I’ve got a question from Rockwell automation asking what we would like to see them contribute to the kit of parts. They are considering adding terminal blocks to assist in wiring (either robot or operator controls). They are thinking of something like these AB IEC terminal blocks (Initial suggestion was the three level sensor blocks, probably with with some rail, end caps and bus strips) They really would like to contribute something that most teams will use.
Terminals like this are used on virtually all industrial control panels. We’ve used terminal strips occasionally in past years and they really help organize sensor, switch, and other wiring. They also can provide a good connection point at mechanisms that may need to be removed. If we’d have used them, we would have avoided some of our connection problems in our operator controls last season.
I’ll try and summarize opinions from here and IRI Later Sunday or early next week, although additional comments after that may be helpful as well.
Here are the questions:
Have you used terminal blocks in your wiring (robot or operator controls)?
Would you use these if they were provided in the kit?
Any specific part recommendations? (three level, two level, wire size, etc?)
Any other AB/Rockwell products you’d suggest?
From what I saw as an inspector this past year, I think something even more useful would be an instructional video on proper wiring techniques. I don’t know if Rockwell makes anything like that though.
To answer your question though, we do just fine with what is currently provided (although the clear and gold breaker panel is quite heavy).
I think we’d probably use those if they were available in the kit, just for simplicity, but I can’t gaurantee it, electrical isn’t my thing. They look pretty useful though.
On a side note, could Rockwell just package an engineer in each kit?
Yeah those terminal blocks are fairly heavy. If rockwell can offer a lighter but similar alternative that would be great. Otherwise we could just stick with what we have and make do with it.
Or something to continue to emphasize on the FIRST Wish List: More Weight to play with, w/o the battery counting towards the weight.
Hey I can dream can’t I =) - or just pack an engineer in each kit of parts sent to teams.
The battery doesn’t count towards the weight…
our team has a bunch of those sitting around our workroom, the problem is they are nifty but a use for them hasn’t come up yet. But we keep them on hand just in case
The connectors look pretty heavy…
However, some of the AB limit switches would be nice. They have some heavy duty ones that can take a lot of abuse without failing.
The Space-Saver Feed-Through Blocks and the Space-Saver Ground Blocks look like they could be very useful. As long as they come with the Din Rail, End caps and jumpers (to make power and grounding blocks).
And BTW, these things are not too heavy. Their design is to be lightweight and compact for use in automation.
We used terminal blocks on our OI, although you can’t see them in this picture. Where I work, Our panel shop prefers Phoenix Terminal blocks, but the point is, we used “terminal blocks” and the phoenix ones are free…
Allen Bradley has some new 22.5mm buttons 800F series, that I think would be kewl to get in the KOP. I ended up asking our ABB sales guy for some buttons. ABB has a pot that is panel mounted in a 22.5mm hole version. That’s why we stuck with ABB this time around.
We didn’t use all the buttons on the OI this year, but we planned ahead since I had ABB’s attention. The E-stop ofcourse is wired to the the DISABLE circuit on the competition port. Everyone on the team knows what the e-stop does. Next year, I think we will add a remote estop box that someone else can control. So having a plastic enclosure, “yellow” top that Allen Bradley sells would be nice too…“Meets IEC standards” for e-stop and NFPA-79 rules.
When at IRI, stop buy 1501’s pit to see control board, and our robot panel. It has pandiut on it and looks really nice. Talk to Larry Johnston, he wired the robot all by himself this year, proud of that kid…
I am trying to teach the electrical kids how we build panels in the “real” world, even though the “wieght” is a problem, at least it’s done like a panel shop would build it…almost…
Also, I own a website called mrplc.com. Check out some control panel pictures that members have uploaded, including myself. You’ll see tons of examples of how a terminal block is used.
Forums - Forums.MrPLC.com
The Sensor blocks would be a good product for many teams, but only with the assumption that the game will use some sensors this year. Two years ago, we literally used no sensors or switches, and so such a terminal block would have been unused. Last year, we used a Gear Tooth Sensor plus a couple of limit switches and potentiometers, and so these may have been handy. Of all the IEC connectors shown, the sensor blocks appear to be the most desirable because of their 3-tier design - two is not enough.
Some varied colors, along with the mentioned accessories, would make them a lot more valuable.
This coming year, we’re going to try to build an electronics board that can be pulled out for service, but if we sued the IEC blocks, undoing all those screw connections might be a real drag. On the other hand, those PanelConnect circular connectors would be way cool, exactly what we need.
We have in the past used DIN terminal blocks, those flexible strips sold at Radio Shack for example, again running into the screw issue just mentioned. We have also made use of Molex connectors, with 9 contacts if I remember correctly, for easy quick-disconnects. For wire sizes, naturally 24 Ga is the smallest, and I’d think 16 Ga or so should be a reasonable size for ‘largest’ - I don’t see these as power connectors, instead as signal connectors.
AB/Rockwell is being quite generous in this potential offer, and the real world uses terminal blocks all the time, but I agree with some of the comments: If there is no information on how to best make use of these, they will go widely unused.
Can anyone tell me where to get more of these terminal blocks? I have only found them at the Rockwell sites in packs of 50 (with no pricing). I would think that if FIRST was making them mandatory to use that they would have either a smaller distributor or a way to buy less than 50 at one time and tell us how much its gonna cost. I would really appreciate any responses and would like to say thanks for any help in advance.:ahh:
I called our Allen Bradley rep. Which is Kendall Electric. (got them for free, HINT, HINT…)
I don’t know if you have a kendall electric in your area or not, but another big supply house for allen bradley would be Kirby Risk.
Try to find those two in your area.
closest in Ohio
Phone: (419) 221-0123
1249 Stewart Road
P.O. Box 1684
Lima, OH 45801
I didn’t see any in Ohio.
Thank you very much I appreciate the help. I’ll look into it tomorrow.