Author Topic: Anderson Powerpoles  (Read 3274 times)

Offline Steve W

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Anderson Powerpoles
« on: October 11, 2009, 11:07:45 AM »
A great many radio amateurs, R/C Flyers, Hobbyists, and now Emcomm types have standardized on the Anderson Powerpole family of connectors for DC Connections.  It is worth knowing about them, and even if you don't use them to have a a pig-tail in your "go kit" to tap power from them.

Anderson Powerpole connectors

The Anderson Powerpole has been adopted by the amateur radio community as their standard 12-volt DC power connector for everything from radios to accessories. It is a bit more expensive than the older “standards” of the 2-wire trailer plug and Molex connector, but provides a more reliable electrical connection (both mechanically and electrically) and is easier to adapt to a wider range of wire gauges. Powerpole connectors are physically and electrically hermaphroditic, thus avoiding the need to worry about which end is the plug and which the socket, or which end has the correct polarity, as is the case with the physically but not electrically hermaphroditic 2-wire trailer plug.

For use in amateur radio, the community has adopted a standard polarity for assembling the Singlepole connectors, using one red and one black housing, as well as a mnemonic for remembering the arrangement: Red Right—Tongue Top. Before this polarity standard was adopted, some amateur radio groups had chosen the opposite polarity, so it is wise to double-check the polarity before blindly plugging devices together.

Although many sizes of the Powerpoles are available, the size most commonly used is the 15/30/45 amp variety. These sizes all use the same plastic housing, differing only in the metal contact inserted into the housing (selected based on the current need and wire size). Larger Powerpole connectors (the SB/Multipole series) with 2 or 3 contacts in one molded housing are commonly used in various industrial settings, including as a battery connection for some UPS devices, removable truck/Jeep winches, many electric forklifts, and other electric powered vehicles.

For the larger Multipole design, each color is keyed so as to mate only with a like colored connector, and Anderson publishes a list of recommended voltages for each color:
12V: Yellow
18V: Orange
24V: Red
36V: Gray
48V: Blue
72V: Green
80V: Black
96V: Brown
120V: Purple
144V: White
Some manufacturers have ignored this color coding recommendation. One should always test the connection with a voltmeter if unsure. For example, winch manufacturer Warn uses a red housing for its winches, even though they are powered by 12 V DC, not 24 V DC.

The connectors are also starting to be used by Radio Control hobbists.

This connector design was created by Anderson, but the patent on its design has apparently lapsed, and there are other manufacturers of this connector now, including AMP and Sermos.

Sources for Power Poles, Tools and more information:

Offline Radjoman

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Re: Anderson Powerpoles
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2009, 08:26:58 PM »
Every radio I have now has these connectors. I got rid of the SAE connectors (they look like 4 pole trailer wiring connectors, but only POS & NEG poles). I got rid of the std Yaesu and Kenwood, Icom connectors too. There is a standard way to link the red and black shells together, but if you dont glue them, then you can slip them apart and recombine them as you need. You really need to try them out to see why they are such a success.  Oh I just use Red for 12VDC and Black for Ground.

Offline Carl2

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Re: Anderson Powerpoles
« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2009, 10:13:51 PM »
I have standardized on Power-Poles also.  They do not seem to be available locally; it is good to keep a supply of such basic spares on hand in any case.  Several manufacturers now make power distribution centers based on Power-Poles that can handle multiple pieces of equipment.  An automobile mechanic showed me an essential identical but larger connector that could handle a couple hundred amperes.

Offline Ragnar

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Re: Anderson Powerpoles
« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2009, 09:17:11 AM »
They are great!  Do yourself a favor and go ahead and get the good crimper....I tried several at first and then bought the more expensive one and it has made a big difference.