We built two robots this year for the first time, and re-wired everything a total of 5 times between the two robots, so we’ve gone through quite a bit of materials in comparison to past years.
Pictures of our final wiring this year: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3
For the past three years we’ve used the white jacketed speaker wire from monoprice for power to everything (12 AWG for 40A motors, 14 or 18 AWG for everything else). You can’t beat the price.
On our last re-wire though, we switched over to zip wire from an ebay seller mostly for aesthetics. You can see this stuff in the images linked above on the 40A circuits to motor controllers.
We had some intermittent issues last year, some questioned noise on our ethernet cables. So to avoid any concern in this area this year, we purchased a number of different length Cat6 shielded ethernet cables from monoprice. This is overkill in my opinion, but at such a low price it’s a non-issue. Plus it’s nice to be able to drop in a cable that is close to the right length and not have to coil up a bunch of extra cable. You could crimp these in house, but in my experience shielded cables require a custom crimping die.
Might as well pick up a long ethernet cable for tethered operation at competitions while you’re at it. 50ft 100ft
We didn’t use CAN this year, but if you’re planning on making CAN cables, I would also suggest getting all your supplies from monoprice. Amazingly low cost and good quality parts. There’s a bill of materials for CAN cables from monoprice here.
Parts for our PWM cables all come from Hansen hobbies. These cables are quite time consuming and difficult to make. Prices here are good, I haven’t found a cheaper source for them. But these are easily the most expensive wires on the robot.
Crimping and stripping:
Do yourself a favor and get a good set of ratcheting crimpers. The tooling can usually be swapped out depending on the type of crimps your making.
We picked up this diethis year, since it fit a ratcheting tool we already owned. Makes a huge improvement in the quality of the crimps.
For wire strippers, we jsut picked up a set of fancy Klien Katapult wire strippers.They work pretty well. Some people on the team prefer them. Personally I could live with a pair of normal wire strippers. The fancy ones can strip wires more quickly, the normal ones can strip more accurately.
If you’re making your own CAN cables, again monoprice has a great set of crimpers for pretty cheap. These will also crimp RJ45 jacks for making custom length ethernet cables.
Screw down, right angle, male spade terminals go on every connection on our motor controllers. These are a must have. The majority of our motor controllers get velcro-ed down, so this makes them quite quick to replace. We will also place a quick disconnect (male/female spade terminal) close to a motor if the wire run is long so that we can quickly replace a blown motor. without doing much re-wiring.
The self adhesive cable tie mounts are also great for wire management. We would get the bag of 100 from the local home depot. There may be a cheaper source online.