[time-nuts] Anderson PowerPole (was Charles Wenzel GPSDO)

Bill Byrom time at radio.sent.com
Fri Jun 23 00:08:48 EDT 2017

Since I have met Charles in person a couple of times at his office in
Austin and used their microwave multiplied golden low phase noise
oscillators for a project and recommended Wenzel to others, I admit my
bias in favor of his projects.

I was going to comment earlier in this thread about the advantages of
Powerpole connectors and my bad experiences with old circular pin power
connectors from Molex and Amp, but decided to wait until the inevitable
storm of competing arguments blew over. I just finished wiring a
Powerpole connector to an Amplifier Research 144 MHz low noise preamp
tomorrow for use in Field Day this weekend for some satellite contacts
by a friend. He's also borrowing a big 100 AH 12V AGM battery from me,
so I added an inline fuseholder to a Powerpole standard ARES red/black
plug setup.

We should all remember that circuit protection, a proper fire
extinguisher, and safety goggles are important for fire and personal
(explosion) safety when initially connecting our new experimental
setups. Fuses or circuit breakers should always be used for connections
to batteries. Even small modern batteries can supply very high peak
currents, and in some cases you might not be there to handle the
emergency. My two personal stories are:

(1) A common 9V (NEDA1604 style) battery should never be left where it
might contact a metal short, and should never be left in a pocket. I
knew better, but temporarily slipped an alkaline 9V battery into a
trouser pocket, where it was shorted by my keys and became extremely hot
very rapidly. The peak current might reach 10 A (depending on the
battery chemistry and how it's shorted), so the battery heats up very

(2) When I was in high school (about 45 years ago) and still learning
how electrical and electronic stuff worked, I decided I needed to try
resistance soldering. This soldering technique was described in the
William Orr W6SAI Radio Handbook (unrelated to the ARRL  Handbook).  I
had some AWG 14 insulated wire and a surplus 2.5 V filament transformer
(rated for over 25 Amps, I'm sure). I found some old welding rods or
copper rods to apply the current to the joint being soldered. After
hooking it all up, I applied the rods to the joint and was surprised
when the copper wire used for my connections rapidly turned red hot and
fused, dropping molten copper onto the floor. I thought I understood
Ohm's Law and power dissipation in resistors, but obviously I didn't
have a practical understanding of the current handling capacity of the
wire. The wire acted as a fuse before the primary circuit fuse or mains
circuit breaker had a chance to trip.
Bill Byrom N5BB

----- Original message -----
From: Chris Albertson <albertson.chris at gmail.com>
I did something stupid last might and assembled power distribution not
as designed with a mosfet switch and diode in backwards then connected
a high power density battery.  I had an open flame along an entire run
of #18 cable but finally the coper conductor failed (the metal
vaporized) and the circuit opened and the flame stopped.   I have some
chared remains of wires and crunchy black melted plastic.  But the
XT60 connectors are still good.  The metal parts inside are still
shiny gold plated and the nylon shells are good as new, after cleaning
the soot off.

I was actually holding the connecter in my hand when the thing went
off like a bomb, but just minor burns.  Still amazed the connecter is
fine after unsoldering the little stubs of burned wire from the pins.

On Thu, Jun 22, 2017 at 12:19 AM, Tom Van Baak <tvb at leapsecond.com>
> Wes, Don,
> I am quite surprised at the negative reaction to Anderson Power Pole connectors. I have found them the best DC connector out there. I have used them for a decade or two for all my DC feeds and have never had a problem: in my home lab, my car, even for my laptop charger. They are inexpensive, reliable, genderless (hermaphroditic) and easy to crimp. I use them for my 5V, 12V, 24V, and 48V supplies as well as my DC backup systems.
> What on earth are you doing with them that causes them to disconnect? I mean, they are not meant for towing or lifting or rappelling. For critical applications there is a plastic gizmo that keeps them mated; or just use a square or figure 8 knot on the cables.
> /tvb
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Chris Albertson
Redondo Beach, California
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