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Connector Insights from iCONN

When to Choose Circular Connectors for Your Project

Posted by Rick Regole on Mon , September 30, 2019

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Choosing a connector to support power and data transfer in high-density applications can be challenging for product engineers, which is why we recommend working with an expert. Pick the wrong solution and you could jeopardize the integrity of your product. There are two basic design choices when selecting an industrial electrical connector — rectangular or circular. Both can be ordered or custom-created with metal or plastic shelling and a variety of options for the number of contacts, contact diameter, shell size and configurations. Both can also be mounted on a board. However, circular connectors offer certain advantages that rectangular connectors do not.

The Installation of Circular Connectors

Circular connectors are commonly used for free-hanging connections and easier to mount on a panel compared to rectangular connectors. Their fastening mechanism can be threaded, bayonet or snap-lock to ensure a secure connection. A common misconception is that circular connectors are not ideal for applications involving spatial constraints. However, the advent of miniaturized circular connectors, such as our iMINI connector series, makes it possible to use this type of connector design in tight spaces.

Circular Connectors for Extreme Environments

One of the most critical differentiators that set circular connectors apart from rectangular connectors is their rugged construction. Take our i8 iSENSOR connector series, for example. These circular connectors feature a closed-entry female contact design with secure threaded or push-pull coupling options to prevent water or dust ingress and maintain a secure seal, even under the most extreme environmental conditions.

When to Choose Circular Connectors

  1. If the product requires ingress protection and must achieve an IP-67 rating or higher
  2. When compact, rugged construction is needed for harsh, corrosive environmental conditions
  3. When electrical connections require protection from high levels of EMI/RFI
  4. When a quick, secure mating mechanism is needed to withstand vibration, shock, temperature and pressure
  5. To meet the compliance requirements set forth by IEC and RoHS

Common Applications

Circular connectors are frequently found in military applications, medical equipment, food and beverage, automotive manufacturing and other types of machine building. These connectors are also suitable for rubber and plastics manufacturing and often seen in oil and gas, mining, shipping, and other industrial applications involving extreme environmental conditions.

Selecting the right circular connector will hinge on three considerations:

  1. Wire gauge
  2. Amperage
  3. Environment

Because so many factors will determine the success of your interconnect solution, the safest way to make your selection is with guidance from an expert. iCONN Systems is a leading designer, manufacturer and supplier of circular connectors. Our off-the-shelf product lines are ideal for all types of commercial and industrial applications. We also specialize in custom-designed circular connectors to meet unique requirements.

Need a circular connector for your product? Download our Buyer’s Guide and learn how to get the best connector for your project.

Buyer's Guide iCONN Systems