2020 Battery Requirements

As far as I know, teams are still required to use the standard 12V Lead-Acid “Golfcart Batteries” as a sole power source. New connectors were introduced throughout the previous few years, and I’m wondering if that has changed certain rules/requirements regarding these connectors.

Are teams now required, in a way, to use these new connectors over the old ones? Should teams convert all their batteries and PDPs (or related components) to this new standard?

I’ve never seen the robot batteries described as “golf cart” batteries before…they’re kind of small to be powering a golf cart!

But the connectors…have you really seen anything new recently? It all looks the same to me.!

There are, as far as I’ve seen, gray and pink connectors (which don’t connect to eachother, so we’ve been using a “dongle” of sorts).

Here are the “old” ones:

Agreed, they’re usually close to twice the size, and AFAIK some of them are spillable.

They are all the same connector standard, but different colors (generally) aren’t supposed to fit together (I think pink and red do). They are all acceptable, but it is advised to use pink or red ones because they will be compatible with what everyone else uses. The grey ones should be legal though.


Got it, thanks a ton!

Oops, I should have included the blue box! There does not seem to be any rule preventing you using the grey connectors, but if you need to borrow a battery from another team, or Spare Parts, it could be inconvenient.


Where have you been using this dongle? If it’s on the robot, then you’ve got a problem, as your power pathway wouldn’t match the picture @MrForbes posted - you can only have a single pair of Anderson Connectors as shown in the picture. Having a dongle to convert from an SB120 to an SB50, or between two different styles of SB50 would not be legal.


As @Joh_Stratis said, you can’t use the dongle on the robot, but you also can’t use it on the battery (which is part of the robot when installed), and you can’t use it on your charger either due to R34. You’re ok for practice, but you need to get your robot, batteries, and charger all on the same size/color SB connector before your first competition.

R34. Any battery charger used to charge a ROBOT battery must have the corresponding Anderson SB connector installed.

The dongles may be used on chargers. There is nothing in the rules that precludes using adapters like the am-3856 on your chargers, only on your robot. The adapter zip tied to your original charger connector is “installed”, and the power path for charging is not regulated.

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I would mostly agree with this. The point of R34 is to ensure a safe connection between the battery and the charger. We don’t want to see alligator clips on chargers being shoved into Anderson connectors. But a properly utilized connector or dongle is safe enough. The only part I take issue with is the “zipe tied” wording… I don’t want to see teams taking the alligator clips, clipping them over the wires coming from an anderson connector, and using a roll of electrical tape to try to make the situation “safe”. Properly install the connectors, and we’re all good.

Thank you all for your help. For those worried, we have been using a dongle in testing (we didn’t want to wait to charge batteries), but I didn’t work in the pit last year so I don’t know if it was used during competition. As far as I know, our robot did pass inspection last year without any issues.

Our “dongle” was a set of properly stripped, crimped, and fitted wires bridging the gap between an “older” connector and the new ones. We used extra battery wires (with proper coloring) to bridge this gap. If we did have it installed on our competition bot (which I don’t know), I am assuming the pit team set it up according to the rules.

I’m curious about your “older” connector. I’ve been in FRC for 15 years, and the red connectors were used at that time.

Perhaps someone on your team decided to use the gray ones? because they could buy them more easily, or something?

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The proper way to semi-permanently secure 2 SB 50 connectors together is a zip tie afaik.

We’d challenge this interpretation if encountered during an inspection.

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