Talon Motor Controller Connectors

Hey everyone!

I just wanted to quickly see what kind of connectors everyone will be using (and/or are) for the (new) talon motor controllers.

Prior to the update we used standard ring connectors, however this time around we’re using PowerPole (PP45) connectors by Anderson.

They seem to be pretty intuitive, yet they are not very easy to crimp and install, however maybe we’re just not doing it right…?

So, which connectors are you using, and if you’re using the PowerPole connectors, what do you think?


Do you have a crimping tool specifically made for Anderson connector crimps?


I’ve used Powerpoles since I’ve joined FRC, they’re great. Sometimes they like to wiggle loose, be sure to zip-tie a connection together if it does.

Our team used PowerPole connectors for connecting CAN bus wires and wires from CIMS to speed controllers this year. I’m not on the electrical team but I’ve overheard our electrical members complaining about how it’s a pain to crimp PowerPole connectors. So you guys aren’t the only ones who think that they are a pain to crimp. They may be a pain to crimp, but in the end they are secure and safe connections that stay in place.

Again I am not a electrical team member, so I am only passing down comments from electrical members from our team.

We used these this year. They are easy to connect and sturdy, but need to be soldered, which is time-consuming.

We used those same Anderson connectors for the power connections. They are no harder to crimp than the standard ring or forked lugs when you have the proper tool. Make sure you do a pull-test after each and every crimp.

We also used the latched connectors from Hansen Hobbies for the CAN connections, male on one pair, female on the other pair. We used the same crimp tool as for the “normal” PWM connectors. Kiet, one of the mentors for The Holy Cows told me the same connectors are available at DigiKey for somewhat less $. I believe they are made by Tyco Electronics.


We just recently found out that there is a special crimping tool for the connectors, prior to this we were just trying to use a standard crimp, and solder it a bit.

Thank you for the information/documentation on using the crimp! :]

Glad that we weren’t the only team that found the connectors puzzling, however I agree that they do make good contact when we get them to work, hopefully in the future we can do it right!

Thanks for the feedback!

Soldering is time consuming, but we usually solder most of our crimps and connectors anyway, I think it helps maintain a better, more secure connection, but I’ll look into the connectors you provided!


Ah, we haven’t used the PowerPoles for anything but the motor controllers, however I think it will be a good idea to use them for power connections as well, as for the hansen connectors, we haven’t used connectors for CAN connections, just have been running wires to and from, we might give some sort of connector a try though!

Thank You!

If your power poles wiggle loose, you aren’t inserting the connector fully. Power poles are not held in place by friction, but by spring force at an angle that serves as a latch. If they come apart without a recognizable force being applied to pull the wires apart, something’s not put together properly.

Powerpoles are not a good choice for CAN bus wires. At best, they’re overkill. At worst, they are a source of signal reflection because they’re so much larger than the wire. The smallest power pole connectors (15A) are intended for 16 to 18 AWG wire. CAN bus wire provided on the talons (and elsewhere, I suspect) are 22AWG. The change in gauge is a sign that there is a problem using APP for CAN bus, and the actual reason is one of signal reflection. Remember that CAN is essentially a serial data transfer protocol. Any “fat” or “thin” spots in the cable are impedance discontinuities that will tend to reflect the signals, resulting in noise in the communications. You will probably get away with it up to a point, but at some threshold it is likely to suddenly become a showstopper. I do not have any experience with this connector or CAN, but I am looking strongly at the 2-pin version of the relatively new “ditto” genderless connector from Molex with the 20-22 AWG crimp connector to fill this need as we move to Talon SRX and CAN bus.

Does anyone have a “green/yellow” convention for this connector already? As we haven’t yet crimped our first wires, it makes no difference, but I’d like to be part of a convention if one exists.

With connectors on all the wires in and out of the motor controller, swapping them in and out becomes very quick and easy. I do not recommend clipping the shells for multiple connector pairs together. It makes it harder to swap individual motor controllers. You can leave the connectors on them and re-use them the next year (as long as the rules do not consider them to be no longer COTS with the connectors attached). We left all wires at their original length and coiled up the excess CAN wire lengths.

You will first have trouble getting the 22AWG crimped in the PowerPole contacts properly.

You may have to purchase a tool to crimp those Molex connectors. If you already have the tool for crimping the contacts for making PWM cables, just use the latching connectors from Hansen Hobbies since they work with the same tool.

My CAN buses are usually a mix of Anderson Powerpoles and CAN Connectors, depends on what I’m trying to do. On my MecanumBot, its totally CAN Connectors.

Motor and Power are often Anderson Powerpoles. On my MecanumBot, the Talon power leads go right to the PDP’s WAGO connectors.

I always solder when using Anderson Powerpoles. Basically I use the powerpoles and solder if I have the time. If I want something quick/temporary or I want to be able to quickly replace/move devices, I use the CAN connectors.

Whatever you do, always tug-test!

Yes, this is one of the minor reasons I advise against using APP for CAN.

Understood. Always buy the right crimp tool!

We **never **solder our APPs, based on experience. The threshold between a crimped connector and the housing is too tight to withstand very much solder. If you feel you must solder an APP connection, my advice would be to apply the solder only to the tip of the wire, and let it flow into the inside of the connector. Never allow solder to accumulate on the outside of the APP crimp connector.

+1, with a “duh” rider!

We used a much larger version of that CAN connector device (8*8Pin) that we created ourselves this year, same Weidmuller connectors and all. While it never gave us trouble for competition… the one on the practice robot had a fault we could never figure out. I’m not completely sold on that design and I think it has some problems.

I am really digging the Molex connectors posted above. I am going to buy some to test with. I get the APP connectors but I don’t want to use them for such small wires and would prefer something else.

At least it isn’t RJ11… thank goodness for that.

We’re pretty much used to soldering most of our connections, however GeeTwo is correct in this case, from I’ve seen and done, soldering the insert connectors might make them difficult to fit into the housing! I think if one uses to proper tool, the crimp will be pretty tight…