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Design News, January 2013

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Electronics & Test Connector Selection Ten steps to getting the connector right. By David Cianciolo, Fischer Connectors W Current (in Amperes) Table A hen it comes to reliable system operation, 100 90 choosing the right 80 connector is key. The 70 60 right connector can make your sys50 tem smaller, lighter, and easier for the 40 user to handle. It's not a place to take shortcuts, as the right connector system 30 can help avoid the high price of recalls, 20 repairs, and lost customers. Conducting adequate research on the connectors and cables must be done at the begin10 ning of a systems design process to 9 8 produce the optimal design. Follow 7 these 10 steps to research the ideal 6 connector early in the design phase and 5 you can positively impact the design, 4 usability, and cost structure of your 3 entire device. 1 Electrical Needs: Defining the electrical voltage and current requirements each contact will carry is the first step to selecting the ideal connectors for your device.You have to ensure that you not only have the right number of contacts, but that the contacts can carry the power demands of your application. The size of the contact and the wire dictate the contact's current-carrying capability. Contact spacing, insulation materials, and the geometry of the insulator used to isolate the contacts dictates the voltage rating. To ensure that you design in the proper connector, it's important to dig 35ºC temp. rise above ambient 10ºC temp. rise above ambient 2 1 28 26 24 22 20 18 16 14 12 10 Conductor size (in AWG) Derating Factor: No. of conductors 1 2 to 3 4 to 5 6 to 15 16 to 30 Factor* 1.6 1.0 0.8 0.7 0.5 *Multiply the amperage value by this factor to find the recommended current capacity. Note: Current ratings are intended as general guidelines for low power electronic communications and control applications. Current ratings for power applications generally are set by regulatory agencies such as UL, CSA, NEC, and others. Design News jaNuary 2013 | www.d esign n ews.com –46– 8

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