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I'm powering a load that draws 5A at 18V from a brick power supply. The power supply and load are separated by a thin metal wall that has 1/4" (6.35mm) holes in it. So I'm trying to find connectors that can fit through 0.25" diameter holes.

The best I've found is small JST plugs, but they're more like 0.29" so we'd have to file them down to fit through the holes.

I'd appreciate any suggestions, either for a 2-circuit connector or two 1-circuit connectors.

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    \$\begingroup\$ lots of options, actually. Go to your favourite electronics distributor's website (e.g. element14.com), click through to the connectors. It's really not surprising that you don't find much if your primary source seems to be amazon – that's like hoping to find connectors in your supermarket. \$\endgroup\$ – Marcus Müller Nov 1 '17 at 9:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ Drill the hole larger. \$\endgroup\$ – R Drast Nov 1 '17 at 10:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ My primary source is Mouser, but they don't have an option to filter by dimensions of the overall plug. Marcus if you have a site that offers that option I'd be very interested. \$\endgroup\$ – Luke Nov 1 '17 at 22:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ mouser.com/ds/2/670/pj-064a-1154177.pdf ... may be slightly large \$\endgroup\$ – jsotola Nov 3 '17 at 5:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah jsotola that's too big, based on the datasheet drawing. I'd like to use a barrel connector but I've never seen one where the housing is <1/4" \$\endgroup\$ – Luke Nov 4 '17 at 22:39
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A bit old fashioned by modern standards but 2mm plugs and sockets would do the job. This example is a line socket that is rated at 10A and measures 5.7mm in diameter, plugs would probably be thinner.

The only snag is lack of polarisation so you'd have to rely on colour coding.

enter image description here

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you! I think this or another banana plug could be a pretty good option. The load has reverse polarity protection so I don't have a strong need for connector polarization. (For everyone's info: a US source for that connector is: alliedelec.com/staubli-22-2360-22-22-1038/70749533 and alliedelec.com/staubli-22-2609-22/70749799 \$\endgroup\$ – Luke Nov 1 '17 at 23:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ The connectors arrived and will definitely do the job; the bare copper is 0.10" diameter and the plastic is 0.18" diameter. Turns out Newark.com also sells them; the keyword is "Staubli 2mm test connector". The small JST connectors mentioned in the original question do work if we shave off the corners, but the Staubli connectors have a much higher current rating. \$\endgroup\$ – Luke Nov 14 '17 at 0:48
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Why not just put the wire through with a grommet (you could even use a gland) and then put a connector on one or both ends?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah a permanently-installed wire with connectors at both ends is one possible solution, but the wall is at the customer's site, and I'd really like to avoid on-site soldering. \$\endgroup\$ – Luke Nov 1 '17 at 22:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ Some connectors have screw fixings - depends on the conditions : vibrations, moisture etc.. If one answer starts the ball rolling then others come along - always more than one solution. \$\endgroup\$ – Solar Mike Nov 1 '17 at 22:47
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Two options (both crimping, so requiring specialized tools but not plugging in a soldering iron) that come to mind:

  • Wire ferrules (also known as end sleeves or bootlace ferrules) can be crimped on the ends of stranded wire and not be very much thicker than the insulation. They would be inserted into screw terminals (the kind with a hole and a screw-driven clamp, not the kind where you wrap the wire around the screw).

    enter image description here

    image by Wikimedia Commons user Simon A. Eugster

    The advantage of these over bare (stranded) wire is that they do not fray and they are easier to insert and clamp securely in a screw terminal.

    They do ideally use a specialized crimping tool to form the high-grip pattern of indentations you can see in this picture, though anything might do well enough with a good screw terminal.

  • Anderson PowerPole connectors (most famous for being popular in amateur radio applications) consist of any number of crimped terminals inserted into plastic housings. The terminals themselves are very narrow, so if you want a proper connector that is easy to connect and disconnect but is semi-permanently installed through the hole, all you need to do is crimp on the terminals to your 2-conductor cable, insert that through the hole, and then add the housing. The crimped pins can also be removed from the housing again, though with some fatigue to the metal.

    enter image description here

    image by Wikimedia Commons user Cqdx

    Crimping these terminals requires a specific crimping tool, and there is a specific removal tool, but the insertion can be done by hand when the wire is of heavy gauge, or with the aid of a small screwdriver or similar blunt-corner-ended tool otherwise.

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