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Connector Insights from iCONN

What is a Panel Mount Receptacle?

Posted by Rick Regole on Mon , July 8, 2019

What is a panel mount receptacle? The best way to answer is to begin with a breakdown of terms.

  • A receptacle is a plug-like apparatus that allows an electrical device to connect with a supply of electricity.
  • A connector is a plug-like apparatus that affixes to a receptacle to complete an electrical circuit and deliver electricity.

Every receptacle/connector pair has a number of pins that fit into a matching number of socket holes, and a coupling mechanism that secures the attachment of the receptacle to the connector.

  • The term “mount” refers to how a receptacle is fastened to an electrical device, such as a computer or kitchen appliance.
  • The termination refers to how the pins mate and unmate with socket holes.

There are several ways to mount a receptacle, but for today’s article, we are going to define three basic approaches.

  1. Panel mount: The receptacle is installed onto the surface of the electrical device.
    panel-mount-receptacle
  2. Free-hanging mount: The receptacle is mounted onto a cable end.
    free-hanging-mount

  3. Board mount: The receptacle is mounted onto a printed circuit board (PCB).

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A panel mount receptacle enables you to plug connectors directly into a device wall or free-hanging connector for in-the-field assembly. The process involves cutting a hole in the surface of the electrical device and placing the receptacle through or against the hole. This type of mount can be installed almost anywhere on the product chassis and is well-suited for products that require IP-rated protection from dust or water ingress.

Before selecting a connector/receptacle kit, you must first determine the nature of the application environment and usage to find the type of coupling needed. A panel mount receptacle has two basic coupling styles:

Quick-Connect connectors are plastic, which makes them more affordable than other connectors. However, they are not as durable as metal couplings and shouldn’t be used for applications that involve frequent mating and unmating.

Materials:

    • Plug housing
    • Coupling nut
    • Receptacle housing
    • Jam nut
    • Mounting gasket/O-ring
    • Contacts
    • Connector interface sealing O-ring

Check out iCONN’s iMATE series for quick-connect solutions.

Threaded connectors are metal, which makes them more expensive. However, they are also more durable and well-suited for applications that require frequent mating and unmating.

Materials:

    • Contact carrier
    • Coupling nut
    • Panel mount housing
    • Contacts
    • Connector interface sealing O-ring

Panel mount receptacles can be configured as male (pin), female (socket), angled or straight to meet spatial and design requirements. They can also be mounted from the front or rear depending on where the power source will connect with the receptacle.

Front Panel Mount Receptacle:

  • Threads are on the receptacle part of the assembly.
  • Installs from the outside of the box.
  • Secured with the jam nut on the inside of the box.
  • Sealed with the O-ring on the outside of the box to achieve an IP rating.
  • Easy to replace because the receptacle is installed from the outside.
  • Commonly used when space is limited behind the panel.

Rear Panel Mount Receptacle

  • Opposite of front mount.
  • Threads are on the connector part of the assembly.
  • Installs from inside the box.
  • Secured with the O-ring and jam nut on the outside of the box.
  • Not as easy to replace/requires more forethought than front mounts.

Note: Depending on the type of panel mount receptacle you purchase, retention hardware and flanges may be required for proper installation.

iCONN Systems specializes in customizing, modifying, and manufacturing panel mount receptacles to meet the demands of any application. We also carry standard, off-the-shelf connectors for less stringent scenarios. For more information, check out our panel mount receptacles, or contact us to speak with an experienced representative.

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