How to Choose the Right Connector

June 11, 2024

how to choose the right connector

Choosing the right connector can be a complex task due to the wide variety of types and applications. However, despite the diversity, the selection process should adhere to the following 12 critical criteria to ensure optimal performance and reliability.

1. Current Capacity

When selecting connectors for power signals, it’s crucial to consider their current capacity. Use derating design principles and ensure proper insulation voltage between pins.

2. Physical Dimensions

The physical size of the connector is crucial, especially where space is limited, such as on a circuit board. Choose the appropriate installation method (front or rear installation) and secure it with rivets, screws, locking rings, or the connector’s own fasteners. Consider the shape (straight, angled, T-type, circular, square) based on available space and mounting position.

3. Shielding

With the advancement of communication products, EMC considerations have become increasingly important. Choose connectors with metal housings and cables with shielding layers. The shielding layer should connect to the connector’s metal shell to achieve effective shielding. Alternatively, use injection molding methods to wrap the plug area with copper foil, welding the cable’s shielding layer to the copper foil.

4. Impedance Matching

Some signals, especially RF signals, have stringent impedance requirements. Mismatched impedance can cause signal reflection and affect transmission quality. While general signal transmission may not require specific impedance matching, RF applications demand precise matching to prevent performance degradation.

5. Anti-Mismating

Anti-mismating involves two aspects: preventing incorrect connections due to rotated or misaligned connectors, and avoiding the use of the wrong connector type for different signals. To minimize risk, choose connectors with built-in anti-mismating features or design the relative positions to ensure unique assembly. For critical signals, use different connector types to prevent catastrophic errors.

6. Reliability

Connectors must ensure reliable signal connections. Design choices, such as face contacts over point contacts or pin-socket connections over blade-spring connections, can significantly impact reliability.

7. Versatility

Opt for versatile connectors that can be used across different products within the same series. This reduces material variety, lowers costs through increased quantity, and mitigates supply risks.

8. Operating Environment

Connectors used in harsh environments—outdoors, high temperatures, humidity, salt fog, mold, or cold—require special considerations. Ensure they meet the necessary environmental resistance standards.

9. Locking Mechanism

To prevent accidental disconnection and ensure good contact, connectors should have a reliable locking mechanism.

10. Cost

Cost is a critical factor in the selection process. As market competition intensifies, both the cost of the connector itself and the processing costs need comprehensive evaluation.

11. Insertion and Withdrawal Frequency

Connectors have a limited number of mating cycles. For applications requiring frequent connections and disconnections, select connectors designed for high insertion and withdrawal cycles.

12. Energized Condition

Depending on whether the connector will be engaged or disengaged under load, choose pin-type or socket-type connectors accordingly.

In conclusion, choose the right connectors involves balancing multiple factors. These criteria often interact with each other, requiring a comprehensive evaluation to choose the most suitable connector. The quality of this selection process can significantly impact the product at different stages.

By carefully considering these 12 factors, you can ensure that your connector choice will provide reliable performance, cost-effectiveness, and long-term usability.

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Disclaimer: This article is provided for general information and reference purposes only. The opinions, beliefs, and viewpoints expressed by the author of this article do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs, and viewpoints of Cytech Systems or official policies of Cytech Systems.

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