Is there an alternative to the PDB?

Hello all,

My team was looking to build a self-driving cart (anyone with experience on that, while I’m on the subject?) and would obviously need some way to power our motors. It doesn’t make any sense to me to sink in $200 for a PDB to power about 4 motors and an Arduino (and some lights, and a DC/AC inverter) but the other option that AndyMark has is from the cheap and dirty kit, which doesn’t support the 40A breakers. Does anybody have any suggestions? Even a fuse system could work, anything under $80 or so. Thanks!

You could always solder in 40A breakers in line.

We’ve used these 1 In/4 Out fuse blocks. I believe they were used in FIRST before the CRE and IFI PDB were available.

Do you need 40 amp breakers?

As others have said, you can use the really old style blocks.

If you’re only using a few, you can get some individual inline fuse holders from amazon

It’s also possible to get 40 amp fuses (not auto resetting breaker) that are the blade size (smaller) fuses if you want.

You can use a board like this with them

Thanks everyone for the quick responses, you solved my problem.

Just to answer the question, I would prefer having them just since the motors will be drawing a lot of current. We could probably make do without, but I like having the option.

Thanks again everyone!

I’d go with stud mount breakers of this style.

There are lots of options with these breakers, in addition to the one I linked w/o a bracket and auto reset there are manual reset and ones with brackets.

However I posted the one without a bracket so you can use one of these which is available for 2 to 8 breakers, or this 7 bracket box

To distribute the power to multiple breakers you can use one of these buss bars. again available for different numbers of breakers.

To insulate the breakers w/o using the box they sell these boots

Here is the catalog page with all of these types of breakers.

You should be all in for ~$20 or so depending on how many you actually use. You can also find those style of breakers in a decent auto parts store though they typically will not stock the buss bars, snap in brackets or boots. They also have other styles of breakers such as those used as the FRC main breaker in various amperage and mounting styles.

The automobile industry has lots of things that are useful. Particularly the auto accessory industry, like guys who put in new car stereos…

Google around that and see what comes up.

It is nice having the option of 40A breakers, but we built an 300lb autonomous Roomba-like robot this year for a lake in our area (cue water game comments), and even when we were running 48" paddlewheels and 75lb conveyor belts off of CIMs, we never blew a 30A breaker, even in full sunlight. This was a huge worry for us, but we just used an old FRC PDB (I’m forgetting which one), and we never looked back.

Just my 2 cents.