Anderson plug double adapters

A while back we purchased a diesel heater, and I wired it up to an Anderson plug not realising that I actually had no where to plug it in. Our fridge was using the one at the front of the camper, and the one on the rear goes to the Enerdrive DCDC, so it left me in a bit of a pickle.

Not wanting to run it off the Dmax, I just jumped online and found an Anderson Plug Double Adapter, and put an order in. This takes a single Anderson, and runs a short lead that then joins into two Anderson plugs. In essence then, you can run two appliances off the one Anderson plug, or as we go into below, you can use it for charging too.

Anderson plugs vs MC4
Two Anderson double adapters being used for 3 different solar panels

Why would you want an Anderson double adapter?

If you have Anderson plugs that get used regularly, having one of these available if hugely helpful. We’ve used it a number of times for running our fridge and diesel heater off the one Anderson plug, but also many times since when running multiple solar panels. Again, we only have one rear Anderson plug that goes to the DCDC, so if you want to run more than one solar blanket or solar panel, you are in trouble!

We’ve actually since purchased a second Anderson double adapter, and on occasion have had 3 different panels/blankets feeding in through the one Anderson plug. Of course, there’s some consideration that needs to be made here, and we go into that below.

Anderson plug double adapter
Using an Anderson plug double adapter to feed two panels into one MPPT unit

Watch the current draw

The normal Anderson plugs are good for 50 amp hot swap, meaning you can pull them out and plug them in with 50 amps of current going through them. When you use double adapters, you have the ability to draw more power than the Anderson plug is rated for, or more likely, more than what the actual wiring is good for. I’ve seen Anderson plugs used on some pretty thin copper cabling, and trying to load them up is never going to end well.

In the same way that using a power board plugged into a power board is never a good idea, double adapters for your Anderson plugs can easily push you into territory that isn’t friendly, or safe.

In our applications, I make sure that the cabling is sized correctly, and we don’t draw excessive power. Our diesel heater pulls about 10 amps on start-up, and then goes down to almost nothing, with the fridge only pulling 4 amps. Together, they are happy to run with no issues.

I never put more than about 20 amps in through our solar panels until our last lead, which is very heavy duty and would comfortably handle 50 amps to the DCDC.

Consider how the double adapters are made

There’s two ways double adapters can be made. The first style takes 4 leads from the Anderson and splits it 2 and 2, like the photo below.

The next style though, takes 2 leads from an Anderson to another, with 2 extras coming out this one and looping around to the second Anderson plug. Either style works, and the second option is probably more user friendly, but looks less tidy too.

Anderson plug double adapter
We have one made where the cables loop, and I don’t like it as much

What size cabling is used?

Our first Anderson double adapter that arrived was really heavy duty, and I was very pleased with it. I actually don’t think you could make it with any thicker cabling, and I’m happy to pump some decent current through it.

The second one I ordered in a bit of a rush, and the cabling is far thinner and would not take the same sort of load. Its still fine for what we need it for, but not all double adapters are the same; make sure you check the cable sizing that is being sold.

Can you run them in any direction?

Given that the polarity of your Anderson plugs is set (although it can be wrong, so double check this), it really doesn’t matter how you plug them together. You can have it set up so the power runs ‘backwards’, but it will all run in one direction regardless of how you plug it in.

Overall, we’re really happy with these; they make life easy when you want to run multiple appliances, or feed multiple panels into one Anderson plug, and you can get them from a heap of different places online and locally.

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2 Comments

  1. Hey Gerry,

    I’ve heard that too. We have a mix, not really by choice, but because there are so many copies around.

    So far our only failure was a Narva one on our camper which has been in the sun for about 4 years and snapped on a corrugated road. I think it did pretty well.

    For critical installs the genuine Anderson’s are certainly worth it.

    All the best
    Aaron

  2. Gerry Ryder says:

    I have fitted a number of Anderson-style plugs on my boat and caravan and have learned that cheaper copies by other brands are prone to cracking of plastic bodies at the plug-to-plug joints if disconnected regularly. As well, the internal plates retaining the metal connector bullets rust fairly quickly causing staining and possible reliability issues. Although I have somewhat strengthened my imitation Andersons with tape wrap and glue coating, I will be using only genuine Andersons in future. A genuine pair fitted to my vehicle-to-caravan power feed have been there since I bought the van second-hand 7 years ago, and are still serviceable. None of the non-genuine items have lasted beyond 2 years without cracking.