3.5mm audio patch cable and power

Quick question, as I can’t find any information online. Can I use a 3.5mm audio patch cable to run power to my robot components. A student is wondering if we can use the female and male connectors for ease of use. First, is this possible, and second, is it legal?

If you’re planning on using it to run power from the power distribution board, first determine what size of wire is needed for use with which circuits. Then determine what size wire is in the cable you’re planning to use.

I think you’ll find that it’s quite illegal, if only because the wire is way too small.

That’s what I thought. I remember hearing somewhere that the maximum current, even through heavy-duty 1/4 TRS cables was somewhere in the ballpark of 12-15A.

You could just as easy use some male-female tab crimp connectors for quick connections.

The bigger problem is that the contacts on any phone plug/jack combination allow two contacts to be shorted by the mating connector during insertion. There is only one manufacturer that I know of that has locking phone plugs in the 1/4" size that would prevent the connector pulling out during motion. If you think about it, there is no large surface area contact when the connectors are mated.
The Neutrik mono version of the 1/4" claim current rating of 15 amps or less. The stereo (three conductor) is likely much less. Please be advised that all phone plugs are not made identical. Extreme variations exist in finished diameter, plating, insulation and tip design.

What about banana plugs? Anyone seen success with those?

You may want to get some Anderson connectors. Similar to what the battery has, but there are versions that will go onto an individual wire, then lock together in bundles.

We just got them, and love them. They are able to handle up to 45amps perfect for motor connections.