E46 BMW Social Directory E46 FAQ 3-Series Discussion Forums BMW Photo Gallery BMW 3-Series Technical Information E46 Fanatics - The Ultimate BMW Resource BMW Vendors General E46 Forum The Tire Rack's Tire Wheel Forum Forced Induction Forum The Off-Topic The E46 BMW Showroom For Sale, For Trade or Wanting to Buy

Welcome to the E46Fanatics forums. E46Fanatics is the premiere website for BMW 3 series owners around the world with interactive forums, a geographical enthusiast directory, photo galleries, and technical information for BMW enthusiasts.

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest which gives you limited access to view most discussions and access our other features. By joining our free community you will have access to post topics, communicate privately with other members (PM), respond to polls, upload content and access many other special features. Registration is fast, simple and absolutely free so please, join our community today!

If you have any problems with the registration process or your account login, please contact contact us.

Go Back   E46Fanatics > E46 BMW > General E46 Forum

General E46 Forum
This is the place to get answers, opinions and everything you need related to your E46 (sedan, coupe, convertible and wagon) BMW!

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 10-21-2015, 02:06 AM   #1
Arrival
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Canada
Posts: 67
My Ride: BMW 2001 330i
Battery Spark/ Advice

Hey guys, I decided to do some work on my car today and figured I would disconnect the negative battery terminal wire from the terminal. However instead of just slightly loosening the nut on the terminal I completely took it off along with the bottom side bracket that holds it. (First time dealing with a battery)

Once I completed the work my car needed, I went ahead to reconnect the negative battery terminal wire to the terminal. Not thinking after a long day I forgot the bolt, washer and bracket and went ahead to place just the wire piece on to the negative battery terminal. As soon as I placed the wire's metal piece that goes over the terminal to the terminal sparks came out flying and being my first time dealing with a battery it was a scary moment. The current condition is, only the negative battery terminal wire is disconnected from its terminal and sitting about an 1.5inches away from the terminal itself.

My question to you guys is, can I touch the negative battery terminal wire to reconnect the 3 pieces needed to tighten it to the terminal or will I get shocked? Since it's the ground I remember reading to not let it touch any metal on the car but I will need to add back the 3 pieces to the terminal wire so it can be fastened and those are metal.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_1745.jpg
Views:	84
Size:	69.7 KB
ID:	615766   Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_1748.jpg
Views:	65
Size:	166.3 KB
ID:	615767  

Last edited by Arrival; 10-21-2015 at 03:21 AM.
Arrival is offline   Reply With Quote
Ads by Google

Guests, get your FREE E46Fanatics.com membership to remove this ad.
Old 10-21-2015, 06:56 AM   #2
Knight
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: NNJ
Posts: 2,814
My Ride: '05 330Ci | '01 325i
1. Secure the negative cable to the rail and make sure that nut is snug.

2. Hold the rubber coated line and slip the cable end onto the the negative terminal of the battery. Don't worry about a spark appearing at the point of initial contact.

3. Tighten the cable end on the terminal.
Knight is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-21-2015, 12:13 PM   #3
Arrival
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Canada
Posts: 67
My Ride: BMW 2001 330i
Quote:
Originally Posted by Knight View Post
1. Secure the negative cable to the rail and make sure that nut is snug.

2. Hold the rubber coated line and slip the cable end onto the the negative terminal of the battery. Don't worry about a spark appearing at the point of initial contact.

3. Tighten the cable end on the terminal.
By rail you mean the 3 metal pieces (the bolting bracket thing with the washer and nut)? I can hold the circular end of the cable only while I'm placing the pieces on with bare hands and slip on the bracket and tighten the bolt a little bit without any risk of sparks?

Last edited by Arrival; 10-21-2015 at 12:20 PM.
Arrival is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-21-2015, 12:20 PM   #4
franz
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: RDU, NC
Posts: 3,849
My Ride: 03 330i
Negative is ground like the body. The reason it's disconnected first is if you were to wrench on positive while negative is connected and you touch anything conductive, it's a bad day. So, messing with negative wires and hardware is not harmful in any way, even if you touch it to positive, as long as it's not already connected to the negative terminal.
franz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-21-2015, 12:22 PM   #5
Arrival
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Canada
Posts: 67
My Ride: BMW 2001 330i
Quote:
Originally Posted by franz View Post
Negative is ground like the body. The reason it's disconnected first is if you were to wrench on positive while negative is connected and you touch anything conductive, it's a bad day. So, messing with negative wires and hardware is not harmful in any way, even if you touch it to positive, as long as it's not already connected to the negative terminal.
So while it's disconnected, I can touch the circular end of the negative cable with bare hands and attach the 3 metal pieces back together without any risk of sparks or injury?
Arrival is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-21-2015, 12:25 PM   #6
franz
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: RDU, NC
Posts: 3,849
My Ride: 03 330i
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arrival View Post
So while it's disconnected, I can touch the circular end of the negative cable with bare hands and attach the 3 metal pieces back together without any risk of sparks or injury?
That is correct.
franz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-21-2015, 12:26 PM   #7
franz
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: RDU, NC
Posts: 3,849
My Ride: 03 330i
Negative is ground, it's just like grabbing any part of the body.
franz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-21-2015, 12:30 PM   #8
Arrival
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Canada
Posts: 67
My Ride: BMW 2001 330i
Quote:
Originally Posted by franz View Post
That is correct.
Thank you franz for your quick response and thank you Knight for giving a point to point procedure. I apologize, I am just very nervous around electrical components, that's why I ended up disconnecting it in the first place. Again thank you guys.
Arrival is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-21-2015, 12:32 PM   #9
Arrival
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Canada
Posts: 67
My Ride: BMW 2001 330i
Quote:
Originally Posted by franz View Post
Negative is ground, it's just like grabbing any part of the body.
Yeah I know it's referred to as ground but it scared me that it might have some residual electricity stored in the cable wires that can discharge from the touch of my hands or even worse the metal and my hands. First time ever working on a car, disconnecting it seemed easy enough. When I touched the circular part of the cable to the terminal it sparked a little and the trunks lights lit up like there was outage going on.

Last edited by Arrival; 10-21-2015 at 12:35 PM.
Arrival is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-21-2015, 12:47 PM   #10
Arrival
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Canada
Posts: 67
My Ride: BMW 2001 330i
Quote:
Originally Posted by franz View Post
Negative is ground, it's just like grabbing any part of the body.
Again thank you, this is very useful information to know for someone like me who is just starting out.
Arrival is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-21-2015, 01:11 PM   #11
franz
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: RDU, NC
Posts: 3,849
My Ride: 03 330i
It will spark a tiny bit when you connect it to the battery, that is normal. By the way, it's very difficult to hurt yourself with 12V DC, you can actually touch both terminals, say one with each hand. That is true up to 48V. The trouble is when you connect metal across the terminals, that is when bad things happen.
franz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-21-2015, 01:23 PM   #12
Knight
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: NNJ
Posts: 2,814
My Ride: '05 330Ci | '01 325i
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arrival View Post
Thank you franz for your quick response and thank you Knight for giving a point to point procedure. I apologize, I am just very nervous around electrical components, that's why I ended up disconnecting it in the first place. Again thank you guys.
Anytime bud. Nothing wrong with being cautious toward electrical components if you are unfamiliar.
Knight is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-21-2015, 01:53 PM   #13
Arrival
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Canada
Posts: 67
My Ride: BMW 2001 330i
Quote:
Originally Posted by franz View Post
Negative is ground, it's just like grabbing any part of the body.
franz can you tell me why when I disconnect the negative cable from the terminal it says not to let it touch any metal of the car?
Arrival is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-21-2015, 02:21 PM   #14
veektor
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Overland Park, KS
Posts: 156
My Ride: 2002 325xi
Quote:
Originally Posted by franz View Post
It will spark a tiny bit when you connect it to the battery, that is normal. By the way, it's very difficult to hurt yourself with 12V DC, you can actually touch both terminals, say one with each hand. That is true up to 48V. The trouble is when you connect metal across the terminals, that is when bad things happen.
LOL! There is 48v, and then there is the telco -48V server power. I wasn't present for the snafu itself, only saw the aftermath of guy accidentally shorting the rail with a screwdriver. The copper rail had a huge chunk missing because of how hard it arced. This is why it's important to remember that Voltage and Current are both integral aspects of electricity.

To further digress from automotive aspect of electricity... I was troubleshooting a remote control for a Bose stereo system. The backlight was supposed to cover the full area of LCD, but only had a small portion that was lighting up. When I measured the voltage input to the backlight panel, and it read around 100VAC. I scratched my head, used a different multimeter, then decided to research the topic. Sure enough, EL panels and wires actually operate in 60-250VAC range. While the voltage is quite high, the current draw is miniscule, as well as amount of power supplied, so it's unlikely to cause any harm if one were to accidentally touch the leads.

Back to the automotive topic. The car battery is powerful, so shorting the two leads with a wrench is bad news. One could safely touch both leads with bare hands, the human body is not good enough conductor at that voltage. Testing the battery on the tongue, however, would make for a bad day.
veektor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-21-2015, 02:30 PM   #15
veektor
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Overland Park, KS
Posts: 156
My Ride: 2002 325xi
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arrival View Post
franz can you tell me why when I disconnect the negative cable from the terminal it says not to let it touch any metal of the car?
Can you provide the reference to where you saw that warning? The negative cable is what connects the negative lead on the battery to the rest of the metal of the car. Electrically there is no reason why a disconnected cable would cause any problems by touching the metal frame. Whenever I disconnect the battery, I just shove the negative lead in a position that ensures it will not accidentally spring back near the battery lead.
veektor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-21-2015, 11:23 PM   #16
Arrival
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Canada
Posts: 67
My Ride: BMW 2001 330i
Quote:
Originally Posted by veektor View Post
Can you provide the reference to where you saw that warning? The negative cable is what connects the negative lead on the battery to the rest of the metal of the car. Electrically there is no reason why a disconnected cable would cause any problems by touching the metal frame. Whenever I disconnect the battery, I just shove the negative lead in a position that ensures it will not accidentally spring back near the battery lead.
Apologies for the late reply, I was running around the whole day. I typed in so many things last night on google in regards to the spark and the battery that it would be a major pain to find it but that's what I read. Not to let the disconnected negative cable to touch any metal surface of the car. I did not see a reason but I figured I'd be safe so I didn't let it touch nothing. I am new to this so I figured I won't.
Arrival is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Censor is ON





All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:05 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
(c) 1999 - 2011 performanceIX Inc - privacy policy - terms of use