The Gold Cube Part One

The Gold Cube Part One

Part Two here –>

Just bought a Gold Cube 4-stack Deluxe for processing concentrates. It’s a well reviewed product and information and videos about it all over the net. I bought directly from the manufacturer through eBay.  Their eBay company name is goldcubeusa.

https://www.ebay.com/usr/goldcubeusa?

Kevin Singel has a page on actually operating the Cube, both in the field and off. Great hints and tips:

https://findinggoldincolorado.com/using-a-gold-cube-in-colorado/

Setup

There is little involved in putting together the four trays which are made of tough plastic. Something called LPDE which you have probably seen but not recognized by that name.



The stand was somewhat difficult to set up. The instructions have poor, dark photographs which I am sure will be revised. Now that I have it assembled, however, everything makes sense as to why it was designed that way.

The stand is made rigid by ten 1/4″ coarse thread thumbscrews.  Get extras at most large hardware stores as you will lose them over time. My thumbscrews needed a little filing to make them finger friendly from some stray metal slivers. No big whoop. The Gold Cube must be level so I bought an eight dollar level at the Home Depot that attaches with its strong magnet to the stand.

Wiring

Most people won’t have a problem with the machine itself but rather with connecting the bilge pump electrical wires to the supplied battery clips. I have dealt with this  problem many, many times when hooking up different batteries to different pumps.

In the two next photos, note the difference in size between a lead wire and the the battery clamp wire holder.  Small battery clamps are all like this. This wire clamp holder may naturally accommodate 10 or 12 gauge wire whereas the bilge wire is somewhere between 18 and 22.  Clamping now will not hold, this small diameter wire will always slip out. What to do?

Soldering isn’t the main choice here as soldering provides little mechanical strength to a connection. Its main purpose is to provide a solid electrical connection. It provides little resistance to tugging and pulling. You could fashion a strain loop for the leads but these would hang up on something in the field.

Soldering helps prevent corrosion on bare wire better than a strict mechanical connection. It may help prevent a short but it is far from a guarantee.

I’ve made hundreds of low voltage wire connections that were direct buried with no soldering. The preferred method was bringing two or more wires into a small, two part plastic canister filled with waterproof gel. The wires were first crimped together using the connector shown at the bottom of the page while slightly outside of the first half of the canister. After connecting, the second half of the canister was pressed home into the first half. Thus, you had a waterproof rated connection that was electrically and mechanically sound.  See the bottom of this page.  This discussion is an aside about permanent connections. But that is not what this post is about.

What we have here is a temporary connection. It uses a clamp and post system which cannot be made waterproof since it is temporary. A case surrounding the battery and its clamps is the only way to bring some protection against water. Back to the real subject of this post, fitting dissimilar wire sizes.




The solution is to insert the lead into a bullet splice connector, crush that against the lead, and then insert the bullet connector into the battery clamp wire holder.


The lead wire in the photo below has been crushed into the bullet splice connecter. Home Depot sells the brand made by GB or Gardner Bender. .156 diameter, 22-16 AWG. Ten to a packet and less than two dollars.

Now insert the lead into the clamp holder. Note the tabs which must be folded onto the bullet connector and then made good by clamping with a pliers. Make sure to have the clamp’s rubber cover ahead of the wire before clamping. Let me explain.

See that red handle cover? That’s there for easy gripping of the clamp. There’s another one for the other side. It’s been pulled back to facilitate all of this connecting. Make sure it is somewhere before the wire before clamping down, otherwise you can’t get it back over the handle. This applies, too, to any shrink wrap tubing which I will discuss later.

The photo below shows the tabs closed over the bullet connector, then clamped down. The connection is now mechanically and electrically sound.

To keep the plastic handle cover from slipping off, I have used several turns of electrical tape to go from the cover to the lead wire. This is very ugly and unprofessional.

Ideally, you would use electrical shrink wrap tubing to marry up handle cover to the wire below. I don’t have a heat gun, however, so this will have to do.

Remember, this electrical tape has nothing to do with any electrical connection. This is just securing plastic to plastic. Electrical tape should never be used by itself to make an electrical connection. Shrink tubing would look better and work better.

Beyond this discussion is a case enclosing the battery and its clamps when you are in wet weather. Waterproofing the wire connection of the clamp does little when the post itself is exposed to rain or water. Any exposed part of an electrical circuit may cause that circuit to short when exposed to water. The entire arrangement instead must be protected. If nothing else, throw a bag over everything if it starts to rain. Better yet, get a proper case. If you are working near corrosive sea water, well, you need to get familiar with marine applications.

Here’s an alternative if you want to buy 100 of these connectors at a time. This is an electrical crimp connector. About 1/3 of an inch long.



First, expose about 1″ of lead wire with a wire cutter to remove the wire’s outer jacketing. Next, pass that one inch through and double back one half inch on top of the crimp connector. Compress the heck out of the connector, with half of the wire still outside. Insert the crimp connector into the battery clamp connector and crush again by pressing the tabs against the connector. Don’t have the exposed wire on the tab side, place the wire underneath. This spot offers the best chance metal to metal contact.

The reason this approach works well is because the wire is hooked over and back on the crimp connector. No easy way to pull out since the wire is doubled back on itself. In theory, the bullet method could let a wire be pulled straight out. Yet I have not ever had that happened. Compression works. Anyway, many ways to skin the proverbial cat.

Updates to follow as I continue setting up the Gold Cube.

Part Two here –>

One last note on making waterproof connections. You need a properly designed and rated connector. You cannot simply make a pigtail splice, solder it and then place it in the ground or in the water. That is insane. Solder does not waterproof. I’ve dug up more soldered connections than I can count. Usually wrapped in electrical tape. Madness. Do you think the Bell System worked this way? Take a look at the image below. This is a quality low voltage connector. Higher voltages demand other kind of connectors. Anything marked direct burial will work in the face of water. Everything else fails. Oh, maybe not now, but it will fail. Don’t set up you and your equipment for failure.


Updates to follow as I continue setting up the Gold Cube.

Part Two here –>


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