Anderson Power Pole

Many of you have asked about using the smaller Anderson Power Pole connectors for interconnect on your robots. West Mountain Radio, makers of the CBAIII battery analyzer now have a video that shows how to crimp and connect using the Anderson series connector in an adopted amateur radio wiring standard. The video can be found here…
West Mountain also sells the crimp tool, contacts and housings. Wildstang has been using these connectors for many years to allow quick change on all motors. We have have even used them for making a wiring harness when power is needed for an attachment or tower assy. They are polarity protected so that you can’t plug them in wrong and they assemble into larger groups simply by snapping together.

FWIW, The Robettes have been using these for a few years as well… The crimper from WMR is definitely a must have! These also come in many different colors, which can help with organization (for example, you can have a motor with green PowerPoles on it, and you know it hooks up to the victor with the green PowerPoles).

Assign enough freshmen to the electrical team and they will prove you wrong. Black goes to Red, right? :eek:

We also use these, and the WMR crimper, and find them to carry the load very well, take a beating, and make life very convenient when swapping a <whatever>.

Just a note: The 15A, 30A and 45A are all physically the same, except the hole for the connecting wire has different sizes.

You do have to pay attention when setting up the connectors, to make sure they got them assembled in a way that keeps you from mixing them up. But you can also assemble them in different ways so not only are they polarity protected, but so that you cannot connect the wrong pair of connectors together.

We use them for the power system for our underwater robot, 48v at about 10A maximum. We use solar charging, and it makes a nice setup having these connectors keyed the right way, so things are always connected properly.

They are sold at a Tucson electronics store that I know of, so if you live in a decent size town you might be able to buy them locally.

I believe we got them from here. The Powerpole sets seem to be cheaper than at the previously mentioned supplier, while the crimping tool is priced identically.
They are brilliant though - never would want to wire a 'bot without them.

Just wanted to add one use for them from two seasons ago (Break Away)… Our robot was designed to use a boat winch (hooked up to a CIM motor) to lift itself on the pole. It worked very well, and the way it was designed you couldn’t pull out the strap from the winch. But you could drive the motor backwards to let the strap out! We made a pair of PowerPoles easily accessible (but protected from other robots hitting them) between the motor and the victor powering it. It was then a simple matter, between matches, to manually hook a battery up to the PowerPoles (Through a special, fuse-protected connector cable with the normal Anderson battery connector on one end, and a pair of PowerPoles on the other) and let out enough slack to “reset” the hanging mechanism. With this, you always knew you were plugging it in correctly, and it was easy to ensure everything was properly reset and ready for the next match!

Back in 2005 I asked FIRST if I could do something similar (to retract an arm at the end of the match) and was denied.

Per <G42> in 2010, you couldn’t use any power to reset the robot while on the field - you had to be able to remove it from the tower and field in an unpowered state.

Ours could easily be removed from the field without doing any reset - it was only once we were back in our pits that we would reset the robot using an off-board battery. The entire process was specifically designed to be safe, and we never had anyone tell us we couldn’t do it (we specifically showed inspectors how it was done, and we did it during robot reset in Finals matches when we couldn’t take the robot back to the pit).

As an aside, Wildstang has a battery operated, variable speed, reversing, drill that we have modified. The output of the trigger assembly feeds to the outside on a pair of wires connected to Powerpoles. We can then use the variable speed and reversing of the drill to drive any motor in any direction we need. We use this for resetting when desperate or when checking motor wiring and motion during the build.

We used this year as well. They ship USPS priority mail to Hawaii which is a real money saver for us.
We used a standard crimper with varying results. It was difficult to get the contacts fully seated in the connectors. We have purchased their crimper and are hoping that our problem will be solved.

Hi all,
I’d just like to second, third, or was that forth, the nod to the power pole connectors. We’ve used them all 3 years we’ve been around and love them.
Always buy a few extra contacts though as sometimes some of the young people, well, er, um, lose them, and put them on the wrong end of the cable… Extras are good to have.

Also, the Drill idea that Al mentioned is a great one. Ask around if anyones family has an old cordless drill with dead batteries and modify it. It makes a great project for the electrical team, and they love it. They even named it last year… So cute!

Hope everyone’s having a great summer,