Powerpole® Connectors

The Anderson Power Products Company makes a family of electrical connectors with the registered trademark name of Powerpole®.  Now that we have established that, we’ll skip the ® symbol from now on.


Powerpole connectors come in several sizes and colors.  Housing size depends on current rating, from 15A  up to monstrous 350A and supporting wire sizes from 20AWG wire up to heavy 3/0 cable using different connector contacts.

powerpole-family

Hams in the US, and particularly within EmComm groups such as ARES, have adopted the 15-45A  Powerpole product as the de facto standard for 12VDC  power interconnect for amateur radio equipment.  These connectors are gaining popularity world-wide as well, so you will see more and more usage of this flavor of Powerpole connector being used everywhere.

powerpoles

Besides the convenience of a high-current quick-connect, having a standard means one ham’s equipment can be plugged into another’s  power source.  This is particularly important in emergency communication situations.  Additionally, a standard drives greater availability of commercial products that support it.


One reason Powerpole connectors are growing in popularity is that they have some unique advantages over other electrical connectors: Continue reading

DC Power Supply Ratings

Except for handheld transceivers (HTs), most modern ham radio gear uses 12V DC power.  You may find vintage radios and more recent designs that require AC main power, but the VHF/UHF mobile radios and the latest HF transceivers run off of 12-13.5VDC.   Nearly all of the modern all-band transceivers use 12VDC power as well so that they can be operated mobile or portable.

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If you want to install a mobile radio in your home instead of your vehicle (an excellent idea, by the way, if you don’t have an all-band rig) you will need a DC power supply for it.  Same goes for the latest HF transceivers; they require 12VDC power but don’t often include the power supply.  Additionally, many radio accessories require 12V nominal power.

Astron RS-35M 35 Amp DC Power Supply with Meters 120V AC in / 13.8 Volts DC Out     MFJ 4230MVP 30 AMP Switching Power Supply With Meter, 4-16 Volts & Power Poles    NEW Pyramid PS8KX AC to DC 8 Amp 12V Fully Regulated Low Ripple Power Supply     NEW QJE PS50SWIII 50 Amp Switching Power Supply with Volt/Amp Meter     JETSTREAM JTPS30LCD - 9 ~ 12 Volt 30 AMP Max Switching Power Supply w/ LCD Meter

Examples of ham gear DC power supplies.

The 50W mobile radios and 100W transceivers need a lot of current at 12V to operate at full output power.  Sizing a DC power supply for these plus accessories isn’t quite as straightforward as it would seem.

For one, you cannot simply take radio output power and divide by 12V to get amperes. Continue reading