There’s more than one way to fasten (or “mount”) a connector receptacle to an electrical device. The three primary mount styles include panel mount, free-hanging, or board mount. For the purpose of this article, we’re focusing on what a panel mount is, when to use them, and how they benefit engineers and users.
A panel mount is a mechanical feature that can be built into connector designs so that you can plug a connector directly into an electrical device. This type of mount can either be installed onto the surface of a device (the device wall) or as a free-hanging connector for in-the-field assembly. Panel mounts can be placed almost anywhere on the product chassis, including:
- Side Mount
Engineers typically incorporate a panel mount into their system designs when connecting electrical components inside an enclosure to wires or cables outside the enclosure. To make this connection, the manufacturer cuts out a hole in the side of the enclosure wall to allow cables and wires to pass from inside the enclosure to outside connections. If the installation only requires a one-time connection and cables or wires will not be exposed to potential strain, this hole can often be left as is. If cables will involve routine plugging and unplugging or will exist in an environment that could create a strain on connections, it’s best to use a panel mount to permanently affix the connector receptacle to the enclosure. This will allow the inside electronics to be wired to the back of the panel mount connector while the connector is installed into the hole in the enclosure wall.
Benefits of a Panel Mount
- Protection: Reduce the impact of strain on the assembly that can damage wires, cables, and the connector itself.
- Stability: Stabilize the connection to prevent assemblies from disconnecting or otherwise failing due to vibration, tension, etc.
- Usability: Create easy, straightforward “plug-and-play” connectivity to make products safer and more user-friendly for end-users.
- Tamper Proof: Use specialized mounting hardware to create a tamper-proof connection that prevents the public or untrained individuals from improper use of the equipment.
- Waterproof: Incorporate specialized materials into the design to create a waterproof barrier between external elements and internal electrical components.
Before choosing a connector and mount, be sure to consider all application requirements, including environmental factors that will affect the lifespan and usability of the equipment. Retention hardware and flanges may be required for proper installation.
At iCONN Systems, we specialize in off-the-shelf, customized, and modified panel mounts and connector receptacles for indoor and outdoor applications. Learn more about the infinite combination of materials and configurations you can use to customize your panel mount and connector design and use our free online 3D CAD tool to start configuring your connector solution today!