Understanding Power Lead Types and Wire Gauge
Updated: Sep 11, 2022
Drone batteries typically use a few standard types of power connectors. Oftentimes this may be an XT60 or an XT90, these are some of the most common. However, others do exist and they have their place. The smallest of the bunch is made by the drone company Betaflight, called a BT2 connector. This tiny .35 gram connector can support carrying up to 10 amps of current. Moving up in size would be an XT30 connector.
This was originally made by AMASS, though knockoffs exist. There are quite a few AMASS connectors, XT60,
and more. For most batteries we choose to use XT30,XT60, XT90S, or AS150U.
XT90S, "S" denotes that it has anti spark. This is important for drones with large capacitor banks that tend to spark when plugged in. Capacitors act like a short circuit when empty, so the spark occurs because a large amount of current is drawn from the battery initially upon plugging in, arcing across the battery terminal in a small surface area. This can result in burnt connectors in the long term, the anti spark variety has a resistor which first makes contact, limiting the current flow and arresting the spark, ensuring battery longevity. We typically use black colored XT connectors if we can, we think it looks cooler. These power leads are soldered onto usually silicone stranded wire. This is used because it is very flexible and durable, while able to carry significant current. It is also very easy to solder. The stranded wire is coated in silicone to insulate and protect the power lead, hence the name. The smaller the wire gauge number, the larger the wire and the more current it can carry. The longer the wire, the more resistance the wire has, and the less current it can carry. This is why having short but still practical power leads for your drone is useful. At Upgrade Energy we try to optimize the length of our power leads for optimal power delivery. A 12 gauge cable that is 6 inches long will have less resistance than a 10 gauge cable that is 12 inches long, this is why optimization is important.