Since I have been in RC, I have been using Deans connectors for all of my connections on my batteries and ESCs. For the most part, I have been happy with Deans connectors. They have served me pretty well. However, recently, I have had the notion of swapping all of my Deans connectors out for XT60 connectors. The following are my reasons for doing so:
- I have always had a difficult time soldering Deans connectors
- Even though I am much better now with soldering, making good connections with Deans still tries my patience.
- I am buying a lot of planes and batteries from Hobby King. Most batteries and planes they sell come preconfigured with XT60. So it is double work to have to cut off the XT60 and then solder on Deans connectors.
- I don't like the "sparking" behavior of Deans. No matter how careful you are with plugging, you still most of the time get the "spark" from making the connection with the Deans plugs.
- They are cheaper - XT60 pairs can be bought really at a fraction of the cost of Deans connectors
With all of the reasons stated above, I took on the project of switching all of my Deans connector batteries and ESCs over to XT60. This was the majority of my fleet and batteries. I still have the barrell/banana style connectors on my 3D plane and batteries and will probably leave those for now.
I wound up buying my XT60's from Amazon. I had initially set out to purchase these from Hobby King as there is a lot of talk out there about counterfeit XT60s that don't hold up as good or don't fit as well as the real thing. I opted however to buy from Amazon as Hobby King was out of stock in the warehouse closest to me, plus I have prime shipping with my Amazon account, so I knew I would get it quickly and cheaply. Also, the customer reviews for the listed XT60's I purchased were very good. Everyone for the most part gave it 5 stars and had no problems soldering or making connections which made me feel better about these not being cheap knockoffs. So (10) pairs turned out to be $9.95 with prime shipping.
For the most part, my conversion project actually went well and quicker than I had anticipated. Once I soldered on my first XT60, I was able to get the hang of it fairly quickly. I did have a little bit of trouble with my 5 cell battery that had around 10 guage wires I believe. These were pretty fat and looked to exceed the little "cups" on the XT60 connector.
Also, I had to get familiar with which connector you use on which side (battery vs ESC). The female connector goes on the battery and the male connector goes on the ESC. After getting those things figured out, I went about the process of unsoldering a few of the wires and cutting most of the others right before the Deans connectors. The ones that I unsoldered I had soldered on extensions to and that is reason for unsoldering. A word of caution - DO NOT cut off both ends of your wire on your battery to solder on the XT60's or any other connector. ALWAYS cut and solder one wire at a time. If you have both cut and openly exposed, you definitely run the risk of arcing and sparking which can definitely put your safety at risk and at the very least can ruin your batteries.
Also, a task I had to complete was soldering XT60's on my charge cables. This is something I missed in thinking about how many connectors I needed. Of course a lot of times we don't really think about the charge cables as opposed to the batteries and ESCs, or I didn't at least.
Fortunately I bought enough that I didn't have any problems adding in my charge cables in the total connectors that I had.
So what are my thoughts on having switched to XT60's? I am glad that I did it! I can honestly say that I am liking the connectors better than my Deans. They were much easier to get a good solder on/connection, they were much cheaper per pair to stock up on, I no longer have the sparking behavior that I had with my Deans connectors, and now I no longer have to worry about cutting off perfectly good connectors when I purchase batteries from Hobby King and others that come preconfigured with XT60's.
All in all the project went smoothly to transition over and I am happy that I decided to go to the XT60's. Connectors are definitely a personal choice and depends on what you like and where you get hardware, planes, ESC's, etc, from, but for me this amounted to XT60's being the better choice for the long run.