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Open Roads Forum  >  Tech Issues

 > Anderson connectors: if too small, is that a bottleneck?

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profdant139

Southern California

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Posted: 10/13/21 10:09am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

(This question is an offshoot of my question about cables to portable solar panels -- but since the subject of Anderson connectors comes up in a variety of contexts, I thought it would be better to start a new thread.)

Anderson connectors seem to be very useful for "plug and play" electrical power. I did a little research, and (of course) managed to confuse myself thoroughly.

I see that they come in various sizes. To borrow a phrase, does size matter? For example, if I am using ten gauge wire to draw power from my portable solar panel, but I choose a too-small Anderson connector, have I created a bottleneck that defeats the purpose of the heavier wire?

The obvious analogy is to a garden hose -- if you hitch a 3/4 inch hose to a half inch hose, you are going to be limited to the flow rate of the smaller hose.

Does the same limitation apply to the Anderson connector? And if so, how do I choose the right connector for the job?

Thanks in advance for your collective insights, bearing in mind that lots of us who read the Tech forum postings have little or no technical expertise.


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Fisherman

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Posted: 10/13/21 10:28am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Pretty simple the way I see it. Anderson tells you what size per wire to use, if you're unsure, go up one size. There is no confusion.

Ed_Gee

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Posted: 10/13/21 10:31am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Anderson Power Pole connectors are available in different current sizes, to fit the appropriate gage wire. You should use the appropriate size for your projected maximum current. I use Anderson Power Poles all over for most of my 12VDC amateur radio connections. HOWEVER - I don't think they are quite physically robust to use for your described usage. Instead, I would use the connectors that Zamp solar uses.... which are nothing more than the standard two pin trailer plug readily available in hardware stores.


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Lwiddis

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Posted: 10/13/21 11:00am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

It’s all about how much loss you are willing to accept. I want 2% or less from panels to controller.


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ktmrfs

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Posted: 10/13/21 11:38am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Ed_Gee wrote:

Anderson Power Pole connectors are available in different current sizes, to fit the appropriate gage wire. You should use the appropriate size for your projected maximum current. I use Anderson Power Poles all over for most of my 12VDC amateur radio connections. HOWEVER - I don't think they are quite physically robust to use for your described usage. Instead, I would use the connectors that Zamp solar uses.... which are nothing more than the standard two pin trailer plug readily available in hardware stores.


I disagree, having used both. the Zamp connectors are a low current device, even 15A can overheat and deform the connector. The anderson is capable of 50A or more, insertion swipes and cleans the connector. I've used anderson connectors on our solar cables for a decade now, dozens of times/year and the have performed flawlessly.

Now anderson does make several styles, but the larger ones are capable of 100+A and often used with winches etc. and at work the grounds crew had them on all the trucks along with jumper cable to do a quick jumper start on people who had run down batteries.


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Matt_Colie

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Posted: 10/13/21 03:46pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Lwiddis wrote:

It’s all about how much loss you are willing to accept. I want 2% or less from panels to controller.


Lwiddis,

Thank You for your service, but this is an issue I run into all the time in boat wiring work.

The tables all publish voltage drop as Percent(%) and that is just plain wrong. The system voltage drop is VOLTS... This is true what ever the system voltage is. Many solar systems run greater than the 13.6 nominal for charging a 12V system. That voltage drop can still cripple a system even when the percentage of the system voltage is small.

I simple terms, for low voltage systems, always buy all the copper you can afford. You only have to buy it once, but if you don't you will pay for it for the life of the system.

Matt


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time2roll

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Posted: 10/13/21 03:56pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The connector(holder) just holds the pins together.
If the pins fit the wire and the connector all is good.
Different colors of connectors must match same color or no go.
Different size/ amp rating will not mate either.


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wa8yxm

Davison Michigan (East of Flint)

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Posted: 10/13/21 04:35pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The power poles are amp-rated but I do not find much difference in any size smaller than 41 amps (40, 30, 20 all look the same) possibly the crimp sleeve is smaller on the smaller poles (Think that is the difference)

Now: ANY connector No matter the make, type, style, size, will add some resistance... Power poles are no exception.. but how much is the question (Very little) So I'd not think it will be significant.

one thing though they are "Self Cleaning" every time you plug in or unplug NOT under load they clean themselves ... IF you plan to plug in and "Do not disturb" you may find they perform less and less well.. If so, Remove power (Switch off) and unplug/replug a couple dozen times and see if it improves.
"
or use De-Ox-It

I would use at least the 40 amp size Seems to work with 10 or 8 ga Speaker wire (What I use for cable)


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Ed_Gee

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Posted: 10/13/21 08:16pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The Original Poster made referral to his 'Portable Panel. I doubt all the concerns over voltage drop through a connector for a 100 or 200W panel is going to be significant loss under any circumstances. Further, I stand behind my recommendation for not using Anderson Power Pole connectors for this situation. They are simply not that physically robust or weatherproof. The Zamp 2 pin connectors would be the better choice.

ktmrfs

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Posted: 10/13/21 09:33pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Ed_Gee wrote:

The Original Poster made referral to his 'Portable Panel. I doubt all the concerns over voltage drop through a connector for a 100 or 200W panel is going to be significant loss under any circumstances. Further, I stand behind my recommendation for not using Anderson Power Pole connectors for this situation. They are simply not that physically robust or weatherproof. The Zamp 2 pin connectors would be the better choice.


the Zamp connectors are not very weatherproof either, nor are they that robust. They look weatherproof but they are not, at least when I tried them. if current is less 10 amps the Zamp wil probably work ok.

By the time you start pushing even 10A through the Zamp connector it will start to get noticeably warm, indicating noticeable resistance.

The anderson is way more physically robust, but I agree not weatherproof.

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