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How to Find the Right Miniature Signal Connector

From mobile equipment to industrial machines, miniature signal connectors deliver the power and control required in various industrial and military applications to perform required functions. They do so by carrying data signals from sensors, switches and other control-oriented components to other parts of a system for a desired output.

At Amerline, we’ve developed our AEC 26482 commercial series for this purpose. Environmentally resistant and boasting a quick disconnect, these miniature circular connectors support reliable, convenient data transmission in a variety of use cases. 

As with any product investment, choosing the right connector is critical to success. This decision comes down to a few variables — a list that includes size constraints, environmental sealing requirements, maximum operating voltage, current rating, contact arrangements and finish.

Consider Size Constraints


As the name implies, miniature signal connectors typically have to work within space constraints. While wall-mounted receptacles are a popular choice for many applications, those with extremely limited space should consider a box-mounted receptacle. By eliminating accessory threads, box mounts boast a more compact rear profile ideal for confined spaces.

The AEC 26482 series offers both wall-mounted and box-mounted receptacles to suit a wider range of use cases.

Consider Environmental Sealing Requirements 


Depending on where they are used, miniature circular connectors experience different levels of stress that can impact signal transmission. The harsher the conditions are, the more durable the sealing needs to be. While general-duty Class A connectors are a viable option in many cases, connectors exposed to extreme environmental elements (such as cables in a telecommunications equipment box) often call for a grommet seal that blocks out moisture.

Within the AEC 26482 series, there are four classes available:

  • Class A: General-duty
  • Class E: Grommet seal 
  • Class F: Grommet seal with strain relief
  • Class P: Potting

Consider Maximum Operating Voltage


In terms of electrical data, the AEC 26482 series of miniature circular connectors is divided into two service ratings. Service I applies to signal connectors with a maximum operating voltage of 600V AC / 850V DC , while Service II accounts for 1000V AC / 1275V DC .

Function should dictate the maximum operating voltage, or working voltage, of your connector. For instance, while the design of your application may call for one voltage, its use at a higher altitude also influences its operating voltage, making it an environmental consideration as well.

Consider Current Ratings


While on the topic of electrical data, it’s also important to consider the current ratings of miniature circular connectors. Within the AEC 26482 connector series, there are three levels of current ratings directly related to contact size:

  • Contact size #20: 7.5A
  • Contact size #16: 13.0A
  • Contact size #12: 23.0A

From a functional perspective, it’s critical to make sure that, even at very low voltages, the current flowing through the contacts doesn’t exceed this maximum. Otherwise, the connector can overheat and fail.

Consider Contact Arrangements


Each shell size in the AEC 26482 series comes with a variety of contact arrangements. The arrangement you pick should be based on how many wires you need to connect, as well as your application’s space and voltage requirements. 

At Amerline, we offer the option to modify the contact entryway. This allows the use of a broader range of wire gauges to accommodate more applications.

Consider Finishes


The finishes applied to signal connectors can be thought of in two respects: the shell finish and the contacts finish. Each of these elements has a significant impact on the performance and longevity of the respective connector.

In terms of shell finishes, the default for the AEC 26482 series connectors is an olive drab chromate coating over zinc plating known for its durability and corrosion protection. But we also offer variations of this finish — for example, the electro-deposited olive drab finish that meets or exceeds the 500-hour salt spray test — for applications that require it.

With regards to the contacts, the AEC 26482 series features gold-plated contacts. With its resistance to oxidation and ability to retain conductivity over time, gold enhances the quality of the signal transmitted in systems. This makes it a valuable choice over other metal contact finishes, especially in harsh environments where signals are more subject to interference.

Ready to talk to us about your miniature signal connector needs? We’ll help you meet your requirements in a timely, cost-effective fashion. Request a quote now.


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