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Things to Consider When Designing an Electrical Connector

If you’re tasked with designing an electrical connector, you have a few things to consider. You need to look at the size of the connection, the type of contacts, and whether you’ll be using wire-to-wire or IDCs. Ruggedness is also an important consideration.

Contacts and pitch

Electrical contacts arranged in an array are often referred to as a staggered contact. A staggered contact pattern consists of a base and a pair of opposing elastic arms that are attached to the insulating substrate. This architecture facilitates the increased length of the contact arm and enhances the working range. In some instances, the working range of a staggered contact may be higher than that of an in-line arrangement.

The array of staggered contacts can be arranged in several architectural configurations. For example, the array of two dimensional contacts can be arranged in a metallic sheet or by lithographic techniques. Alternatively, the elastic portions of the contact can be attached to a land grid array.


Wire-to-wire electrical connectors are designed to terminate a plurality of line wires of communications cable. They include a body member containing a terminal insert, an insulative housing, a contact subassembly, and a movable contact.

The movable contact is characterized by an elastically deformable arc-shaped thin portion. It extends through an aperture forming part of the contact subassembly. At least one of the tabs on the contact subassembly is biased into a closed position across the aperture.

Aside from the movable contact, a separate mating pin terminal is also included in the assembly. This device is fabricated from the same material as the movable contact.

A pin terminal is located between a wire crimp and the contact section. It consists of a recessed portion that can be adjusted to the desired characteristic impedance.


A D-subminiature electrical connector is used for many applications, including in computers, monitors, test and measurement instruments, joysticks and game consoles. There are two types of D-sub connectors, standard and high density, and there are many different contact variants. The first type is characterized by a mixed density insulator that accommodates both standard and high voltage contacts.

The second type is characterized by a high-temperature thermoplastic that can withstand temperatures up to 260 deg C. This thermoplastic facilitates PiP soldering, which is used to solder wires to the pins of a connector.

D-subminiature electrical connectors are often installed in custom cabinetry or floor pockets. In addition, they are often used in RS-232 serial ports on modems and computers that are compatible with IBM.


DIN electrical connectors are a family of multi-pin devices. They are usually used for joining two pieces of electronic equipment. However, these plugs are also used in other applications such as audio and video data systems.

A full sized DIN connector typically has three to fourteen pins. Each pin is located within a protective metal skirt. These connectors are typically 13.2 millimeters in diameter.

The DIN 43650 is a series of electrical connectors developed in Germany. These connectors are commonly used in solenoid valves, as well as in various industrial applications. Some of the common applications for DIN 43650 include signal transmission in pressure transducers, temperature sensors, and magnetic valves.


IDCs are electrical connectors that are based on a cold-welded metal-on-metal bond. They are suitable for use on insulated wires and offer a reliable connection. These connectors are suitable for various types of applications and come in a wide variety of designs.

Originally, IDCs were designed to connect conductors of solid wire. However, technical advances allowed for the development of stranded wires. Now, they are used in various low voltage industrial applications and domestic applications.

There are different wire gauges available for IDCs. These range from a thin 30 AWG to a heavy 22 AWG. The smallest wires are rated for 5A while the largest are rated for 6A.


Ruggedness of electrical connectors is an important consideration for devices in harsh environments. These devices must handle impacts, vibrations and moisture. With no margin for error, a robust connector is critical to maintaining high levels of performance.

Military applications and aerospace applications demand extreme ruggedness. For example, aerospace applications are subject to pressures exceeding 9,000 psi. They must operate flawlessly for years under these conditions.

Connectors in harsh environments must have a proper IP rating. An IP rating is a guide to the level of protection a product has against liquids, solids and EMI shielding. In general, the higher the rating, the better the protection.

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