Anderson plugs - grey or yellow?

Submitted: Sunday, May 01, 2005 at 22:36
ThreadID: 22559 Views:9681 Replies:5 FollowUps:4
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Doing some reading on Anderson plugs... most of the pictures I've seen of these are the grey plugs, but Anderson (the company) recommend YELLOW for 12V usage, grey is actually for 36V, and different colour anderson plugs are NOT interchangeable - i.e. yellow and grey plugs won't plug into each other! Have we got it arse-about here colour-wise?

Here's the colour chart.

Also, is anyone using the Anderson 15/30A Powerpoles as a standard for 12VDC connectors? They really seem to be taking off in popularity in the US as a defacto standard for any 12V application, from amatuer radio to model planes.
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Reply By: geocacher (djcache) - Sunday, May 01, 2005 at 22:57

Sunday, May 01, 2005 at 22:57
The reason everyone uses grey is that they are imported in huge quantity for the forklift and similar industrial market. The specs are the same so we use them cos they are available and cheap. (See previous reply in archives from me on suppliers.) The reason for the colour coding is irrelevant in our application.

The color coding is just an attempt to indicate to the educated (about the color code) what voltage a connector is so you don't try and hook up the wrong ones. Imagine an industrial situation where you have 12v, 24v & 48v available side by side for different purposes. A color code is a safer (more idiot proof) way of diferentiating for the "idiot" than providing 3 identical plugs with labels indicating 12, 24 & 48.

He just has to plug the red one into the red one - and from experience there are still people who will balls it up. Then there's the incompatible housings to make it even harder just in case he's still trying!

You could buy the Yellow ones if you wish and you can find them, but they'll in all likely hood be dearer and the Amperage specs are the same anyway. Also you are unlikely to find a 36v outlet on the back of your fourbie appear overnight so you are unlikely to try and plug your 12v van into it.

As for the others. Good connectors which I've used aeromodelling. You can separate the two colors or bank up more if you want but I'd just stick with the grey ones. Unless you are trying to wire up a HF Radio or something that uses a fair bit of current but on say 6mm cable then they'd be perfect.

AnswerID: 109151

Follow Up By: Sand Man (SA) - Monday, May 02, 2005 at 11:28

Monday, May 02, 2005 at 11:28
Excellent reply Dave.

Just to make things more difficult, I have a mate who is a sparkie and a good one at that. But, guess what. He is colour blind. Buggered if I know how he chooses the right colours.
He says something about different shades of grey or something:-)

I'm diagonally parked in a parallel Universe!

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FollowupID: 365897

Follow Up By: geocacher (djcache) - Monday, May 02, 2005 at 13:20

Monday, May 02, 2005 at 13:20
I used to work with a techo who was colour blind. Measured every resistor value with a meter.

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Follow Up By: Richard & Leonie - Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 22:02

Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 22:02
I taught in TAFE for a while. The electricial teachers could not refuse to enrol someone because they were colour blind. The cull came in the tests if they could not distinguish between the different colours when wiring up something. If they failed the tests they could not get qualified and could not get licenced.
My Anderson plug is grey.
FollowupID: 366143

Reply By: Dion - Monday, May 02, 2005 at 07:54

Monday, May 02, 2005 at 07:54
I've used the grey anderson plugs for 110VDC to jump start a diesel loco and no problems with it at all.


AnswerID: 109164

Reply By: Scubaroo - Monday, May 02, 2005 at 14:51

Monday, May 02, 2005 at 14:51
The colour doesn't affect the actual capacity - I think the 50amp plugs are all rated to 600V.

I thought the 15/30A powerpole connectors might be in more common usage here for 12V appliances though - makes sense to have a low-profile standard secure connector for low load 12V appliances, instead of a mixture of chunky cigarette plugs, hella, anderson, arrid, etc. Saw some excellent powerboard type devices from the ham radio industry that look pretty swish - radio and modelling groups in the US are trying to standardise on a 12V connector, and I've seen it being adapted to solar home appliances. Given most car accessories are 12V...
AnswerID: 109230

Reply By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Monday, May 02, 2005 at 16:12

Monday, May 02, 2005 at 16:12
I've used the "Anderson powerpoles" for many years when involved in remote control car racing - they are a good plug.

Better plug we found was a Deans Ultra plug. These are an in-line plug that give a nice secure connection - gold plated flat contact surface and they are sprung for tightness. I use them for all my fridge and accessory connections.

Get them at most hobby shops that deal with R/C car stuff. I get mine at Model Flight in Adelaide.

AnswerID: 109238

Reply By: Wok - Wednesday, May 04, 2005 at 07:21

Wednesday, May 04, 2005 at 07:21
I have used the powerpoles to make my own distribution box, 30A to 180A connectors.I contacted Anderson[US] about under-bonnet use & they didn't recommend it. They have a tendancy to crack at the corners after a few years under the bonnet[probably through vibration & difficulty in providing adequate strain releif], the housing is easily replaced[available seperately]. The 30A units are fiddly[small]. I solder the connections, without the proper crimping tool the contacts can deform making it difficult to lock in.

If you are in Brisbane contact Torema Transformers [Narangba]
AnswerID: 109564

Follow Up By: Scubaroo - Wednesday, May 04, 2005 at 10:39

Wednesday, May 04, 2005 at 10:39
Thanks for all of the feedback - I might grab a packet of the powerpole connectors and have a fiddle. I like the idea of having a "powerboard" of powerpoles available in the camp I can plug any 12V accessory into - maybe run a big fat cable back to the second battery in the vehicle using the 50A connectors (or a housed portable battery), and then plug lights & fridge into the powerboard via the powerpoles, with short adapters for the usual fittings things come with, unless I get the guts up to start chopping ends off cables and fitting the powerpoles directly. I just picked up a Versalite (thanks to advice on this board), but I'm not ready to chop the lighter fitting off the end of it just yet :-)

Saw some adapters people have made where they get a $3 jaycar type inline lighter socket, and make a 6" lead to a pair of powerpoles, you can use it anywhere then. No reason you couldn't do the same with a hella fitting etc.

There's a powerboard-type beastie in the states called a RigRunner, with each set of powerpoles individually fused with the appropriate-sized fuse for the accessory, that looks just the ticket for an evening knock-off project. Bung a 50A anderson on the input, and you've got 12V power on tap in the camp/tent, or even mounted in the back of the vehicle if it tickles your fancy.

If I ever get around to it I will post pics.
FollowupID: 366189

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