Any electrical connector can be circular connectors if they have multi-pin interconnects featuring circular contact interface with cylindrical contact housings. A variety of circular connector types is there that are used for applications that demand high reliability such as military and aerospace.
Circular connectors are widely used for some of their unique capabilities. They can hold various types of contacts, provide solid mechanical performance, are compatible with a broad range of contact currents and voltages, and are capable of environment sealing with ease. On the other hand, their principal drawback when compared to rectangular connectors is the loss of panel space when used in groups.
Selection Criteria of Circular Connector Types
Choosing the right circular connector is important to get the correct mechanical performance. There are some basic parameters that you have to consider while choosing circular connector types:
All connectors can be primarily divided into two categories – male and female. A male connector has pins that plug into a receiver with sockets while a female connector has sockets that connect to a connector with pins.
A variety of terminal options is there that determine how the conductive element connects to the connector’s electrical contacts. Termination options include tabs, screws, PCB solder, solder cup, lugs, wire wrap, insulation displacement, and crimp.
The connectors come with particular mounting types as they are required to mount on a circuit board, panel, cable end, or other points. Different mounting methods are available including inline cable mounts, jam nuts, bulkheads, and flanges.
You also have to consider several performance criteria for selecting the right circular connector types. Let’s take a look at the key performance factors:
- Voltage and Current Ratings
The maximum rated voltage and current indicates to the highest amount of voltage and flow of electricity a connector can transmit, respectively. The size and type of contacts in the connectors typically control the voltage and current rating.
Connectors that are used for electrical signals and sensors have low amperage and voltage ratings. Power connectors, on the other hand, have a high voltage and current ratings.
The standard voltage ratings of the connectors are 50V, 125V, 250V, and 600V while the current ratings range between 1A and 50A.
- Contact Number & Size
The contact number indicates to the number of conductive elements in a connector. On the other hand, the size of the contact can refer to either the termination size or the diameter of the contact.
The American Wire Gauge (AWG) is the standard according to which the size of the wire is measured in North America. The AWG number is conversely proportionate to the diameter of the wire. So, the thinner the wire is, the higher the AWG number.
Previously, the term circular connectors were used for circular plastic connectors (CPC), which were used in industrial applications for their ability to offer a secure connection and withstand hard environments. There are mil-spec connectors that are specifically designed for military and aerospace applications. You’ll also find DIN, micro, and nano connectors for different applications.