Main Battery Cables

We are planning on making a charging station for our batteries so that they are all organized and such. But we need more of the battery connectors. I know that they are made by Anderson power products ad know that you can get the housings and the contacts at various electrical suppliers what I was wondering is if any knows where to get the pre-assembled ones just the ones that they send in the kit of parts?

If you are using them on chargers, it will likely be much easier to get the 10 Ga. contact and use those. Connecting to the KOP wires for small charging cables isn’t easy.

While not identical to the KOP ones, you can buy something similar from BG Micro. I believe the part number was CAB2119. The cable is 4’ long with an Anderson connector on both ends.


Searching always helps…
As to Andersons on chargers, it’s really nice. 587’s been doing it for years and really saves time, and is quite a bit safer. (Assuming you connect the charger wire and the Anderson with a proper connector and wrap the connection with electrical tape)

Robot MarketPlace and Powerwerx have the housings and contacts. The preassembled ones in the FIRST kit are done special for FIRST I believe. You shouldn’t use them anyway, the wire is junky.

This is the bare minimum solution.

Ideal - open the chargers up and replace the charging cords where they connect to the board. They are just push on connectors. Some modification to the case is necessary to run the larger gage wire through it.

Next best thing - cut the leads of the charger as close to the charger as you can and make a connection using a solder connector covered with heat shrink tubing.

Next Next best thing - same as above but you use a crimp butt connector and electrical tape

Bare minimum - splice the Anderson connectors onto the the long leads where needed and cover with heat shrink tube or electrical tape.

If you are going to convert one of the chargers to use the Anderson connectors please do it correctly. DO not just crimp the alligator clips to the wire and electrical tape them. While you are dealing with a smart charger it is still 6amps DC, and should not be taken lightly.

Thanks Mike Bortfeldt that cable looks like it is exactly what I need.

We aren’t actually planning on modifying the chargers that first provided. We are actually planning on making the charging station from scratch. So we will be purchasing a transformer, rectifier, voltmeter read out and designing and building intelligent charging circuitry. We plan on being able to attach 8 main batteries and a few of the small backup batteries to the charing station. We are also planning on adding in some built in power sources with terminal blocks so that we can run experiments and such off of them.

Our current charging setup is the car chargers with the app cables attached to them and the problem is that students will forget to plug them in or forget to rotate them which can leave us high and dry from time to time. So once we have a charging station that is able to handle all of the batteries at once we will always have our batteries well organized and fully charged. Not to mention that we will only have to have one AC plug coming out of the unit.

I will make sure to post pictures of the charging station once we are done with it. We might also post a parts list and schematic for how to make it.

i would be interested in a scematic and parts list…so if you ever make one available post it please.

The simplest solution is to buy additional connectors of the type you need for the battery, the Anderson 50 amp red. Cut the gator clips off the charger leads, strip back at least 3/4 to 1" of insulation, fold the exposed wire at least twice, and then insert into the Anderson contact. Crimp and solder making sure that there is no exposed wire or whiskers and then insert the contacts into the block. What you have is a mating connector for all batteries (yours and other teams) that is perfectly insulated and easy to use.

We simply cut the ends off of our charger, crimped on a brand new anderson connector, soldered the contacts, heat shrinked, and voila. They work beautifully.

Depending on rules for this coming year this would probably be ok as long as you are sure the charger puts out no more than 6 amps per FIRST’s rules.

Why spend all the time and money building something when you could just use a couple store bought chargers and snip off the aligator clips and solder on some anderson quickconnects?

I do not see the purpose as to why you tare apart the charger and replace the charger leads at the charger? There wont be any benefit to adding a larger cable other than if you need to do some weight lifting. The small 18 OR 16 gauge wire is plenty for the little 6AMP charger current.


The main reasons that we want to do this is that we currently have to manually rotate that charger through the batteries that need to be charged which can be a problem since people can forget to do things like that which can leave us with no charged batteries. Second it would reduce the number of cords we have to plug in to power strips because two wall worts and two standerd cables take up too may spots on an power strip. Third because we have to manually check which batteries are charged when people don’t label the charged and discharged ones. Fourth because we would like to stay better organized and actually have a designated spot for our batteries rather than throwing them under and table to be pushed around and stepped on when moving around in the pit. Last but not least to give our electrical students something to do.

Although not pre-assembled, for the red Anderson SB50 Connectors, we’ve had good success with “Helmar Parts,” who sells these connectors for about half the price of any of the typical robotics suppliers:

Who would have thought that lift trucks would use these connectors?

I don’t understand how you intend to address this by building a charging station. You’ll still need to check the battery charge somehow if they don’t get labeled.

The plastic battery flags (white ones were placed by AndyMark in the 2006 Kit of Parts, and the TechnoKats have given away yellow ones for the past couple of years) work very well for identifying charged batteries. If you put one in the battery connector as you remove it from the charger, you’ll always know when a battery needs to be checked and/or charged.

Built in battery tester? Thats what our box has. It works great, except the time that the whole box came unplugged, and the batteries just basically died attached to the testers. The lights were lit up, but it wasn’t charging.
That required a bit of a modification and now if we lose power, it’s not back fed from the battery to the tester light display.
Or that’s the plan anyways. I don’t know if we did that yet.

As far as acquiring the Anderson doo-hickeys, I remember that Cabela’s sold them for a time but can’t find them on their site now.

Yes, the same Cabela’s that sells Canoes, and hunting equipment among a boat load of other stuff.