Call a spade a spade
I usually refer to them as “Fully Insulated Automotive Spade Connectors”. The color “generally” refers to the Wire Gauge the Crimp is for.
- Yellow 10-12 AWG
- Blue 14-16 AWG
- Red 16-22 AWG
These are what my old team used to use to connect everything before we discovered the wonders of the 45amp Anderson Connectors.
Yo we have Anderson crimps, but we were debating whether order more or use these yellow ones. What are the wonders of Anderson crimps?
Better locking, and you can stack them together to make a large cable block.
Ohhh thanks very much
Anderson Powerpole connectors
They cost a little more, but once crimped / setup properly they’re generally easier to undo and redo. Many teams find them worth the extra added effort and cost.
Only time I’ve used a spade connector in the last 6 years of FRC was because we decided to use an old Spike Relay since it was simpler for the specific purpose. (and I was actually surprised we still had some around to use! lol)
The Anderson Connectors can be key’d when connected together as at least a pair, as well as allow for color-coordination (more than just red/black if you really want!)
If you want to use the spade (or ring lug, fork lug etc.) crimp connectors, ensure that you get good ones. They are not expensive and not worth trying to save a few dollars on. The team I was mentoring last season bought some from Amazon and had a lot of trouble with them. We ended up buying many packages from Home Depot and didn’t have any trouble with them.
With the ones from Amazon, the hole for the wire was too small so we had trouble getting all of the strands of the larger wires to fit. After crimping using a ratcheting crimper, they would not hold onto the wire properly and would slip off with a slight pull. After cutting one open, I found the metal was only about half the thickness of ones that I had at home that would hold the wire properly. The metal also seemed softer.
I find myself crimping the cheap ones 2-3 times in different places -sometimes even just using a vise- to ensure it’ll pass the pull test. For that risk alone I’d yeet them from any competition robot duties.
The technical term for the yellow spade connectors, I believe, is “garbage.”
They’re all right for what they’re designed for, but in line connections isn’t really that…
But if you have a device (as mentioned the old Spike relay is one) that has spade terminals on it, then using the spade terminals on your wires makes sense.
I’ve noticed that using these connectors in the application pictured in the first post is a good way to discover that your crimping technique is not up to par, when you try to disconnect the wires.
Oblarg, you are a legend. I want to mark your answer as the solution
Yeah, a lot of the Amazon / eBay stuff is junk - too soft or too hard - poorly sized, you name it.
If you have to use these connectors get the decent name brand stuff at a big box (I buy mine at Menard’s here in the Midwest and they’ve been solid - Gardner-Bender brand) - these can be frustrating in some applications but it doesn’t get any less frustrating with poor quality ones for sure.
They make things cheaper to manufacture. Unfortunately the manufacturers sometimes go too far. A few weeks ago I needed to replace the door switches in my microwave. I bought some switches that were labeled as replacement parts for my model microwave, when the part arrived I discovered the spade terminals were much smaller than the originals.
That was literally the only time in my life I was glad to have the male version of the spade connectors on hand, I was able to solder wires to the new switches to connect everything without having to reterminate the wires in the microwave.
As my friend put it, “updegraded”
The picture is really small, but if those came from the kit of parts, they are probably on this page.
You can find a pictorial listing of the full kit of parts contents here.
I have always called these by the generic term of “fully insulated quarter inch quick disconnect terminal” in male or female, depending on which side.
Spade connectors aren’t inherently garbage, but because any number of vendors make them, quality varies wildly.
The most important thing to know for spade connectors is that they do not contain a robust mechanical retention mechanism - they don’t really snap into place or hold together well. Electrical tape is a decent solution when you are expecting to disconnect the wire at some point. If you expect the connection to be more permanent (but removable if the need should arise), I like to put a slice of heat shrink over the joint. Learned this fun trick from some smart mentors back in the day.
If you really love 1/4" spade terminals, and want some that are sort of reliable, you can still buy the type that GM started using on cars in the 1950s. Although the locking feature was introduced in the 1960s, iirc.
Might not be rated for 40 amps, however.
I’d put money on those handling 40A better than 90% of “40A” rated connector types that show up in FRC.