Anderson Powerpole Connectors

Author: Unknown
Edited by: Lee Inman, KŲQED

The Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) as well as many other organizations recommend using Anderson Powerpoles® as the standard for power connection of Amateur Radio equipment. The highly reliable connector allows quick and easy installation and substitution of radios, power supplies, batteries, and other equipment.


Flat wiping contact system Interchangeable Genderless design Colored, Modular housings Polarized housings Wide product range - From 10 amps through 180 amps UL94 V-0 housing material


Allows for minimal contact resistance at high current, wiping action cleans contact surface during disconnection. Simplifies assembly requirements and reduces parts inventory. Allows customized multi-pole configurations with visual color coding to match wires. Prevents damage to connectors from being mated incorrectly. Allows versatility to choose product best suited to design requirements. Provides security in knowledge that the connector chosen meets strict UL flammability ratings.


Either the 15-ampere, 30-ampere or 45-ampere sizes may be used. All these sizes mate with each other -- the plastic parts are the same. Additionally, there is even a 75-ampere size available that will handle 6, 8 or 10-12 gauge wire. Usually the 30-ampere size is used for most installations, but if you need to feed a group of radios from one wire, use the 45-ampere or 75-ampere rated connections with the higher gauge wire.

The barrel area (which holds the wire) of the 15-ampere silver-plated contact is smaller than that of the 30-ampere or 45-ampere contact, but the contact area is the same. The connectors dovetail together into a compact unit.


Housings should be mated according to the diagram above, viewing from the contact side (opposite the wire side), tongue down, hood up, RED on the LEFT, BLACK on the RIGHT. Use a 3/32-inch-diameter roll pin, 1/4 inch long, to keep the housings from sliding apart. An appropriately sized piece of heat-shrink tubing over the back half of the connector pair will actually work much better - the roll pin has a habit of falling out unless melted into place. You can download the complete instruction sheet below:


Hint: When I wire Powerpoles® for use with piece of equipment that uses a non standard power connection (as is the case for my old 12V laptop computer where the coaxial connector's shell is positive (+) and the center pin is negative (-) I reverse the red and black casings. Doing this makes it immediately noticeable when connecting to another powerpole that something is different with this pigtail. Otherwise, the pigtail for the laptop and those for other equipment (like my TNC's) would all look alike - a disaster looking to happen.

Highly conductive silver-plated copper contacts allow minimal contact resistance at high currents. Self-wiping action on make and break keeps conducting surfaces clean. Contact dents keep connectors mated in high-vibration applications and provide quick-break, snap action upon disconnect.

Noncorrosive stainless-steel leaf springs maintain constant contact pressure-ideal for frequent connections, disconnections and intermittent overloading. Durable, high impact-resistant, polycarbonate housing with UL94V-2 flammability ratings comes in many colors for circuit traceability and coding.

Identical connector halves are genderless-making assembly quick and easy and reducing the number of parts stocked. Molded-in dovetails allow for a customized harness in a variety of configurations. When the connectors are disconnected, no metal parts are exposed.

The 15-ampere contacts are designed for 16-20 AWG wire, the 30-ampere contacts are designed for 12-16 AWG wire and the 45-ampere contacts are designed for 10-14 AWG wire. The contacts can be soldered or crimped to wires. A crimping tool (#1367G1) is available from Anderson. Other, less expensive, crimping tools are available from some of the sources listed below or your local hardware store. After a contact has been attached to a wire, it should be installed into the housing so that the housing spring mates with the underside of the contact.

To remove a contact from the housing, use Anderson insertion/extraction tool #111038G2. You may also substitute a very small blade (jeweler's screwdriver or X-acto knife) to depress the spring, allowing the contact to be removed.

The connectors can be panel mounted with clamp receptacles, consisting of two aluminum plates (Anderson part #1462G1), notched to hold the plastic housings when they are dovetailed together. The plastic housings come in other colors also. Red and black are suggested for standard DC connectors (red as positive and black as negative).


You can buy these in sets, usually found in quantities of 10, 25, 50 or 100 sets per package.

Other products are available which take advantage of the Anderson Powerpole® connectors include various power panels and test equipment.

Anderson Power Products web site:

West Mountain Radio has their RigRunner line of connector junction boxes, plus a meter that you insert in-line to measure amps, watts and voltage being used.

Power Werx has an excellent selection of Powerpoles® and accessories as well. See