4-wire connector recommendations?

I’m currently using 600 ws2815 pixels in a 10 m strip. The JST pigtails I bought from Amazon get quite hot when I’m running heavy or bright patterns. I had trouble finding anything with wire gauge thicker than about 22 I think it is.

So to get to the point I want to either wire my own JST connectors with 18 gauge or go to a different connector style for use with my 18 gauge wire. Needs to be somewhat weatherproof but the JST connectors have been working fine in that regard. They don’t get directly rained on while in use or anything like that.

Is there a better option than JST’s? If JST’s are fine can you recommend a kit on Amazon that you’ve been happy with?

Thanks for any help this community is amazing!

I’m partial to the Switchcraft/Conxall connectors which are full IP67. I’ve used the 3-pin version of the Micro-Con-X which can an handle 22ga wire and 7 Amps. You might need the larger Mini-Con-X, with the 4-pin version handling 16ga wire and up to 13 Amps. They are available in a slew of panel and cable mount options.

Here’s a link to the full catalog

And here’s the vendor I’ve found with the widest selection of them in stock.

For the WS2815, I’ve seen some data that max current is 36mA per pixel (so 22A for all 600); it also tends to use the same current for one color at a particular intensity as full white at that intensity. Power planning might be a little more important than for the 5V strips.

Let’s assume you are doing power injection properly across the full length (otherwise the rest of this doesn’t matter as much, since these copper traces on strips will not carry 22A for very long), and that our sole problem is just connecting 22A peak current and data at the beginning of this strip.

For reference, the JST-SM that comes on most strips is rated 3A.

All 4 conductors in one housing

If you want all 4 conductors in one housing, all the below come in 3 and 4 position variants.

Cheap to manufacture: xConnect and Ray Wu style. Claimed weatherproof. I’ve never seen a max current spec’d. Since they usually come as 18AWG pigtails, we can assume a conservative 3A in a bundle, or 16A in free-air.

You can use an audio XLR to 15A and Neutrik Powercon to 30A.

They typically have nice strain reliefs and durability but aren’t always spec’d weather resistant. I think that you can improve the weather resistance of these and JST-SMs by applying dielectric grease.

The automotive world has good weatherproof and vibration resistant stuff up in the Delphi Metri-pack systems, TE Superseal and Deutsch.

These are probably a well-engineered solution, but they get expensive for small projects if you buy the right crimpers, and slow to apply if you choose the cheap ones. I would choose these for stuff I want to live through multiple years’ visits to an alkaline dry lakebed.

Separate power

I know you asked for 4 conductor options. For higher current connections, I’ve been wiring data separate from power. All the below options are fine or overspec’d for 20A. Most are not outdoor rated, but for short durations they seem to work fine (I’ve had many live through one season of rain/snow).

I’ve been using Anderson Powerpoles for power, but I think they’re kind of finicky on install, and I’m not efficient installing them. They have a great, convenient (re)connection feel though.


It makes fused distribution pretty easy with items like this:

From the RC world, soldered XT-60 connectors are also great for high current DC, though harder to disconnect.

I’ve also done power through crimped terminals (ring/spade), buttsplices, ferrules and blocks, but for speed nothing beats Wago 221 levernuts.

This last holiday season I’d splice data through them as well.

Did this help, or is it like there’s too many options now!?

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I’ve been using these https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B01LCV8LVK/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&th=1

Seems to work well.

I originally installed with the standard jst connectors, but outside in the garden, the connectors corrode badly (although they do last a couple of years). I have used dielectric grease, but they still corrode.

Right now I still have a lot of the original jst connectors in place, they are greased, and covered in a 3D printed ABS shroud, but I’m gradually replacing them with waterproof connectors - it’s slow going.

I would say the “automotive” connectors are not really waterproof - often they are waterproof at the front, but not the back. I have used them for power with silicone in the back, plus heat shrink over the wire entry, but I still have had pins disintegrate - outdoors is hard on high current connectors (outdoors in Canada anyway).

Canada sounds tough! Especially for year round outdoor.

Those BTF ones are the same as the ones sold as “xConnect”, I think.

Thanks so much guys this is exactly the kind of input I was looking for. But now I have lots of research to do!

I’ve used a bunch of different connector types for connecting exterior lights in Canada. I settled on M8 or M12 “field type” meaning they have screw down terminals. I use M8 because the size fits my application, and the range is around 3-5A with the 4 conductor models. It really depends on the current you want to run through them. The round style (xconnect) are pretty good, and not crazy expensive but I highly recommend using dielectric grease. I have that combo(x + grease) on my house, going through my gutters for almost 2 years with no issues.

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Do you have a link to the “field type” connectors, so I can see what they look like.

One of the problems preventing me replacing all my connectors with waterproof ones is trying to solder the connections in place outside.

I have a butane soldering iron, but when the wires have become corroded, they won’t solder properly.

I use screw connection for power, but replacing corroded jst connectors in place is not easy.

Hi Nick,

Here’s a couple links to some on AliExpress
C$ 1.87 | M12 sensor connector waterproof maleandfemale plug screw threaded coupling 4 5 8 Pin A type sensor connectors

C$ 2.22 | M8 sensor connector waterproof maleandfemale plug straight angle screw threaded coupling 3pin 4 pin

I went this route mostly because of size, and like you said about soldering outside. I needed something with a small diameter and with screw down terminals for my application. It also needed to work with a round cable.

I ended up getting an M8 model I found, modified and branded to sell with my lights. I’m still in the process of getting them certified.

If you’re not limited by size, the larger ones like the M12 can handle more current.

Another option I found that might work is from TE Connectivity. They make a connector called Coolsplice. It doesn’t work for my application, but the samples I got were pretty good. They are also a pretty good price. They have a bunch of different models depending on what you need. Here’s a 2 wire 18awg model.