Making marine battery cables. Can you use a welder’s cable instead of the car battery cable?

Marine Battery Cable Size Chart

When you’re out on the open waters, the last thing you want is to be caught without power. Because of this, making sure that your system is set up properly is tantamount, making a marine battery cable size chart an important tool for any hobbyist or veteran sailor.

When it comes to applications used for water travel, you need a marine battery. These are hard-to-power sources that can withstand harsh environmental and corrosive conditions.

With that in mind, components such as cables and capacitors must withstand environmental pressures. This is where marine cables come in.

Marine battery cables are a crucial part of any boat’s electrical system since they supply the energy required to start the engine and operate electronics.

Choosing the right cable is vital to ensure that there is a proper flow of electricity. An incorrect cable can cause overheating and potential electrical fires, so it’s always good practice to familiarise yourself with a marine battery cable size chart before purchasing any type of cable.

There are so many cables available that it can be difficult to select a suitable one. Thankfully, in this article, you’ll learn to interpret marine battery cable size charts and select a cable size that’s compatible with your electrical requirements.

Table of Contents

Batteries are found in all electronic applications, from electrical vehicles to kids’ electronic toys. However, not every battery is identical in function or design. Batteries are made for specific applications, for instance, you cannot use an AA battery to power your cell phone.

Investing in a quality marine-grade battery is expensive, so it makes sense that you should make sure everything else is up to scratch. For example, this SOK Marine-Grade 12V Solar Battery can run just about everything you need on a boat, so what cables do you need to go along with it?

Cables for marine batteries are commonly made of tinned copper wire, which has a tin covering applied to it to prevent corrosion. Additionally, they are insulated materials that are resistant to water, oil, gasoline, and other typical marine hazards.

In addition to their protection properties, marine battery cables are also made to be incredibly flexible. This enables it to bend around tight corners and wound through tight spaces. Their flexible features also prevent the wires from breaking or tearing.

To support various battery layouts and electrical systems, marine battery cables are offered in a variety of diameters and lengths. It is crucial to choose a marine battery cable that complies with all applicable marine safety requirements and is rated for the voltage and amperage of the system it will be used in.

Now that we know a little bit more about these marine cables and their capabilities, let’s move on to the cable sizing chart.

What Is a Cable Size Chart

Before we can get into using a cable size chart, it is a good idea to wrap your head around what a cable size chart is.

You get low-voltage wire gauge charts and high-voltage cable voltage charts. However, for this article, we will be using a cable size chart for a marine battery which comes in 12 volts, 24, volts, and 48 volts.

Many new marine battery owners jump straight into using these charts without fully comprehending what they are being shown and what the different ratings mean.

This is particularly dangerous because you can end up choosing the wrong size cable which has the potential to cause electrical fires.

Ultimately, a marine battery cable size chart is a reference tool you can use to determine recommended cable sizes for your marine application.

You can find a lot of information in a cable size chart about battery cable dimensions, voltages, amperage, and cable length.

Most charts have sizes listed in AWG, which stands for American Wire Gauge. AWG refers to the diameter of the wires and is incredibly important in determining cable size.

Other charts use different measurements such as square- millimeters, but AWG is the most accepted unit of measurement. Typically, you will also find other information including the number of conductors in the wire, the insulation type, and the jacketing used.

Boat builders, electricians, and other experts involved in marine electrical installations can use marine cable size charts to help guarantee that the right cable sizes are chosen for each application, based on the particular requirements of the system being installed.

Cable Size Chart for Marine Batteries

The table below represents the AWG (American Wire Gauge) of the cable according to current and length. These are essentially the only two factors you need to determine what size cable you need.

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For example, if your system requires a current between 70-80 amperes and the wire needs to run 7-10 feet to your system, then you are going to need 16 AWG cable size.

The table below will help you select the correct battery cable for your solar panel system, RV, or boat. Remember, selecting the correct size is imperative to the proper functioning of your system. The incorrect battery can cause you a lot of frustration and money.

As you can see, the charge capacity (current) and the distance between the battery and the electrical source determine the cable size. Ultimately, the larger the battery’s capacity, the thicker the cable has to be to ensure that it can handle an increased flow of current.

Boat Battery Cables Get Hot When Cranking- Quick Troubleshoot

Sometimes when cranking, you can realize that your boat battery cables get hot. As it is normal for the battery to get hot after a long period of cranking, if the heat extends to cables can suggest there’s something else that needs to be checked. There are a number of culprits that can give rise to this complication.

Count yourself lucky if you are reading this article since we have researched a lot for you. The report provides various causes of boat battery cables getting hot when cranking problems and solutions to each complication. With such information, your life will be interesting and enjoyable; everything will be a breeze when boating.

Briefly, you should expect to come across reasons as to why your boat battery gets hot and possible solutions. so, we will equip you with tips for betterment and finally frequently asked questions. Let’s ride together toward this handy guide.

Why your boat battery cables get hot when cranking

After holding a thorough research, we came across several factors that might make your boat battery cables get hot when cranking. These culprits include;

Corrosion buildup

I know someone is holding doubts whether it is possible for corrosion to cause hot battery cables. This is true since the terminals will not work properly as a result of corrosion buildup, creating resistance. This implies that the electricity flow will have to be interfered with, slowing its speed and making the cables hot.

As days go by, the effects of corrosion will extend to the lead terminals as they tend to be weakened, including cables. This is the main reason as to why you should act on the spot whenever you come across corrosion formation on your boat battery terminal. This problem is famous for also affecting the general performance of the boat since it may take extended time for the engine to start.

Cranking the boat for an extended time will eventually heat everything attached to the battery, including the cables, terminals, and the battery itself.

Faulty copper wires

Here is another factor that might be making your boat battery cables hot. Broken wires in the cables give rise to resistance as well. With such an issue, your cables tend to have reduced copper mass for a required electricity amount through the cables. This complication will eventually cause heat on the cables that can be a threat as the insulator may start burning.

It doesn’t matter the exact location of the broken copper wires in the cable, the whole cable will get hot. Since the wires and clamps are made of copper metals, heat will be felt directly from the cables to the terminals. The terminals will therefore become heated too. However, it’s not normal for cables to become too hot for a touch.

This is a clear indication that checking the condition of the cables once in while can be the best treatment for broken copper wires in the cable. Doing so will ensure everything works smoothly as it should. However, broken wires are faulty when the cables are too hot for a touch.

Rusted copper wires in the boat battery cables

After looking at the terminal corrosion buildup, let’s have a look at how rusted copper wires in the battery cables can heat the cables. These rusted copper wires are in front of creating resistance, overheating your boat battery cable. Heat is therefore transferred directly from the problematic cable to the battery that will eventually heat the terminals.

You have to understand that battery cables are manufactured from a combination of rubber and copper for substantial insulation. After a long period of usage, the rubber tends to degrade, leaving the cable with cracks. Nothing will hinder water from penetrating inside the cable; the copper wires will have no other choice, but to oxidize.

Corrosion is therefore experienced when copper and water comes in contact in the cables. This situation is famous for affecting smooth flow of electrons. Heat is always experienced whenever there is a resistance. Who knows! Maybe this is the exact disease your battery is suffering from.

Poor connection

The fourth cause of hot boat battery cables when cranking is the bad connection. This issue occurs, mostly either of the wires gets hot at a certain connection. Maybe the connection of the area is problematic. A clear symptom of this complication is that every electrical component in the vehicles goes off whenever you start the engine. Something bad has happened to your connection.

Faulty starter

Sometimes, you might be experiencing heated boat cables, but the engine is not turning over. In such scenarios, the big culprit to be held responsible is the starter. It might be worn-out or you are having a shorted big wire stretching to the starter. A bad engine or the starter causes too much current flow from your battery.

Overusing the starter

Besides the problematic starter, the cables might also get hot as a result of too many stars. This issue occurs mostly when the motor is spinning while you are trying to start the engine. The motor has failed and therefore you are overheating the boat battery cables with your too much starts.

Loose connection

Last but not least is the loose connection. When a loose connection is combined with the high electricity flow the boat is using to start, the cables will get hot. Sometimes the lead acid battery terminal can end up melting as a result of overheated cables. You can treat this disease by allowing the battery to cool. Determine the problematic part to see why the starter is not working properly.

How to fix boat battery cables get hot when cranking problem

Battery cables can be dangerous when you are diagnosing something that you cannot see; you will get hurt. Below is a complete guide on how to fix the problem;

Solution 1: Determining the age of the battery

I don’t know the model of the battery you are using, but the age of the battery plays a vital role in this healing process. Batteries like Optima Blue Top dual-purpose batteries are long-lasting.

Solution 2: Cleaning the entire connections

Whether it is on the lugs or terminals, make sure all the battery connectors are clean. You should make sure that any sign of corrosion buildup is eliminated for excellent performance. Besides, you should retighten all the nuts that secure the cables to the starter, battery switch, engine block, and the battery itself.

Solution 3: Resistance test

A multimeter is the best tool that you should have in hand when it comes to resistance tests. Here, the first clause may emerge, meaning that the power resistance in your boat battery’s negative cable joining the battery to the engine is faulty. On the other hand, this issue may still be experienced on the positive cable that links the battery to the switch.

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Try installing marine-grade tinned-copper cables since they are the best and most reliable.

Solution 4: Conducting cables’ autopsy

Carrying out battery cables’ autopsy can be helpful to determine also if the resistance is high. The wires might be crumbling with black and brittle points. This is a clear indication that your cables are worn-out and requires a replacement. Eliminating corrosion buildup that gained a foothold can give rise to overheating that will eventually eat copper filaments.

Solution 5: Replacing the battery or cables

This step is only useful when your battery and its components are new. However, it may happen that you bought a cheap model. For those batteries and cables that have lasted for more than five years, replacing them can be the best solution.

Tips for betterment

  • Problematic cable can give rise to other complications like fire. This happens when the alternator attempts to pump electricity via the broken wire. Overheating will trigger combustion.
  • A fault negative cable is also famous for affecting the charging capability of the alternator.
  • Hot battery cables means that your boat is suffering from high resistance. You should therefore ensure that the battery terminals are properly tightened and clean.
  • While diagnosing a hot boat battery problem, you have to be much careful because a highly overheated battery cable may leave your finger with a burn. Give your bonnet some minutes before opening it.
  • Corroded terminals are famous for exerting resistance to the smooth electricity flow, causing heat. Eliminating the corrosion is therefore necessary to restore the normal performance of your battery.

You might be interested to read also our another comprehensive article of: Causes of Speaker crackling at high volume


Battery components are usually made of lead. This is logical since the cathode and anode of the plates in the battery are made from the same metal. Lead is very powerful and that’s why manufacturers use it in such applications.

Of course yes. Resistance will be created, overheating the cable.

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What Causes Battery Corrosion?

Car battery corrosion can happen for a number of reasons. In addition to the normal release of hydrogen gas, some of the most common causes of corrosion are:

  • Age. Car batteries typically have a lifespan of three to five years. They become more susceptible to corrosion as they reach their expiration date.
  • Overheating. Batteries that are overcharged or overheat due to higher temperatures are more likely to develop corrosion. That’s why corrosion risk is highest in the summer.
  • Leaking fluid. If your battery is cracked or damaged, battery acid can leak from the casing and cause corrosion around the battery terminals.

How to Clean Battery Corrosion: Step-by-Step

Step 1: Start with safety. The powdery buildup around your battery’s terminals is caustic and can damage your skin and eyes. Wear heavy-duty gloves and eye protection while handling battery corrosion, and immediately wash away any corrosive material that gets on skin or clothing.

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Step 2: Disconnect the battery. Starting with the negative terminal, carefully release the cable from the battery. Safely position the cable away from the terminal, these things are built to deliver the cable directly to the battery and are susceptible to ‘slipping’ back into place. Next remove the positive terminal connection.

Pro Tip: Before disconnecting your battery, use a battery memory saver to save stored data and protect your car’s electrical system. Be sure to reference your vehicle’s owner’s manual for specific information on using a battery memory saver.

Step 3: Inspect the battery cables. Once the battery is disconnected, take a moment to inspect the cables. Is there fraying or corrosion where the cable connects to the terminal? Is the insulation dry or cracking? Damaged cables need to be replaced.

Step 4: Remove the battery from the vehicle. It’s possible to clean corrosion from a battery while it’s still in the vehicle, but the safest method for you, your battery and your vehicle is to remove it from the car and place it in a shallow bucket or pan to collect the corrosive material you’ll be washing away.

Step 5: Start cleaning. Now it’s time to neutralize and remove the car battery corrosion. Use a wire brush or scraper to remove any solid, powdery corrosion from around the terminals and dirt from the top of the battery casing. Brush the corrosion away and let it fall into the pan below.

Step 6: Neutralize. You have a couple of options to fully remove and neutralize the remaining corrosion:

  • Battery terminal cleaner is a commercially available product designed to clean and neutralize corrosion from your battery. It’s a spray-on solution that changes color as it reacts with corrosion.
  • Baking soda and warm water make for a good neutralizing solution to clean battery corrosion. Make sure to mix your solution, dip a rag and wipe corrosion away rather than dumping the solution over the battery top. This is to prevent solution from leaking into the battery cells and neutralizing the sulfuric acid inside.

Pro Tip: Don’t forget to clean the terminal ends that connect your battery to the cables. You can dip the ends in baking soda and water solution, or use a commercial battery terminal cleaner.

Step 7: Dry and polish. Using a microfiber cloth, dry the battery casing, posts and terminals. Use a terminal cleaning brush to remove any debris or coating from the terminals that may interfere with the connection.

Step 8: Replace and reconnect. Return the battery to its tray inside your engine and reconnect the terminals. This time, start by securely attaching the positive terminal to the cable, then finish with the negative terminal. Replace the battery hold downs.

How to Prevent Battery Terminal Corrosion

While corrosion is a normal occurrence, there are steps you can take to prevent or slow it.

Protect. After a thorough cleaning, coat your battery terminals with dielectric grease or battery terminal protector. Apply a healthy coat to prevent corrosion in the future.

Avoid under or overcharging. If you notice corrosion on your battery’s positive terminal, it’s a sign that your battery may be overcharging, which can be due to a faulty voltage regulator.

Corrosion that appears on the negative battery terminal is a symptom of undercharging. This can happen if you’re taking short drives and your electronic system is drawing a significant amount of battery power for onboard electronics.

In either case, it’s a good idea to bring your vehicle in on a regular basis to check for electrical faults.Routine maintenance on all systems — including your car’s electricals — is important for the health and longevity of your vehicle. A trusted technician can help keep your car on the road for years to come.

This content is for educational purposes only, please reference your product manual for specific information.

Molded Maintenance Free Battery Cables

Kalas molded maintenance free battery cable assemblies provide extra protection against harsh environments. Terminals are crimped to the cable, then encapsulated in PVC. When installed, this design forms a weatherproof seal to maintain the superior electrical characteristics of the terminal.

We produce configurations for all types of series and parallel applications, in sizes from #6 thru 4/0. There is a complete selection of terminal styles to mate with battery nuts, jump start nuts, ½” studs or special hardware.

If you have questions about our Molded Maintenance Free Battery Cables reach out today – we love answering questions and making your journey to creating custom terminated battery cables as smooth as possible.

Battery Box Jumper Cable Styles:

Top post Side post Designs for two battery and multiple battery hook-ups

Kalas offers a selection of boot styles protective coverings for all types of its terminals, cables and harness assemblies.

Click the links below, fill out the forms according to your needs and get them back to us. We will then work with you to create the exact cables you want!

Welding or Battery? Definitions and Common Applications

Welding cables are flexible and durable high-heat resistant cables typically with an EPDM insulation that were originally created for the welding leads. They are equipped with a stranded copper conductor. Today, welder’s cables with a RHH/RHW double rating are quite versatile and used in many applications, including industrial uses and other demanding environments. If you wish to learn more about welding lead wire applications, read this blog on the topic.

Battery cables are designed to connect batteries with their starter. Automotive wires are a separate group of battery cables for cars. Common general battery cables are SGT, SGX, and STX. Common automotive wires include GXL, SXL, TXL, GPT, TWP, and HDT. The cables usually come with PVC or XLPE insulation and have limited flexibility. However, they are perfect for typical battery applications. To learn more about the subtypes of auto battery wiring, read this blog.

Can I use a welding cable in batteries?

Welder cables are compatible with battery applications. With most manufacturers, battery and welding cables have the same ampacity when their size is the same, which makes it easy to install welder’s cables in batteries in the same way battery cables are installed.

Welding cables have excellent high-heat resistance. With EPDM insulation, their temperature range is.50℃. 105℃, which is perfect for batteries. In fact, welding cables rank higher than battery cables when it comes to flame retardance because they meet the UL 1581 flame-retardancy standard. Battery cables are also flame-resistant, but the standards they meet, UL 558 and UL 553, are inferior to a welder‘s cable UL 1581. Both battery and welding cables are resistant to oil, grease, and harsh cuts, so they are both great for batteries in that regard.

Welding lead wire with EPDM insulation performs way better than PVC-insulated battery cables in freezing temperatures; therefore, you might consider using welding cables if your batteries are often exposed to cold. If the battery wire has an XLPE insulation instead, this comparison is not relevant as it is not likely to stiffen in the cold.

It makes sense to choose welding cables for large battery banks because they come in a bigger size range than different types of battery cables.

Note that in order to comply with the National Electrical Code Standard, welding cable needs to be double-rated as RHH/RHW for most uses, including batteries. Welding cables without an RHH/RHW rating can be used only in welding leads.

Can I use a battery cable for welding arcs?

While welding cable is suitable for battery applications, this is not a two-way street. Battery cables cannot be used in welding arcs, as welding cables are the only type approved for welding arcs everywhere in the world.

Welding lead wire can absolutely be used in vehicle batteries, but whether to use it is a matter of preference.

Some say that welding cables are too expensive to replace cheaper battery cables in car applications, while others prefer to use them in car batteries and car amplifiers. To some, welder cables seem easier to install than battery ones. While it is true that welding cable is more expensive, it may be especially useful if you need a cable with a rating of 600 volts or one that is very flexible.


Properly rated welding cables can replace battery cables, but not vice versa. While it is not necessary to replace battery cables with welder’s, it is an option if you need a flexible cable with a higher voltage than a regular battery cable. Welding lead wire works for car batteries as well.

Nassau National Cable is a go-to platform for welding cables. automotive wiring. and battery cables of all kinds. We have some of the best fares on the high-quality wire and cable in the industry thanks to the access to special rates from our suppliers. Copy Link Copy Code to embed this article

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