The Anderson Powerpole® housings conform to the ARES and RACES standard and are designated 15, 30, and 45 amps.  The rating of the connectors is by the wire gauge that the connector pins accept, and not the rating of the pins themselves.

A 15, 30 or 45 amp Powerpole® connector pin will actually withstand well over 100 amps without damage and close to 200 amps before actually causing permanent damage.  The voltage drop of a Powerpole® 30 amp connector is approximately .016 volts at 37 amps.

The most commonly used Powerpole® is the 30 amp.   Even though a 30 amp connector is rated for 12-14 gauge wire they will accept 10 gauge wire.  Smaller wire may be used by doubling over the wire.

You can easily install Powerpole® Connectors on your cables by soldering or by using certain inexpensive crimp tools such as the $6.95 Gardner Bender GS88 (available at Lowe's Home Improvement), or the more expensive professional grade PWREcrimp tool.



Assemble the Red and Black plastic housings together.  When looking at the connector side of the Powerpoles® (not the wire side), the Red connector should be on your left, and the Black to your right as shown in the picture below.  for ARES /RACES standard orientation.   And, the metal spring inside the housing should be on the bottom.

It is easier to put the connector housings together before putting the connector pins in, especially when using heavy paired wire.

The plastic housings are held together with dovetail joints. Always slide these joints together! They will be damaged if you try to snap them together or apart. They ONLY slide together in one direction. This should be obvious by looking at them carefully.  And, normally the dovetail joints in the housings hold well on their own. But if you find it necessary to secure them in a stronger fashion then glue them, don't use roll pins on the Powerpoles®.

Some suppliers provide roll pins with the Powerpoles®. Do not use them -- they can and will fall out -- and knowing Murphy, right in to your new radio causing smoke! Anderson does not supply or recommend roll pins, they instead supply more expensive spiral pins, which are better; but, even the proper spiral pins can fall out. Anderson actually recommends using a cyanocrylic glue, (like Crazy Glue).

And, before soldering or crimping the contacts on to heavy paired wire, orient the contacts so that they are both facing the correct direction so that they go in the housings without twisting the wire.



Looking at the Gardner Bender tool you will see it has three crimping dies and a cutter. The number one die is the one closest to the cutting blade,  and the number three is the one closest to the handle side. And, you may use the built in cutter to cut the wire but you will still need wire strippers to strip the wire insulation back 5/16", trying not to cut or nick any strands.


Put the contact over the wire making sure that all of the strands are inside the contact and the insulation is not. You will find it is possible to use up to 10 gauge wire in a 30 amp contact even though they are made for 12 to 14 gauge.  Smaller than # 14 will have to be doubled or tripled over to fill the contact recess and get a good crimp.

If you are using paired wire orient the wire with the red/plus wire on your left with the end of the wire facing you. Place the contact on the wire so that the sharp edge of the contact tip is down. 

Put the contact in to the smaller number one die. Center the crimp portion (seamed) of the contact in the die with the rounded portion of the die up against the half moon side of the die. Make sure that the wire is fully inserted in to the contact and crimp down firmly. Crimp carefully without too much force, as you will now notice that the crimped contact is now slightly wider than it was to begin with. 

Rotate the crimp 90 degrees and squeeze it again but this time place it in the number with only enough force to get it back to round. The idea is to make the width of the crimp just slightly less that it was before crimping. Return the contact to the front number one die and repeat the first crimp, but with less pressure.

This is the first crimp of a PowerPole
® 30 amp contact. Notice it is in the first die #1 and that the seam of the contact is against the half-moon rounded side of the tool.  Make sure the end of the contact's crimp section is just below flush on the side of the tool.

On the second step,
the contact is inserted into the back # 3 die and is turned 90 degrees. Do not crimp very hard in this die -- just enough to make the width of the crimped section back to round and slightly less in diameter than before crimping..


The contacts go in the housings in only one way. Insert the contacts with their sharp edge down against the flat spring that is in the housing. They should slide in and click. If you do not hear a click or they are not fully seated, fix them. When they are inserted fully you should notice that the contact and it's wire "floats" slightly inside it's housing. If it feels tight it may not be snapped in fully or you have made the contact wider than it originally was during crimping or soldering.


Tug slightly on the assembled connector to make sure the contacts are locked in place. If you have trouble getting the contact to lock in to the housing you may have crimped the contact wider than its original size, or deformed it some other way. Look at the side profile of the contacts before and after crimping, you may have to bend it back straight before inserting it in to the housing.

When crimping the contact pins use a crimp that contains the wire completely inside the pin and doesn't spread the connector apart. A good crimp is one where the dimensions of the crimped portion are no more than an uncrimped pin. If the crimp is flattened out you will not be able to easily push the pin in to the body. If you bend the contact blade in relation to the crimp area you should straighten it before putting it in to the body.

A properly crimped contact should have a minimum hold on the wire of more than 25 pounds. A pair of connectors should snap together with 6 to 8 pounds force.

If you are soldering the contact pins instead of crimping them, be careful not to use too much solder. Keep the solder inside, where the wire goes. If a blob of solder gets on the outside of the connector body you may have trouble putting the contact into the housing. If you get solder on the contact surface area you will not make a good contact.

N O W ------- MAKE SURE you have the polarity correct before plugging in you equipment. Double check against the pictures here.


This tool is a custom designed crimp tool for professionally crimping Anderson 15, 30, and 45 ampere Powerpoles®. It has a contact holder to position the contact correctly, and a ratcheting mechanism to assure correct force is applied each time.

Because of leverage from the long handles, operation is easy, even for a 45 Amp terminal on a #10 wire. The results are professional, providing the strongest and lowest possible resistance crimp, and are faster than soldering.

Looking at the PWRcrimp you will see it has three crimping dies, marked 15, 30, and 45, for the respective Anderson Powerpole contact ampere rating, and the contact holder extends off the other side of the lower jaw. 

You should check out the crimper by squeezing the handles closed. The ratchet will click, keeping it closed, until the end of travel and then allowing the tool to open fully.


You will need cutters to prepare the wire length, and wire strippers to strip the wire. Using cutters to strip wire might possibly nick the wire strands. Strip the wire insulation back 3/8 in., trying not to nick the strands.


If you are using paired-wire, orient the wire with the red/plus wire on your right with the stripped end of the wire away from you. Place the contact on the wire so that the hooked edge of the contact tip (flat tab) is down. Do both contacts this way and when crimped they will fit in to the plastic housing correctly without twisting the wire.


Carefully insert all of the strands of the wire in to the wire cup on the contact end. Fully open the PWRcrimp jaw; and, then with the flat tab downward, place the contact and wire fully into the plastic contact positioner for the respective 15 or 30 amp die. 

Make sure that the contact’s split portion of the wire barrel is facing upwards towards the upper die, and that the wire is still fully inserted into the contact. Crimp down firmly. Continue to squeeze through each ratchet index, only until the tool opens

DO NOT SQUEEZE PAST THE POINT WHERE THE RATCHET RELEASES, doing this will make a poor and damaged connection. The ratchet release point assures that the crimp is fully compressed and makes the best connection.


For 45 Amp contacts do not place the wire in to the contact first. Fully open the PWRcrimp jaw and with the flat tab downward, place the contact fully into the 45 amp contact positioner opening. 

Neatly place all the strands of the wire fully in to U shaped channel. It is very important that the U shaped contact tabs are aligned evenly within the channel of the top die on first click. If it appears to be aligned properly, continue to squeeze through each ratchet index, only until the tool opens

Again, DO NOT SQUEEZE PAST THE POINT WHERE THE RATCHET RELEASES, doing this will make a poor and damaged connection.  Note, that you can release the tool without clicking further by using the release lever located at the inside the bottom handle next to the ratchet teeth.


Click here to view circuit board layout for homemade Distribution Box.    (Requires Adobe Acrobat)

Click here to see photos of prototype Distribution Box