Waterproofing Powerpole connectors

No, there will never be an FRC watergame. But, if the impossible happens, we’ll be ready.

My quarantine project has been putting together an electric motor powered kayak. As with most of my non-robotics projects these days, I like to incorporate all the best practices I’ve learned as a robotics mentor. For this project, I incorporated Anderson Powerpole connectors, which we all know and love, for the internal wiring. These are great in every way but one. They aren’t waterproof. So I designed quick disconnect housings that fit over the plugs which protect them from water.

In all probability, these will never be necessary in an FRC robot. But, even if we don’t need the connections to be waterproof, maybe someone can use the design principles in some way. It would be sweet to see something like this used for quickly swapping out bumpers, for instance.

(links to stl and STEP files in the video description)


Not with that attitude, there won’t be.

Excellent work, though!


That’s some neat stuff!

Would be interesting to see what happens when you put the sealed system in the bottom of a swimming pool. We’ve been playing with underwater robots for years…if the urethane is not permeable, this would be a really neat way to make stuff. We’ve come up with a few different ways of dealing with the problem, but they all have limitations.


Season is over.
Do tears count for watergame?
I made myself sad.

But not to worry, it shall return! Excellent stuff, thanks OP!


It would. I might get a wild hair and make a boot to which I could attach a hose, for pressure testing. It would be interesting to see how much pressure the boots can take before they leak.

That’s awesome. Keep in mind that one of the challenges car manufacturers face with waterproofing their wiring is that water will actually migrate along the wire inside the insulation in some cases.

Actual marine grade wire is completely tinned to prevent corrosion for this reason. Diaeletric grease is added to all wiring harness connections to protect against corrosion as well. The automotive folks also used glue-filled shrinkwrap that seals when heated. This all becomes quite important in salt water. Not so much in fresh water.

Good luck!!


That would be interesting…but putting it in the bottom of a swimming pool will tell you a lot. That’s how we test our underwater robot stuff.

And yes, water will migrate inside the insulation, so you would want to make a loop of wire, to test it.

This is why you are my favorite 2363 mentor :slight_smile:



Don’t worry, I love you too, Nate.

On the topic of waterproof connectors, this tech is pretty cool (almost certainly outside of team budget at the moment, but it shows where the future might be headed). It’s a wet-mate connector–the contacts can be fully exposed to water and instantly insulate themselves at the atomic layer. Good in salt water, up to 60 VDC. Invented by Northrop Grumman (NiobiCon™ Wet-Mate Electrical Connector – Northrop Grumman), recently licensed by iCONN Systems for production (Niobium Connectors - Explore our Wet-Mate Connectors at iCONN Systems).


Super slick! I didn’t see any numbers on how long that coating lasts. But, I suppose if you need a 1M cycle underwater wet connector… you’re probably doing something else wrong.

Based on the description, it’s not a coating, the entire contact is the same material (Niobium). To quote from the NG page, “Nearly infinite number of mates/de-mates without maintenance”.

1 Like

missed it. Even niftier!