Articles for Amateur Radio Newsletters aimed at new hams
 written by Gerry Crenshaw, WD4BIS, Rowlett, Texas

 

 

NHP #14: R.A.C.E.S. Standard DC Connectors-- Complaints, Fixes and other Ramblings

There is still discussion around the repeater and on the nets lately on the RACES standard connector. Even after explaining the various misconceptions on the ampere rating with these connectors, I still got a few "What if" type questions so I will pass on a few of these comments and fixes.

Positive Lock

Some of you who have used the Standard RACES Molex connector and the JST connector as sold by Radio Shack (the 2 pin High Amperage connector) say the locking arrangement on the JST is better. OK, the positive locking system as used on the JST connector is a better arrangement. But also bear in mind this is a much larger connector physically and they had more matter to work with.

For those of you who want to use the RACES connectors for the long term, and want to be assured of a good positive connection. the addition of a single ty-wrap around the connector between the wires will make a great, long lasting connection. When this connector needs to be opened, just cut off the ty-wrap.

Solid insulated wire wrapped around connector in the same fashion works well and can be removed in a hurry without tools. Do not, however, use a bare copper wire.

Strain Relief

A few people looked into buying the strain relief adapter for the Molex connector and found that they were not readily available and, much to my surprise, more expensive per unit than the connector itself.

For those of you who insist on strain relief for these connectors, there are several inexpensive remedies available: build up the wires with heat shrink,about two inches back, OR wrap the wires with electrical tape about two inches back, OR wrap the wires at the connector with about 5 small Tywraps close together.

What is the largest wire gauge this connector will accommodate?

The largest wire size the connector recommends is a 16 to 24 AWG, on the other hand, I have been able to use with this connector is wire sizes up to 12 AWG, and for permanent automotive connections, this is the wire size I would recommend. If the circuit in the car is not fused, add a fuse in the radio circuit.

Insulating the wires in the connectors

First I would like to recommend to anyone using these connectors that they solder the connections. This tends to eliminate fraying wires. Then heat shrink the wires and connector. Electrical tape works fine for most applications not exposed to excessive heat. Cut the tape rather than snap it to provide an overlap that will not come undone.

The standardized connectors have proved their worth time after time in emergency situations. The minor complaints we have had with these connectors do not outweigh their usefulness in our service and our ability to provide that service to the community. People do depend on us to help at times and this is one of the small things that helps us fill that need.

73's from WD4BIS

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Copyright 2005 Gerald Crenshaw WD4BIS. All rights are reserved.

Permission in advance is granted to those who use this for non-profit Amateur Radio club newsletters as long as it is used unmodified including this copyright notice and that notice is given to the author via email (wd4bis@arrl.net). In addition, please forward a copy of any newsletter this appears in to: Gerry Crenshaw WD4BIS, c/o GARC, 1027B W. Austin St, Garland, TX, 75040

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