Home General PowerPole Color Conventions

PowerPole Color Conventions

by n8ur

A lot of us use Anderson PowerPole connectors for DC power distribution. There’s a nearly universal standard to use red and black housings for 12 volt-ish (e.g., 13.8) lines, with the housings arranged per the “Orange County RACES Standard” like so:

Standard PowerPole Arrangement

Of course, to make things more interesting, my Anan 7000DLE radio uses the opposite arrangement. Sigh…

It turns out that PowerPoles can be had in several different colors, and as my station/lab wiring became more complex I decided to standardize on different colors for different voltages/polarities. I haven’t found a widely-accepted convention for this, so decided to come up with my own:


* Some 48V gear is technically -48 and that argues for perhaps reversing the pin arrangement since ground is the most positive side. But the gear I’ve worked with so far has all had isolated grounds and normal wiring works fine, so I’m doing things the normal way.

Another issue is standards for non-power-distribution use, such as push-to-talk signals. Personally, I’d rather not use PowerPoles for that, but others do. We’re still working on color coding, but I am suggesting that control connectors be wired anti-OCRACES (e.g., black on the left when facing you as in the picture above). That will help make it obvious that you’re plugging things together that you shouldn’t.

You may also like

1 comment

Doug Reed. N0NAS March 31, 2024 - 4:27 pm

I like PowerPole connectors and ordered more colors to have more voltage options. Another forum post recently reminded me that PowerPole connectors can be mated in four orientations. It might be a good idea to rotate some of the connectors so they can’t be connected at all when colors don’t match. It will not save the equipment if you point out that the colors don’t match after the connection is made… 🙂
And since you have green in stock, you could use Yellow+Green for your -48v connectors. Although as you point out, all that equipment has floating power inputs so I’m not sure it is important.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.