Connectors are mechanical devices used to connect electrical circuits together. They can provide temporary or permanent connections, and may join electrical components to cables, or cables to other cables. Connectors are used in pairs in which one end is male and the other end is female.
Popular connectors include 8P8C (eight positions, eight conductors—for use in CAT5 and CAT6 network cables), RJ45, USB 3.0, and RF connectors.
Some common design requirements to keep in mind when choosing your connector:
1. Pin Configuration – Connectors can have as little as one signal/power pin (with associated return conductor pin) or up to dozens of signal pins and several power and return pins.
2. Electrical Requirements – The number of signals in total and the voltages, frequencies and currents they carry.
3. Size Constraints – Recent trends towards size reduction across equipment categories has led to a corresponding reduction in size and weight of connectors. In many space-constrained applications, D-Sub connectors are most appropriate.
4. Mechanical Environment – Applications subject to rugged conditions such as shock, vibration and extreme temperatures will require designated connectors.
5. Sealing – Applications subject to intrusion from liquids or dust require connectors with specific sealing levels.
6. Industry Standards – Many industries, including medical, aerospace and defense, and automotive require connectors of a certain grade.
7. Reliability – Connectors are rated for a certain number of cycles, from one-time-use to many thousands.
8. Terminations – Terminal types include crimped connectors, soldered connectors, press fit, and wire-wrap.
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