The simple matter of connecting amateur radio equipment to DC power has become increasingly difficult with the wide variety of connectors in use today.
It seems that every manufacture of Amateur equipment uses there own power connector which is incompatible with everyone else.
So a few AREG club members went looking for a cheap, readily available power connector that we could standardise on. This meant when members turned up to working bee’s or club events then things just “plugged” into what ever DC source was on offer. Simple ! Or so we thought.
It was quickly realised that a single connector could not do everything, so a combination of two and four pin connectors were chosen that were readily available in many electronic stores through out Australia. These connectors were ranked according to their current rating, members simply choose the connector most suited to the load they wish to attach. The list of final candidates is below;
[table]Current Rating, Pins, Half, Manufacturer, Part Number
9A, 2 pin, Plug, Utilux (Molex), 1545P (03-09-2021)
9A, 2 pin, Socket, Utilux (Molex), 1545R (03-09-1027)
18A, 4 pin, Plug, Utilux (Molex), 1490P (03-09-2041)
18A, 4 pin, Plug, Utilux (Molex), 1490R (03-09-1041)
50A, 2 pin, Plug/Socket, Anderson, SB50
100A, 2 pin, Plug/Socket,Anderson, SB125/SB715, [/table]
The paralleling of the positive pins and the negative pins allows the four pin connectors to carry up to 18 amps continuously.
Now pictures are worth a thousand words, so below are pictures of how the connectors are attached to the cables and their respective polarity shown.
For those old enough to remember, these are the same connectors that Philips used on the FM828 radios back in the late 70’s and early 80’s.
All you have to remember is the point of the connector is positive. Otherwise just keep this sheet handy and you can’t go wrong.
Now which half is which and at what end of a cable do I use them? Within the AREG we connect the socket half to the power source, so leads from batteries, solar panels or DC supplies. The plug half we attach to equipment, like radios, repeater controllers, TNC’s, GPS’s etc.
If you think about it the socket half is fully shrouded, so the pins within cannot inadvertenty short on metal work close by. One does have to be careful with solar cables and chargers, you’ll find out why the first time you do this.
For larger applications the Anderson SB series is a great choice for connectors. These connectors are sexless and as such you only need to keep one type in your draw, it’s fully shrouded and hard to get wrong. They are however not cheap. However when dealing with currents over 50A these connectors are safe, reliable and you pay for what you get.
Anyway we hope that this gives you some idea on how you can standarise your own DC power requirements in the shack. As an added bonus if you do join AREG out at a working bee or function you will have little trouble connecting to any DC power our members may provide. This also goes for all of our vehicles too.