This is what you need to know

Have you been wondering if Anderson Power Products® (APP®) connectors should be mated with similar connectors from other manufacturers?  Wouldn’t it be easier if you could mate all of the connectors that you have? This would be an ideal situation but there are three main reasons why this can’t be true.


Now, before we get started let’s understand the key component… flat-wiping contact.  This contact system has been so popular that other manufactures also copied Anderson’s original designs.   The flat-wiping contact technology (click here for a flat-wiping technology video) can be found in a lot of the APP connectors like SB® and Powerpole®.  Let’s get back to the three reasons now…


  • Component Standardization
    The vast majority of component standardization efforts are focused on AC power such as The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) or The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) wall outlets and plugs. AC power is primarily used to distribute electrical power in commercial and residential facilities that require standards for fire prevention and building code standards. Standardization is necessary to ensure consistency among all manufacturers. Anderson™ connectors using flat-wiping contact technology; (Powerpole® , SB® , SBS® , SBE® , SBX® , etc.) are not manufactured to a dimensional or performance normative standard. Other manufacturers have simply attempted to reverse engineer the original Anderson™ design. The performance of these copies varies significantly in absence of the APP® expertise from invention of the flat-wiping technology.


  • Manufacturing Differences
    Copies of APP® original designs often do not use the same raw materials, manufacturing, or assembly techniques. This directly results in performance differences and lack of compatibility. Every manufacturer also makes ongoing adjustments to product design or manufacturing methods which are only tested for reverse compatibility with their own products.  As a result, any basis of compatibility established cannot be assured going forward. Further, the quality control differences can vary significantly from one manufacturer to the next.


  • Safety Agency Certifications

Non-standardized components from different manufacturers do not maintain their certifications when mated with a product from another manufacturer. The certification is based on a mated set of product from the same manufacturer. In contrast, certification of standardized components like IEC or NEMA connectors are established based on compliance of only one half of the connection to allow mixing between different manufacturers. This is because the standard defines the parameters of both sides of the connection which all suppliers manufacture to.


The three above reasons highlight why Anderson™ connectors are not compatible with copies from other manufacturers: Component Standardization, Manufacturing Differences, and Safety Agency Certifications.


Let’s dive into a little more detail about the flat-wiping contact system invented by Anderson Power Products® in 1954.  This innovative contact system solved the widespread storage battery industry problems with existing button or pin & socket type contacts. The resistance of existing contact types would increase over time due to arcing damage to conductive surfaces. Flat-wiping contacts feature a sacrificial area which allows any arcing damage from disconnect to be limited to the contact tips which are not in the conductive path once the connectors are fully mated. This feature expands the life expectancy of storage battery connections and prevents dangerous failures.


It is always advisable to use only genuine flat-wiping connectors from Anderson Power Products®, the inventor of the technology. This will ensure the best performance and reliability of your critical power connections.


We hope you enjoyed learning about APP’s connectors and why you shouldn’t mate with other manufactures.  If you would like more information, please contact our Technical Support.


Rick Loveless
Global Marketing Manager
Anderson Power Products

Pictured above: Flat-wiping Technology

Pictured above: NEMA / IEC Power Cord