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Author Topic: Power Connectors for Mobile Rigs  (Read 6060 times)
NZ5Y
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Posts: 20




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« on: March 04, 2014, 09:21:50 AM »

I've been away from Ham Radio for a while.  So I've recently bought some new gear (a Wouxon KG-UVD1P 2mtr-70cm HT, and a Kenwood TM-281A 2-mtr mobile).  As I was starting to wire up the Kenwood, I noticed it has 65W output power, and uses up to 14A at 12v.  My standard power connector for years was a 2-pin polarized Molex connector.  But according to Molex it's only rated for 10 amps, and Radio Shack says 8 amps. 

So, what connectors are people using for power connectors nowadays?  Or should I just bite the expensive bullet and buy the Kenwood molex-looking connector (two spade lugs, at right angles to each other)?

Also, for Mobile HF I've used the square Black 4-pin plugs for years.  Is there something better for that too?

Steve NZ5Y
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Steve NZ5Y
M6GOM
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Posts: 945




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« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2014, 09:28:32 AM »

Chocblocs for cheap and cheerful. Used those up to 22A without issue for decades.
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K9YLI
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Posts: 872




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« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2014, 10:27:34 AM »

I add to the standard  T plug system  a short  jumper of   "motorola" connectors with  #10 wire in them.  rubber with  round  connectors. they look like  flat 4  trailer light connectors
and other  automobile type polarized connectors. and in an emergency  they are available at any walmart  kmart  or auto store. albeeit with smaller wire. ..

I get the motorola ones at  hamfests .
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K6CPO
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Posts: 157




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« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2014, 10:55:36 AM »

The "industry standard" for 12V DC connectors in amateur radio is the Anderson Powerpole.  These have become so common that RACES and ARES have adopted them as a standard to ensure "interoperability" among radios and power sources. 

They are easy to assemble and when installed properly, the connection is set up with a mostly fool-proof polarization. 

http://www.andersonpower.com/products/singlepole-connectors.html

http://www.powerwerx.com/anderson-powerpoles/
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KB4QAA
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Posts: 2407




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« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2014, 10:56:49 AM »

I cutoff all the proprietary supplied connectors on all my small radios and equipment and replaced them with Anderson Powerpoles.  

Life is much simpler and I can change radios in the car, in the shack, on portable operations with ease.   RigRunner power distribution blocks of various sizes in my shack, car, and portable power box make everything simple and tidy.

www.powerwerx.com

www.westmountainradio.com

p.s. The ratcheting crimper makes the connections perfectly and reliably.  The cheap pliers are...cheap.

p.p.s.  The Powerpoles are not perfect and have several drawbacks, e.g.  Lack of support for wire, and less than ideal insulated protection at the connector/crimped terminal connection; poor retaining mating force.  However, they are a good solution for indoor use where they aren't subject to pulling forces.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2014, 11:02:42 AM by KB4QAA » Logged
K6CPO
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Posts: 157




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« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2014, 11:11:02 AM »

I cutoff all the proprietary supplied connectors on all my small radios and equipment and replaced them with Anderson Powerpoles.  

Life is much simpler and I can change radios in the car, in the shack, on portable operations with ease.   RigRunner power distribution blocks of various sizes in my shack, car, and portable power box make everything simple and tidy.

www.powerwerx.com

www.westmountainradio.com

p.s. The ratcheting crimper makes the connections perfectly and reliably.  The cheap pliers are...cheap.

p.p.s.  The Powerpoles are not perfect and have several drawbacks, e.g.  Lack of support for wire, and less than ideal insulated protection at the connector/crimped terminal connection; poor retaining mating force.  However, they are a good solution for indoor use where they aren't subject to pulling forces.

I use a Klein crimper that works very well on the Powerpoles. I had a couple of these sitting around from a previous job and figured if they'd work on the powerpoles, I wouldn't have to buy an expensive ratcheting crimper.  YMMV...

There are a number of different ways to secure powerpoles so they won't pull apart.  I find the easiest way is to thread a small cable tie through the hole in the center of the powerpole.  This holds them together and is easy to remove with a small wire cutter.  And yes, I have had them pull apart in mobile installations.

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NZ5Y
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Posts: 20




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« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2014, 10:47:02 AM »

I see that everyone seems to have gone to Powerpoles, and I guess I'll do that too.  The last information I had was the RACES and ARES standard was the white 2-pin Molex connectors, but they don't carry enough current for these new high powered rigs.

 I used to use different connectors for High current rigs (20A usually) like HF Mobile, and another connector for lower current (10A or so) like mobile VHF and UHF equipment.  I see that Powerpoles are all the same on the business end, with the different (15-20-30 I think) amp pins varying only on the wire insertion end.  So with Powerpoles, it appears possible to plug in a radio into a power source with too little current.  Any thoughts on that?
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Steve NZ5Y
K2YO
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Posts: 436




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« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2014, 09:10:40 PM »

"So with Powerpoles, it appears possible to plug in a radio into a power source with too little current.  Any thoughts on that?"

Yes, don't do that! The objective is to make all connections compatible, not idiot proof. The user has a radio license so they ought to be able to understand the size of wire they are plugging into their radio.

I switched to powerpoles back in 2008 and have never been sorry.

Bernie
K2YO
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NZ5Y
Member

Posts: 20




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« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2014, 06:11:32 AM »

I hear you.  But it's best not to have too much faith in humankind to not do stupid things!!
Anyway, I think I'll finally get with the 21st century and go with Powerpoles.  I'm going to a swapfest today in Claremore, OK, and I'll get some there.
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Steve NZ5Y
K2YO
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Posts: 436




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« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2014, 07:03:20 AM »

Keep an eye out, there are a couple of inexpensive ratching crimpers on the market now. (Note: inexpensive as ratching crimper go.) You may even be able to find one that can be switched out with jaws to crip RF connectors. I got one call Andy-Crip with a full set of powerpole and RF jaws that I like.

Bernie
K2YO
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KB2FCV
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Posts: 1232


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« Reply #10 on: March 07, 2014, 09:14:57 AM »

I have mostly the power pole connectors for most of the rigs here. I would definitely get the ratcheting crimp tool if you go with those connectors.
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K8AXW
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Posts: 3900




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« Reply #11 on: March 07, 2014, 05:53:17 PM »

5Y:  Let me add something about the Anderson Power Poles connectors.  First of all I'm a firm believer in them.  They pretty well have standardized the ham radio power connector options.

The main point I want to make is it isn't necessary to buy the ratcheting type crimper which will set you back around $50.00.

One mentioned the Klein crimp tool.  I think that is a standard electrician solderless connector crimper.  If it is, either one will cost you $25.00 or less and will do a great job. 

If you use this type tool, rotate the connector in the tool so the connector "split" in in the concave part of the tool. 

If you put the rounded side of the connector into the concave part the "spike" part of the tool will go down into the "split" and ruin the connector.



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NZ5Y
Member

Posts: 20




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« Reply #12 on: March 07, 2014, 07:52:49 PM »

I liked the ratchet crimper,  it felt solid.  But expensive ($35 I think).  But MFJ makes one that is like the simple pliers type crimper we've always used,  but with jaws shaped like power poles (square not round). They're $16.95.

What about tools with multiple dies for power poles,  standard crimp connectors,  coax,  etc.  Are there such? I thought I heard someone say so.
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Steve NZ5Y
K2YO
Member

Posts: 436




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« Reply #13 on: March 08, 2014, 06:39:45 AM »

Steve,
Look up the crimper I mentioned in the post above, the Andy Crip. I have one with powerpole jaw and jaws for RF connectors.

I agee with K8AXW that you can use the manual cripper, but once you get a ratching crimper you will never go back. It's all a matter of budget.

Bernie
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NZ5Y
Member

Posts: 20




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« Reply #14 on: March 09, 2014, 12:26:05 PM »

Thanks Bernie.  I knew you had mentioned one, but I was working this board from my phone from the swapfest and had difficulty looking at older posts.

Steve
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Steve NZ5Y
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