How to Find the Right Power Connector
Power connectors are known for their ability to supply electrical current to devices and equipment. We can see these interconnections in a range of industrial applications, from motion systems in construction equipment to wind power management systems.
Considering the range of use cases for power connectors, it makes sense that they are offered in a variety of options. That way, they can cater to the needs of applications and meet specified performance requirements in the field.
By the same token, a variety of power connector options can lead to questions, too. In the interest of ensuring a fast time to market and minimal downtime, businesses want to know they are choosing the power connector that best suits their application from both a physical and functional point of view.
Using Amerline’s power connectors as a foundation, we’ll walk through how to assess design elements like coupling methodology, current ratings, contact arrangements and protective finishes to help you find the right power connector for your specific use case.
A Brief Introduction to Amerline’s Series of Power Connectors
AEC 5015 Commercial Series
Amerline’s AEC 5015 commercial series are circular power connectors that are environmentally-resistant and designed for harsh conditions. This threaded style of connector is widely used in both commercial and military industries, as it meets the military specifications for vibration, shock, humidity and other performance metrics.
AEC 95234 Reverse Bayonet Series
Amerline’s AEC 95234 series are highly-reliable circular power connectors and have the same shell dimensions and contact layouts with the 5015 series, making the two series interchangeable. The difference between the two is the 95234 connectors have a reverse bayonet coupling design that offers excellent anti-vibration resistance.
Consider the Coupling Method
There’s good reason AEC 95234 power connectors are used in rail transit applications. Rail vehicles are subject to significant vibration as they operate — pressure that can cause traditional power connectors to loosen over time and disrupt power transmission. Backed by a reverse bayonet coupling method, the AEC 95234 connectors are able to handle this level of vibration, while providing the added benefit of easy connection and disconnection.
The threaded coupling that is found in the AEC 5015 power connectors is designed to enable optimal performance for 500 mating cycles. With a high level of mating force achieved, it’s less likely for an accidental disconnection to occur. The added security of these connections make AEC 5015 power connectors ideal for use cases such as industry machines and communication equipment.
Consider the Current Ratings
The size of a power connector has a direct impact on the current that is able to pass through it. Generally speaking, larger shell sizes are used to house larger contacts that have higher current-carrying capacities. Meanwhile, smaller shell sizes accommodate smaller contacts for sensor applications.
Both the AEC 5015 and 95234 series offer shell sizes that range from 10SL to 40, and contact sizes between 0 to 20. These variables, alongside the number of contacts in the configuration and how they are arranged, determine the connector’s service rating — a number that can range anywhere from 200 V to 3,000 V.
While shell size selection is determined by the design and power requirements of the application, it’s important to remember how heat generation factors into this equation. As current runs through the connector, heat is produced in the contacts — and the higher the number of contacts in a connector design, the more heat is generated. The connector must be designed with high-strength materials to handle this load, with overmolding used in high-vibration applications, for instance, that require added strain relief.
Consider the Contact Arrangements
Just as important as the size and number of contacts in a power connector is the way the contacts are laid out. The insert arrangement you choose must adhere to the material and performance requirements of your application to build an effective bridge.
To suit a variety of applications, the AEC 5015 and 95234 series provide contact arrangements that range from 1 to 104 contacts. Proper spacing between the contacts helps balance out heat generation and boost efficiency.
Consider the Protective Finish
Metal connectors are subject to corrosion, especially in harsher types of environments. Applying an RoHS-compliant finish to the connector shell helps protect it from galvanic attacks that could mar the connector’s appearance and, more importantly, hinder its performance.
Both the AEC 5015 and 95234 series of power connectors offer various RoHS finish options, including electro-deposited finishes rated for up to 500 hours of salt spray.
Amerline Offers an Array of Power Connectors to Meet Your Needs
Power connectors are required in a variety of applications, and with that variety comes the need for different types of coupling designs, current ratings, contact arrangements and protective finishes.
At Amerline, we offer an extensive inventory of power connectors as part of our AEC® commercial series. Made of high-strength aluminum, these circular connectors are designed and manufactured to deliver maximum protection in harsh environments, with flexible configurations to meet unique installation, power and regulatory needs.
Layered on top of this built-in flexibility is the value-added services we provide. When added strain relief and protection is needed in the field, you can leverage our overmolding customization work — work that takes place in-house, saving you the added costs of overseas production and shipment.
Ready to take the next step? Request a quote from our team today.