A good connector can literally make or break an electrical system. If the connector quality is low, the integrity of the entire system can be compromised. Also, there are a lot of different types of connectors available on the market today. Choosing the right connector for your requirement can be a little confusing. Here are a few things you should consider before choosing the best connector.
1. The type of signal being carried
What is the type of signal being transmitted over the cables where you need the connectors? Consider whether the signals are power signals or data signals. In case of power signals, the voltages, frequencies, and currents being carried also matter while choosing the specifications of the connector. If you are using fiber optic cables, this is also a major aspect in choosing the connectors.
2. The operating conditions
The conditions in which the system is working will dictate the kind of connector you will need. For instance, the amount of vibrations and shock that the cable assembly will be subjected to must be considered while choosing the connector. For example, connectors with threaded coupling are more protected against harsh operating conditions compared to push-pull connectors.
If the system is in a place with high temperatures or if the connectors are near a heat source, then the connector should come with proper insulation to withstand the heat and also for safely connecting and disconnecting whenever needed.
3. The Ingress Protection factor
Connectors need environmental protection depending upon the kind of ingress they are exposed to. The Ingress Protection (IP) factor tells you how protected the connector is against external factors such as water, dust, oils, etc. While some connectors need protection only against the occasional sprinkles of water, some might need to be watertight. Some connectors, for example, used in subsea environments, might be exposed to high-pressure water currents. Same goes with dust and dirt. So, depending on the kind of environment the connector is going to be used in, you will need the IP rating. Bulgin provides high-quality watertight power connectors such as the 4000 Series Buccaneer.
4. The size of the connector
Some applications are more size-specific than others. When compact electrical systems are required due to space constraints, the connectors also need to be of smaller sizes. Compact connectors that small in size but do not compromise on the quality of the connectivity are needed.
5. How regular would the mating and unmating be
Each connector comes with a set number of mating cycles. It basically means that the connector can be connected and disconnected a given number of times and still provide good reliability. Some connectors are designed to be mated once and not disconnected for its entire lifetime, while others may need more frequent connecting and disconnecting. Obviously, in applications where frequent mating and unmating is required, you will need a connector with higher mating cycles.
6. The durability of the connector
Depending on the expected lifecycle of the system, the durability of the connectors is also an important factor. Most systems will need a long-lasting connector and a specification known as the MTBF (Mean Time Before Failure) will give you a fair idea whether the connector would be suitable for your requirement. It gives a fair idea about how long the connector will last before it is too old to be used reliably.
7. Industry standards
In certain industries, specified standards need to be met by all the components including the connectors. It would do to check what kind of industry-specific requirements are to be met by the connectors. For instance, in the pharmaceutical industry, the connectors might need to be sterilized from time to time. Also, the FDA might have specified standards for the medical industry.
While selecting connectors, reliability is always one of the primary considerations. Robust, ruggedly designed connectors that can provide good connection stability will complement the overall stability of your system. Choosing the right connectors will give your electrical systems better stability and help them perform efficiently.