DC Medium Power Connector Suggestions

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vk3aif
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DC Medium Power Connector Suggestions

Unread post by vk3aif » December 10th, 2013, 9:27 pm

G'day all,

I'm looking for suggestions for some medium power DC connectors. I am currently using 1/4 mono jacks on my solar panels to connect them to the regulator and have been for years and not had a problem with a 20W panel but my 60W one keeps melting them. According to the data on the Amphenol website www.amphenolaudio.com/catalogue/Ampheno ... Jacks.pdf‎ they are rated at 10A but a 60W panel only develops about 3.6A at maximum power? The jacks and sockets I have been using are a Jaycar line and perhaps don't meet the specs?

I use a range of connectors like Merrit, Anderson, power pole and reluctantly the ambiguous cigarette lighter type and was looking for a form that could not be mixed up with or plugged in where they should not be and also the 1/4 jacks allow me to pass them through narrow openings so want something with a small profile and preferably reasonably weather proof.

I have considered 2 pin XLR but they are a bit large for my liking so suggestions please.

whizzo
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Re: DC Medium Power Connector Suggestions

Unread post by whizzo » December 18th, 2013, 11:12 pm

I have over 30 years on audio and I can tell you jack plugs and sockets are a very variable thing.

I tried some of the latests amphinol jack plugs and I am not impressed.

If the jack plug has a plastic insulator in either the tip or inside where the terminations are, they tend to be unreliable for signal, they certainly will present a problem over time with high current.
I have setteled on a either..and switch craft clone that a friend imporst from time to time or the top spec neutric items...and that is for signal.....that is about as good as it will get for signal or power.
What you are looking for is fibreglass or phenolic insulators
But remember jack plugs where never designed for high current and the format is fundamantally flawed for that purpose.

XLR plugs are a pretty good option, the pins on 3 pin xlrs are reated for 15 amps...and quite reasonably so...and have been used for high current power and high power speaker connections with good reliability.
The 4 pin XLR is a defacto standard for camera power supplies, but ya wont get 15 amps out of the single pins..and they cost more.

As for 2 pin XLRs...yeh well good luck with that, it is not a standard form and I have only seen them as OEM specials on Yamaha electric pianos.

As for the size...we sorry bud, but that is life, you will not find a half decent high power plug smaller...believe me I have looked.

there are several things that look promising...but the XLR plug is hard to beat for quality, availablty and price.

BTW...buy the Neutric...the amphinol brand are not the contender that the original Cannon item was.

cheers

vk3aif
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Re: DC Medium Power Connector Suggestions

Unread post by vk3aif » December 31st, 2013, 12:21 am

Thanks for your informative reply whizzo, I changed 2 of the offending 1/4 sockets to to a type that looked like the ones you mentioned and the spring force is much better and running flat out with the 60W panel there was no discernible temp rise at all and certainly not enough to melt anything. I will get around to trying them on the 120W panel in due course but I have been somewhat pre-occupied lately building a slide on canopy hoping to have it ready for my holidays in mid January. After that I will be fitting it out as a camper and then that will be the real test. The 60W panel will probably be permanently mounted on the roof and the 120W one left on a lead to chase the sun but all that is subject to change.

TroopiePete
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Re: DC Medium Power Connector Suggestions

Unread post by TroopiePete » December 31st, 2013, 1:28 am

Must admit to never considering the old phono plugs, unfortunately they like many other plugs around the place are not made to the same standards they once were - the 3 pin cannon plugs are certainly a better fit but neither I would consider even close to being waterproof!
The plugs that are now fitted to most solar panels when you purchase them are possibly the best for that application although it's a two plug situation, quite expensive if you purchase them locally but when purchased on line the price for ten is close to the price of one in the shop!

Another alternative for waterproof connectors are the type used on most automotive electrical and again you can purchase them very cheap on line.

For all other applications especially if a bit of current is involved I use the look alike Anderson plugs - again way cheaper purchased on line and I have not had any issues with them - but they are defiantly not water proof nor small - one added advantage is they are not gender tied so a plug can become a socket and so on, I make use of this for battery charging and back feeding when the need arises.

Cigarette plugs should only ever be used on low current short term connections as they will and frequently do fail - especially when driving on corrugations!
Peter Richens - VK4FSD
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River City 4WD Club - President 2010 - 2014 http://www.rivercity4wdclub.net

vk3aif
Been here a while
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Joined: October 8th, 2011, 7:56 pm
Location: Melton, VIC

Re: DC Medium Power Connector Suggestions

Unread post by vk3aif » March 18th, 2014, 9:31 pm

Thanks for your thoughts Wizzo and Pete, I thought I should post a follow-up FYI so here goes. I replaced the sockets with the type Wizzo suggested as mentioned above and have given it a good workout since running fridge and other accessories for extended periods and not had the slightest problem with the 1/4" phono plug and socket setup. I still have not put the 120W panels through them but there is no discernible temp rise where as before with the original moulded Jaycar sockets they were getting quite hot to the touch and hot enough to melt the plastic.

Cheers
VK3AIF
Dave

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