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Anderson PowerPole Conectors

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#1 mloffland

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Posted 22 March 2010 - 11:30 AM

Anderson PowerPole Conectors

#2 RAKing

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Posted 22 March 2010 - 12:31 PM

Nice article, Dan.

I have been using PowerPoles for many years, for both work and play. The amperage rating is for AC and they can easily handle twice the current with DC.

CS,

Ron

#3 Doug D.

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Posted 22 March 2010 - 05:28 PM

Just ordered some this past weekend along with a crimp tool for lots of projects I've been putting off. Your review just inspired me to think of a few other applications! thanks,

Doug

#4 rick rian

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Posted 22 March 2010 - 08:38 PM

Well done, Dan, nice article!

#5 Digital Don

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Posted 22 March 2010 - 09:00 PM

Years ago when I raced R/C cars, we used the very same connectors (they were called Sermos Connectors back then) because of their high amp rating, positive locking, and the ability to 'polarize' the connections.

A great product then and now!

Don:usa:

#6 mcoren

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Posted 22 March 2010 - 09:06 PM

Thanks for the review. I started using PowerPoles about five years ago, after somebody recommended them on the Celestron_AS Yahoo! group. They're nice and compact, connect securely, and the red/black color of the 15A connectors is easy to discern under a dim red light. I've also never had any problem with any order I've placed from PowerWerx.

#7 astrotrf

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Posted 22 March 2010 - 10:45 PM

Do these connectors require some particular kind of crimper to crimp the wires to the connector? Can anyone point me to a suitable crimper?

Thanks.

#8 Midnight Dan

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Posted 23 March 2010 - 10:46 AM

Hi Terry:

They do need the right kind of crimper to make sure the barrel stays round. Just flattening it with a pair of pliers won't work because it will no longer fit into the plastic housing.

Here's a link to the "best" one: http://www.westmount...om/PWRcrimp.htm
Of course, best = expensive. :smirk:

Here's a page with lots of information, including a reference to a $10 crimper. I think it will only work on the 30 Amp connectors ... which is ok because you can probably use them for everything. http://home.comcast.net/~buck0/app.htm

I avoided crimping and soldered mine instead. The Anderson PowerPole website says crimping is "recommended" but also gives tips on soldering so I don't see a problem with soldering your connectors.

-Dan

#9 astrotrf

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Posted 23 March 2010 - 02:53 PM

Thanks, Dan -- I'll check that out.

#10 Yedgy

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Posted 24 March 2010 - 02:24 AM

Great article! Next time I tackle this kind of thing I'll be sure to use PowerPoles.

Tony

#11 astrotrf

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Posted 24 March 2010 - 11:58 AM

OK, I've done my "due diligence" on this, and I have a question.

I've read some of the reviews on the RigRunner, which uses the Anderson PowerPole connectors. While everyone likes the RigRunner, about half of them complain about the PowerPole connectors as being too easy to demate. In fact, the RigRunner folks sell an optional retaining bar to hold the PowerPole connectors in place so they don't fall out spontaneously.

Yet others, including the reviewer and posters here, claim the PowerPole connections are adequately secure.

So I'm confused and uncertain. Do those of you who've actually used the PowerPoles have any additional thoughts on this?

Thanks.

#12 mikiek

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Posted 25 March 2010 - 12:53 AM

Good information Dan.
My only comment is that many of the male cigarette adapters have fuses inside. I've always had to replace that with an inline fuse.

#13 Midnight Dan

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Posted 25 March 2010 - 06:19 AM

OK, I've done my "due diligence" on this, and I have a question.

I've read some of the reviews on the RigRunner, which uses the Anderson PowerPole connectors. While everyone likes the RigRunner, about half of them complain about the PowerPole connectors as being too easy to demate. In fact, the RigRunner folks sell an optional retaining bar to hold the PowerPole connectors in place so they don't fall out spontaneously.

Yet others, including the reviewer and posters here, claim the PowerPole connections are adequately secure.

So I'm confused and uncertain. Do those of you who've actually used the PowerPoles have any additional thoughts on this?

Thanks.


I guess it depends on your point of reference and your application. If you're comparing to cigarette lighter connectors, these are far more secure and do not pull out easily. Some competing RC type connectors do have locking clips on the shell, some do not. Obviously, the ones with the locks will stay together better, but most of them are weak in the area of the metal pin and it's crimp and the connection can become unreliable over time.

For panel mount situations like the Rig Runner, I think these will be more difficult to pull out than a cigarette lighter connector. There may be other more secure panel mount setups, but astronomical use is not really an environment needing a "locked in" connector in most cases. You're not really dealing with lots of motion, vibration, or other activity in the vicinity of the connector. Fact is, if you trip over your cord with enough force to dislodge the connector, you probably WANT it to pull out rather than pull your mount over or rip your dew heaters off your scope.

What you really want here is a connection that is solid and reliable in the face of mild wiggling or other motions of the cable. With cigarette lighter connectors, especially some of the more poorly made ones, it often takes very little sideways motion to cause a momentary break in the connection.

-Dan

#14 Midnight Dan

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Posted 25 March 2010 - 06:30 AM

Good information Dan.
My only comment is that many of the male cigarette adapters have fuses inside. I've always had to replace that with an inline fuse.


Don't get me started on my fuse rant! :grin:

There are two places where a fuse is appropriate and makes sense. One is in the power supply. It's purpose is to protect the battery, circuitry, or cabling, from external shorts.

The other place is on an individual piece of equipment. The manufacturer knows how the equipment operates, whether a fuse can really serve any purpose, and what the exact correct size and type (fast blow, slow blow, etc.) to use.

So, if your cable is designed for a specific device (e.g. your mount), then it may have a fuse in it that is sized appropriately for the device. In that case, since the manufacturer is trying to protect the mount with the correct fuse, then you should definitely create a cable with an inline fuse, and you should ONLY use the cable with that particular device.

However, many of these cables are generic in nature and the fuse that is in it is just designed to protect the wiring in the cable. The assumption is that you may use it to plug into a car's outlet which may or may not be fused, or may be fused at a much higher rating than the cable can withstand without melting. If your power supply already has a fuse built into it, you really don't need the additional fuse in the cable.

-Dan

#15 RAKing

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Posted 25 March 2010 - 06:37 AM

OK, I've done my "due diligence" on this, and I have a question.

I've read some of the reviews on the RigRunner, which uses the Anderson PowerPole connectors. While everyone likes the RigRunner, about half of them complain about the PowerPole connectors as being too easy to demate. In fact, the RigRunner folks sell an optional retaining bar to hold the PowerPole connectors in place so they don't fall out spontaneously.

Yet others, including the reviewer and posters here, claim the PowerPole connections are adequately secure.

So I'm confused and uncertain. Do those of you who've actually used the PowerPoles have any additional thoughts on this?

Thanks.


I agree with Dan on this. All of my use with the PowerPoles has been with inline connections. We buy ours from Mouser and use crimp fittings for our UAV projects.

The connections are very secure in operation - with the proviso that the connection will pop loose and disconnect in a crash or hard landing. Astronomy gear is under a lot less stress and vibration and the connections are rock-solid.

When I came back to this hobby, I was reluctant to cut the auto connectors off my gear and void the warranty. But I had to shim some of the connectors in order to guarantee a firm connection, so I got over the warranty thing in favor of solid electronics. :)

As mentioned above, some of the auto connectors have fuses. When I "fixed" my Kendrick dew controller, I added an inline fuse holder, then changed to PowerPoles.

Comparing auto connectors to PowerPoles is no contest, IMO. :cool:

Ron

#16 astrotrf

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Posted 25 March 2010 - 02:48 PM

Thanks, guys, for the added words on the PowerPoles. I am sufficiently reassured, so I'm going to give them a try.

#17 Midnight Dan

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Posted 26 March 2010 - 06:19 AM

By the way, if you really do need the added security of locking connectors, check out this page:

http://www.powerwerx...es/accessories/

There are retaining clips available for inline connections, as well as plugs that have latches that mate with the chassis mount connectors.

-Dan

#18 MrGibbly

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Posted 27 March 2010 - 07:46 PM

Nice write-up! Like Don, I used these things 15+ years ago when I raced off road, electric RC cars and trucks in both stock and modified classes. The connectors handled the high current, constant vibration, dirt/crud, and gnarly crashes without failing electrically or mechanically.

Honestly, I can't imagine an astronomy-related use case that these things couldn't take in stride. Good stuff, good price.

#19 pubquiz

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Posted 27 March 2010 - 08:15 PM

I used them in all my electric RC planes and large ones in our heavyweight robot 'Chip' that we used to compete in Robot Wars events here in the UK years ago (Battlebots in the US) (see my avatar)

I always used to solder them on not crimp them they are excellent connectors.

Tom

#20 k1uhf

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Posted 28 March 2010 - 02:15 PM

First I better say I am affiated with West Mountain Radio and am also an amateur astronmer. I designed the RIGrunner power panels and my company introduced Powerpoles to the Amateur Radio hobby.

I wanted to comment on properly assembling them. Failure to do so will make them not connect together properly or even not make good connection.

Whether you solder or crimp them you MUST make sure that the overall diameter of the contact is not any larger than it was originally. If the contact is jammed tightly into the housings they will not work properly.

After assembly the contacts must "float" inside the housings. Wiggle the wires and make sure the contacts are free to move inside the plastic housings so that they mate together properly and have a good detent (Anderson says 6 pounds pull for a pair of this size).

Also the roll pins are not recommended by Anderson, they supply much more expensive spiral pins that hold better. The roll pins will fall out and luck has it right inside your equipment causing smoke. It is best to glue the housings together with a drop of cyanocrylic glue.

There are small plastic connector locks if you are not worried about tripping on a wire and damaging whatever it is hooked too. Personally I would rather they snapped apart than break something.

Please visit my companies web page http://www.westmountainradio.com for lots of information and articles on using Powerpoles.

#21 Midnight Dan

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Posted 28 March 2010 - 04:44 PM

Hi k1uhf:

Thanks for the extra insights!

So far, I've used the roll pins and they have always been very snug. It would take a lot to make one come out, and since they are all for external use, even if it did, there would be no place for it to cause any kind of short. Still, I imagine there are a variety of tolerances used with the roll pins and perhaps they are not all tight enough. It seems like your suggestion of gluing them together would certainly be the safest way to go! :bow:

-Dan

#22 astrotrf

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Posted 28 March 2010 - 05:41 PM

k1uhf:

Thanks for this info; superglue it is for the connectors! I agree that having them pull out is much better than having them hold on for dear life.

Cleaning up my 12V wiring is this summer's monsoon season project ...

#23 RAKing

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Posted 28 March 2010 - 05:58 PM

k1uhf,

Welcome to CN!

I am a proud owner of a West Mountain crimper - it's a lifetime tool. Thanks for making them. :)

I'll confess that I had never heard of the roll pins until I read this article. We have always used CA to stick them together.

Cheers,

Ron

#24 Midnight Dan

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Posted 28 March 2010 - 09:32 PM

Every place I've seen that sells them seems to include the roll pins in the package. Plus, when assembled, they have that nice round hole that looks like it's made for something like a roll pin, so I assumed that's the way they came from the manufacturer. Apparently not!
:shrug:

-Dan

#25 RAKing

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Posted 29 March 2010 - 07:22 AM

We buy them in bulk from Mouser and they come in a variety of colors: Tyco AMP Connectors . I'll generally get a small bag of red and another bag of black for my stuff. I just noticed that Mouser lists the retaining pins, but I didn't know what they were for until now. CA is cheaper. :lol:

The contacts come in strips and we just cut them apart and crimp them as needed.

This is usually less expensive than buying from a hobby shop.

Ron


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