Making CAN bus connections


What are your preferred methods of splicing CAN bus cables between motor controllers? Typically, we have used small spade connectors. For a more positive connection should we be skipping a connector all together and simply soldering and heat shrinking splices?

I would love to get insight on other team’s methods.


Our team has been using soldered CAN bus connections for as long as I’ve been on the team, maybe longer. In the past 3 years we’ve never had connectivity issues using this method and it is a sure fire way to have solid connections. however it does make any work on the CAN bus difficult and almost impossible when your electrical connections are stuffed inside a robot. So if you won’t be making any modifications to the CAN bus after it’s been connected, yes a soldered connection is a GREAT way to insure the integrity of any connection, but if you plan to make changes to the CAN bus after the fact there are other options somewhere in between solder and spade connectors. Our team will be using these for most of our electrical connections this year. However i’m not sure if this includes the CAN bus, but I’ve already used them for other connections and i can tell you they they are a great product and could most defiantly be used to make CAN bus connections secure, and still easy to change up.


Last year we used Green and White Anderson Power Poles with the 15A crimpsand thePowerwerx locks. These crimps are pretty hard to get tight on 20 gauge wire though, so we usually completely crush them in a vice. After that, they’re rock solid.

Powerpoles are larger than the 0.1" servo-style connectors but we found those to be very fragile and a royal pain in the rear to crimp.


Wago 221 lever nuts! No soldering, no crimping, and they make a very tight hold on CAN wires.


1836 recently made the switch from standard pwm housings to lever nuts. We couldn’t believe how much easier and reliable these were! Teams definitely have success with a lot of options, but if you’re looking for a really quick and easy solution I have to recommend these. They’re pretty self-explanatory, my only recommendation is to make sure to mount these somewhere (zip tie, double side tape, whatever you want) to avoid the connector wiggling around everywhere.

I’m not actually sure where we get them, but they are identical to the product I linked below.

edit: anand beat me to the punch, guess we think alike :stuck_out_tongue:


Latching molex .1 in spaced connectors (3 pin PWM latching connectors).

These will let you use them as PWM speed controllers if you want and interface with the new SPXs without modification.(won’t latch to the SPXs).


CAN Connectors

Easy to use, easy to remove when you need to use that controller next to something other than another controller; no heat or special tools required. They’re also a good impedance match for the CAN wires, so there’s less signal reflection than you might get with power poles or another connector designed for ~10-12AWG. We usually secure them with dual-lock.


We’re on the Powerpole train as well. But we had the same crimping issues with smaller gauge wire, so we started putting ferrules on our can wires, then crimping them into the Anderson connectors. Gave us a really strong connection that never comes loose.

Seems to work a lot better than our old method, which was to fold them over or solder each one. Give it a shot, I think you’ll like the results.


I highly recommend power poles, but the most important part is just having some sort of easily unpluggable and repluggable connection. At the St. Louis Regionals, we had a TalonSRX die in the middle of semis. It took me about 2 minutes to diagnose the problem and 30 seconds to swap out the Talon. With Anderson’s on all of the connections I could easily swap out the broken one and swap in a brand new one.