Power Pole connectors

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  • Question
  • Updated 3 months ago
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Each time I slide my 6600M forward a few inches the power Pole Connectors both fall out of their socket.
They were inserted to their max, but continue to fall out.
Is this the way they work or a failure?
Can another power connector be substituted that more reliable?

Thanks  Tom W3FRG
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Tom W3FRG

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Posted 4 months ago

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Neal Pollack, N6YFM

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Work-Around #1:

Since removing and replacing the power connectors may void your warranty, a decent 
Work-Around for now is as follows:

Run your rigs DC power cord through a "one hole" nylon cable clamp, and attach that
clamp to the rigs ground connector on the back panel.

REF:  https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=nylon+cable+clamp&_sacat=0

No argument, Flex has SO MUCH space in that chassis, that they really should have used
a locking molex connector like all the other vendors do, with locking connector on the rig
end, and Anderson power poles on the remote cable end.

Cheers,

Neal
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roger palmer

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Yes, Please consider. Power Pole connectors are undependable
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Tom N5MOA

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I'm changing the one on my 6500 as soon as warranty runs out.
Never have liked power pole connectors, on anything.
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Robert Lonn

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The Nice Thing about the Power Pole Connector is you can get them at almost ANY AUTOMOTIVE supply store! The ones for Yaesu, Kenwood, Icom, pre made are expensive and only available at Electronic stores or Ham Stores, or eBay...

Most DC Power Splitter/Terminals used to feed the power from your Astron PS to multiple radios use the same terminals on the Power Block.

So for me, I was personally Happy Flex went in this direction, so now I can switch DC power from a Astron Power Supply to my Motor Home Solar System.. All my cables are custom built, by me, with the length of the DC cable custom to fit the application... Also, this allows adding two In Line Fuses..

Mine always fit Tight, so not sure about your situation..

Robert


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QzLvdR6X81k

(Edited)
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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Funny how some of us are the exact opposites...

I really like Power Poles... in fact, when I still owned ICOM HF rigs I converted the Icom's to Power Poles for easy swapping of radios.   In fact one of the issues I had with Molex is that they were so hard to disconnect in hard to reach places...

All my various VHF/UHF radios are also Power Poles..

Never really had an issue with Power Poles as they always seem to fit tight enough even for vibrating environments in vehicles...

I live near the ocean with a relatively corrosive high salt environment... a bit of Deox-it and the occasional reseating does wonders to keep things 100%


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Steven Linley

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No power poles plug together tightly, this is not normal. But maybe the power cord you are using is stiff?
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Tom W3FRG

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This is the cord supplied by Flex with the 6600M.
There appears to be no locking mechanism on these connectors, they just slip on.
And more easily, slip off.

Tom W3FRG
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Bill -VA3WTB

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hmmm I have to really pull on mine to get them off
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Tom W3FRG

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What is your secret?
These slip off like they were greased.
No effort at all and they fall off.

Tom W3FRG
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Greg - N8GD

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See my reply at the end of this thread - N8GD
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Craig Williams

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I hate Power Poles also. I can guarantee there are non of these in first responder vehicles.
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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BUT Every Emergency Operating Center (EOC) I have seen in SoCal seems to have standardized on Power Poles...

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Bill -VA3WTB

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I have never had any trouble with my connectors,,complain as we want,,this is how it's done on on our radios, make it work.
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N5LB - Lionel B

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My home brew dc cable does not come out easily. It’s secure and I’ve not had any issues except when I did a sloppy install of the cable pp connectors. However, keeping the connectors out of tension seems a good approach to better reliability.
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Greg - N8GD

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Tom,

Your problem with the Power Poles is easily rectified.  Since the metallic connectors fall out, do this:  Make sure the current carrying ends (the little hump at each end) are parallel with the wire crimp area - they should be relatively straight except for the curved current humps on the ends.  Next, look inside the plastic housings that the metal pieces fell out of.  Inside of the narrower portion of the plastic housing on the end that plugs into the Flex, you will see a piece of flat metal.  This is spring steel.  Take a small screwdriver and pry the flat spring steel upward toward the center of the plastic housing.  It doesn’t take a lot.  the spring steel should be showing a little above the edge of the plastic housing.  Do this for both the black and red housings.  Re-insert the connectors from the rear of the housings; they should be slightly difficult to insert, but once inserted properly, they should lock into the plastic housings and the electrical connectors should be very near to the end of the housings.  You should NOT be able to pull out the connectors by pulling on the wires.  plug it into the radio and all should be OK.

And, yes, I am not a fan of Power Poles, either, but since the EMCOMM community has standardized on them, I’ve learned to deal with them and make adjustments when necessary.
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Tom W3FRG

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Greg,

Tnx for the input. Sounds like that's the issue, making solid contact.
I'll give it a try and report back.

Tom W3FRG
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Greg - N8GD

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The spring steel pieces not only hold the electrical connectors in place, they also provide upward pressure against the contacts to make the proper mechanical and electrical connection.
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KC2QMA_John

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I wish FRS used these connectors for DC power. Power poles work OK but don't have a good mechanical connection.

http://www.neutrik.com/en/powercon-20a/ 


(Edited)
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Bill / VA3QB

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The pin on the power poles must be full inserted. If not they will come out easily. 
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Greg - N8GD

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Great graphic to show how to make proper Power Poles electrical connector insertion.  Getting the blade through that little slot next to the spring steel can be difficult, and probably is one cause for the wire and electrical connector being easily pushed out.  You MUST see the end of the metal electrical connector near the opening in the front (indicating it is locked) or it will be pushed out when mated with the matching plug.  If you see the spring only, it’s not right!
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Tom W3FRG

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With all of this said about PP connectors and how great they are, its possible that the FRS supplier of their PP power cord assemblies has an issue with assembly??


Tom W3FRG
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Craig Williams

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Yup, did that more than once. Thinking of purchasing the insertion/extraction tool DX Engineering has.
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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If you use #10 wire, you may have a difficult time using the 30 amp connectors. I picked up some 45 amp connectors that will mate with 30’s, but accommodate the larger wire.
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Stan - VA7NF

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Normally my power-poles make solid connections however the 6600 is an exception.  When mounted on a shelf rack (ears to come) the power cord falls out with the slightest motion.
As per the above cutaway, with any loose connector I bend the spring to increase the resting tension.
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Michael Walker, Employee

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For those of you having issues keeping your powerpoles in place, why not strap (tie) the power lead to the ground screw with something.  Even string will work.

I would not modify the radio for many reasons, the biggest one being would be the impact on the resale price of your radio should you choose to sell it.   

ymmv  :)

Mike va3mw
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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I never thought of that, Mike. But I do support all of my cables with hangers on the underside of my desktop overhang. Nothing hangs by more than 18 inches without support. I have had no problems with power poles working loose.
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Tom W3FRG

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Hi Mike,

If we're going to improvise to get the PP connectors to stay in place, why not a dab of RTV around them to the radio which can readily be removed later on w/o any damage to the radio or connector.

But, since the above is truly a placeholder, till the real culprit is ID'd, and based on near perfect manufacturing of the plastic and metal parts from PP, it points to an assembly, or inspection issue,  somewhere along the line. 

Tom W3FRG
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Michael Walker, Employee

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Hi Tom

Yep.  I personally have never had any issue with them and they have never fallen out for me on my 6300 or 6600.  On my mobiles, different story and I use XT60's from the RC Plane world since they are tank proof and very very inexpensive.  :)

The hobby somehow decided to make these a standard and so it is.  

73
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WQ2H - Jim Poulette

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For power connections around the shack (AC or DC) - I've always tried to use some mechanism to ensure a "service loop". I use these Hellermann Klam-Klips quite a bit. They come in all different sizes. In aviation wiring they not only require service loops for mechanical shock & vibration, but also to act as "drip loops" to ensure that condensation would normally move away from the avionics.

I know it's not a space launch - but I would guess the klips, or something similar, would help in the event you like your shack wiring banjo-string tight.


73 Jim, WQ2H
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Neal Pollack, N6YFM

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As you can see by this thread, the one HUGE problem with Anderson Power Poles is inconsistent reliability (sic).
There are a combination of many suppliers, some selling actual Anderson product, and many selling 
China look-alikes.   The manufacturing tolerance of perhaps a few thousandths of an inch make the
difference between a tight connection, and one that falls out.

I personally have had power poles that I almost could not pull apart by hand, and other cables
that come off WAY too easy.  I have also had 3 separate situations where the connection was
intermittant, too much manufacturing tolerance so that the two metal blades in each cable
end would not fully/reliably engage.   That was fun.   Solution was to either cut off the set and crimp
new power poles on, or to bend the shape of the blades and re-insert them in the shell.
[NOTE:  I NEVER had to do this with Molex connectors.]

Even the RC model airplane industry uses a far better, higher current "bullet connector".
Ref:  https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=RC+bullet+connector&_sacat=0

I use the strain relief as I suggested earlier, but I really wanted to "counter-point" all the
people saying they never had any problem with Anderson Power Poles.  If you have not,
then you simply are not a heavy user with lots of devices using the power poles.
Because if you have, honestly, 18 to 25 devices in the shack using power poles, you
indeed will experience what I have.    Not my favorite connector, but I can live with it.

Neal
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Greg - N8GD

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Not my favorite connector, either, but, as I stated earlier, the EMCOMM crowd adores these highly intermittent connectors.

I have had many problems with poor connectivity between the metal electrical conductor blades, even at a "low" 5 Amp draw.  I've seen 0.5 to 1.0 volt drop on these connectors at the 5 AMP level.  I strongly suspect that many Flex users who have low transmit power levels are victims of poor Power Pole conductivity.  Since you're stuck with them on the radio, the only fix is to bend the steel springs and hope for a better connection.  I also suspect that the electrical connector blades themselves become oxidized/corroded and prevent good conductivity.  They appear to be silver plated, but I'm not sure.  Poor conductivity either because of oxidation/corrosion or bad tension makes Power Poles not a good choice in my estimation.
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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@Neal

I have at least 25 devices (probably more like 50) in my shack that use Power Pole Connectors. 


I DO NOT HAVE ISSUES

Why?

Because

1.I bought professional grade crimping and insertion tools,

2. I made all the connections myself.

3. I use Anderson Branded (Not Chinese that they Sell at HRO) Connectors

4. I use Deox-It and,

5. Where possible I put strain relief ties.


I got forced in Power Poles about 15 years ago when I volunteered for ARES EMCOM duties and had to make all my radios compatible with the EOC.. The EOC does not have issues either.

It just takes a bit of care to get it right.


Bottom Line:  I am very happy with my Power Poles and I am glad I was forced to switch

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Tom W3FRG

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Glad that you have had no issues with PP Connectors, but we're talking about Mfr Supplied cables with PP Connectors installed, not home made where the user can control the assembly procedure and know that they are assembled (hopefully) correct.

Tom W3FRG
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WQ2H - Jim Poulette

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Power cables, regardless of manufacturer or connector style, are something I always inspect before energizing. Out of the box these cables appear correctly fabricated to me. I know QA is a moving target for some - but they look fine here.
Maybe it's overkill, but I have to go back to service loops and moreover common wiring & cabling sense. Stressing the cables (banjo string syndrome) even intermittently will stress both the wire-to-contact connections and the plug-to-socket contacts, and ultimately will lead to a failure of some kind.

This thread peaked my interest, so I measured the insertion force. Mine measured ~15N. My radio is fairly new, so that may explain why it's slightly above the spec of 13N (no tolerance given). At an extra cost one could move to the "high force" PP version raising that to 22N. Whether or not that would mitigate the banjo string syndrome is doubtful.
73 Jim, WQ2H
(Edited)
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Mark WS7M

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I honestly have to say that I just gave Power Pole connectors another chance.  I bought the crimper and a kit of contacts and housings.  I followed all the directions very carefully and I generally am very good with connector making having a lot of experience.

Of my 4 power pole cable I made only 2 worked.  2 needed to be angled rather oddly to make contact.  Yes I triple verified the correct insertion connection.  I purchased 2 ready made DC cables with lugs from Mountain West and modeled my connections after theirs.

I am sorry to say but I have almost zero confidence in these connectors.  I am using one of the Mountain West Power gate devices to route power from PS or Battery and had to use Powerpoles to mate with that.    But the connections to the radio are simply concerning.

If I could I would replace my powerpole connections on everything with something like listed above or some other alternative.   I really have come to hate these things after recently spending $130 plus and feeling like I still cannot get a solid connection.

I've fought with various connectors for close to 30 years now.  Some are great, some not so much and these in my opinion fall into the not so much category.
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N8SDR

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I'll agree, they simply are a lousy connector and don't rally provide a good positive pressure to make a good solid connection- most of the time, in fact it's not uncommon that these connections get oxidized and require cleaning to get full power/amperage connections, when I see  power output drop in TX equipment where PP are used there my first check, usually they need a good cleaning or redone, frankly there a poor design and the folks who thought they would make a great power connector haven't a clue.
(Edited)
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Mark WS7M

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Yes... Well shoot it is sad the radio has them but I guess , at least in my installation, the radio should rarely move.

@NM9P - I've tried all kinds of wire.  I was using 12ga which is smaller than I wanted and I used the 45A connectors.  The cables tone out fine but when plugged in they don't always make great contact.  I had to bend the prongs up some to get reasonable contract.
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Bill / VA3QB

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A number of things to make sure ,  you are using the correct size of power pole pin for the wire size/amps you are putting through it,  the correct Crimper,  and the correct way to put it in the crimping tool.  I have used power pole connectors since the early 90's with no problems. Any person I know that had a problem was doing one of the three things above.   I have attached two pictures.  This is the actual Anderson Power Pole crimpers.  The other ones do not work as well, if at all !   The second picture shows proper way to insert pin into crimper. If the crease is not to the top the connection will fail. Also important not to inset pin to far into crimper. 
(Edited)
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Mark WS7M

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That's the crimper I have.  It is one of about 8 crimpers I own.  I purchased my crimper and power poles at West Mountain Radio.  Whether they are selling Anderson or Chinese I have no idea.

I've made enough cables using various crimpers to know good from bad and to understand wire size versus connector size.

My issues with power poles have nothing really to do with the connector and crimping.  It is the actual connection between connector A and connector B.

Someone in this thread makes a key point:  They bend the connectors up to ensure they make good contact.

I think this would work for mine as well but I've never used a connector before that required me to manually bend the terminals.  It seems that indicates a poor design.
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Bill -VA3WTB

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Mark these tabs are spring loaded to speak. After a while they need to be bent back in place, then they connect tight.
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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Maybe I am doing something wrong.. but in spite of having literally dozens of power pole devices in my shack for years I have never an issue.  in fact I got rid of the Molex years ago and converted everything to Power Poles for EOC compatibility


I DO NOT HAVE ISSUES

Why?

Because

1.I bought professional grade crimping and insertion tools,

2. I made all the connections myself.

3. I use Anderson Branded (Not Chinese that they Sell at HRO) Connectors

4. I use Deox-It and,

5. Where possible I put strain relief ties so that they cannot be pulled out or have excessive failure causing strain on them.


Follow these simple steps and you will never have issues


I have been to many EOC.. all use Power Poles exclusively

No issues when they are professionally installed with quality parts...


BUT AVOID LOW QUALITY (non USA) PARTS SOLD AT HRO

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Tom W3FRG

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Howard, you have missed the point of the original posting.
These were not home made cables with PP connectors, these were supplied with the Flex radio that failed to stay in place.

Tom W3FRG
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Bill -VA3WTB

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It is interesting to see some people having trouble with the Power pole plugs. My radio is a pre owned certified 6500. I had some connection problems when I first got it. After reading about my problem I simply bent the metal tab inside back up into place. It now makes a very firm connection and it takes lots of pulling to pull it out of the Flex now,  I am sure that some are having problems with theirs and I don't know what or why that is,,But in my case they are a really good connection, and that is after years of use.
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Neal Pollack, N6YFM

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Re:  "AVOID LOW QUALITY (non USA) PARTS SOLD AT HRO"

OK, I'll bite...   How can I shop and tell which "power poles are REAL
Anderson Brand vs. the cheap china copies?   I will agree that most products
I have purchased from China in the past, no matter if connectors, tools, electronics,
are measured rather cheaply/sloppy with inaccurate tolerances.  All it takes is
to be off by a few thousandths of an inch, and the connection between pole A and B will not make very good contact.  My experience exactly, more than once.

So, since Anderson does not stamp their name in the connector, how do I tell
I am getting REAL product, and where do I find real product?

Cheers,

Neal
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Tom N5MOA

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Powerwerx is one place to get them, they also make a crimper. Both in the link.

https://powerwerx.com/anderson-261g2-powerpole-contact-pp45?gclid=EAIaIQobChMItbuL28zq3AIVGbbACh0RQg...


I got a bag of 45amp connectors on Amazon and made another cable for my 6500. It doesn't fall off the radio if it moves now. Still don't particularly care for the connectors. :-)

https://www.amazon.com/Anderson-Powerpole-Connectors-Amp-pair/dp/B00W8TN4KY/ref=sr_1_12?s=hi&ie=...


73, Tom
N5MOA




(Edited)
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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@Tom W3FRG


I never use any vendor's premade connectors as I prefer to roll my own.
So I cannot attest to the quality or lack thereof of Flex's supplied cables.


I have had terrible results with the off brand allegedly Anderson connectors that HRO sold me so I now stick to Anderson Branded Connectors where I have never had reliability issues.


From my engineering experience designing systems for harsh environments, I am also a firm believer in STRAIN RELIEF on EVERY CONNTECTION even when it does not seem to need it...
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WX7Y

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I have moved to soldering them on to the cables, just be sure to tin the wire first and don't let the solder get on the tip or ball up with too much solder so they don't fit the shell.
Just seems like crimping deforms them.

All this could be avoided by FLEX putting a restraining loop for a zip tie or move the connector out further of the case so the Power Pole restrainer hole can be accessed on the Radio's them selves.

I have burn't out MANY MOLEX connectors far more then Power Pole connectors with the industry I'm in so as Howard has commented "just use good quality connectors and the proper tools".

73's
Bret

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Bill -VA3WTB

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What some are doing is putting cable strap on the Ground screw to take any strain away from the power connector.
1 Nylon Cable Clamp100 pcspack Natural
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Robert Lonn

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I think it now time to change the subject to "How To Make A proper PL-259 Connector!!! :-)


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Bill -VA3WTB

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Not to highjack the post,,have to make a new post?
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Neal Pollack, N6YFM

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Re:   "I think it now time to change the subject to "How To Make A proper PL-259 Connector!!! :-)"

God, NO!  :-)   Pah-Leeeze don't   :-)
If you must, re-start that thread over on the open sewer pit called Eham.net
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Bill -VA3WTB

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Lol,,if you go to far off the original topic, Flex will close the post...
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Robert Lonn

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Just kidding folks!!!