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molex connectors & alternatives?

Posted: Thu Mar 21, 2013 7:54 am
by seigenblues
I don't know if anyone else on this forum has gotten the hankering to wire up their motors with some molex connectors and figures they can get by crimping 'em with a nice pair of needlenose pliers, but I've got a bit of advice.

Don't.

Anyone got any alternatives they'd like to suggest?

Re: molex connectors & alternatives?

Posted: Thu Mar 21, 2013 11:56 am
by ThatOtherGuy435
I actually had good success with TE Connectivity's Mini MATE-N-LOK and a pair of small hooked needlenose... and a lot of patience and some extra pins. Got all of my motors wired up with em, and the wired extensions. Beware that if you don't like tiny, fiddly pins, don't bother... but they do fit through the ebay drag chains floating around.

Digikey parts:
A30270-ND (Pins: A30305-ND)
A30294-ND (Pins: A30307-ND)

Re: molex connectors & alternatives?

Posted: Thu Mar 21, 2013 4:02 pm
by mjohn
Why not? I figure as long as you give the crimps some solder - what could go wrong?

I brought home a bunch of male and female molex connectors and pins but never got around to it. I've been looking at something for a nicer external connection, like the 4 pin XLR plugs. Just haven't prettied everything up to that extent yet.
seigenblues wrote:I don't know if anyone else on this forum has gotten the hankering to wire up their motors with some molex connectors and figures they can get by crimping 'em with a nice pair of needlenose pliers, but I've got a bit of advice.

Don't.

Re: molex connectors & alternatives?

Posted: Thu Mar 21, 2013 4:48 pm
by seigenblues
Maybe it's easier if you have the correct crimping tool, but I found them hideously finicky. Having had one wire pull out of it's pin after putting the metal bob in the plastic bit (yeah i've got all the terms of art right here), I resorted to increasingly desperate measures to try and clear the pin from the housing... and that's after all the struggles with getting the wires correctly seated and the stranded conductors correctly in their channel.

It got so bad I was trying to cut the plastic with a razor so i could get purchase on it with pliers. It ended up with me actually cutting the pin in half with snips... like a good 15-30 minutes down the drain easy.

Re: molex connectors & alternatives?

Posted: Thu Mar 21, 2013 4:56 pm
by ThatOtherGuy435
Keep in mind, a decent crimping tool isn't murderously expensive, either. Pololu has one that I think works on even the tiny pins that I linked above for a pretty reasonable price. I'm probably going to grab a set at some point here myself.

http://www.pololu.com/catalog/product/1928

Re: molex connectors & alternatives?

Posted: Fri Mar 22, 2013 2:02 am
by alpha
I found a $20 crimp tool at my local electronic store that works ok. I found soldering was not very helpful, and caused damage inserting the pins sometimes... it took me a while to master crimping the pins. I found that if crimping to much it would not longer lock in place (micro fit style).

Re: molex connectors & alternatives?

Posted: Fri Mar 22, 2013 3:55 am
by mjohn
seigenblues wrote:Maybe it's easier if you have the correct crimping tool, but I found them hideously finicky. Having had one wire pull out of it's pin after putting the metal bob in the plastic bit (yeah i've got all the terms of art right here), I resorted to increasingly desperate measures to try and clear the pin from the housing... and that's after all the struggles with getting the wires correctly seated and the stranded conductors correctly in their channel.
Fair enough, those metal hold-in pins are a pain. Was just wondering if you had problems other than the inherent issues with those things. There is a tool to flex those hold-ins so that you can pull the pin out, but to me it was always easier to just make a new connector.

Re: molex connectors & alternatives?

Posted: Fri Mar 22, 2013 11:17 pm
by jsbannis
Removing molex pins is easy once you get the hang of it. You need to use something thin and metal (bobby pin or bent paper clips work) to push in both sides of the "wings" at once, and then it just pops right out. Once it's out you may have to bend the wings back out, but be gentile as they are a bit fragile. I've crimped a bunch of pins with pliers, a lot of force, and a dab of solder and not had any problems. All of my experience with pulling them back out comes from accidentally putting them in the wrong hole :)

There are tools for doing it as well, a lot of people in the PC modding community use them to sleeve power supply cables.

Re: molex connectors & alternatives?

Posted: Mon Mar 25, 2013 5:01 pm
by phlamingo
I got a crimping tool and pin removal tool from Jameco, and it works fine. It's the Molex connectors themselves that I regret.

Re: molex connectors & alternatives?

Posted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 2:54 pm
by jsbannis
They are a bit ugly, large, and hard to disconnect. The XLR type connectors that a lot of people here have look really nice. I have molex on mine and don't mind them, I think they look nicer and are more functional than terminal blocks, but I'll probably switch to the other type connectors whenever I get around to making an electronics enclosure.