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Re: Ballast wiring question / Electronic gurus
>The main question I have now is concerning quick-disconnects. Last night I
>purchased at Radio Shack some 2 conductor QD's that were labeled for use
>with 7.6v RC car batteries. They have 16 gauge 105C / 600v wire with
>plastic disconnects that lock together. These were the only QDs that RS
>had, and the guys running the store had no clue if they would work between
>the ballasts and the sockets (typical of RS these days). The guys expressed
>concern that they might melt. The things look reasonably heavy duty to me.
I am familiar with the connectors you mention. They will have no problem
with the current and voltage levels your lights will use, but they likely
WILL get VERY corroded in a short time. I'm not sure what they are plated
with, but it is not nickel or silver, and the resulting oxide will result
in a greatly incresed resistance across the contacts. They will also not
stand up well to repeated disconnect/reconnet cycles that they are likely
to encounter in your application. These connectors are made by Molex (or,
more likely, some cheaper knock-off of the Molex/Amp connector lines).
Digikey (http://www.digikey.com) has a *lot* of connectors to choose from.
I highly recommend the Amp CPC (Circular Plastic Connector) line. The 11-4
(digikey number A1357-ND) type in series one is ideal for this application,
having 4 pins and being very cheap ($1.34 each, but after pins and a cable
grip it will be about $5-6 per connector). You can even get a splash-proof
boot for the cable and an O-ring to seal the connection. This line is a
cheaper version of their circular metal shell connector line that is made
for military applications (very tough but also very expensive). If you use
these, spend a little more and get the gold-plated pins -- they will hold
up better in the humidity. While I can't find the disconnect/reconnect
endurance rating for these, they are in the thousands of cycles.
BTW, if you use RC connectors as another posted suggested, be *sure* they
can handled *at least* 300v. 300v is the minimum voltage rating permitted
by electrical codes for devices used for "line voltage".
UNIX Systems Administrator