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Next Generation of High-Power Connector Performance Validated in Royal Key Life Testing

Royal Power Solutions Test Lab Temperature Chamber, Larry Brooks Lab Director

Abstract: Royal Power Solutions High Power Lock Box (HPLB) family has passed an extended USCAR2 testing profile challenge request by a strategic OEM customer. RPS was challenged to develop a test plan and complete testing to demonstrate the HPLB family can meet elevated current carrying for extended periods while within extreme vibrations and temperatures.

In 2019, Royal Power Solutions’ launched the Royal Key Life Testing on behalf of Ford Motor Company (Ford). We designed and executed the test in accordance with criteria and durations from USCAR 2 standards to verify that Royal’s patented High Power Lock Box (HPLB), would retain or increase contact force through a simulated life exposure test at elevated temperatures. 

HPLB, a high-current, high-vibration and high-temperature terminal and connector family for LV, HV and 48-volt applications, was launched in Spring 2019 at the Battery Show EU. This multiple contact terminal system provides an ultra-energy efficient connection with almost no resistance and eliminates dissimilar metals in the connection preventing galvanic corrosion.

The Key Life Exposure Test was developed and conducted over a 45-day cycle at our Henrik Freitag ISO/IEC 17025 accredited lab to measure HPLB’s resistance capabilities, through electrical, thermal, and mechanical evaluations. Under the direction of Engineering Vice President Jim Dawson, we hypothesized that the normal force of beam efforts would improve under high temperature and current exposures. The results demonstrated that as temperatures increased, the normal focus increased and improved system over simulated lifetime. 

Testing conditions utilized precision equipment in the Henrik Freitag Innovation Center including: High temperature oven; maximum current/current cycle equipment; key sight data logger (10 milivolt measurements, 11 thermal couples, 1 current probe); and 500 Amp 20 V power supply. All elements and equipment were used simultaneously in the chamber to achieve Royal’s key life results.

To calculate test reliability, we utilized theories and modified the criteria to account for a 500% increase in ambient temperature. As a result of HPLB’s multi-terminal connection points, we accelerated stress conditions during testing.

During testing, HPLB thermocouple and voltage sensors were set in two locations. During the 45-day test cycle, results were evaluated daily in data reviews of both sample temperature and millivolt readings across each test connection. 

The Royal Key Life test results unanimously passed every standard metric: Voltage drop; spring relaxation; current flow; thermal response; and mechanical integrity. In addition, spring deflection at high temperature of 197°C increased after the key life test. Royal’s Key Life Testing Program conditions and results were documented for independent review and available to view upon request. 

RPS will be employing this Royal Key Life Test Plan for the remainder of the HPLB extended terminal family in the near future. 

In summary, the OEM’s connector group was very pleased with HPLB’s performance and we are in the process for full terminal approval within the OEM system.  Through collaboration and innovation, Royal improved on already great connections the HPLB family of innovative, high current carrying capacity connectors. 

For further information or to request a demonstration, contact Chris Pepoy by email or call (248) 515-8504‬.

Larry Brooks is the Manager of Royal Power Solutions Test Engineering Lab at the Henrik Freitag Innovation Center