Warning: tedious business/technical content ahead. Back in Stumbling & getting up I explained why I was temporarily halting shipment of Stokemonkey kits: the controller enclosure and the electrical connectors in it need improvement.
I should remark that the same connectors are used in electric bike kits (simple hub motors) that cost half — or less — what mine does, and I guess people accept them because kits at that price point attract the kinds of hobbyists who don’t mind a little or a lot of duct tape and solder to make up for the lack of strain relief and proper cable jacketing, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but I’m trying to reach people whose quality expectations are higher.
I said I was going to upgrade to Neutrik Neutricon connectors for the 3- and 5-pin low-current connectors. But now I’m balking at the cost: it’ll cost me $6,000 to get set up with the minimum tooling (2 sets, one on each side of the ocean) and raw stock for 90 assemblies, and delivery is not quite promised for 8 weeks out, and this is before I send it on to China and hope it gets there, that they can figure it out, etc.
I could really use some expert advice. There’s a dizzying array of connector types out there, and precious little unbiased top-level information about how to select the most cost-effective, application-appropriate kinds.
I was leaning hard toward telco-standard RJ-12 type connectors, because tooling and replacement stock is cheap and near-universal, but discovered late that these are inappropriate for the multi-strand conductors used in the wires concerned.
Here’s the other thing: the connectors I use now are subject to early failure mainly because the enclosure is too cramped. If I fix the enclosure (working on it), I might not need to upgrade the connectors at all.