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Connectors for DC Power  RSS feed

 
Pete Marchetto
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I'm building a 12 VDC solar/wind system into my house where the landline phone jacks used to go. So far, I've been using cigarette lighter-type sockets for 12 VDC up to 2 A, and switching DC-DC regulators (PT6202 and the like) with female USB A ports to charge phones and other things that need 5 VDC. What standards exist for low-power, in-house, permanent installation connectors?
 
A Bowen
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Location: Swanton OH
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You want to get some Tyco or Multi Contact (MC 3 or MC4) connectors. However this assumes you are using 8AWG and small wires.
 
Pete Marchetto
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These are great for outdoor work, and I've used them for that. However, what about for indoor wiring? I'm looking at a peak load of about 3 A per circuit, giving me about 36 W max power.
 
Charles Tarnard
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Location: PDX Zone 8b 1/6th acre
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You could look into XLR or Speakon connectors. They're usually used in audio applications, but I think they'd be good for what you're trying to do. They're a little bulky, but the best I can come up with on short notice.
 
John Polk
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Most of the electrical systems in yachts and R/Vs are 12VDC.
You might find a lot of useful gadgets in an RV supply store (usually much cheaper than yacht stores).

 
Pete Marchetto
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Yes! Thank you John Polk! Turns out that there's a lot of these around, and they're just what I need! The thing that I might add to them is a 12 V fuse or breaker on the back like this one.
 
Pete Marchetto
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Another thing to consider is that XLRs and SpeakOns have other, primary functions. Maybe it's just me being OCD about this, but I generally like to keep focus on one connector type per function. Also, since there doesn't yet seem to be a particular NEC chapter that covers 12 VDC systems extensively, I'm looking into this book.
 
Charles Tarnard
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Location: PDX Zone 8b 1/6th acre
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Pete Marchetto wrote:Another thing to consider is that XLRs and SpeakOns have other, primary functions. Maybe it's just me being OCD about this, but I generally like to keep focus on one connector type per function. Also, since there doesn't yet seem to be a particular NEC chapter that covers 12 VDC systems extensively, I'm looking into this book.


That's the thing about the NEC, they aren't so much a design manual, as an installation requirement guide. They tell you what you have to do, but not what you should do. You can install everything to code, and you should have an intrinsically safe system, but it doesn't actually have to work to be up to code. The truth is there isn't really any requirement to use standard 120v receptacles if you can get an inspector to sign off on something different.

Rambling aside, I personally have had some serious connection problems with those auto styled 12v plugs. Intermittent connections that require a ton of jiggling to make them stick. They are a 12v standard, and they may work exceptionally well for you. I just wanted to voice that concern. Good luck.
 
                    
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Location: AR ~ozark mountain range~zone7a
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Dought I'm helping much with this, because there are so many connectors available these days. But just for fun & economy, I thought I would mention my friends fishin boat.

All we needed was various places along the length of the boat to connect a lamp (or any 12vdc appliance). And his lamps were like any 110vac shop lamp...except he used 12vdc bulbs in them. He wired it, using Romex house wiring and normal 110vac outlets...the only difference was his supply was a 12vdc battery.

The best part about this type set-up it is very easy to use.

james beam
 
Pete Marchetto
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Rambling aside, I personally have had some serious connection problems with those auto styled 12v plugs. Intermittent connections that require a ton of jiggling to make them stick. They are a 12v standard, and they may work exceptionally well for you. I just wanted to voice that concern. Good luck.

I agree. I generally clean the insides of the ones that I've worked with with isopropanol once every couple of years, and try to use the solid contact type, rather than the spring loaded ones whenever possible. I was also looking at the EmPowerâ„¢ connector, but they're quite expensive, and only rated for 75 W.
 
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