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Old 15-05-2012, 09:50   #1
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Wire Gauge Question

Usually a lurker, first time poster...

Searched the forums, and google for that matter, but can't seem to find a clear answer/reason.

My boat electrical system is mostly wired with 2 gauge wire.

I installed a battery monitor shunt, but could only get my hands on 1 gauge wire to connect the shunt to the negative terminal. So the boat is wired essentially as such:

Neg Term -> small length of 1 gauge wire -> Shunt -> 2 gauge wire -> boat systems

The positive terminal also features 2 gauge.

Any problems using 1 gauge instead of 2? From what I read, if you're going to change sizes, it's best to go up in size (from 2 to 1 instead of say, 2 to 4). Did I understand that correctly?

Am I losing anything by doing it this way? Am I hurting anything?

This was only temporary for now - but if there's no need to switch it to 2 gauge I may just leave it. Everything seems to be working fine. (based on my limited knowledge)

Thanks for your help!
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Old 15-05-2012, 10:19   #2
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Bigger is better (at least when
It comes to electrical wire
Not to worry
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Old 15-05-2012, 13:12   #3
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Re: Wire Gauge Question

As long as the used awg does not introduce unacceptable voltage drop, you are fine. Use the wire that can transfer the given amps with as little voltage drop as practicable (hence bigger=better). You can calculate voltage drop online.

BTW remember a shunt must be rated for the max of the expected current TOO, too small a shunt will heat up and lose its properties (I think in extreme cases a smaller shunt may act like a fuse - not really what we want from it).

b.
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Old 15-05-2012, 13:17   #4
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Re: Wire Gauge Question

No, using a thicker wire can't hurt anything except your wallet.
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Old 15-05-2012, 13:51   #5
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Re: Wire Gauge Question

Awesome... thanks guys.
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Old 16-05-2012, 20:12   #6
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Re: Wire Gauge Question

I'm reading up on solar installations and see mentions of a "shunt." The wiki definition only helps a little. Can anyone describe the practical application on board? Thanks!
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Old 16-05-2012, 20:53   #7
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A shunt is used to measure current. It is usually a precision resistor of vey low resistance that is gives a specific voltage across it for each amp of current flow (50mV/Amp is common). With regard to your question in solar installations a shunt is sometimes used to determine the amount of current coming from the solar panels into your battery bank.
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