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Thread: Wiring right finally, but dist blocks and higher guage wires?

  1. #1
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    Wiring right finally, but dist blocks and higher guage wires?

    I already have things in mind, know somewhat how they work, but I'm not sure how wiring between dist. blocks and components go.

    Here's the plan. Run 2 0 guage or 4 guage wires from the battery to the trunk (ground/power). Now as I understand dist. blocks, I can use one to go from the 0 guage to 2 4 guage, or 4 guage to 2 8 guage wires. That's ok for some things, but how about things that are wired with 16 or 22 guague or something like that. I'm sure you don't want to try to put these into those dist. blocks. Do you have to keep running blocks until you get the guages you need (if they make blocks for the higher guages), or do you combine all your 16/22/etc onto 1 8 guage for example? I'd like to do this right as I'm finally starting to get my project design under wraps.

    The next question is the ground side. Are there blocks opposite what the power do (ie, combine the 8 guage grounds to flow out 1 4 guage)? And the same thing as above, as some components have 16/22 guage wires connected for grounds?

    I'm planning on buying fused blocks, plus wires, and fusing the power wire near the battery as well. I'm aware of the normal discussions about wires/fuses/fires and the famous laptop/car fire picture I've seen around the forums, but the little wiring parts I'm not sure about.

    If it's needed, I'm running an m4/pc (nothing else on m4 power for now), 2 small 2 channel amps (1 wire for power, both usable off the same switched (from behind radio with aftermarket harness) wire (only has 1 wire, not power/remote separately). Later adding led strips (shouldn't be very power hungry) and a usb hub (mostly phone charging/gps).
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  2. #2
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    what hardware are you planning on running off all of this power wire?


    most of your questions deal specifically with how much power the specific devices take-- ie: in comparison a volt meter or 1-2 lcd screens(all of those typically run off 16-18ga wire) barely take any power(i believe lilliputs are rated for something like 0.2A), so they are not even worth figuring into your power wire calc's when running 2-0ga wire to the install location for a system that consumes 100's of amps...

  3. #3
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    Well, to be honest, I'm not sure of draws. PC has probably 150 watts if even that, as I've downgraded my mobo/cpu combination. The lilliput I currently have is powered through the car lighter (I know, but just the lili). Two cheap small 2 channel 500 watt amps for the factory speakers, each containing a ground and power wire (not the 3 ground/12v/rem).

    The draw isn't significant right now, and I don't think a usb hub plus some led strips would add much more. So, maybe more in line with a 4 gauge on the + and - of the battery run to the trunk. Then the + to a dist. block into 2 8 ga. wires. The main question is still from these 8 ga. wires, would I just connect all the separate 16/etc ga. into them, or I would be better off splitting the 8 ga.'s down (if you even can)?

    Right now, a constant 12v and remote run to a pc. The 2 500 watt amps and a usb hub are all connected to the same remote wire as the pc rem. This turns on the amps and hub all at the same time, and also triggers the m4 turn on/off. I know that running all of this off a single remote wire (aftermarket radio harness) isn't sufficient. I didn't, it was a test to see if the amps/hub would work on a not strictly 12v source. The remote wire (and all others but the 12v to pc) was all 16/18 ga I think. It was old smaller speaker wire I used to have.

    This brings up one more question actually, if I am not sure of all the draws, how would I calculate or know (or, guess) what size of inline fuse I would need. The dist. block will also be fused.
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    Ok, so I've been shopping around for a couple days now, and I think I got the hang of things.

    I will be running 0 gauge from the battery positive and negative to the trunk. From here, I am looking at a 0 gauge to 4x4 gauge fused distribution block. The inline fuse (within 18" of battery) is supposed to be the total amps of all the fuses, correct? So, any amps drawn from other equipment should be pretty negligble (like pc, usb, etc). Now, with the 4 guage outputs, it sounds like each output should have it's own fuse. That should be the total amount of amps fused for that output?

    I am planning on taking 2 of those 4 gauge outputs and using non fused dist blocks to split them into 8 x 8 gauge outputs (4 x 8 gauge each). Using the 8 gauge outputs non fused would be ok, since the main dist. block is fused, correct?

    Theoretically it sounds possible, though I am a little skeptical since most dist. blocks I've seen split 1 input into 2 outputs, unlike the 1 input into 4 outputs that I've seen and priced out.
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  5. #5
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    As long as you have a fuse at your battery, you are good. From there, you can fuse down for each run if you like but to me it is overkill. The fuse is there to keep you from melting wire and your battery. A 4 or 8 gauge wire will not likely melt before blowing even the biggest of fuses. A 24 gauge on the other hand might catch on fire. If you want to protect against that, fuse down any run that ends with small gauge wire but don't bother with 4 gauge that runs to a fused amp...

    My opinion.

    I used to have two single 4 gauge to 4 8 gauge dist blocks in one of my old vehicles. Think I still have the blocks someplace. They came in a rockford wiring kit. I had 2 8 gauge coming out for amps and used the others for small gauge accessories like neon tubes (yes I know... it was the 90's and frankly the way they were setup was bad AZZ but that's beside the point).

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    I will be starting with some equipment that has 16 gauge or higher wires. I figured if I fused the 4 gauge output that goes to dist. block for 8 gauge, it would protect anything the 4->8 gauge dist. block and anything connected to the 8 gauge outputs. The main purpose is to get it done once and when upgrading not have to upgrade the wires again, but just upgrade fuses to correct amps. Also, it would have a much cleaner look as I could just mount all the blocks in place and have easy access to pretty much any gauge needed.

    Personally I feel safer with fused blocks, but would the 1 fused block protect everything when the other blocks aren't fused?
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    Quote Originally Posted by dmcdlrn View Post
    As long as you have a fuse at your battery, you are good. From there, you can fuse down for each run if you like but to me it is overkill. The fuse is there to keep you from melting wire and your battery. A 4 or 8 gauge wire will not likely melt before blowing even the biggest of fuses. A 24 gauge on the other hand might catch on fire. If you want to protect against that, fuse down any run that ends with small gauge wire but don't bother with 4 gauge that runs to a fused amp...
    i agree.

    the fuse between the main battery(within 18" of the battery) and the device is for worst-case scenario's-- ie: your car gets cut in half in a horrific wreck, and without the fuse installed, the power wire starts sparking, starting the car on fire...

    that's really the main reason for a fuse. i've blown up plenty of stuff with the recommended fuse installed


    i think that it is fine to put multiple small wires into a single spot on a distro block. the alternative like you said is a ton of distro blocks to reduce it down to the correct wire size, and in terms of wiring, that many changes in devices is just asking for something to loosen up and cause problems..

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by dmcdlrn View Post
    As long as you have a fuse at your battery, you are good. From there, you can fuse down for each run if you like but to me it is overkill. The fuse is there to keep you from melting wire and your battery. A 4 or 8 gauge wire will not likely melt before blowing even the biggest of fuses. A 24 gauge on the other hand might catch on fire. If you want to protect against that, fuse down any run that ends with small gauge wire but don't bother with 4 gauge that runs to a fused amp...

    My opinion.

    I used to have two single 4 gauge to 4 8 gauge dist blocks in one of my old vehicles. Think I still have the blocks someplace. They came in a rockford wiring kit. I had 2 8 gauge coming out for amps and used the others for small gauge accessories like neon tubes (yes I know... it was the 90's and frankly the way they were setup was bad AZZ but that's beside the point).
    I disagree with that. If you have a 100A fuse on a 4ga wire at the battery, then have a dist block with 16ga wires coming off of it with NO fuse, you can start a fire. You're fusing the wire, not the battery, and not the device. ALWAYS fuse when you size-down or split wires.

    Say one of those 16GA wires gets partially crushed when someone throws their golf clubs in the trunk of your car. There's not enough contact to dead short, but it's enough to pull 50-60A. Keep in mind, a 100A fuse won't blow for quite a while, even at 100A on the nose, so your wire is going to get hot, melt, catch the carpet on fire, and burn your car to the ground, all while that 100A fuse sits perfectly fine and un-broken.

    Always fuse for the wire, never skimp out on safety features.
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  9. #9
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    I disagree with that. If you have a 100A fuse on a 4ga wire at the battery, then have a dist block with 16ga wires coming off of it with NO fuse, you can start a fire. You're fusing the wire, not the battery, and not the device. ALWAYS fuse when you size-down or split wires.
    So in my original plan fusing the dist block from 0 to 4 gauge was going to happen anyways. If I use a 4 to 8 gauge dist block instead of stuffing wires into the 4 gauge outputs, would I need those dist blocks fused as well? Or would the original fused 0->4 gauge block be enough? I can't imagine it would be optimal to to stuff the 4 gauge outputs, besides, I'm going for a more clean look.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by malcom2073 View Post
    I disagree with that. If you have a 100A fuse on a 4ga wire at the battery, then have a dist block with 16ga wires coming off of it with NO fuse, you can start a fire. You're fusing the wire, not the battery, and not the device. ALWAYS fuse when you size-down or split wires...
    Quite correct.
    A fuse is to protect ALL downstream wires.
    Of course, the next downstream fuse protects its downstream wires. The smaller wires from the distro block should have their own suitably sized fuses (unless the "main" fuse does that...).

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