The past week, I’ve seen several press releases come across my desk for circular connectors, so it got me thinking about what they are used for. I’m working on getting materials specifically about M12 circular connectors, but here’s a quick rundown on what circular connectors are used for, mostly in part from information supplied by Omnetics.
Obviously, circular connectors are a natural fit for handling round cabling from high-speed digital, analog and power systems. They are most often used in aerospace and defense applications and medical systems. They feature multi-pin connect designs and are easily installed and removed. Because of their streamlined fit, they are well sealed against the environment and provide tough performance in the harshest of applications.
The most common circular connector designs are the M12 and M8, but new designs, including smaller connectors with different materials, are growing in the market. As Omnetics explained, as in most areas in industrial connection, miniaturization is critical to system design. Designers are now being pushed to reduce both size and weight within their existing electronics to allow for rugged portability within the field, so connectors are following suit.
Specific applications that benefit from miniature circular connectors include mobile robotic equipment, hand-held electronics, and Future Soldier systems, because these machines and systems are now requiring multiple circular connectors to route command signals and functions to different extremities within their instrumentation. Unmanned aircraft design is also trending this way, as many new UAV’s are reducing size and weight in an effort to enable the units themselves to be launched by hand. To do so, the units must remain small and light enough for the launch itself to be conducted by a single person. Micro-miniature circular connectors, such as those offered by Omnetics, can offer high-speed digital surveillance equipment the circuit speed and performance to insure the highest signal integrity.
When selecting a circular connector, it is important to know several key details about the application, including:
- Number of wires you will be connecting
- What wire gauge you will be connecting
- What type of receptacle is required
- What type of backshell will be required
- Is it field-attachable and easily serviced
Several other things must be taken into consideration but knowing these details will get you started on what type of connector you will need to specify. Stay tuned for more on M12 connectors.