Powerpoles- NOT for Permanent Installations
While discussing Anderson Powerpoles last week on another
A note on Powerpoles ... if not "used" (connecting/disconnecting) often, they
can develop resistance in that two-spring contact. Enough to slow or even stop
Look at a cross-section of the contacts - and see how very little metal-to-metal
contact there actually is.
So - using for non-permanent installations, like taking equipment to events or
for demos - is great. But if not "working" by disconnecting-connecting, the
contacts can corrode and create a little resistance.
Tiny Jones' screw plug connectors are a great choice for shack installations.
This is a phenomenon I have read about and realized for several years. And in
2006, I contacted Anderson Power for their input - which affirmed what the
proper intent and design of their Powerpoles actually is, and that their beauty
is the “self-cleaning, wiping” action.
So here we are in 2022, and I re-contacted Anderson …
Good day, XXXXX. And Happy New Year to Anderson!
Would it be a fair statement to write that the PowerPoles we are using for
12VDC amateur radio applications “want” to be occasionally disconnected
and connected - to “wipe” clean any tiny amount of corrosion that may
I always thought that they are, indeed, the ULTIMATE “universal” connector
for hams … one of a very few items that ALL can agree upon for power
connection needs as we move that equipment from site to site. But that they
were not intended for “permanent” equipment installations: I should not
install them on cabling that I won’t access for months/years.
“Built-in” to your design is the “cleaning by wiping” …
MANY THANKS for your support of the amateur radio community.
Clint Bradford K6LCS
And Anderson replied -
You are on the right track.
According to our preventative maintenance page 15 of the catalog below
there is a self-cleaning action as the connectors engage and disengage.
When mating and un-mating a self cleaning action is provided.
It helps prevent dirt from accumulating.
You may also purchase white lithium grease from a hardware store as well to clean.
It does not take away corrosion and if there is a lot of corrosion they should be replaced,
Please read the PM section on page 15 and let us know if you have further questions.
SO … Nothing monumental. The majority of hams are, probably, moving equipment and
“cleaning” their Powerpoles by merely disconnecting and connecting.
But my original assertion - that they should not be used for “permanent” installations -
is, indeed a valid one. I never wrote that there would be a dramatic loss of power, and
your equipment would fail - it is just a statement accurately reflecting how Anderson
engineered their product.
Clint. After a quick search and without a reference to cite, I found this discussion from Engineering 360.toggle quoted messageShow quoted text
Lithium grease will work for any point which is not in the electrical circuit path. If you are lubricating the sliding contacts themselves, or any other part of a current path, do not use lithium grease. It is not a conductive medium and will create a high resistance connection. The contacts will overheat and fail. Dielectric grease, which is formulated to be an electrical insulator, will produce similar results.
For locations such as hinges and contacts of air break switches, the bus bar contacts of motor control center starters, or air circuit breaker contacts, use a conductive grease. One such grease is this product from mg Chemicals. It has a carbon content of 21% (lithium grease is <1%) to maintain electric conductivity while reducing metal-to-metal friction. When applying, ensure the grease does not leave a film between contacts, which will create an electrical path through the film.
There are many conductive types of grease out there. However, I’ve used what ever I had at the time for various connectors especially bearing grease covering my round post truck battery terminals. But I’ve never put anything on my Andersons mobile or stationary. I have used dielectric grease on trailer light connections mostly to keep moisture and oxidation at bay. In the old days folks would use a mixture of oil & boiled Linseed oil and coat everything.
I use DeoxIT®, #D100L on PowerPoles and most connections.
If there is corrosion the cleaner might help, but I would replace the connector.
I use Caig's DeoxIT D5S-6 on my microphones' XLR cables and preamp's connections ... they are a great firm.