A Look At Circular Connectors
A circular connector is a multi-pin connector used primarily for external interfacing. They can be used for data transfer, electrical signal transmissions, or for powering electrical devices. Circular connectors are sometimes designed to carry what may be referred to as a mixed signal, and are sometimes known as power and control connectors. In this blog, we will discuss circular connectors in depth.
There are many different types of circular connectors, including circular plastic connectors, circular metal-shell connectors, military connectors, DIN connectors, and micro & nano connectors. Circular plastic connectors and circular metal-shell connectors are both designed by an OEM with their plug and receptacle are commonly configured to mate exclusively with connectors from that same OEM. The shell size, type of thread or coupling, and contact arrangement do not allow for the insertion of connectors made for other applications or produced by other OEMs.
Military connectors, also known as MIL-SPEC connectors, are built according to military specifications. Their design accounts for the need to protect the connection from harsh environmental factors, allowing them to be used in military and aerospace applications. DIN connectors are high frequency, multi-pin electrical connectors built to the standard of the Deutsches Institut für Normung (DIN), a German standardization organization. DIN connectors feature round, notched ends protected by a metal skirt that ensures the pins line up correctly. Micro connectors and nano connectors feature contact pitches of 0.05" and 0.025" respectively. They consist of one or more rows of plated contacts and are either straight or right angled.
Circular connectors are defined by three factors: number of contacts, type of insert, and shell sizing. Standard connectors will accept a broad range of contact sizes and may be offered with several varying insert options, though some connectors are offered without inserts or contacts. Connectors of this type function as a protective housing that can be customized for specific applications.
The insert is an insulating body within the shell of the connector, used to orientate the electrical connections. Each insert is designed to support given types or sizes of contacts. They have a contact arrangement that allows them to accommodate as many conductors as there are available contact slots. When wiring the contacts, it is not required to use every available contact slot. For example, a six-conductor cable that meets the cable diameter requirements can be used with an insert that supports more than six terminations. In some cases, it is preferable to occupy only a portion of the available contact slots so that the plug and receptacle can be oriented by aligning the missing contacts.
The shell is often used to describe the size of a connector. It is a nominal figure designated by a two digit number and sometimes followed by a letter code. The two-digit number is used to denote how many sixteenths of an inch the diameter of the shell is. Large shell sizes are commonly used to house larger contacts used for power, while smaller shells are designed to house smaller contacts needed for sensors. Intermediate shell sizes are used to accommodate flexibility in contact size and arrangement. Furthermore, each shell can be used with a broad selection of cable diameters. In addition to contacts, insert, and shell size, important parameters to consider when specifying circular connectors are the connector type, gender, terminals options, mounting options and performance criteria.
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