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Install mobile HAM radio


KN4YQZ
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Hopefully this is not specific to a brand/make but if it is, I will be installing my new to me iCom 4100A.  I need help and suggestions as all I know is that I have to power it from the battery.  Do I ground it at the battery too?  What gauge wire do I use?  Do I need to/Should I use Powerwerx blocks?  Are they worth spending all that for the connectors and a crimper?  What about alternator wine?  No, I haven't installed a car stereo ever.

I have all the stuff for the head unit and I am putting the main unit under the seat.

Be careful, your answers will only prompt more questions from me.  🙂

Thank you!

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ELMER

Hi Will.

At the risk of an avalanche of follow up questions, here goes 😎

Yes, connect to the battery directly. Yes, connect both red and black wires to the battery, nowhere else.

On transmit, at high power, you'll be drawing 13A. Mathematically, a 14 AWG wire would be plenty up to 15A. However, being the careful type, I would go with thicker, it'll never hurt. Go with 12 or 10 AWG.

You should put a fuse in line. A 15A fuse makes sense for a 13A max draw. Keep a spare in the car. By the way, the thinner the wire, the more it will heat and the more likely your fuse would blow, hence the advantage of a thicker wire.

As for how you connect, you can simply connect directly. This said, if you plan on adding other accessories, not sure which additional powered accessories you would want, then yes, a distribution block of some kind would be helpful. The Powerpole type have become the norm in amateur radio. That's what I use now. Is it worth spending money on a crimper etc..? If you're serious about amateur radio, this is not your last install 😂 - I see many more in your future, so the investment is worthwhile. Again, not compulsory, but definitely worthwhile.

Fine for putting the main unit under the seat, just make sure you don't spill anything down there and vacuum every once in a while.

Follow ups? 🤓

By the way, I deleted the duplicate post. 😎

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Thanks Jim!

I knew this question was a bit like, which oil is better.  Everyone has an opinion.  I have watched video after video on youtube and there are lots of ways.  Thankfully your response backed up my thoughts on how to do it.  Now I know I am not off base in my way of thinking.

I like the powerwerx block and thought about putting it in my center console as I will probably add another type radio in my truck in the future.  That will make it easier to add.  Would I then bump up the amp rating of the inline fuses?  There are inline fuses in the supplied wiring with the radio.  Do I cut them out? Leave them?  Any other inline fuse should then should be rated the same.  Correct?

Thanks for everyone's time.

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ELMER

With wiring keep it simple. If you're going to use a block, draw a wire from the battery to the block. That is the wire where you put the fuse. Then calculate the maximum simultaneous amperage you would draw. In my case, for example, I have three radios. I never run all three simultaneously, max two, so I add those two and then I add 20%. That's the fuse I use. Now, because you'll likely add stuff, make sure you start with the thicker wire. I would likely go for 10AWG, that would be comfortable up to 30A.

If you'd like to be ultra careful, you can always put additional fuses inline between the block and the individual item. Not compulsory, but it won't hurt, obviously.

By the way, have you thought of an extra battery? If you're going to operate when stopped, you don't want to be draining your battery. If you keep your motor running, obviously not an issue.

Hope this helps!!

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No to extra battery right now. Maybe in the future but unlikely.  Powerwerx has a 10 GA/45 A combination.  I will likely go for that.  That should accommodate any future needs with a second radio.  Would you agree?

Edited by KN4YQZ
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ELMER
14 hours ago, KN4YQZ said:

Powerwerx has a 10 GA/45 A combination.

45A Powerpoles with 10 AWG wire is a good combo. Note that there are suppliers that will, when you're buying more, cost less. But for now, I would say that Powerwerx kits are a good fast way to go. Make sure you have enough wire to make it comfortably to your battery. I assume you've figured out how to get through the firewall between the cabin and the engine compartment to get to the battery?

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 I went with 10/45 and got everything from gigaparts.  One stop shopping.

No, haven't figured out how to get through the firewall yet, shouldn't be too hard to find a spot. I am going to figure that out and how to take apart my center console once everything gets here. 

Thanks for the help.

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On 4/18/2020 at 11:28 AM, K3MRI said:

 

Fine for putting the main unit under the seat, just make sure you don't spill anything down there and vacuum every once in a while.

 

A long time ago in a galaxy far away, I installed mobile radios and one of the hard and fast rules was "never mount the radio on the floor". While you do mention being careful not to spill anything, our concern was snow causing the carpet to get wet. Furthermore, I had a Datsun (that's now Nissan for you young'ns) 280Z and the radio was mounted on an upright behind the passenger seat. There was a leak and the car filled with water almost to the radio. Luckily, the water didn't quite reach the radio, but it did reach the quick release mount and the battery discharged through the water.

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ELMER
1 minute ago, WA2WMR said:

A long time ago in a galaxy far away, I installed mobile radios and one of the hard and fast rules was "never mount the radio on the floor". While you do mention being careful not to spill anything, our concern was snow causing the carpet to get wet. Furthermore, I had a Datsun (that's now Nissan for you young'ns) 280Z and the radio was mounted on an upright behind the passenger seat. There was a leak and the car filled with water almost to the radio. Luckily, the water didn't quite reach the radio, but it did reach the quick release mount and the battery discharged through the water.

You had a 280Z? Wow. Whod'a thought? My ex had one!

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Yeah. What a piece of k-wrap. Mine was a '76 or '77 and after a couple of years it started rusting out in various places, and almost every one that I saw that was a few years old was rusting out in exactly the same spots. And I had it Z-barred which was supposed to keep it from rusting.

But that went like the wind.

 

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