Sunday, August 06, 2006

Power Poles

It occurs to me that something has become so second nature to me that I've probably not mentioned it anywhere in this blog--yet it is very important (at least to me). I've standardized all of my power connectors on Anderson Power Poles and doing so was one of the best decisions I've made in organizing my equipment.

Picture of a Power Pole connector

Power Pole connectors are genderless. That is, you don't have specific male or female connectors, same size connectors can connect to each other. They are also keyed so it is impossible to cross connect positive to negative in a properly built connector. Power distribution systems such as West Mountain Radio's RIGrunner make powering several pieces of equipment from a single power supply a breeze.
Just to make a point as to how pervasive this connector technology has become in my equipment stash, consider the power connections I was using yesterday:

Wiring diagram

Every interconnect of power was with a mated set of Power Poles. The solar panel has a Power Pole, the charge controller has 3 (one for connection to the solar panel, the battery, and to the load/radio), and the batteries I have along with the power cords for the radios are all terminated with a Power Pole connector. If I need to swap out the battery, just pull apart the connection and insert the Power Pole connector from the new battery. Easy!
Because I've standardized on this connector for everything I'm never worried that I'll not be able to power something in the field. Further, I only need one set of weird connectors (big alligator clips, cigarette lighter adaptor, etc.) to power all the equipment I've brought because once I've tapped into the power somehow I can then use a Power Pole distribution box to get juice everywhere else.
There is lots written on Power Pole connectors, how best to crimp them, which tools are best, etc. I'll not repeat any of that here. My advice is use them. Use them at home in your home station. Use them for all your DXpedition equipment. I even have a distribution panel mounted on the floor in my car. Again, it has become so automatic for me to assume these connectors are present I've not made any mention of them until now. I hope they become equally second nature for you.


Blogger Duane said...

I love powerpole connectors, I just hate crimping them. What do you use to crimp them?

August 07, 2006 2:41 PM  
Blogger NE1RD's Blog said...

Hello! I bought the tool that West Mountain Radio sells and it works much better than the Klein tool I had been using previously. In fact, the new tool works so well I might go back and "re-crimp" many of my old connections. You can see the tool
here. It wasn't cheap, but it was worth every penny IMHO.

August 15, 2006 11:49 AM  

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