Here is a shot of the basic manual crimper which is much less expensive than the fancier one. The shot below shows a closeup of the jaws. The opening to the right in the lower picture is for the 15 amp and 30 amp contacts and the opening to the left of that one is for the 45 amp contacts. The small opening to the far left is used to finalize the crimp so it fits in the housing properly. Of course one still has to make sure that the contact portion is aligned with the crimped portion otherwise the contact will not fit in the housing. Anderson PowerPole has a very informative web site that demonstrates the proper technique very well.
It is not a very good photo, but what I wanted to show here was the difference between top and bottom of the housing. The wider portion is the top of the housing, the narrower part is the bottom of the housing.
The above photo shows how the Powerpole connector should look when assembled to the ARES standard. Red on right looking at the connector from the top
Within just a few years the Anderson Powerpole connector line has become the dominant connector for power feeds and indeed for many situations that require a solid connector or a specialised form of connector. The system is really quite simple when you look at it; within the group of connectors that amateur radio operators use most often. There is one size of contact at the contact end and three different sizes at the point where the wire is crimped or soldered to the contact. The contacts come in 15 amp, 30 amp and 45 amp sizes. All three of them use the same size contact area and just differ on the size of the receptacle for the wire.
Personally, I standardised on the 30 amp size some years ago. If you are carefull and trim the wire ends neatly, a 30 amp size contact will handle number 10 gauge wire. One may have to carve the plastic insulation of the wire down to a narrower size to fit into the housing, but that will depend on the wire brand and type used. If I have to apply a Powerpole connector to thin wire, say 16 gauge and smaller, then I strip the wire back to expose a longer amount of bare wire and fold the bare wire until I have filled the 30 Amp contact. Then I crimp the wire into the connector.
I also decided some time ago to depend on the crimp alone rather than soldering the contact. The crimp, when properly done will take at least 25 pounds of force to fail the crimp and the connector will separate from it's opposite connector with 6 to 8 pounds of force. However, if you want to solder the contact to the wire, by all means go ahead, just do not get any solder on the outside of the crimpable area or on the contact area. If you do, the contact will not fit in the housing and you will have to cut it off and start over again.
There are a few hints to pass along about the assembly of the Powerpole connector.
1. As I mentioned before, do not get any solder on the outside of the contact. and make sure that the crimped portion of the contact is neatly crimped into the shape and size of the original uncrimped unit. If it is larger or misshapen it will not seat properly in the housing.
2. Make sure that the contacts are not bent either up or down from the uncrimped form. Crimping itself will often bend the contact area down in relation to the crimpwed area. This bend must be eliminated or the contact will not fit in the housing. Removing the bend is easy, you only need to use your fingers to straighten the bend in most cases.
3. When inserting the contact into the housing it must be parallel to the housing and in the correct alignment or the contact will not seat properly. Look at the illustration further down the page to see this.
4. The manufacturer recommends attaching the housings to each other before inserting the contacts. The reasoning is that one will not have to separate the red and black wires as far back from the connector.The two housings fit together with a dovetail joint. They must be slid into place. Attempting to secure the housings together by snapping them into position or taking them apart will only result in damage to both housings.
5. When stripping the wires for insertion into the contact, only strip the insulation back the length of the contact wire receptacle. (About 1/4 inch) anything more will just weaken the connection and expose bare wire at the back of the housing.
I have had to use a different browser to add the pictures below. I hope they make the comments above easier to understand.
SOME THOUGHTS AND HINTS ABOUT THESE GREAT CONNECTORS
N1GY- The simple Approach to Ham Radio
Here, the connector is shown un-assembled so you can see the proper orientation of the parts. Note that the little hump in the end of the contact (the silver color things on the left) is facing up and that the housing also has its widest side up as well.