Amphenol Connectors and Sponsorship

Anyone have an experience using Amphenol connectors for FRC? If so, which ones? Also, do you know if they have sponsored any team in the past. I have a close contact that works at Amphenol.



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I don’t think they’re very popular connectors in the FRC world. I think we used one once back in 2011 to connect a bunch of potentiometers or something.

With everything being CAN now, it’s less and less useful

They have a huge catalog so I was hopeful that there was something we could use. The only thing that I found was battery connector lugs and we have plenty of those. I was hoping for something similar to the Anderson Powerpole connecters.

I’d say a vendor would have to use them on a critical data interface for us to be interested, since we’ve been super happy with the Anderson Power Pole ecosystem and see no reason to change the DC side.

Do you like any of Amphenol’s data connectors?

For CAN, currently using Playing with Fusion PCBs and stock DuPont 0.100" headers with vex locks. Not unhappy / not thrilled. I’ve been playing with various Molex products for those wire-to-wire connections but don’t like any of them. Thinking try lever nuts soon.

I’m expecting Rev to include yet more JSTs on the new control system, but I’m definitely not that excited about it. Don’t really want to try to teach my students to assemble their own, the pitch is too small.

EDIT: Their rotary potentiometers might actually be way more interesting, absolutely tiny little packages, if you’re willing to work this small…

I’ve used lots of Amphenol connectors for work and have never had problems with them.

I have used latching versions of the PWM cable connectors for CAN bus connections in the past but I forget what the manufacturer was. It is quite likely that Amphenol make connectors like those used for PWM cables since they are an industry format but one would have to look through their catalog to be sure.

I don’t recall that they make anything like the Anderson Powerpole connectors. Tyco Electronics (TE) does but I like how the Anderson contacts are made more.

You will probably get more benefit by pursuing sponsorship money. They are a pretty big company with many divisions and locations so you would have to find someone with the authority to approve that type of expenditure.

Lucky :wink:
To be fair, in Solar we have problems with every connector, as we’re at the junction of lowest cost manufacturing, lowest cost installation, and brutal outdoor conditions…

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Not really. Most of the applications I have used Amphenol connectors for have been inside a box that resides in an office environment so they (and the other parts) were used well within their limits.

Connectors for harsh conditions are a different story and are not at all easy to get right. One of the common failures for connectors where I am now is they leak when subjected to 15000 psi and 350 F. I cannot imagine having to design for lowest cost AND harsh conditions. You are probably best off considering automotive grade connectors since they are likely to have similar requirements in terms of low cost and harsh environment.

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I’d love to use their micro-d connectors and backshells, if I could get them at a discount.


Can confirm, their Micro-D lineup is like the one connector we haven’t had a problem with yet, despite the slightly increased difficulty in actually using them.

take note Rev

Yowza - when I say “I design for harsh conditions”… all I mean is outdoors! :wink: Well, and left alone/unobserved for years at a time.

TL;DR I have to use UL-approved Solar Connectors in exposed/outdoor locations to pass National Electric Code (NEC) requirements.

Rant about industry politics & the intersection of UL with safety vs liability

The first mover in the solar connector market designed an automotive-style connector, got certified to meet a UL standard for solar connectors (required by National Electric Code, NEC), and effectively forced the following manufacturers in the market to try to be intermateable to that first mover design. That has gone about as well as could be expected, so now there are several options on the market, with certs, that all “look intermateable”, but aren’t UL rated to be intermateable under the NEC for a residential install sold to a homeowner. Some connectors even pass UL requirements when tested intermated with another manufacturer, but both manufacturers need to agree for the results to be released publicly and that has not happened.

I think they’re right to resist releasing/approving intermating under current UL requirements, because I doubt the UL cert is worth as much as that manufacturer’s internal controls given some of our experiences with other vendors, but also I’d like to see the intermated connectors subjected to that manufacturer’s internal controls or those controls be written into the UL cert, rather than this liability-driven “cuz my momma says so” nonsense where everyone’s holding reliabilty testing & material controls requirements as trade secrets.

If they were interested in safety they’d push for writing intermateability into the standard, because the connectors will be intermated in the field despite the best efforts of design engineers everywhere. What they’re interested in is liability for failure, which a burned-out husk of an intermated connector pair could place on two different companies who both will claim they did nothing wrong. :frowning:

(…and tbf, when you’re looking at the burned-out husk of a like-manufacturer mated pair, that manufacturer will still start by saying they did nothing wrong and try to pin it on the assembly house… sometimes they’re even right.)


While I can’t say I’m familiar with the full range of Amphenol’s catalog (who is? That thing is huge!), the bulk of amphenol products I’ve come across are tailored for use with cables, rather than single conductor wires. The bulk of wiring in FRC is single conductor wires (or pairs of conductors). The cat5e network cables we use have standard RJ45 jacks on either end, as that’s what all the devices they interface with use, so adding a more robust connector to cat5e isn’t a viable option. Even if there were viable connectors, most of them would likely be overkill for FRC applications anyway (who wants to start having to budget that kind of size/weight/cost to their electrical connectors?).

That being said, tap your contact to see if they’re willing to sponsor your team. Even if they don’t have products that are directly FRC-applicable, they may still have interest in FIRSTs mission.

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When I was in college, I never thought that some of the greatest challenges would be non-technical…


We have had a relationship with an Amphenol rep but it’s more to do with wearable connectors and specific connectors for side projects than anything else. They’ve been nice enough to hook us up with samples but nothing like a direct monetary sponsorship. They make interesting stuff.

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The technical stuff is easy. People are the source of my real problems :slight_smile:


That would be a travesty and yet, I have no doubt it will turn out to be true. If ever there was a less appropriate connector to use in an environment where inexperienced users will be frequently connecting/disconnecting them, the JST connector is it. I work with a lot of EE’s and without fail, when they see these connectors in use on our robots, they are dumb-founded that anyone would think it was the right connector for this application.

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Yes. Those PH-series connectors are misapplied. There is nothing other than the wires to hold on to when un-mating them. That is a guarantee that the wires will become damaged, especially since they are so small (24 AWG max). The manufacturer does provide a document with all sorts of restrictions on how the connectors are to be un-mated and how the wires are to be run to avoid over-stressing the wires (see last page of attached). It is highly unlikely that many of the teams are following those recommendations. The recommended method of un-mating the connectors described is impossible to use because the male headers are recessed inside the SPARKMAX enclosure.

CHM-1-2201.pdf (284.2 KB)

We used the JST PH-series connectors successfully at my last job. In that application, the connectors are used to connect to circuit boards to a wire harness while the product is being assembled on the assembly line. The connectors would be mated only once and would stay that way until the end of the life of the product or when there is a failure and a board had to be replaced.

Edited to add:
A representative from the manufacturer stated that the PH-series connectors are rated for 50 mating cycles. After that, they cannot guarantee that it will meet all specifications for performance.

38999 connectors all around!

Lugs are definitely a good thing to get especially if you buy new batteries every year. Other than that, I’d say go for money. Amphenol doesn’t make anything comparable to the power poles that are so versatile for FRC.


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