Anderson Powerpole Ideas: Get Everyone Connected!
Nov. 6th, 2003, By Steve KB1DIG & Kim KB1GTR

Anderson Power Products and Powerpole® connectors.  We have been doing research on this product and here are some of our findings.  This overview may be familiar.  Most of this information was found from different sources on the Internet and several Web links are listed on this page.  We hope this will offer some new insight into how to go about integrating this Anderson Powerpole product into everyone's emergency power equipment needs.  Our suggested attempts at leveling the playing field..   Also, keeping costs reasonable for the high-tech low budget practical minded Amateur in all of us.   We are not experts and have no affiliation with the manufacturers or sales vendors mentioned.  If you have something to contribute to this page and topic please send us your ideas and comments.

Introductions: Powerpoles are not just another plug..

"For higher power rigs, high-amperage DC power supplies and bus-wiring, the Anderson Powerpole is the emerging national ARES/RACES standard."

The 30 Amp size along with 12 gauge red/black zip-cord seems to be the best overall choice for most applications and numerous other groups have adopted it.

Please click on and checkout the larger images 
for a better understanding as to how they work.

Ref: Standard Powerpole® Family PP30 (30 amp) Data Sheet (PDF)

"The Anderson Powerpole is genderless, so you don't need adapters to plug a battery into another source to recharge. The 15, 20, and 30 Amp rated contacts for Anderson Powerpole use the same housing, so are interoperable, just use the right fuse. The plastic parts are the same for both sizes. The barrel area (which holds the wire) of the 15-ampere silver-plated contact is smaller than that of the 30-ampere contact, but the contact area is the same."
"The Anderson Powerpole is genderless": meaning the supply and load connectors are the same. 

This was a little hard to visualize, and truly didn't understand the benefits, until actually assembling a few connectors and power-cords.  All small assemblies. They now become modular units.  Segmented.  Just mix and match.  Depends on the need.  The only problem we ran across was the Whatt Meter.  It can be easily hooked up backwards and the reason for the additional labels.  The bad part of genderless perhaps.  The assemblies with 2 fuses are for battery or power supply hookup connections. 

Thanks to Steve, K9DCI for suggesting this clarification.  More about the Whatt Meter and assembly ideas below.

The connectors molding plastic housings are designed in such a way that they can slide or dovetail together and interlock into a compact unit.  They do provide a solid electrical contact and with technology that should give every user years of good service.  The manufacturer provides a channel between the 2 separate housings for the insertion of a ¼ inch metal roller pin to hold the assembly together.

For the vast majority this is the suggested correct configuration:
"Housings should be mated according to the diagram above, viewing from the contact side (opposite the wire side), tongue down, hood up, RED on the LEFT, BLACK on the RIGHT. Also notice the 3/32-inch-diameter roll pin, 1/4 inch long, is used to keep the housings from sliding apart."

Please first contact your local area ARES/RACES groups to confirm this connector size and configuration before assembling your equipment.

Another great place to check is through you local ARRL Division or ask your ARRL State Section Manager.

Our Suggestion #1: Keeping everything together but also still field serviceable.
Not to say the roller pin is a bad idea.  In doing some research and comparisons we have read some concerns from other States ARES/RACES Groups over the possibility of the roller pin falling out and into the transceiver or other equipment causing damage.  A commonly suggested solution is a drop of superglue on the roller pin to help prevent this.  Cementing the connectors creates another issue, because there is still some controversy as to standards of “red plug on the left side or right”, from different Emergency Communications Groups.   Still some inconsistency…  In our minds a wire tie seems to be an easy safe and cheap alternative if the need ever arises to swap positions.

We did find an alternative to the roller pin lock. 
Wire ties to hold assembled connectors from coming apart.
To be more specific, these are “7-inch (White) Mounting Ties” found at the local Home Depot.  The same thing, but black in color, is usually available at most Auto Parts chain stores.  This type wire tie comes in handy in keeping things well organized for storage in your Go-Kits.
Conventional wire or cable ties are also 
very useful in keeping things plugged together.
The size we used here is 12" by 3.6mm feed in-between the gap in the red and black wires of each plug assembly.  Good for under the dashboard with mobile installations.  For only a few cents each, ties can easily be cut or replaced as needed.  Anderson does manufacture another alernative for this: 
Ref: Standard Powerpole® Family BLOK-LOK 2 poles PP 10/45 Clamps (PDF).

Our Suggestion #2: Looking for the right tool to use but still cost effective.
Having one very expensive tool just for crimping didn't make a lot of sense to us.  Prices ranging from up to and over $150.00 just for a wire crimper seemed somewhat bewildering...(gulp)  Not exactly a cheap-to-keep something to be lending out or taking outside for Field Day activities, and without a built in homing beacon.  Besides these are just little crimped wire ends that are getting an additional coating of solder for better continuity after…come on…how hard can that be??

Looking for a good inexpensive versatile tool for assembling we ran across this wonderful item.
We tend to lean more toward multipurpose than specific use items.
Oops.. A common mistake..  These last 2 images are incorrect. 
Face the seam in the connector barrel toward the opposite 
or concave side of the crimper jaws. (what were we thinking..)

GB Tool Item #: 515949 This 6" needle nose pliers combines a number of useful functions. 4-in-1 long-nose pliers with built-in wire stripper, wire cutter, zip cord divider with crimp sleeve nests, and serrated jaws. Insulated comfort grip handle.  This GB tool will do a great job crimping 30 Amp Powerpoles plus a whole lot more and costs under $10.00  Small size too, makes it a perfect addition for the Go-Kits or Field Day Toolbox.

Ref: "Do it" Electrician's Pliers

Radio Shack sells a somewhat similar item for even less.
RS Catalog #: 64-1847 for about $5.00 but, Jack, N1JLW tells us he had to visit 2 different locations before finding a good pair to purchase.  He suggests looking very closely at the mating surface of the sleeve crimping area because of some product inconsistency.   So, if it doesn't line up perfect don't buy it!  Still a good deal.

Ref: Radio Shack: 6" All Purpose Pliers

Our Suggestion #3: Taking a close look at some of the new gadgets coming out... a Whatt Meter?
With all the money you just saved from being thrifty in the tool department perhaps it's now time to splurge on something like this..

Ref: Astro Flight Super Whatt Meter®  (the next best thing to a Star Trek Tricorder)

"The meter contains no battery. It is powered from the voltage source and absorbs about 17 milliamps. The meter will turn on at 4 volts and will measure any DC voltage up to 80 volts. Once running, the meter will operate down to about 3.5 volts. The Whattmeter micro-processor goes through a self calibration routine every time voltage is applied."

This is truly Star Wars stuff!  An amazing little in-line device that will accurately read Volts, Amps, Watts, and mA/hrs, all at the same time.  Accurately reads up to 75 amps!  It can fit in your shirt pocket.  And now comes from several Ham equipment vendors with a pair of PowerPoles for about $70.00 average.

We suggest adding additional labels to help avoid any power connection input mix-ups. 
Another good label is one with your Amateur call sign placed on the backside of this item. 
Just in case it somehow becomes misplaced ...stuff avoided..

Some Assembly Required: Batteries Not Included... Miscellaneous Stuff.
Now it's time for the fun part.  Building ideas and all the neat new gadgets.  Keep a few assemblies for the workshop test bench too.

Small powercord assemblies increase flexabilty. 
This is for starters. What can you do with just one bag of 10 sets?  30 Amp size.  About $10.00 worth..
A first nights project and cleaning out the oddball parts box.  Endless possibilities!

CAT.1331 POWERPOLE 30 AMP CONT. #12 QTY. 100
aka: The BIG Eraser Theory!
Cheapest way to start over, do repairs, and/or recycle housings. 
 Keep a dozen or so in the roadside repair kit for Field Day!
"To remove a contact from the housing, use Anderson insertion/extraction tool #111038G2. You may also substitute a very small blade (jewelers screwdriver or X-Acto knife) to lift up the front of the contact slightly over the detent and pull the contact out of the rear of the housing, allowing the contact to be removed."
Just take your time.  Don't rush it..  It will come out.

This new info link is a must read.
West Central Ohio District 3 / Amateur Radio Emergency Service
Equipment / Supply Sources:
Thank you to Randy Allen, KAØAZS, EC, Montgomery CO, Ohio, for bringing this to our attention.

Have a suggestion?
Harrell KC5GSF: Keeping Anderson Power Poles Together: I bought 1 piece of shrink-wrap tubing for large commercial wiring harnesses [at the local Altex store], cut the pieces into pieces ½ to ¾ inches long, slid these over the pair and applied heat and they are tight but easy to separate if need be with a pocket knife.
Harrell Z. Browning
Doug KM4FI: I discovered Powerpoles through this site and others, and although I am not currently active on the air, I could see the advantages of Powerpoles for other uses, specifically modular model railroad layouts.  After over a year of work, Powerpoles are about to be adopted by the nationwide NTRAK as an alternate to the two pin Cinch-Jones connector for N-scale modular use.  


73 es gud DX!
Doug Stuard
Reston, VA

09/24/05 Reply: Hi Doug,
Great stuff!!!  Thanks for checking out the WebPages and sending this message about another alternative use of Anderson Powerpole connectors.  
Hopefully, the availability of this product will increase with more mainstream use.  I've read that these connectors were very popular with model car hobby enthusiasts well before our Amateur Radio community ever got hold of them.  Now model railroad use.. Just think!  If this keeps up, someday even RadioShack or Wal-Mart may carry them!!  You never know...;-)
Is it okay if we post this info on the Powerpole page?
Steven W. Merrill, KB1DIG 
Emergency Coordinator 
Amateur Radio Emergency Service 
Strafford County, New Hampshire 

Doug KM4FI: Hi Steve!

Thanks for the kind words.

The thing that attracted me to Powerpoles was the simplicity and performance, as well as the cost.

The national NTRAK standard established over 30 years ago specified 2 pin Cinch-Jones plugs and sockets.  I’ve used them for over 40 years, but availability has become a problem in recent years, and the connectors have been proven to be problematical after many mate/unmate cycles.  That, coupled with the rapid expansion of Digital Command Control (DCC), whereby many locomotives can share the same track at once, raised the performance requirements for inter-module connections (as well as wiring standards, with #18 giving way to #12).

As usual, its hams leading the way!

Feel free to link to my pages or to the national NTRAK site ( ) as you like.  The final version of the RP should be released soon.


09/24/05 Reply: Hi Doug,
Thank you!  Should have it posted on the page in the next few days too.  If not, over the weekend.  
We've been known to build some interesting contraptions with powerpoles.  

I'm not big on buying the commercial pre-made stuff.  If I build it myself and something breaks it's usually easier to fix....usually...;-)
Steve  KB1DIG

Jim W2NSF: .....Here's an idea for keeping powerpole plugs connected; it's just a piece of 10 guage solid copper wire.....

.....By the way, the fixture you see in the photo is what I use to recharge lead-acid batteries using a regular car battery charger.  I just put the charger's clamps on the two terminals and plug it into the battery's powerpole plug......

John W1JAB: (related topic) Here is the nifty little thing. I think it is pretty cool. It handles 20A through the fuse and 7.5A into the little feed tab. They are also not expensive. Good for FM mobile and such - but probably can't handle too much in the way of HF with the high amperage draws.

It is called an “Access-a-Fuse”. Their website is:

I used one to install Sue’s new dual band mobile rig.  Be aware that the fuse is a two part thing: the internal fuse is a 20amp fuse. The external blade is rated to 7 amps. 


Fred N0IBD: I have found that a 1/2 inch long leg staple (the kind used in common constuction staple guns) fits perfectly in the two holes formed by a joined set of positive and negitive power poles.  This make a secure connection when you bend the legs over, yet is easy to remove. One box will do several hondred connections, and secures the load and source sides with no fuss,muss,or cost. 
73's  N0IBD

01/20/05 Reply: Hi Fred,

Great idea for locking sets together!!

Can you send an image and/or the info (mod/size/#s) on the package of staples?

Also, is it okay with you if we post this info on our Powerpole Webpage?  Others should try this too.

Thank you for taking the time!!
Steve  KB1DIG

Fred N0IBD: Hi Steve,
Sure, I'd be pleased if you posted the idea. Sorry I do not have a picture and I threw out the staple pacage, but they are labled  (1/2 inch  long leg staples).  The kind that are made by many different manufactures and fit in regular type staple guns. You can find them in any hardware store.  And since staples like this are galvanized, they withstand the elements well in out door installations. 
One point that should be made on installation--- to keep the connection tight--- the legs of the staple shoud be bent toward each other on the backside of the joined powerpoles!!!!  If the ends of the staples are bent away from each other, it will loosen the connetion.
73's N0IBD Fred

01/24/05 Reply: Hi Fred,

I should have everything posted in a few days.  Not a big deal in the images.  I think I will poke around Home Depot and look for these staples.  Give it a try.  Interesting idea!!

Thank you!
Steve KB1DIG

Chad W1CAR: Steve,

Love your Powerpole page!  Tons of useful information.  Just wanted to give you some links to my homemade version of a Rigrunner.  My design was inspired by WD4BIS's design, but was made with common parts found at Radio Shack and hardware stores. 

The original design is kinda ugly:    But the newest designs I created  are looking great (at least to me!)  Tell me what you think and if you like feel free to link to my site and post this email on your page. 

Just wanted to offer a link with my Powerpole projects to add to your already great website!  BTW, I'm going to start creating my own "The Box" tomorrow.  Just need to buy some stuff first.


-Chad W1CAR

11/14/04 Reply: Hi Chad,

Thanks for stopping in a checking out our Ham Page.  Kim and I have a lot of fun working on projects like the powerpole page.  Has become a great way to give something back to the hobby, for us too.

Thanks for the great links and info.  Will post it sometime today in the comments section.  That Rigrunner thing cost big bucks.  I kind-a did something along the same lines for my deep-cell marine battery;  looks me too....for a lot lot less $$$....ha ha.

"Tigertail" HT Counterpoise:
Did some poking around the Web and found this link.  This was a net topic for our local ARES Group, here in Strafford County, NH, just a few weeks ago.  Great stuff too!!

Good luck with your Box Project!!  Keep us posted...;-)
Steven W. Merrill, KB1DIG

Mike K6MFW: Reading Suggestion #2 "Oops.. A common mistake..  These last 2 images are incorrect.  Face the seam in the connector barrel toward the opposite or concave side of the crimper jaws. (what were we thinking..)"

I thought this was the way to do it and the image, on West Mountain radio has the seam opposite the concave.

Can you clarify this for me? I have a zillion powerpole connections and I want to start implementing the ARC here at Ames Research Center with powerpoles.

The powerpole webpage is really great. I didn't consider some of the engineering behind the connectors that the first three images show. The images showing different powercord assemblies, I already have some of those!

I did make some extended DC power cords using conventional 120VAC workshop extension cords (12awg wires). These cables are nice and flexible (not stiff like heavy gauge DC cables) and lowcost from the hardware store. I snipped off the wallplug and receptacle and put a powerpole connector on each end. Well, there is an extra wire in the extension cable but not a showstopper.  I made a couple of these plus one that I put a cig lighter plug on one end. These give flexibility for mobile/field operations.

Michael Wright, K6MFW
Ames Amateur Radio Club

8/11/04 Reply: Hi Michael,

Thanks for checking out the Hampage.  Kim and I have a lot of fun doing projects like this together.

Sorry for the confusions.

>>>The best way to do it is the way it is shown in the image from West Mountain radio.<<<

We presented our versions as a way to spice up the article a little.  Shows that it's easy to get a little mixed-up while performing the assembly.

The only other advice is to make sure and solder the connection afterwards.  Very crucial!!!  (Our opinion) Be careful not to get solder on the blade contact surface.  Apply solder to the wire and heat to the barrel connector, right where the two join-up, seems to works best.  What we use is the small portable soldering iron sold at RadioShack.  Handy little gadget.  Something
like $20.00.  This thing runs on butane and works really slick.  Can even take on big jobs..  Came in very handy at Field Day this year.  We had to repair a 12 gauge ladder-line feed wire antenna in the rain....stuff happens...;-)

Great idea with the powercords too!!  Thanks!!

Also, is it okay if we post this message you sent on our Powerpoles Webpage?  Always best to ask first...;-)

Steven W. Merrill, KB1DIG

Mike K6MFW: > >>>The best way to do it is the way it is shown in the image from West Mountain radio.<<<
>We presented our versions as a way to spice up the article a little.  Shows that it's easy to get a little mixed-up while performing the assembly.

I looked at the west mountain again and it does show the seam opposite the concave so I assume that is the way to do it (I've done it opposite all this time).

>The only other advice is to make sure and solder the connection afterwards.
>Very crucial!!!  (Our opinion)

You mean this is really necessary? It seems the solder joint will contribute to fatiguing. We have crimp type contacts for very small gauge wires and we tell everyone to not solder.

>Also, is it okay if we post this message you sent on our Powerpoles Webpage?

Yes you may. I wrote it up real quick so feel free to wordsmith as necessary.  I can take pictures and send them to you.


8/12/04 Reply: Hi Michael,

This seam thing is interesting.  I know of a few fellow hams who do it the other way too.  They claim it doesn't distort the connector's barrel section as much.  This will probably mess you up all over again...;-)  Perhaps it's okay just to hold things in place before soldering.

Strain relief.  Good point.  What I've done for smaller gauge wire is used a small section of shrink tubing on each side of the wire & connector assembly.  I try to catch the bottom of the barrel connector about midway.  Then shrink the tube.  Then push it into the plastic housing.  Seems to help.

I've heard others use stuff like RTV, hot glue, or clear silicone injected into the back side (wire side) of the plastic housing.  Kind of makes it harder to pull things apart this way.  I always find the need to change stuff around.  So, I like to be able to start over...recycle...keeps costs lower...;-)

Not to say my way is the best.  There are a lot of experts out there...hi hi This is just what works on this end.

rr fb Will get ready post this sometime soon.  Will wait for the images first.  Thanks!!


Mike K6MFW: Steve,

Here are some photos attached of my 12VDC cable using conventional 115VAC extension cable. This is a typical power extension cable from the hardware store. Although there are three conductors, this cable has durability for field operations and thick cable does not get tangled up like small cable.  It is also flexible, so it does not curl up like most heavy gauge DC power cables. In one photo it shows the typical powerpole cable normally under the floor carpet of my car. The extension cable plugs right into it.

I also fabbed a cable with a cigarette lighter plug.

I wrapped some electrical tape since that is what I have at this time. The other cable has shrink-tubing on the powerpole connector.

Crop, reduce or whatever to the attached photos as you see fit.

Mike K6MFW

8/17/04 Reply: Hi Mike,

Thank you for all the great images.  The extension cable idea looks really slick!!  Somehow I was thinking orange colored cables..  White looks more appealing.  Starting a folder.  Will make some thumbnails and post all of them with the text you sent.  Kim will look everything over for spelling and grammar.  Check back by the weekend.  Should have them all posted by then.  I think I'll have Thursday and/or Friday off this week.  Not always sure...;-)  Will get it done then.

Be good!
73 Steve KB1DIG

Mike K6MFW: >them with the text you sent.  Kim will look everything over for spelling and
>grammar.  Check back by the weekend.  Should have them all posted by then.

OK, do whatever that needs to be done. Mike

Mike K6MFW: Steve,

In regards to crimping small wires, I put together a website discussing this type of situation. The article was written by one of our engineers who points out that a poor connection will fail at the worst time like in the middle of grave shift ("the wire may break at 3 am").


Gery K2GW: Jerry Wellman, W7SAR, of Utah ARES recently told me that Utah ARES has now switched to the California standard orientation for the 30 amp Anderson Powerpole. This makes the Powerpole orientation used in commercial products such as the West Mountain Radio RigRunner standard across the country. Utah was the originator of the idea, so they get credit for now switching to match everyone else! 

A couple of additional PowerPole notes. At Dayton in 2002, I found four people selling them. In 2003 there were a dozen. This year they were everywhere! In addition to West Mountain Radio, three other vendors are now making commercial 12VDC distribution panels using the 30 Amp Powerpoles in the ARES/RACES standard orientation. 

Also, West Mountain Radio had a tool manufacturer make a custom ratcheting crimper with a die that handles the 15, 30 and 45 amp Powerpole contacts. It does a full roll crimp with reverse side dimple in about five seconds! They were selling like hotcakes at Dayton and I couldn't resist buying one myself. You can find it online at 

73 & keep on standardizing all of your 12VDC connections! 

Gary Wilson, K2GW 

5/23/04 Reply: Hi Gary,

Thank you for checking out the Ham page.  Kim and I have a lot of fun doing projects like this.

Great info on the integration of powerpoles.  Interesting stuff.  Kim and I were guest speakers for one of the symposiums on 9/11 at the 2002 Dayton Hamvention.  As you say, It was tough finding Powerpoles.  There were also perhaps 6 vendors selling powerpoles at Hosstraders this spring in Hopkinton, NH.  That's a lot for this local Flea event too.

As the new EC for Strafford County, New Hampshire, I started selling (2) sets for $2.00.  Not to make money.  Just to get others started on the idea.  Seems to work okay.  I repackaged them in sets of 2, with one pair of the plastic pieces pre-assembled. 

A new project Kim and I are working on, is "The Box Revisited".  This is our new generation portable em-comm station setup "with powerpoles".  Will show-up for debut at our local Field-Day in Rochester, NH.  Still just a 2-meter setup.  2-meter FM still presently seems to be the band of choice for most of the short range em-comm in our neck of the woods.  Will someday need to repackage the Kenwood ts-2000 for outside activities..  Change is good!

Also, is it okay if we post this message on our Powerpole Ideas page.  Will be a great addition.  Up to you.

Thank you!
Steve Merrill, KB1DIG

Joel KB1KBD: Howdy,

You may have already seen this site but I though I'd pass it along just in case.


Joel, KB1KBD

Gery K2GW:  In case you haven't noticed, the 12 VDC power connector standard based on the 30 amp Anderson Powerpole has really taken off.  In addition to the fine RigRunner distribution panels made by West Mountain Radio, two other vendors now make competing products, but also using the same connector and polarity. 

One is the Saratoga Amateur Products Powerpanel which can be seen at  .  It also uses automotive blade fuses but the miniature size instead of the full sized ones used in the RigRunner. 

The other new product is a Powerpole based distribution panel added to the line of accessories sold by MFJ.  MFJ now also carries loose Powerpoles as well. 

Many of the "parts guys" at the various hamfests are now also carrying the connectors as well as the major ham retail outlets. 

It will be interesting to see which of the power supply manufacturers will be the first to use them in their power supply as an addition to binding posts.  My new Astron SS-25M  has knockouts on the rear panel that are just about the right size.  When the warranty is up, that will be a modification I'll soon add! 


Gary Wilson 

Martin KB0HAE:  Having had problems with crimped connections some years ago, I have soldered all my connectors for years.  The Anderson PowerPole connectors are easy to solder.  Excess solder can be removed with a small file.  Just be sure not to get any excess solder on the mating parts of the connector.  Also, if your assembled connectors come apart too easily, just remove the plastic housing, and carefully bend the mating (curved) part of the connector so that it has just slightly more curve. Re-assemble and it should now be secure.  After 2 years of use (I put them on all my ham gear) I have not had a connection come apart accidentally.

Martin Campbell  KBØHAE

David KD4CLJ:  Greetings..

We've been using the Powerpole for about 7 years down in NC.  Love them, love the rigrunner, all very good.

A:  Orientation: Red goes on the Left, Black on the Right, remember RED and LEFT have fewer letters!  As does PORT vs. STARBOARD...(for us nautical hams). Look at it from the cable side, not the equipment side.

B:  For the roll pin, get some GOOP from Walmart, keep in toolbox. Squirt in the hole, removable like hot glue, but don't need gun, glue sticks, etc.  So less to carry..  Also use Goop on Antenna connections, RG barrel connectors, etc., on the outside to provide temporary water seal.

C:  I have always soldered, not crimped, the metal connections, then squirted a shot of Goop down the shaft of the plastic housing after inserting the contact, to keep corrosion from getting at the copper in the wire...  That will usually be the point at which, if it breaks, it will break!

D:  Instead of the plastic ties, use the velcro ones used for tying computer cables together (I've even seen a tape/velcro used in the supermarkets to hold bunches of asparagus together!)  Velcro is removable, you don't have to clip it to change!

Additionally, I have gotten in the past some Green covers, which I was told to use for GROUND, in the case of 3-wire AC applications.

I also recently ran into a set of 50A powerpoles..WoW! good matchup for the RigRunner!

73, David Bodman, KD4CLJ
now in N. Attleboro, MA

Dan N8YSZ: Hi!

I'm reading your Power Poles page -- I'd like to suggest you take a look at the Klein 1005 crimp too.  It is a bit more expensive than the pliers that you suggest, but, the longer handles make a BIG difference for getting secure crimps. 

They're available at Sears, among other places:

73 N8YSZ. 

Ron N8APZ:  Very nice and informative website!!

You may want to consider adding a direct link to West Mountain Web site for the Rigrunner.   It is a very nice 12V DC distribution panel.  We have one in our ARES trailer and I use one at home.

Also, the crimping pliers that several sell, GB (Gardner Bender) GS88 is very nice and well worth the $10

73, Ron N8APZ

West Mountain Web site for the Rigrunner

West Mountain Pricing & Ordering for Rigrunner or GS88 crimping pliers 

Some others:
Gardner Bender GS88 crimping pliers

GS88 of Only.... $9.89

Gery K2GW:  Attached is the compilation I did about a year ago for the SEC Discussion Group.  I'll bet it's a lot higher now.  There have been four articles in QST this past year mentioning powerpoles as well as now three commercial manufacturers of distribution panels using the California standard. 

Another points to consider showing how it's sweeping the ham community.  At Dayton in 2002 I counted 4 vendors selling Powerpoles; in 2003 there were fifteen.  I now see them regularly sold at local hamfests as well.

We saturated our own area by having a local club buy them 250 at a time and then resell them in baggies of 6 for $5.00.  The club makes a small profit and folks get them at a cheaper price.

Also there are three inexpensive (compared to the official $150 Anderson tool) tools available to crimp them:

The Gardner Bender GS88 tool is available at Lowes and Home Depot for about $7.00
The Klein Crimper costs about $35 and supposedly doesn't distort them as much.
The Harbor Freight 36411 Crimper is supposedly even better for just $6.00

The following page shows some of the tricks.  The folding over of thin gauge wire to fill the barrel before crimping is one I do a lot.  This avoids having to keep the smaller barreled 15 amp contacts around.


Gary Wilson, K2GW

Gery K2GW:  I love your Powerpole site.  I discovered Powerpoles about two years when I searched the internet to determine what was the most appropriate standard for our section.  Powerpoles were the most obvious choice and used by over 80% of the ARRL sections at that time having a standard. Now it's nearly 100%.  My white paper is attached.

A couple of comments based on your site: 

"there is still some controversy as to standards of "red plug on the left side or right", from different Emergency Communications Groups. Still some inconsistency"

Actually about the only place not using the "California Standard" for 12VDC powerpoles (the one you picture on your site) is Utah.  Utah was one of the early adopters of Powerpoles but with the reversed orientation.  However, just about every other place in the country other than Utah uses the "California Standard" including the three manufacturers of commercial Amateur radio 12VDC distribution panels as well as the RC aircraft crowd as demonstrated by the "Whatmeter" . I believe Utah is migrating to the what has become the national standard.

Also. I heard some reservations about the roll pin falling out, but having placed Powerpoles on over two hundred devices over the past few years, it's not really a problem, if you just make sure the two shells are just slightly out of alignment so the resulting hole is not perfectly round.  If your paranoid about them falling out, I agree that you don't want to use superglue, but hot melt glue from a glue gun works pretty well and can be removed simply by dipping the connector in boiling water.

Also to keep two pair of connectors together, if the crimps are done correctly, it takes about 5 to 7 pounds of effort to separate them.  If it takes, less you've flattened the angle too much during crimping. If I'm pulling with five pounds of force on a power cable, I WANT the connector to separate, not the wire!

But if you need additional security, instead of tie wraps you can use rubber bands, electrical tape or adhesive Velcro as well as the cable locks Anderson sells. 

Keep up the good work 


Gary Wilson, K2GW 
Section Emergency Coordinator 
Southern New Jersey Section, ARRL 

Doug KF6ZLB:  I sent the information about AMP power connectors to you in case you were interested in the fact that there might be a second source for the connectors.

In one of the electronic trade magazines, I saw a press release on a new AMP (division of Tyco) power connector.  After reading the description and looking at the picture, I realized that this must be identical to an Anderson Powerpole connector.  I cannot find much information on the AMP website.  But I did find reference to an applicator for and an AMP cross reference to the 30-amp contacts on reels (contacts are Anderson Part No. 261G1):

AMP P/N for applicator for reeled 30-amp Anderson contact 261G1: 680807-3
AMP P/N for equivalent to reeled 30-amp Anderson contact  261G1: 286800-1

This information was found on web page:

(Alphabetized by company name; scroll down to "Anderson")

Pete AB9DZ:  The best way of securing powerpoles is hot melt glue thru the center hole. Try it you'll like it! 

Kim KB1GTR: ...Steve just tried this idea today and says it acts just like a plastic rivet!

More assembly tips, crimper tools, and general information on the Web:

Powerwerx: Ref: Crimping Tool for 15, 30 & 75 Amp Powerpoles


Other related topics from our Ham Page:



Please send us your ideas and comments.
Send E-mail to: buck0@comcast.netGood luck building!  Kim KB1GTR & Steve KB1DIG

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