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Parametric PowerPole Breakout Box

by ae5zc, published

Parametric PowerPole Breakout Box by ae5zc Aug 10, 2014

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Summary

A parametric PowerPole breakout/distribution box that allows multiple devices to share one power supply. Anderson PowerPoles are commonly used by Amateur Radio (ham) operators and emergency organizations as a standard for connecting power to their equipment.
Update: This is my first-ever attempt at uploading something and, of course, it's not going smoothly. The customizer isn't rendering the STL properly, so... for now, I'm disabling it. Meanwhile, I've included one STL file for a 4 position box (1 connection on the side plus 4 on top). If you download the OpenSCAD script, you can render other configurations.

For more build details, see: http://wordpress.uark.edu/rso-w5ym/2014/07/07/parametric-powerpole-break-out-boxes/

UPDATE: Per a request in the comments, I have added STL files for boxes with 3, 4, and 5 PowerPoles on top. Each type has three files: one with both box halves, one with the "top" of the box only, and one with the "bottom" of the box only. This simplifies printing for anyone that wishes to print each half of the box using a different color (for instance). One of the new files is functionally identical to the original STL file, however the original file was left in-place for archival reasons. Comments welcome.

Instructions

Libraries

You will need the "pins" library if you wish to render your own variant using the SCAD script. Version 2 of this library is available here:
https://github.com/tbuser/pin_connectors/blob/master/pins.scad

There are more recent versions (Version 3) out there, but Version 2 was used for rendering with this particular SCAD script. Version 3 may work, but standard disclaimers apply.

Printing

Printed originally on a MakerBox 2X in ABS using a 0.2 mm layer thickness and 10% infill. We found that higher infills (30%) did improve rigidity a bit... but not much.

Assembly

Use "standard" 15/30/45 amp PowerPole housings with PCB contacts (Mouser part no. 879-1336G1). Load contacts into the housings, mate the housings by sliding them together, and place into the printed shell.
Solder all contacts together. Assure that there are no shorts/opens and snap other half of shell to the first.
The original intent was for the box to rest flat on a table with the power supply connection coming in from the side and with powered devices plugged in on top.

Hints

If you have a lot of contacts (and your box is large), the snaps at each end may not hold the two shells securely. One way to address this is to apply a small amount of glue to the shell edges before the final assembly step.
The tolerances may be a bit tight, so some "tweaking" of the PCB contacts may be required to get everything to fit snugly.
It should also be possible to use "regular" (wire crimp) contacts instead of the PCB mount type; implementation of this approach is left as an exercise for the builder. :-)

Disclaimer

Like any do-it-yourself project, the quality of the constructed item can vary widely depending on the skills of the builder. This item worked well for me, but it may not be suitable for your purposes; use at your own risk.

More info

The PowerPole model used in this project was based on the one originally by J. Dunmire under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License and was downloaded from: http://rockingdlabs.dunmire.org/exercises-experiments/3d-printing-softrock-enclosure
This project is somewhat of a work in-progress, so if you have any suggestions, please share them. More detailed instructions and discussion is available at http://w5ym.org.

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Absolutely Fantastic. Thank you for dividing up the halves. This will save much time and filament. The boxes look really neat when printed red and black. The new sizes will be very versatile. I printed out a couple and they work just fine.

Thank you for your time and efforts. It is appreciated.

kb8uhn

I know that when you put your hard work out to the public like you have, the criticism is outrageous. Thank you for what you have designed and created. I have printed many of these and put them together, mostly to give them to friends.

What are the chances that you can divide the halves up into printable halves each? I have been printing a set of black and a set of red and tossing out one half each in order to have the red match the red power pole and the black match the black power pole. The opposite halves are useless because they're the wrong color.

I'd like to make a bunch of these and hand them out to my friends at www.portcars.org
Tnx es 73, de kb8uhn

Hi, KB8UHN,

Thank you. Interesting idea to color-code the box... never thought of that!

Per your request, I have uploaded new files where I rendered new STL files for THREE sizes (3, 4, and 5 Powerpoles on top) and for each size I uploaded 3 STL files: one that has both halves of the box, one with only the top half, and one with only the bottom half. So that's 9 new files uploaded. That way, you should be able to color code them as you wish and others that do not want to do that can still just print both.

The code has been "tweaked" a bit since the original upload, so please give one of these a try and let me know if you have any problems when you print them...

73, AE5ZC

The powerpoles as shown are assembled incorrectly. The red and black connectors should be reversed. See assembly instructions here:

http://www.powerwerx.com/assembly.asp

Thanks for pointing this out... we had forgotten when we captured the build images that we had the contacts reversed from the accepted standard and never did go back to recapture new images. To avoid confusion, I deleted one of the images and flipped one pic horizontally to make it correct. :-)

I also put a special note about this on our main write-up page on the W5YM blog... thanks again for the feedback.
73, Mike, AE5ZC

Thanks - I found V3 and it seems to work. You should always document any external references.

You're welcome. Good to know that V3 of the pins library also works. Thanks!

RE: documentation... Yes, documentation is good. That said, the fact that I checked the "This thing is a work in progress" check-box was no accident. :-)

I appreciate you bringing the fact that the script wasn't working out-of-the-box to my attention. I've updated the instructions to point out the need for the pins library for those that don't already have it. Since it is unlikely that I'll have the time to re-write the script for compatibility with the Thingiverse Customizer (as was my original intent) anytime soon, this seems like the easiest way to go for now.

When I run model I get an error "WARNING: Can't open library 'pins/pins.scad'" Where do I get this file?

I originally used this one:
https://github.com/tbuser/pin_connectors/blob/master/pins.scad

Which is Version 2 of the library. It should work as-is. A quick Google search of "scad pins" reveals that there is also a Version 3 available; it may or may not work.

The "pins" library is one of the few libraries that are available in the Thingiverse Customizer that you can include without incorporating it into your main code, which is one of the reasons I used it.
See: http://www.makerbot.com/blog/2013/01/23/openscad-design-tips-how-to-make-a-customizable-thing/

The customizer is unable to handle entering the diameter of a cylinder, enter the radius instead and it will probably work (did for me at least)

Thanks! I'll look into that...

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