RAYNET Power connector

Why standardise?

RAYNET has recommended standardised power connections for many years to ensure equipment interoperability when different groups ( or members of groups ) are brought together responding to an emergency. The original RAYNET 'standard power connector' has served the organisation well but as equipment demands and operational requirements change, a 'one size fits all' approach is no longer appropriate. 

For this reason RAYNET now has two 'standard power connectors', each having its own strengths and weaknesses but reflecting the demands of groups in the 21st Century.

The Connectors

The original RAYNET standard power connector is based on 1/4 inch male and female spade connectors and is good for 15-20 amps depending upon quality of purchased connector, so will work with most amateur equipment.

For requirements in excess of 15A the use of the Anderson Powerpole connector is recommended. This connector is a genderless design so there is less 'wastage' since the connectors can be used for both supply and demand connections. The assembly may be a little more involved and there is the possiblity of assembling the connectors incorrectly, though the coloured shells should make such a problem easy to spot beforehand. 

There are a range of components which comprise the Powerpole range which can accomodate currents from 15 to 45 Amperes. For clarity, the requirements for RAYNET use are the 'Powerpole 30' connector sets, comprising one red and one black housing and two 30A contacts. These connectors will accept wire sizes in the range 1.3 to 3.3mm which should meet all present requirements. 

Both connectors can be assembled by crimping , so with the correct tools may be easily assembled in the field without the need for soldering equipment. Also, since both have  open plastic shells, should water get inside the housing it will dry off quickly and the water can be shaken out.

Some early adopters of the Powerpole connector have commented that the force required to disconnect a powerpole set is far less than that required to pull apart an 'original' standard connector. This may be seen as both a blessing and a curse but is easily resolvable. Where a Powerpole connector requires to remain connected in a high vibration environment for example, it is possible to loop a plastic ty-wrap between the wires of the plugs and secure it along the axis, to separate the plugs then requires a pair of cutters. Alternatively, some Powerpole retailers now stock "Blok-Loc clamps' which are a plastic accessory to clip a plug set together securely.

The original connector remains available in bags of 10 pairs (male and female) from RAYNET national supplies while the Anderson Powerpole are available from Amateur Radio Retailers, Radio Spares and Torberry Connectors. 

Standard wiring

The original RAYNET standard power connectors are always wired up as follows.

Positive is the top "cross" of the T shape
Negative is the vertical part of the T shape

Male is always the equipment side.
Female is always the live (battery / PSU) side.

The Anderson Powerpoles are always wired according to the ARRL convention. There are many sources of assembly instructions and graphics for this type of connector such as those available from;

West Mountain Radio
.. and detailed instructions on the connectors in general can be obtained from the UK Importers, Torberry

While not as easy to describe in words, the Powerpoles should be assembled so that when viewed from the open end with contacts at the bottom, the  RED shell is on the LEFT, with the BLACK on the RIGHT

Lead suggestions

A few suggestions for a standard set of leads for your RAYNET grab-bag, these are just as applicable to both types of connector.

Mounting Suggestions

The construction of the Anderson Powerpole connector lends itself to chassis and PCB mounting. The DARES Emergency Communications organisation in the Netherlands has a data sheet ( in the Dutch language ) showing how panel and potentially PCB mounting may be achieved, the document can currently be downloaded from this location.

Useful Links

The following sites may be of interest with respect to Power connectors.

Torberry Connectors - The UK importers.

Powerwerx - American supplier with web pages showing various Powerpole accessories.

Other useful information

Have a look at the CAIRO information to standardise all your microphone and speaker connections as well!