Mobile install - Wires #8 or #10 and Anderson powerpoles - Confused on what to get?

Discussion in 'Mobile Radio Systems' started by KF7NUA, Apr 2, 2011.

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  1. KF7NUA

    KF7NUA Ham Member QRZ Page

    OK, so I have been reading on the different sites about mobile installations and I guess I did something wrong. At this time I have a cheap knock off radio in my truck and I have it powered by a cigar lighter socket. Now I am about to install a FT-857D and either a FT-8900 or FT-7800 along with it and i want to power it all from direct from the battery then into a rigrunner and then to the radios. I thought I read that when doing a mobile you should use a #8 wires from the battery to the rigrunner and not use #10. Is this correct, I am confused because I bought the #8 wires and came home to order the rigrunner and I found out the 45amp power pole socket will only hold a #10 wire, it says I need to use a 75amp power pole socket for the #8 wire and I can see that the size difference of the power pole will not mate together.
    Do I dump the #8 wire and buy the rigrunner with the complete package including the #10wire or is this not adequate?
    How did you get around this, tell me what you did
  2. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I don't use a RigRunner or Powerpoles, but have at times 3-4 mobile rigs that all run 100W or more in the van.

    I also had a motor home equipped for five rigs that could run as much as 500W each, and never used any of that stuff then, either.

    I always use #8-2 wiring because it's readily available, very flexible, cheap, and pretty efficient for rigs up to a few hundred watts output power. I get it by the spool from a local "high powered mobile audio systems" shop, and a 100' spool costs about $60.

    I just run each rig this way:

    Reds all to the + terminal of the car battery, with fuses next to the battery; Blacks all to the chassis/frame of the van, using a big, fat bolt under one of the front seats (the bolts that bond the seats to the floor of the car, which is integral with the frame).

    "Distribution systems" that use extra connectors just add more resistance in the path, and I really don't need that.

    I have zero need to disconnect anything once it's installed, until I sell the vehicle, at which time it all comes out in ten minutes.
  3. KC9TLP

    KC9TLP Ham Member QRZ Page

    You could use a common car audio fuse block setup that can accept the size 8 wire and then run off what you need off this. I prefer to use what the rest of the vehicle uses at 30 amps or below, and and if your planned wire is the same amperage as a major circuit in your car/truck,its ideal to use the same fuse type as having a cooling fan wire scrape the frame can be easily corrected by electrical taping and "borrowing" the fuse for your radios, or better yet, carrying spare ones for this purpose. Oh yeah, those car audio fuses are NOT carried by every retailer either so its super vital to have spares on hand, vs hunting them down when one blows:)
  4. WA7PRC

    WA7PRC Ham Member QRZ Page

    The powerpole and rig runner thingies are fine if you need to change gear often. Otherwise, as Steve/WIK said, they just add potential failure points. I just installed ye olde Kenwood TS130S (100W HF) rig into my pickup. With a current demand of ≈ 20A maximum and a short run, I used 10AWG wire. I used this fuse holder from NAPA (Balkamp pn BK 7825317):


    A 30A Maxi fuse allows normal operation of the rig. The wire at the rig end is spliced into a pigtail from the connector that plugs into the rig. The ground is short, to the vehicle frame. Power for my homebrew Morse keyer is via this connector (Balkamp pn BK 7551598):


    It's simple, effective, and reliable.
  5. KX0Z

    KX0Z Ham Member QRZ Page

    You could also trim down the #8 wire a bit so that it fits in the #10 hole. I have done that a couple of time. I just use a pair of old fingernail clippers to trim back the wire around the outside until it fits whatever connector I needed to use.
  6. AD4DQ

    AD4DQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Using 8 or 10 gauge dosent matter too much. 10 will do the job just fine, whatever is more available for you. 75 amps is excessive, no way in the world any radio will pull 75 amps.... the 35 will be fine.
  7. K0BG

    K0BG Ham Member QRZ Page

    The issue of selecting a specific wire size, has little to do with its current rating. Rather, it is the voltage drop across the conductors (at peak current) which counts the most. The rule of thumb is to keep the voltage drop under .5 volts. There are about a dozen reasons to do so, not the least of which is IMD.

    RigRunners can be a source of problems, but voltage drop or current limitations aren't in the equation if they're wired correctly. The reason folks have problems with them, is they mount them where they can be accidentally kicked with predictable results. Power Pole connectors come is about 5 different amperage ratings, and all of them have more than one size connector to facilitate whatever wire size is being used. The last one I encountered which had a problem, was caused by using the wrong connector. The "ham" in question cut off some of the wire strands so he could use a size 12 connector with #8 wire. He added insult by using a cheap hardware store crimper.

    The whole issue is doing the job correctly, and with due concerns safety and convenience. Scrimping, shortcuts, hieing, and a few other maladies are not the stuff of champions.
  8. N6YG

    N6YG Ham Member QRZ Page

    As far as I'm concerned one of the biggest mistakes the ham community has made is standardizing on Sermos connectors AKA Anderson power poles.

    I first discovered Sermos connectors 20+ years ago back when they were known as Sermos connectors. At the time they were the only thing on the market that would work for my applications (Electric gliders and helicopters) At the time I was experimenting with home brew electric helicopters and gliders and needed a reliable battery and motor connector.

    Unfortunately while the Sermos connector might boast low insertion loss they seriously failed the reliability and safety test. One of the problems with Sermos connectors is they simply can't take repeated insertion cycles. Eventually the lexan on the bottom of the connector breaks completely exposing the contacts.

    When I first discovered them you couldn't even buy them here in the states. So I started importing them by the crate and selling them to hobby shops. Unfortunately the return rate on these things was phenomenal. I literally have box's of 1000's of broken connectors, all broken in the very same spot.

    They were so bad that the RC industry pretty much abandoned them after a few years in favor of the new and improved Deans connector. This left me with a life time supply of Sermos connectors that took me nearly 15 years to sell off. I now only have a few 100 left which I plan to keep.

    After 20+ years of using them I have really learned not to trust them in anything critical or in any situation where their failure could result in a fire. It's not bad enough that they aren't very secure and easily come apart. Probably the worst problem is the brittleness of the connectors which has resulted in the loss of quite a few model's and several car fire's that I know of.

    Over the years I searched for a better connector and while the improved Deans connector is somewhat better it still has its own issues. A few years back a new connector hit the model industry and it looks very promising, It's called on the XT60 connector.

    The XTR60 is much easer to assemble, the bodies are made of nylon and they can handle 60 amp intermittent and 45 amps continuous. Best of all they are much smaller and cheaper and while easy to disassemble they are secure enough that they won't come apart accidentally and they look nice

    If you want interchangeability with Sermons connectors you can always make up some pigtails as I did. I buy them directly from china but for a bit more money you can just as easily find them in the states.

    One of the nice touches is that the back of the connector where you solder the wires to has a solder cup and a very nice circular recess that perfectly fits heat shrink making for a really nice finish, and it acts as a strain relief. I have retrofitted all my ham and shack equipment with them and so far they have been flawless. I have also been using them in all my LIPO powered models and haven't had a single failure yet. Heres a bit more info, take a look at them and let me know what you think.

    Best Regards
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2011
  9. KF7NUA

    KF7NUA Ham Member QRZ Page

    thanks everyone, What I did was I kept the 8awg wire and I bought a junction block, inline 30a fuses pictured above, a box and lid to encompass everything and assorted connectors. I am going to put it together this way I. I want to thank everyone about there ideas and concerns, I am glad you all posted and saved me the troubles I could have had and the money I would have spent.
  10. K0BG

    K0BG Ham Member QRZ Page

    George, I might like to agree with you on how much better the Deans connectors are, but I can't. Their biggest drawback are the exposed connections, which means you have to heatshrink the exposed parts. If you follow the directions when installing Power Poles, there is no exposure.

    The plastic used is not Lexan; it is fiberglass reinforced Nylon, and it meets the UL 94 standard. Unless I misread the information on Deans web site, theirs uses a non-UL rated thermoplastic.

    All power poles are rated for 10,000 insertions. I can't find a spec for that in Deans web site.

    To each his own.
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