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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. WA7KKP

    WA7KKP Ham Member QRZ Page

    I wonder why paralleling #10 or #12 wires is never considered? Worked great in the olden days of unobtanium wire gauges . . . !!!

    Gary WA7KKP
  2. K0BG

    K0BG Ham Member QRZ Page

    Good point Gary. Other than the cost, there is nothing wrong with paralleling smaller gauge cables. Problems can arise when you're terminating the wires into one fuse, but there are ways around that as well.
  3. N6YG

    N6YG Ham Member QRZ Page

    The larger housings are fiber reinforced but the smaller ones common in ham radio use are lexan.


    The large blue Sermos connector in the picture is what I use in my shacks emergency power system. I use several of these, heck there's even one mounted outside in the wall leading to the shack which can be connect to a large generator to charge the 400+ amp hours of AGM batteries which power the station during power failures or it can be used to jump start a truck :) Take a look at my QRZ bio for more info on my stations emergency power system.

    Now the small red and black connector is the one most commonly used in ham radio installations and those housings are lexan and they are extremely brittle. The Yellow connector connected to the LIPO battery is the vastly superior XT60 connectors.

    Anderson power poles are paper rated at 10,000 insertions cycles under perfect laboratory conditions. In real life you would be hard pressed to even see a fraction of that. The bottom line is they are not a very durable connector and this is compounded by the stress that large gauge wires place on the connector which drastically shortens it’s life span.

    For a year or so I was the sole US importer and distributor of Sermos connectors (AKA Anderson power poles) I was using and selling them them long before they were marketed as Anderson power poles. Now Sitting buried in my garage is several boxes with 1000‘s of broken Sermos connectors I had to replace under warranty.

    Heres a picture of some power poles I was using in mobile ops where the radio was removed from the vehicle everyday. On average they would begin to show fatigue after less then to months of use, hardly 10,000 insertion cycles.


    The picture clearly demonstrates the power poles most common mode of failure. I urge anyone using these connectors to carefully examine them for stress fractures around the lower tongue. Repeated flexing in this area caused by the weight and torque of large gauge wires as they apply stress to this area will eventually cause stress cracks in the lexan case.

    This problem is compounded in mobile installations where vibration accelerates the problem. Of course you can reduce the likelihood of failure by reducing the stress on the connector itself by carefully supporting the attached wires in a way that eliminates any stress on the connector. Of course I have found that doing so seriously impacts the ability to conveniently unplug and remove the radio.

    Now the yellow connector in the back is an XT60 and in my opinion they are a much better connector. I’ve been testing them for several years and haven’t had a single one fail yet. That includes the connectors used on my mobile rigs which are removed from the vehicles every night.

    A quick bit of math suggests that I have at least 1400+ insertion cycles on those connectors and they are all holding up well. I would have easily gone through at least a dozen or so power poles during this same time period. Power poles are fine connectors in situations where they arn’t subjected to repeated insertion cycles or being subjected to the stress of large gauge wires. Heck I have power poles used in the shack that are 10 years + old and they are doing fine. The big difference is they are in a fixed installation and not subjected to vibration and continued insertion cycles.

    I don't recall claiming that Deans connectors were better. I was never fond of them for the same reasons you mentioned. On the other hand I do think the XT60's are vastly superior to the power poles in every way.

    By the way I have discovered that you can reduce the likelihood of power pole failure by using an over and under configuration as pictured rather than the far more common side by side configuration. This over and under configuration seems to distribute the stress better thus greatly reducing the chance of failure.
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2011
  4. N6YG

    N6YG Ham Member QRZ Page

    Just so you don't have to take my word for it. Heres a link to the Anderson Power Pole housing data sheet. At the bottom left you can clearly see they note the housing material is polycarbonate (aka Lexan) not fiber reinforced nylon. To bad, fiber reinforced nylon probably would have completely eliminated the stress cracking problems. Lexan was really a very poor choice as a housing material for these smaller connectors.

    Interestingly enough even the 300 amp Sermos connectors I use are made with polycarbonate housings. Yet they are very durable and don't seem to have the stress cracking issues related to the smaller 15, 30 and 45 amp connectors.
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2011
  5. K0BG

    K0BG Ham Member QRZ Page

    Interesting scenario, but the ones I have aren't Lexan. I called Anderson today to see what else they had used. Although they haven't made any since about 2006, the other material is Valox®, which is apparently what the ones I have are made of.
  6. K9PHT

    K9PHT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Here is what I did

    I recently re-wired my OFF ROAD POPUP trailer to support three GP-24 BATTERIES complete with BATTERY DISCONNECT SWITCHEs and terminal blocks etc...

    I had a few things left over so I used these items to install my ham radios in a new 2010 F150 Truck.

    The HF IC-706 and Dual Band TM-V708A units ended up under the back seat of my extended cab F150 truck. The control heads are mounted on the lower part of the center dash cosole and the speakers ended up on the driver door mounted to a piece of wood that sits in the glove holder part of the door. All of the cable run under the carpet. I have two DUAL BAND antennas mounted on the rear door edge with those somewhat expensive NMO mounts and the RF cable is small and goes between the rubber weather seal of the door jam to the back seat area of the truck. I also mounted a LITTLE TARHEEL II screw driver antenna on the truck BED RAIL about 12-15 inches from the rear window on the drivers side.

    I used #4 GA ANCOR left over CABLE from my POPUP DC project and ran this from the positive battery termminal to a 50AMP covered BLUE SEA 505 FUSE BLOCK. From here I ran a second #4GA ANCOR CABLE through the firewall and down to the "built-in cable tray" that runs just inside the floor under the doors. FORD has quick pop out panels which allows you to get to these areas real easy.

    At the rear seat area I terminated the #4GA into a BLUE SEA 2722 DUAL BUS 1/4 STUD TERMINAL BLOCK. Then I ran a short section of #4GA wire to the floor FRAME GROUND of the truck. This terminal block allows me to use the existing RADIO power cables which I mounted ring terminals on the ends to mate with the terminal block screw connections. Each of the radio cables still retain their supplied fuse holders and fuses. I also use these terminal connections for the TARHEEL remote control 12VDC for the screwdriver motor.

    Again all cables are neatly run under the carpet and not visible anywhere inside the truck...

    I am experiencing alittle HASH on HF coming from the motor area and still working on this issue to clean it all up. All of the FM signals works great as far as radio noise is concerned.

    I ordered all of the BLUE SEA items and #4GA marine cable from a company called DAN-MARC. I see AMAZON.COM shows most of these items as well...

    I cut all my cables to length and use good ANCOR BRAND CRIMP ON Ring connectors for my #4GA marine brand battery cable where required. I also use water tight heat shrink at all connection points.

    Everything looks great so far...
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