All electronics must be connected to a power source. This is where the importance of power connectors comes in. They act as a link between the electronic and the power source. In this guide, we are going to break down everything you should know about power connectors.
What are power connectors?
Power connectors are devices or accessories that allow an electric current to pass through from the power source to the device. They come in different shapes and sizes, but all of them have one common goal – to provide power to the device.
Types of power connectors
There are many types of power connectors available on the market. The most common ones are:
- AC adapters
- Barrel connectors
- Cigarette lighter adapters
- DC power connectors
- D-sub connectors
- IDC connectors
- Mains power adapters
- Pogo pin connectors
- Precision connector systems (PCI)
AC Adapters (also known as transformers or mains adapters)
AC adapters are devices that convert the electrical current from a certain voltage and frequency to another of the same amperage, but of a higher voltage and frequency. This is done to allow equipment that runs on low-voltage direct current (DC) power to run with an alternating current (AC). Some of the most common AC adapters are:
- Power plugs
- Power cords
A barrel connector is a cylindrical male electrical connector, usually with screw-type contact output. They are mainly used for DC current and come in two types:
- Single-Pole – comes in different sizes (for example 2.5mm, 3.5mm, 6.3mm ) and can carry up to 25 volts of current
- Dual-Pole – also come in different sizes, but can carry up to 50 volts of current
Cigarette lighter adapters
A cigarette lighter adapter (CLA) is a power connector that plugs into a car’s cigarette lighter socket. It is used to power devices that require 12 volt direct current (DC), such as GPS units, portable DVD players, and car chargers for cell phones.
DC power connectors
DC power connectors are the most common type of power connector. They are used to supply direct current (DC) power to electronic devices. The most common types of DC power connectors are:
- Barrel connectors
- DC connectors
- IDC connectors
D-subs are probably the most common type of power connector used in industry. They come with a variety of insulations and contacts, so they can carry less or more current as required. The most common types of d-sub-power connectors include:
- D-subminiature connectors
- D-subminiature connectors with high power
- High-current D-sub connectors
IDC connectors are designed to carry large currents, making them ideal for high-power applications. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but all have one thing in common – they have a blade or tab that inserts into the slot on the PCB, making them very reliable.
Mains power adapters
Mains power adapters are devices that allow electronic equipment to be powered by an AC adapter. They come in two types:
- Wall wart
- Desktop adapters
Pogo pin connectors
Pogo pins are spring-loaded, stainless steel probes that come in different shapes and sizes. They are used to create connections between printed circuit boards (PCBs) or terminal blocks using a quick-connect/disconnect motion.
Precision connector systems (PCI)
Precision connector systems (PCI) are high-quality power connectors that offer a very reliable and durable connection. They are used in a variety of industries, including medical, military, and aerospace.
Design of power connectors
Now that you know all about the different types of power connectors, it’s time to learn about how they are designed. The design of a power connector is extremely important, as it affects both the performance and reliability of the connector. In this chapter, we will look at some of the most important aspects of power connector design, including:
- The connector shell
- The connector contacts
- The connector insulator
The connector shell is the outer casing of the connector. It is typically made from plastic or metal and is responsible for protecting the connector contacts and insulator. It also acts as a strain relief, preventing the cable from being pulled too tight.
The connector contact is the metal part of the power connector that transmits power by making an electrical connection with another similar metal object. There are two different types of contacts: • Blade contacts
- IDC inserts
Insulators are used to prevent the connector from short-circuiting. They come in two main types:
Power connector construction and assembly
Here, we are going to look at how power connectors are constructed and assembled. We will start by looking at some of the most common materials used in connector bodies, including:
- Nylon 6/6
Then, we will look at how the connector contacts are inserted into the connector body and how the connector is assembled.
Connector body materials
The most common materials used in power connector bodies are ABS, Delrin, and nylon 6/6. These materials have a number of benefits, including:
- Low cost
- High strength
- Low weight
- resistance to chemicals and solvents
The connector contacts are usually made from copper or brass, as these metals have a high electrical conductivity. However, other metals may also be used, depending on the requirements of the application.
Power connectors are typically assembled using a crimping operation, which involves clamping the connector contacts between two dies. The material is squeezed into a shape that allows it to be inserted into or attached to another conductive object.
Power connector testing and certification
In this chapter, we will look at the various tests and certifications that power connectors must pass in order to be deemed safe for use. These tests include:
- Dielectric testing
- Voltage testing
- Current rating testing
Dielectric testing is used to ensure that the connector insulation is sufficiently robust to protect the wire insulation and other internal components from voltage breakdown. This test ensures that the maximum voltage at which a power connector will safely operate is greater than or equal to the breakdown voltage of its insulator.
In order to have sufficient current-carrying capacity, a power connector must be able to withstand voltages well in excess of the breakdown voltage. This test ensures that the maximum voltage at which a power connector will safely operate is greater than or equal to the current rating of its wire or cable insulation.
Current rating testing
This test determines whether a power connector can be used with wire and cable having currents up to the rated level without risking damage to the connector. It is important to note that the current rating of a power connector does not necessarily reflect the maximum current that it can carry.
Power connector applications
In this chapter, we will look at some of the most common applications for power connectors. These applications include:
Power connectors are commonly used in appliances, such as:
- Air conditioners and refrigerators
- Washers and dryers
Computer power supplies (PSUs) typically use a variety of different power connectors, including:
- Molex connector
- SATA connector
- PCIe connector
Power connectors are also widely used in consumer electronics, such as:
- DVD and Blu-ray players
- Set-top boxes
Power connectors are used in a wide variety of general lighting applications, including:
- Track lighting
- Desk lamps
Power connectors are used in many industrial applications, including:
- Motors and drives
- Pumps and valves
Power connectors are used in a wide range of medical equipment, including:
- Hospital beds and wheelchairs
- Surgical tables and devices
Technical specifications of power connectors
There are various technical specifications that are used to define power connectors. In this chapter, we will look at some of the most important ones.
One of the most important specifications is connector type. This defines the physical shape and size of the connector.
Connector gender refers to the gender of the connector contacts. There are two types of connector genders:
Connector orientation is used to define the position of the connector contacts. There are two types of connector orientations:
Connector current rating
The current rating of a power connector is the maximum continuous current that it can carry without risking damage.
Connector voltage rating
The voltage rating of a power connector is the maximum voltage that it can safely operate at.
Connector wattage rating
The wattage rating of a power connector is the maximum power that it can safely dissipate.
Choosing the right power connector
When choosing a power connector, it is important to consider both the application and the environment in which it will be used. For example, in some applications, the connector must also resist exposure to chemicals. In this section, we will look at some of the main things that you need to consider when choosing a power connector.
Connector size is typically measured using two dimensions: diameter and pitch. The diameter of a connector is the distance from one edge of the connector to the other. The pitch is the distance between adjacent connector pins.
There are many different types of power connectors, so it is important to select the correct type for the application.
The gender of a power connector refers to the gender of its contacts. There are two types of connector genders: male and female.
The orientation of a power connector is the angle at which the connector contacts are positioned. There are two types of connector orientations: straight and right-angle.
Connector current rating
The current rating of a power connector is the maximum continuous current that it can handle before risking damage. You must ensure that the connector can handle the current requirements of the application.
Connector voltage rating
The voltage rating of a power connector is the maximum voltage that it can safely operate at. You must ensure that the connector can handle the voltage requirements of the application.
When selecting a power connector, you must also consider the environmental conditions in which it will be used. For example, you must ensure that the connector can withstand the heat and humidity levels in an industrial environment.
Some power connectors are also resistant to exposure to chemicals. If your application involves contact with chemicals, you must select a connector that is resistant to them.
The operating temperature of a power connector is the maximum temperature at which it can safely operate. You must ensure that the connector can operate within the required temperature range.
The IP rating of a power connector is an indication of its level of protection against dust and water. The higher the IP rating, the better the protection.
Target device gender and orientation
When selecting a power connector, it is important to ensure that the target device has the correct gender and orientation. You must also consider whether there are other requirements such as cable strain relief or sealing against dust and moisture.
You must consider the requirements of both the male and female connectors when choosing a cable type. The male connector requires a cable that has the correct size and connector type, while the female connector requires a cable that has the correct diameter and is flexible enough to crimp onto its contacts.
Connector circuit technology
There are two main types of power connectors: spring-loaded and non-spring-loaded. Most spring-loaded connectors use a single leaf-spring to contact the female connector, while non-spring-loaded connectors use a variety of methods to contact the female connector.
What is the price of power connectors?
Power connectors are manufactured by several different companies around the world, and each company has its own brand name. The price of power connectors varies depending on factors such as quality (brand), size, current rating (amperage), voltage rating (voltage), and environmental conditions.
It is important that you contact the manufacturer or supplier directly to find out the issue of price.
Choosing a reliable power connector supplier
It is important to consider where you buy power connectors. Many of the cheaper connectors available on the market are not made with quality materials and may not provide an adequate current rating or voltage rating. You must ensure that you buy from a reputable supplier that provides power connectors that meet your requirements.
Power connectors are available in a variety of shapes, sizes, and voltages. I hope that this guide has given you valuable facts and information about power connectors.
At ICRFQ, we are a reliable power connector supplier in China. We manufacture and supply a wide range of power connectors that meet your requirements. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.
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