Author Topic: Neutrik Speakon vs Powercon  (Read 5056 times)

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Offline Kjelt

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Neutrik Speakon vs Powercon
« on: April 02, 2018, 04:10:23 pm »
Just wanted your thoughts about this.
The speakon plugs are 2 or 4 pole, rated at 600V isolation and 20 or even 30Amps but the manufacturer states that it is not allowed to use the connectors for power applications, you should use Powercon, that has the same specifications.

Now since Powercon has no 4 pole members in its family and the 4 pole Speakons have these great specs, I am going to go against the manufacturers statement and use them to power my steppermotors.

The question is why should you not use the speakon series for power applications? The specs are ok.
The only viable answer I can come up with is that they don't want to mix power and speakercouplings on roadshows / concerts, because you would blow things up.

Any ideas or other thoughts?
 

Offline ovnr

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Re: Neutrik Speakon vs Powercon
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2018, 04:15:22 pm »
It's not that powercons are hot-pluggable either, which is what I first thought.

Probably just to avoid people plugging the power cable into the amp output. If you're making something that's not at all related to audio gear, it's fine to do whatever.
 
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Online nctnico

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Re: Neutrik Speakon vs Powercon
« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2018, 06:11:41 pm »
To me it seems the PowerCON connectors have the agency approvals for mains use. Speakon doesn't. So the difference is not the amount of power or rated voltage but the agency approvals for mains use. I wouldn't use the Speakon connectors at their maximum rated current though. I'm using Speakon connectors in one of my products to carry up to several kW of power at less than 100V. It is a very compact, reliable and rugged connector.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2018, 06:13:35 pm by nctnico »
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 
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Offline ajb

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Re: Neutrik Speakon vs Powercon
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2018, 06:19:07 pm »
PowerCON TRUE1 connectors are rated to make/break under load, the original PowerCON 20A/32A are not, and neither are speakON.  The problem with using speakON for power is that it would be very easy in their intended environment to get power connections mixed up with speaker connections*.  That said, I've seen speakON connectors used for low voltage power even on equipment designed for the entertainment industry (EG, some of Pathway's switches use speakON for 48V POE Supply), so in a limited situation where you can prevent mixups through careful oversight, there's really no issue with it.  So unless your steppers are moving around giant speakers that ALSO use speakON connectors that may get mixed up you really have nothing to worry about.

* Before speakON came out, most high-power speaker connections in the entertainment industry were made with binding posts or maybe banana plugs, neither of which was well-suited to the environment and demands of the industry.  I've heard stories of some audio production companies overcoming those issues by fitting their amp racks, speaker cabinets, and cables with NEMA 5-15 connectors (which are the standard 120VAC wall connectors in North America).  You can imagine the delightful mishaps THAT invited, especially since, I was told, they tended to use receptacles on the racks and cabs, which meant the cables had male plugs on both ends...
 
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Offline Kjelt

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Re: Neutrik Speakon vs Powercon
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2018, 06:26:58 pm »
To me it seems the PowerCON connectors have the agency approvals for mains use. Speakon doesn't. So the difference is not the amount of power or rated voltage but the agency approvals for mains use.
Makes sense that Neutrik only validates their powercon for mains use.
Good to hear that more people use these for powered connections, not mains powered perse.
 

Online nctnico

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Re: Neutrik Speakon vs Powercon
« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2018, 09:02:55 pm »
By the way: I don't know how many pins are needed and what kind of currents will be flowing but XLR might be an option too. I've seen XLR being used as DC power connectors as well.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline Kjelt

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Re: Neutrik Speakon vs Powercon
« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2018, 09:14:11 pm »
Yes thanks, I have used the 3 pin XLR myself also for low voltage applications.
The 5 pin are less suitable (smaller pins, less current)

I do need 4 poles, 3 power U,V,W and earth ground.
The speakons I have, have a metal housing but I do not see any possibillity to connect the shield of the cable to the housing, probably not allowed also?  I will use the fourth pole for that purpose.
 

Online The Soulman

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Re: Neutrik Speakon vs Powercon
« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2018, 09:45:06 pm »
There are 4p XLR's with the same size pins and current capabilities as the 3p.
I've been using speakon connections for the battery┬┤s on my ebikes (48V 20A max) those hold up really good, as expected.
The metal housing on the expensive speakon's is for mechanical strength only, not a shielded connection, using the fourth pin for that should be fine.
 
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Offline ajb

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Re: Neutrik Speakon vs Powercon
« Reply #8 on: April 02, 2018, 09:57:39 pm »
The speakons I have, have a metal housing but I do not see any possibillity to connect the shield of the cable to the housing, probably not allowed also?  I will use the fourth pole for that purpose.

I'm not sure if a regulation exists, but it's standard practice in entertainment that the metal shell of a connector is not connected to the cable shield (but is generally connected to the metal housing of equipment when mated to the matching equipment-mounted connector).  This is because it's common to run cables long distances between pieces of equipment supplied from different power feeds, so you can imagine holding the metal shell on the end of a cable that runs off to some piece of equipment 50m away, then putting your hand on the metal box of some other piece of equipment to plug the cable in.  If the shell is connected via the cable to the ground at that other piece of equipment, and that ground potential is different from that of the equipment you're about to plug it into (due to equipment or site wiring issues), you could be in for a bad time.  Keeping the shell separate from the shield does cause a bit of shield discontinuity, but this is not a big deal for most of the signalling used--and speaker/mains cables aren't shielded anyway.
 
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Offline Kjelt

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Re: Neutrik Speakon vs Powercon
« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2018, 04:27:54 pm »
There are 4p
:-+ Never saw the 4p XLR could be interesting for my other connections.

If the shell is connected via the cable to the ground at that other piece of equipment, and that ground potential is different from that of the equipment you're about to plug it into (due to equipment or site wiring issues), you could be in for a bad time.  Keeping the shell separate from the shield does cause a bit of shield discontinuity, but this is not a big deal for most of the signalling used--and speaker/mains cables aren't shielded anyway.
Makes sense, also to prevent ground loops, for my motors The frequencies can be troublesome for emc.
That is why I wanted the shield grounded on one side, I will use the 4th pole for that.
 

Offline dmills

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Re: Neutrik Speakon vs Powercon
« Reply #10 on: April 03, 2018, 04:44:22 pm »
4P XLR is something of a standard for portable film cameras and location sound, if you were using it for 12 or 24V there are standard pinouts, for motor drive not so much.

Regards, Dan.
 

Offline drussell

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Re: Neutrik Speakon vs Powercon
« Reply #11 on: April 04, 2018, 07:17:25 am »
DMX-512 lighting usually uses the 5 pin version of XLR...

SpeakON is great for other non-speaker applications like your steppers, though if you're going to use MAINS power, then it makes sense to use PowerCON instead.
 


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