Weekend Projects, pt. 2: Anderson Powerpoles 12V DC Power Distribution Network

Posted on

radio_powerpole_full_setup

Anderson Powerpoles are the gold standard in amateur radio DC power distribution, and they provide connectors stable to 15A, 20A, 30A, 45A, and more current ratings.  Grab some red/black low gauge zip cord wire, a crimper, and go.  I like to throw in a little bit of heatshrink and other things, so here goes.

Basic Needlenose Crimp Pliers
Basic Needlenose Crimp Pliers

You need a tool.  Some are better than others.  It all depends on how many crimps you need.  I don’t need a lot very often, so I got an inexpensive crimper.  See those interlocking half-moon grooves and the pair of circular grooves in the mouth of the pliers?  Those are the powerpole crimpers.  They also work pretty well on other types of crimp type terminals.  You put the seam of the crimp terminal over the protruding half-moon, and the back into the recessed one, and press down.  Then you close it off in the circular grooves.  Let’s move on.

Solid Core 12 AWG and Terminals on Perfboard
Solid Core 12 AWG and Terminals on Perfboard

These terminals are great, but they don’t work worth a flip if you don’t have a heavyweight current distribution bus.  You can go commercial and get the heavy duty RigRunners and MFJ buses, but those cost money.  They’re good, but I had everything on hand I needed to fabricate a bus.  I crimped the 30A terminals onto 12 AWG solid core copper wire, and cut down some perfboard to size enough to fit inside the smallest Radio Shack projecct box I could find.  I had to drill out the holes that corresponded to the wires, and then I pushed the whole thing flush and wrapped it with a rubber band.

Soldered and Clipped
Soldered and Clipped

Well, that’s great, but it’s not a circuit.  I added positive and negative rails in the form of another 12 AWG wire that I wraped the other leads around and soldered a bead around the joint.  I knew I needed to make a cut out of the top of the project box to accommodate the headers.

Wrapped Up
Wrapped Up

After some drilling and cutting and sanding, I had a decent opening for the headers.  A lot of hot glue was used to make sure there was a sizeable amount of insulation was around the buses and to secure the circuit board.  Onward to more crimping!

Spade Terminal Adapter
Spade Terminal Adapter

I needed a spade terminal adapter for my power supply.  I was very tired of just screwing down the bare wire, and wanted this to be the input to the bus.  I guessed well on the dimensions, and it fit perfectly on the first try.

Fuse Caddy
Fuse Caddy

A trip down to Ham Radio Outlet to get the Powerpole adapters also had me picking up a few other things.  After cutting up a 6 pin Molex connector I picked up for a rig, I found a quick target for some more crimping.  I pulled the fuse caddy and radio power plug out and got to work.

6 Pin Molex Connector
6 Pin Molex Connector

Overall, everything works out.  I’m ashamed to admit how much glue I went through, but it went towards a good cause.  I completely ran through my supply of Powerpole connectors, and there’s always bound to be something I could pick up from the radio store again, hihi!

Well, it’s getting late.  73 DE KK4TSJ.

Advertisements

5 thoughts on “Weekend Projects, pt. 2: Anderson Powerpoles 12V DC Power Distribution Network

    edr2015 said:
    July 6, 2016 at 4:16 pm

    Hey. This is a really nice build. I built one very simliar to yours. If you don’t mind, you can look at it here https://goo.gl/4ieuBq

      ccstewart responded:
      August 28, 2016 at 10:46 am

      Very nice! It certainly beats worrying about shorts from poor cable management.

    Douglas said:
    January 18, 2018 at 2:15 pm

    How much did the cost?

      ccstewart responded:
      January 18, 2018 at 3:20 pm

      Hard to gauge directly since most parts were a few bits from a larger bag, but I’d say between $10-15 depending on what you already have laying around the shack at the time.

      I’ve actually switched to using this nice MOSFET power gate setup tied to a deep-cycle battery, though, and that keeps me going on emergency power as well as a quick field power supply for when I get the bug to throw some wire in a tree.
      https://af5np.wordpress.com/2016/10/14/12vdc-low-loss-power-gate/

        Douglas said:
        January 19, 2018 at 2:18 pm

        Where would a good place be to find per board or to have pcb made?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s