High current connectors are essential to applications such as electric power units, battery storage systems and semiconductor manufacturing equipment.
Consider these factors when selecting a connector to ensure that it’s the right fit for your application.
1. Define Electrical Current Requirements
Establishing the electrical current and voltage requirements each contact will carry is an important first step in selecting the appropriate connector. The size of the wire and the contact dictate its current load capabilities, while contact spacing and insulation materials determine the voltage rating. Make sure the contact will support the conductor size to avoid overheating problems.
2. Understand the Datasheet
It’s important to understand how a manufacturer specifies the current rating and operating voltages of its products. Test ratings and data should refer to the manufacturer’s standards, as not every company uses the same testing criteria. When viewing current ratings, look for a connector’s temperature rise specification, as it will indicate how much heat is dissipated at a specific current value.
3. Don’t Overlook Termination Types
Termination types come in many varieties. Some use solder contacts, which help to lock out dirt and moisture, others are crimped, making it easy for field repairs. compression terminations, wire-wrapping connections, direct connections, and loop or eye connections. The termination type you’ll need also depends on the size and type of the cable and the amount of voltage and current it will supply.
4. Understand Mechanical and Environmental Factors
Environmental factors including moisture, temperature, vibration, and shock will factor into your connector selection process, including the type of housing, which protects the connection and keeps the electrical contacts safe from environmental hazards and short circuits. It’s also important to understand what mechanical factors may come into play in your specific application.
5. Look at Total Cost
The price of high-current electrical connectors is based not only on the hardware itself, but also the amount of labor required for assembly (attaching the electrical wire to the terminal and inserting it into the housing) and repair. Most manufacturers also offer a range of tooling equipment, such as crimpers and removal tools, for repairing connectors that have been damaged or need replacing.