Electrical Project Connections

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Old 02-03-10, 09:40 AM
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Electrical Project Connections

A bit of a different question...

I am in the process of building a custom power distribution box to provide power to a number of laptop computers and other types of electronic equipment. We're basically integrating a number of off-the-shelf power supplies in a single box.

For the prototype, I used a barrier strip and crimp lugs to provide the 120v distribution inside the box. While it works, I'm not certain this is the best answer to basically "split" the H/N/G to all the internal components. I've thought about using wire nuts as well as those push-in connectors, but I don't like they way they just float in the enclosure.

I realize any of these options will work, and are each rated to handle the load, but I would like to produce this as professionally as possible. Even though we won't be going through the UL evaluation process in the near future, I'd like to build it to the "best manufacturing standards". Oh, there are 5 separate devices are being powered inside this box.

So how do manufacturers of devices distribute power in a reasonably small form factor? Note that the whole enclosure is approximately the size of a laptop.

Any thoughts/comments?
 
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Old 02-03-10, 09:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Zorfdt View Post
So how do manufacturers of devices distribute power in a reasonably small form factor?
Insulated barrel crimps which are very cheap and fast to install. You could use a plain copper barrel crimp and push some heat shrink tube over it too. Soldered spliced with heat shrink is also very reliable, but takes more time and materials to do.
 
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Old 02-03-10, 11:48 AM
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I like the barrier strips but I might instead use DIN rail mounted terminals as they have some advantages over the barrier strips. With the DIN rail terminals you could install separate fusing for each load, have disconnects if you didn't want the fuses and the supply wiring can be much simpler.
 
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Old 02-05-10, 09:11 AM
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Ben/Furd - thanks for the feedback. I may try the barrel crimp solution, though I'm up in the air about the 'flying' connections.

I started looking into the DIN rail solution, and while it won't work for this project due to space constraints, it's a pretty neat interconnect solution.

Thanks much!

-Mike
 
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Old 02-05-10, 09:47 AM
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I suggest you go to a 2nd hand store and buy some old kitchen appliances, take them apart, and see how they run the power inside.

Peek inside a furnace, look inside an electric range, etc.

For things like air conditioners, refrigerators, dishwashers, and microwaves, it is common to use crimp on spade lugs. I have seen these connections fail.

Then for electronics related things, I have mostly seen wire and soldered connections used. A wire run from one connection, to the next, to the next, etc. and soldered. I don't recall ever seeing one of these connections fail.
 
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Old 02-07-10, 07:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Zorfdt View Post
So how do manufacturers of devices distribute power in a reasonably small form factor?
Most of the products I've seen have the AC wires soldered directly to a printed circuit (PC) power supply board. Traces on the PC board link to board-mounted devices -- fuses, transformers, rectifiers, caps, v-regs -- then to terminals or connectors. It's really not that difficult to create your own PC board.
 
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