Anderson Pug Alternative

Submitted: Thursday, Aug 14, 2014 at 21:41
ThreadID: 109135 Views:4721 Replies:13 FollowUps:21
This Thread has been Archived
Hi all.

Have just returned from a 3-1/2 month trip up to Cape York, Arnhem Land, Darwin and back down to Melbourne via Mt Isa, Birdsville and Broken Hill. Great trip towing a camper trailer.

Had to refit the Anderson plug on the trailer twice as it worked loose and rubbed on the ground completely destroying it. Ended up with a spring and a few cable ties to hold it in position.

Seems that once they get a bit of dirt or water in them, the contacts don't clip in to each other as good as they should.

I have tried the original Anderson plug and the look a likes from ABR Sidewinder and others but still have a problem with the plugs not clicking into each other after a month or so of hard work.

Does anyone know of an alternative that can handle dirt, dust, stones and water a bit better?

Back Expand Un-Read 0 Moderator

Reply By: PAm &Chris - Thursday, Aug 14, 2014 at 22:02

Thursday, Aug 14, 2014 at 22:02
Hi Mepvic

You will probably have the same problem with anything that is designed to brake away. You could look for a screw type connector but that will have its own problems. What may be a way to go is to carry a can of contact cleaner and give the connectors a shot if they look dirty and attach a bit if light elastic cord from the fixed plug and loop it around the free plug cables so that if it still comes loose it wont hit the ground. Good luck
AnswerID: 537662

Follow Up By: Member - mepvic - Friday, Aug 15, 2014 at 20:39

Friday, Aug 15, 2014 at 20:39
Thanks for that. I have attached a spring with cable ties and this is holding the plug in place. I also have a bungy holding the trailer section in place now. Won't fall on the ground but still not a very tight connection
0
FollowupID: 821964

Reply By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Thursday, Aug 14, 2014 at 22:18

Thursday, Aug 14, 2014 at 22:18
There are industrial and military spec connectors which will endure severe environments and lock together, but you would probably not like the size or price of them.

There are covers and closures to fit to Anderson plugs which enhance their seal. Alternatively, apply conforming electrical tape around the gaps of the plugs to effect a seal. Sure, you will need to reapply the tape following each connection but is that too much trouble? Reposition the plugs to avoid damage from stones.
Cheers
Allan

Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

AnswerID: 537666

Follow Up By: Member - mepvic - Friday, Aug 15, 2014 at 20:42

Friday, Aug 15, 2014 at 20:42
Tape may be a good idea. Plugs are in a good location to avoid too much stone damage but problem seems to be mainly dirt and water ingress sopping the contacts making a good seal. Then work loose. Spring and wire ties have helped.
0
FollowupID: 821965

Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Saturday, Aug 16, 2014 at 09:05

Saturday, Aug 16, 2014 at 09:05
And seal the back-end of the plugs (where the wires enter) with a sealant but do not force it into the contact area. Be sure it is neutral cure.
Cheers
Allan

Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

1
FollowupID: 821983

Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Thursday, Aug 14, 2014 at 22:31

Thursday, Aug 14, 2014 at 22:31
Hi Mepvic,

Have you considered the weatherproof covers that are available, to limit the amount of dirt etc., getting into the connectors?

I recently did a 10,500k trip from Adelaide to the Kimberley and back, including some very rough tracks and river crossings.
No problem at all from the Anderson connections which by the way are the best available for higher current circuits.

If dirt or other crap does get in, they are pretty easy to clean.
The pins can be released from the housing, the pins and housings flushed and cleaned if necessary and the pins reinserted with nothing more than a small screwdriver to move the spring retainers.

Bill


I'm diagonally parked in a parallel Universe!

Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

AnswerID: 537668

Follow Up By: Member - mepvic - Friday, Aug 15, 2014 at 20:48

Friday, Aug 15, 2014 at 20:48
Thanks Bill. Have not considered any covers as they are mainly for unconnected plugs. Releasing pins is no problem on the trailer plug but a pain in the bum on the car connector. I also use a blade on my Swiss Army knife to pull the contacts back a bit. Even though the spring is still behind the raised section of the contact, they move back into the body a bit.
0
FollowupID: 821966

Reply By: Member - Boobook - Friday, Aug 15, 2014 at 07:42

Friday, Aug 15, 2014 at 07:42
I went to the 175A andersons. There is no way they will slip out. They are about the size of a small cigarette packet.
AnswerID: 537674

Follow Up By: olcoolone - Friday, Aug 15, 2014 at 08:38

Friday, Aug 15, 2014 at 08:38
Yes we only use 175 plugs unless the customer wants a 50.... in most cases the customer want a 50.
0
FollowupID: 821929

Follow Up By: Member - mepvic - Friday, Aug 15, 2014 at 20:51

Friday, Aug 15, 2014 at 20:51
Will check them out. Means replacing all my connectors. Have the 50A on my solar panel cables so I can plug the panel into the camper but no big deal. Have you had any experience with them in dust and water?
0
FollowupID: 821967

Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Saturday, Aug 16, 2014 at 08:26

Saturday, Aug 16, 2014 at 08:26
I made up one 50A to 175A adapter about 1/2 m long which takes it back to normal Andersons for accessories.
1
FollowupID: 821980

Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Saturday, Aug 16, 2014 at 08:29

Saturday, Aug 16, 2014 at 08:29
Sorry forgot to answer the second part of your question.
Yeah had them across the Simpson 3 times, tons of high country tracks, Big Desert, and 10s of thousands of km of dirt roads.

I even ripped my all my plugs out once. The 12 pin trailer plug was stuffed from dragging on the road the Anderson was fine, it is a harder plastic.
1
FollowupID: 821981

Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Saturday, Aug 16, 2014 at 08:36

Saturday, Aug 16, 2014 at 08:36
My bad, I still forgot part of your question. And the edit button on my browser is broken for this site (!)

Water is also not a problem, While I have never taken my car into salt water, rivers etc are no issue.
1
FollowupID: 821982

Follow Up By: olcoolone - Saturday, Aug 16, 2014 at 11:26

Saturday, Aug 16, 2014 at 11:26
With water...... make sure the cable is soldered into the terminal and use quality silicon grease/spray with heat shrink over the joint to help.

Do not crimp Anderson plugs...... Solder only.

AND remember water does run up hills...... So if the joint is not sealed correctly; water can run 2-3 foot up the cable causing corrosion and failure.

Anderson plugs are designed not to be affected by water or dust....... It's only over qualified experts who think they need to be and act on it.

No harm in asking the question.

We have seen more anderson plug issue with protective covers then with those without.
1
FollowupID: 821991

Reply By: Freshstart - Friday, Aug 15, 2014 at 08:40

Friday, Aug 15, 2014 at 08:40
What about getting a spare one and plug it when no cable connected. That should keep the crap out when not in use and gives you a spare if one breaks.
AnswerID: 537680

Follow Up By: Member - mepvic - Friday, Aug 15, 2014 at 20:55

Friday, Aug 15, 2014 at 20:55
Problem is when the cable is connected. Have no problem around town without the trailer. Dirt and water crossings seem to be the main problem. Not just on our rig. Had two others in the party who also had a problem. I had 6 spare plugs and am now down to two as the others had none to replace theirs with. Good thing I bought a packet of ten 12 months ago.
0
FollowupID: 821968

Follow Up By: Freshstart - Friday, Aug 15, 2014 at 22:10

Friday, Aug 15, 2014 at 22:10
Where is the one for the car mounted? Is it protected from the general stream of rubbish coming from under the car.

Maybe it should be moved. Mine is flat on the rear bar just above and to the left of the tow bar Hayman Reece socket. The trailer wiring connector is similarly place to the right hand side. It is clear of that general "stream" of crap and works fine. I don't even fit a dummy plug when not in use.

But I think I will get one soon. It won't be used again as we wont be towing a van again. Too restrictive.
1
FollowupID: 821973

Reply By: The Bantam - Friday, Aug 15, 2014 at 08:56

Friday, Aug 15, 2014 at 08:56
Just a couple of things to think about.

Thousands of people are using anderson connectors for this sort of purpose without incident....they are very robust and cope well with dirt dust and water within reason.

Perhaps part of the problem is where the anderson plug is mounted on the tow vehicle and the attitude that it is mountred ...any plug no matter will have issues if it is mounted in harms way, or in a manner that places undue strain on it.

Perhaps part of the problem is how the plug and cable have been installed on the trailer.....maybe there is excess cable hanging unsupported ....or some other reason why the cable is not managed well placing excess stress on the connection....if the cable is long enough and free to drag on the road....that is an indication to me that it is either too long or needs support

These plugs are not designed to be positivly restrained in the socket...and on a trailer neither do you want them to be.
So the connection needs to be managed so that undue stress does not pull the plug out.

as others have mentioned there are shrouds, housings and handles available to fit anderson plugs...the shrouds and housings may help with the plugs getting full of rubbish.....which can be a problem with the bare connector........in many of the clean application these shrouds and housing are not required...perhaps these should be used more on vehicles..........the handles are an indicator that some people seem to thing they are hard to pull out and need an handle attached.

As far as clicking togther...um from my knoweledge and experience andersons don't "click togeter", they push together and are held together pretty well by friction alone.

cheers
AnswerID: 537682

Follow Up By: Member - mepvic - Friday, Aug 15, 2014 at 21:04

Friday, Aug 15, 2014 at 21:04
Thanks Bantam. Plugs are well positioned and now have bungy straps, cable ties and springs holding it all in place. The spring is on the cable plug and loops into a cable tie on the bracket mount of the fixed plug. Will break away if required.
Plugs and shrouds are not the answer when travelling but would be ok without the trailer. Live in the city so not much chance of dirt getting into the contact. Usually replace all plugs when the big trips are finished anyway.

With clean plugs, you do get to feel, and hear, a click as the contacts slide over each other and lock in place.
0
FollowupID: 821969

Follow Up By: The Bantam - Saturday, Aug 16, 2014 at 00:03

Saturday, Aug 16, 2014 at 00:03
the shrouds and houshings cover the back of the plug.

One of the issues with the anderson plugs is they are an open frame, there has been no attempt to seal the back of the plug so all sorts of crap gets thru the back of the plug.

As I said....there may be some mild sensation as the connector bottoms when new and there is a bit of over ramping in the contacts....but andersons do not lock..they are specifically designed not to.

if you have a dirt problem serioulsy look at the housings ( backshells) and shrouds.
A back shell on the vehicle connector and a shround on the flying lead on the trailer.

cheers
1
FollowupID: 821975

Reply By: CSeaJay - Friday, Aug 15, 2014 at 09:24

Friday, Aug 15, 2014 at 09:24
Hmm
Some of mine definitely has a click
CJ
AnswerID: 537684

Reply By: Malcolm 02 - Friday, Aug 15, 2014 at 09:35

Friday, Aug 15, 2014 at 09:35
I had the same problem as you when I first got my camper and the fix I applied was using cable ties to attach an Ockey strap to the cable so that there is no tension on the Anderson plug when attached and should something grab it while offroad it wont fall to the ground and destroy itself. I have seen other similar ideas using a piece of old tyre tube to support the cable.

PS. I still carry a spare plug with me just in case. Found them cheapest to buy from Jaycar for $10 - $12 not the $25 - $30 charged by some auto shops.

Hope this helps.
Mal
AnswerID: 537685

Follow Up By: Member - mepvic - Friday, Aug 15, 2014 at 21:09

Friday, Aug 15, 2014 at 21:09
Bungy straps, spring and cable ties are holding all in place now on mine and the other two in our party. Will be replacing all soon so will see how they work on the next trip with the additional springs and bungy's.

For what it is worth, ABR Sidewinder usually have a good deal on an Anderson Plug look alike also.
0
FollowupID: 821970

Reply By: Rangiephil - Friday, Aug 15, 2014 at 14:52

Friday, Aug 15, 2014 at 14:52
If you continually have the problem, why not think a bit laterally and use a 7 pin flat trailer plug and split the heavy duty wire over 3 contacts each for positive and negative. Cheap as chips, you can get em anywhere and 3 contacts would equal 50 amps easy. Just don't mix up the indicator trailer plug with that one!LOL Maybe paint it red or you could use one round one flat.

The flat trailer plugs have a positive lock and I have never had or seen one come apart.
Funny re the Anderson. I was camped at Mornington Wildlife sanctuary on the GRR and I saw the bloke camped next to me fiddling with his trailer. He almost kissed me when I told him I had a spare Anderson he could have, and gave me a bottle of wine as his had dropped out and self destructed on the way in..

So that spare Anderson plug earned its keep.
Regards Philip A

AnswerID: 537716

Follow Up By: Member - mepvic - Friday, Aug 15, 2014 at 21:13

Friday, Aug 15, 2014 at 21:13
Had considered that idea. Might stick to the Anderson plug one more time.
Pity I wasn't with you at the Sanctuary. I had 10 plugs. We could have had a great night with 10 bottles of wine.
0
FollowupID: 821971

Reply By: Member - Murray R (VIC) - Friday, Aug 15, 2014 at 22:55

Friday, Aug 15, 2014 at 22:55
Mepvic
You can buy a cover which enclose's the plug on the car which has a flip down lead like a 7 pin flat plug. The cover comes with a cleat that you fit to the van or trailor side plug which locks into the flip down cover. Most auto elecs have them.

Murray
Another Mexican

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

AnswerID: 537739

Follow Up By: ABR - SIDEWINDER - Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 14:08

Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 14:08
We stock the Trailervision ones.



Regards

Derek from ABR
0
FollowupID: 822167

Follow Up By: ABR - SIDEWINDER - Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 14:09

Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 14:09
0
FollowupID: 822168

Reply By: Member - Frank P (NSW) - Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 17:33

Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 17:33
Some years ago I had an Anderson fall out, leaving me with two stumps of copper wire. I did an on-road repair with a spare and used a cable tie to hold the two parts together to be sure, to be sure. But inconvenient to disconnect!

At the next town I got some tension springs at a hardware store and made my own retainer:


Simple, not pretty, but it has never let me down in four years.

Cheers
FrankP

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message
Moderator

AnswerID: 537944

Follow Up By: Member - mepvic - Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 21:16

Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 21:16
Thanks Frank. I've now connected a spring also, wire tied to the trailer cable and a hook on the spring at the other end that loops over another wire tie, loosely fitted into the bracket holding the car plug. I gather you have a bolt that the spring hooks onto at the car end.
Do you have air shockers? Looks like a couple of valves above the plug. I'm going to relocate my plug onto a bracket that will also be used for my air shock valves.

Looks like you also have a cover for the plug when not in use.
0
FollowupID: 822206

Follow Up By: Member - Frank P (NSW) - Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 21:51

Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 21:51
Mepvic,

Yes, I used long mounting bolts to make anchors for the springs. I used two springs to ensure enough tension.The springs are captive on the trailer Ando and hook onto the long mounting bolt at the car Ando. I filed a groove at the bottom of the bolt at the car end to retain the springs but in reality the threads on the bolt stop the springs slipping. The groove is extra insurance.

I have air bags - the valve you can see is one of two.

I also have a cover as you've noted, but it's been knocked off by flying debris (I presume) since the photo.

Cheers
FrankP

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message
Moderator

0
FollowupID: 822211

Reply By: Slow one - Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 19:08

Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 19:08
If you mount the anderson plug on a flat plate and mount the anderson plug so the plate ends at it's front edge, you will find that when you push the other anderson plug receptical into it, there is enough friction between it and the plate so it will never fall out. In fact you will have to install a tee handle on the plug to get it out. I have to force mine in and pull like hell to get it out.

I leave mine open to the elements and hose it out when it gets full of crud, as ocoolone said, I always solder mine to reduce corrosion.
AnswerID: 537953

Follow Up By: Member - mepvic - Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 21:17

Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 21:17
Wondered why there are Tee handles on the market. Might look at that idea also. Thanks.
0
FollowupID: 822207

Reply By: Nutta - Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 22:13

Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 22:13
My van plug is extra long and runs into the tray, I also have the car plug on a long lead so they're always in the ute under cover. Never a problem with dirt or falling out.
Also use it to run my inverter in the tray.
AnswerID: 537969

Sponsored Links

Popular Products (13)