will meet your needs and some will not. understanding the different types will help you select the one that best suits your installation.
These terminals are made with an overlapping blade to provide you with an additional connection point. These terminals are used in many installations to splice wires together to help support multiple outlets.
While some only offer connections to independent circuits, some terminal blocks offer the ability to share power across multiple outputs, either by using a metal plate within the block that is connected to each input or by using jumpers to connect the terminals that were once separate.
bus bars / strength posts
Bus bars and power poles are ideal for connecting multiple items to a common high capacity power cable and are essentially one large piece of metal with multiple connection points or a single vertical pole for multiple connections. sharing power through a large metal plate, these are very common to help distribute battery power as they can handle high currents.
so with these types of connections there are a few things to keep in mind. First of all, you’ll want to make sure your battery cable (or DC power supply) can handle the full current that will be drawn from the busbar. (ie if you have 2 lights on 1a, a fridge on 5a, and a usb plug on 3a, your battery cable should be able to carry 10a from the battery to the bus bar/terminal block/terminals).
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You will also need to ensure that the busbar/terminal block/terminals can handle this current, along with any in-line fuses. future-proofing the busbar can also benefit you if you think you might want to add circuitry later. the last thing you want is to have to install a new busbar because it has 5a more capacity than your existing one.
merge multiple connections
ideally all new positives should be fused so you should have a fuse in line from battery to busbar/terminal block/terminals & then fuses in every wire coming out of your appliances. Some fuse boxes will help handle this by having an internal busbar, allowing you to run a single feed wire into the fuse box and then feed multiple circuits, each protected with a built-in fuse.
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