hello, I’m kind of a new member and I’m trying to figure out what to use for the electrical board to ensure that the cables are fixed tightly and won’t come out during match. Is using a solder good solution or should I go with cable lugs?
To rout cables we use cable ties(zip ties). For cable to cable connections we use
a. Andersons for power
b. PWM for CAN and PWM signals
c. JST for Rio, PCM and VRM connections
d. JST SH for PDP to VRM and PCM connections
For connecting cables to the PDP, nothing special. We just pry open the spot, insert wire, and let it clamp the wire there. For the PWM to PWM connections, vex sells cable connectors that we use. We also use the SWYFT robotics boards(hence the JST connectors on the VRM and PCM).
Anderson power poles are usually pretty good. Easy to crimp and you can use a zip-tie to make sure they never come off unless you want them too. We use them mainly for quick disconnects for motors. Solder is good if you want something to be permanent. We usually solder our CAN wire. As that’s something you don’t want to come undone. Also, I would use heat shrink instead of electrical tape. You can also undo a solder joint although it’s a bit of a pain.
For the main circuit (battery to main breaker to PDP), crimp on rings for the battery and main breaker, and cut/stripped ends directly into the PDP clamps.
Don’t solder wires on an FRC robot except things which are on a PC board or similar short runs that won’t move. Soldering stranded wire causes the soldered part to be stiff, which puts extra stress on the wire just on the stranded side of the end of the solder; whenever the wire moves, all the bending happens right there, weakening the wire over time.
Agree about Power Poles - but get the Tri-Crimp crimper, don’t use a generic. The crimp has to fit easily into the housing, and generic crimpers usually leave someplace too wide.
Go with crimp lugs. They are easier to learn to use properly than learning how to solder properly, especially on larger wires such as 12 AWG and 10 AWG. The team I am mentoring used these and these to connect between their motor controllers and motors. I think you get a few of them with the Kit of Parts. I have coworkers who have worked as electrical/electronic engineers or technicians for over 15 years who still do not solder well.
If you do decide to go with Andersons, here a clip that we use to hold the connections in place (plus they are resuable as long as you dont break them):
If you aren’t soldering your can cables I would recommend using molex connectors. They clip into place and won’t pull loose.
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