Monday, October 20, 2008

Better DC connections: PowerPole

Generally for connecting 12V devices I've been using banana plugs but while they're great on the bench, they tend to fall out rather easily and expose live voltage which can lead to some nasty surprises...

WICEN NSW have standardised on Anderson Powerpole connectors and I grabbed a few at the local Jaycar (Product code PT4405).

Here's my little adapter from forks for the screw terminals to PowerPole:

They are a clever design, very easy to solder and construct and feel very sturdy.

They don't stop you from doing bad things in that they aren't keyed in any way, but the colours are clear enough.

The connections are sprung so they press together for a solid electrical contact.

Once plugged in they won't vibrate out. On the sides there are little matching slots so they slide in and lock together to make a pair, which is handy for keeping the wires together too.

Here's my adapter for the bench supply:

Next I plan to add one to the car, probably just from the cigarette lighter socket for now.

Here's a little distribution bus, it's great how the connectors slide together to make a rigid block.

I ordered a commerical board, the RigRunner 4005 just arrived and it looks excellent.

The only bad thing about this system is the choice of Red and Black as the colours. Didn't we switch away from those because of the high proportion of males who are colour blind?


Anonymous said...

They are very nice connectors, especially being genderless and stackable into harnesses. Not too cheap however, even direct from Electus they only get down to $2.43 for quantities > 25. I've seen them on eBay cheaper, but only from international sellers, after the shipping the difference isn't too great.

Banana plugs are quite a bit cheaper, but they are only rated to 10A and are a lot easier to accidentally short. OK for on the bench, but the Andersons are the right thing for shack transceiver power buses. Well worth the premium IMO, just wish the pre-made buses were easier to find in AU. Do you happen to know a supplier?

Peter Marks said...

I've ordered 50 pairs from Powerwerx in the US at a total including shipping of US$49.70 so that's AU$1.48 a pair at the current rate.

I'm not drawn to proprietary designs unless they are clearly superior, in this case I think they are.

Haven't looked for parallel buses yet...