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DIY quick-connect jumpers

Bruce Smith November 18, 2011

ProPickup How-To

Quick-disconnect jumper cables

Easy do-it-yourself setup saves money, brings convenience to the jobsite

By Bruce W. Smith

Having the ability to quickly grab a set of jumper cables from the tool box and hook them up to a another vehicle, a piece of equipment, or provide 12-volt power to some piece of equipment from your pickup’s battery system without lifting the hood is a great convenience on and off a jobsite.

That’s why quick-disconnect (Q-D) jumper cables are popular accessories on construction professionals’ pikcups and fleet equipment.

Most kits cost in the neighborhood of $130-$200, depending on brand and length of the jumper cable.

But if you are running a lean ship and want to keep costs down, 20 minutes of shop time can drop the cost of a Q-D set to about $75 – even less if you already purchase battery cable in bulk or get a volume discount from your friendly automotive parts supplier.

How? Build your own using bulk battery cable and Anderson connectors.

If you want to shorten that process another step, purchase traditional battery jumpers cables, like those sold at the autoparts stores, and convert them into a Q-Ds by changing out one end’s cable clamps for Anderson plugs.

Booster cable and Anderson connectors make a quick-disconnect jumper setup easy.

Here’s a shopping list to get that process started:

(2) 4/0 Battery cable end lugs / Wiring Products ($0.80 ea)

(1) Autocraft 20’ Jumper Cable set / Advance Auto Parts ($40)

(2) SB350 Anderson Powerpole Set / Powerwerx ($17 ea)

Total cost: $75.50

The process is straightforward:

  1. Cut the jumper cables at the 16’ point, leaving a 4’ section with clamps and a 16’ length with clamps.
  2. Solder the insert pins for the Anderson SB350 plug on to each of the cut cable ends. (Soldering is better than crimping because you can re-use soldered ends should the cables need replacing.
  3. Insert the pins into their respective locations in the two cable’s Q-D plugs making sure the polarity (red (+) to red, black (-) to black) is correct.
  4. Remove the battery clamps (keep them for spares) from the shorter cable and replace them with lugs to fit the battery posts/terminals. Again, solder, don’t crimp.
  5. Run the short cable assembly from battery to bumper, or wherever you want the Q-D plug located, and bolt the plug into place. (Make sure there’s enough room for matching jumper cable plug to make its connection.)
  6. Plug the connector of the jumper cable to its mate on the bumper. That’s it.

Note, only Q-D plugs of like color work together. So if you want all your vehicles and equipment to be able to share battery power, the plugs must be the same color.)  – Bruce W. Smith / ProPickup

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