If you attach the negative sides first, then one positive clip, the other positive clip is now at 12V with respect to the "ground" of the other car's body. If the other red clip touches the other car almost anywhere in the engine, you'll create a short circuit. This is really easy because there's a lot of metal in an engine compartment! If you connect the positive clips first, and then one negative clip, the other clip is now at roughly 0V with respect to the "ground" of the other car's body.
If it touches anything in the engine, it's no big deal.
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The only way to create a short circuit here is if you explicitly touched the black clip to the red one, and that's a lot harder to do by accident. According to IIRC an old Haynes manual for an MG Midget, the true reason for connecting the reds first is that lead acid batteries produce hydrogen, and when you connect your jumper cables to the battery terminals there may be a spark in the event of a potential difference between the batteries one of them is probably somewhat dead, so this is likely.
I have heard a first hand account of this causing an explosion, but did not see it with my own eyes. Damage was said to be limited to singed body hair, but surely this is better avoided. Connect the red cable to both positive terminals, in whichever order you like. No spark, as there is no difference in potential. Connect one end of the black cable to the negative terminal of the good battery. Now connect the other end of the black cable to some part of the engine block away from the battery of the dead car.
The engine is connected to the negative terminal of the battery by a large cable, so you will still make a good connection. Depends on how careful you are with your wrench, I zapped myself a few times by using a wrench which accidently made a connection between the positive pole and the car body. Disconnecting the negative first is better.
Jump Starting & Charging
This is for removing the cables. For setting up, connect the positive cable first. Older, non sealed batteries do sometimes outgas and a spark around that is not what you need. Here is the real reason.
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Batteries sometimes produce hydrogen gas which is extremely flammable. When jump starting it is assumed you will not connect the negative cable to the negative battery cable at all but will instead connect it to a substantial piece of metal of the car, say a bolt on the engine. Now connect the negative cable black one to a piece of metal that is away from the battery, which means it is away from any hydrogen gas emitted by the battery.
You almost always get a spark when connecting this negative cable. So the reason is to keep the spark away from hydrogen gas. Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site the association bonus does not count.
Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead? Home Questions Tags Users Unanswered. All answers to circuit related questions should include a circuit diagram: I hope such learning removes the need to ring the garage. Jump starting a dead battery: Connect black wire to negative pole of battery or grounded metal?
Step 3. Disconnect the negative cable
It's widespread, but not all vehicles as questions like mechanics. The short shown would even happen if the black cable where disconnected. Disconnect the grounded terminal negative , then the ungrounded terminal positive before removing the battery. Remove the battery from the vehicle. Some vehicles require that you remove the battery before charging, others do not. You can charge the battery inside the boat only if you have a charger and other equipment that is specifically meant for doing so. This will avoid putting pressure on the battery ends and forcing battery acid out of the vent caps, as might happen if you carry it in your hands.
Clean the battery terminals. Use a mixture of baking soda and water to clean any corrosion off the terminals and neutralize any sulfuric acid that may have spilled on them. You can apply the mixture with an old toothbrush. Alternatively, you can clean off mild corrosion by using a wire brush.
Auto parts stores even sell a special round wire brush that fits over the terminals. Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth right after cleaning the terminals. Wash your hands immediately. Do not touch any white gunk that may appear on the terminals, as this is congealed sulfuric acid. Pour in enough distilled water to reach the fill level on each battery cell.
Pouring water into your battery cells disperses hydrogen gas from the cell. Do not use tap water as it will damage your battery over time. If your battery does not have flame-arresting caps, put a wet cloth across the top of the caps. Place the charger as far from the battery as its cables will allow. This will reduce the possibility of damage to the unit from any airborne sulfuric acid vapor.
Jump-Starting Your Car: Complete Instructions Using Jumper Cables
Never place the charger directly above or below the battery. Set the charger to deliver the correct voltage. This is done by adjusting the voltage output selector, usually on the front of the charging unit. If your charger has an adjustable rate of charge you should start at the lowest rate. Connect one charger clip to the positive post on the battery.
This step is the same whether the battery is removed from the vehicle for charging or not. Connect the second charger clip to ground.
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There are two different cases for connecting the ground. This prevents arcing at the battery terminal and will not run the risk of causing the battery to explode.
Clipping the grounding cable directly to the negative battery terminal can be dangerous. If the battery has been removed from the vehicle, you should connect a jumper cable or insulated battery cable at least 24 inches 60 cm long to the grounded post. Then, connect the battery charger clip for the grounded post to this cable. This allows you to be away from the battery when you complete the circuit in case it explodes. It is also a good idea not to be facing the battery when you connect the charger to the jumper cable. Plug the charger into an outlet.
The charger should be equipped with a grounded plug three pronged plug and should be plugged into a properly grounded outlet three prong outlet. An adapter should not be used. Use an extension cord only if absolutely necessary. If an extension cord is necessary, it should be a grounded three pronged extension cord and be the proper wire size to accommodate the amperage of the charger. An adapter should not be used between the charger and extension cord or the extension cord and the wall.
Leave the battery on the charger until the battery is fully charged. You can tell this by using the recommended charging time for your battery or looking to see if the charge indicator shows the battery has been fully charged. Once your battery is fully charged, you will need to systematically unhook your components. Start by unplugging the charger from the outlet. Disconnect the charger grounding clip from the battery.