Connectors are complex assemblies whose performance is based on interactions of materials with electrical, mechanical, and environmental factors. Extensive testing is required to ensure proper performance and numerous industry standards have been developed for that purpose. This FAQ reviews 13 tests across three key performance indicators for connectors including electrical, mechanical, and environmental considerations for […]
How to improve contact reliability and security in HVAC/harsh environments
Contact security and reliability are important considerations when designing heating ventilation/air conditioning (HVAC) systems and other equipment for use in harsh environments, like outdoors or in industrial facilities. Well-established standards like RAST connectors provide a good alternative, but some applications demand more. Challenges include environmental sealing, contact retention, position optimization, and locking power connectors together […]
What are the key tests for HVAC/harsh environment connectors?
Connectors are complex assemblies whose performance is based on interactions of electrical, mechanical, environmental, and materials factors. Extensive testing is required to ensure proper performance, and numerous industry standards have been developed for that purpose. This FAQ reviews 13 tests across three key performance indicators for connectors, including electrical, mechanical, and environmental considerations for connectors […]
What are the top five performance needs for HVAC/harsh environment connectors?
Amid a plethora of performance requirements for connectors used in heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems and other harsh environments, five stand out as especially important — ingress protection against dust and moisture (IP rating), extreme temperature operation, balancing mating/unmating forces and contact resistance, retention force and locking mechanisms for robust operation, and safety. […]
What’s the difference between needle flame and glow wire testing?
Needle flame and glow wire testing are two approaches to determining the flame-retardant performance of materials like various plastics and the electronic devices that incorporate those materials. Needle flame tests are defined in IEC 60695-2-2, while glow wire testing is defined in IEC 60335 and IEC 60695. UL94 is another material burning test and can […]
What are RAST connectors?
RAST connectors include signal and power designs based on insulation displacement technology. The original specification included a maximum of 12 contacts, but RAST connectors are currently available with 20 or more contacts. They were developed for consumer white goods and have been adopted by various applications, including automotive systems. The RAST connector system was designed […]
How does an acoustic camera work and what’s it good for?
Acoustic cameras consist of microphone arrays used to locate and characterize sounds. There are a variety of microphone array structures to support specific analysis needs. Some acoustic cameras also have an embedded visual camera to supply an image over which the acoustic localization information can be presented. Acoustic camera application examples range from analyzing noise […]
What are the types and uses of vibration sensors?
There’s a wide range of vibration sensor technologies, and each technology has unique performance characteristics that make it suited for a specific type of applications ranging from mobile devices to machine condition monitoring and automotive safety testing. This FAQ reviews vibration and accelerometer sensor technologies including charge mode versus voltage mode piezoelectric sensors, MEMS devices, […]
What are ten key parameters of audio system performance?
Ten key parameters of audio system performance include efficiency, frequency response, total harmonic distortion, intermodulation distortion, phase distortion, transient distortion, transient response, dynamic range, sound pressure level, and sound power level. This FAQ reviews how each of these parameters is specified and measured and closes with a look at how safe sound levels are specified […]
What are the subtleties of using accelerometers as vibration sensors?
Accelerometers are deceptively simple-looking devices but are complex electromechanical systems. But there are numerous mechanical, environmental, electronic, and application-related factors to consider when using accelerometers. This FAQ reviews several of the subtleties that need to be considered when using accelerometers as vibration sensors and closes with a look at the ISO/IEC/IEEE 21451-4:2010 standard for Transducer […]
When to use sound pressure and when to use sound intensity measurements
Sound pressure, sound intensity, and sound power are three different ways to quantify sound. This FAQ begins by defining each one, looks at various types of measurement techniques that can be used to quantify them, presents a range of international testing standards for measuring sound, looks at instruments used for measuring sound pressure and intensity, […]
What’s special about connectors in quantum computers?
Quantum computers are expected to solve some of the world’s most complex problems. Fabricating interconnects is one of the most complex problems when building quantum computers. Quantum computers need connectors that can withstand cryogenic temperatures, with non-magnetic construction, that operate at microwave frequencies with low losses to reduce heating and improve data transfer. High-density hermetically […]
Rotary slip ring connectors — what are they used for?
Rotary slip ring connectors are important components in various applications like multi-axis robots in industry 4.0, wind turbines for sustainable green energy, machine tools, medical systems, and more. This FAQ considers how slip ring connectors differ from commutators, and looks at how mercury-wetted, pancake, and wireless slip ring connectors work. Their capabilities and reviews applications […]
How are terahertz connectors different?
Terahertz (THz) systems represent one of the next frontiers in electronics. THz applications are expected to include automotive advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) for autonomous vehicles, next-generation telephony like 5G and 6G, augmented and virtual reality (AR & VR) technologies for the metaverse, and more. There will be numerous challenges to overcome in the development […]
How can connector sustainability be improved?
Before it became fashionable, connector makers were at the forefront of sustainability. It started with replacing cadmium plating to meet RoHS requirements and soon expanded to using plastic regrinds and bio-based plastics instead of 100% new plastics for connector bodies. Connector makers have more recently embraced new, more sustainable materials for high-performance contacts. This FAQ […]
How are RF connectors shrinking for mmWave systems?
RF connectors for mmWave are shrinking to accommodate higher performance and higher densities in 5G communication networks and devices. This FAQ begins by looking at today’s 4.3-10 coaxial connectors, which were developed to solve the performance issues inherent to the previous 7-16 connectors. It then examines how the technologies unveiled in the 4.3-10 are further […]
Where are miniature connectors for wearables headed?
Miniature connectors for wearables continue to shrink, and they are increasing in performance, carrying higher bandwidth signals and more power. Wearables add functionality, resulting in more components and interconnects in the same size package. Applications range from smartwatches and health monitoring devices to augmented reality/virtual reality (AR/VR) devices, as well as medical and military systems. […]
How are optical interconnects being miniaturized?
Fiber optic connector trends include a proliferation of new and smaller designs and, according to NTT, optical connector standardization activities are one of the most active areas at the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). As of February 2021, IEC SC 86B (Fibre optic interconnecting devices and passive components) published the second largest number of documents in […]
What connectors are there for woven electronics & e-textiles?
Woven electronics and electronic textiles (e-textiles) are emerging areas of technology. E-textiles are being developed that can monitor physiological conditions, deliver medical treatments, or be used as human machine interfaces (HMIs). Maintaining reliable connections between electronic devices embedded into clothing or other soft materials is challenging. There are issues related to washability and durability, in […]
What’s different about space-rated connectors?
Space-grade connectors are generally spin-offs of military-grade designs. Compared with common commercial connectors, there’s a much smaller variety of space-grade connectors. However, commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) and COTS+ connectors are increasingly used in cost-sensitive missions such as CubeSats. This FAQ begins with a look at the unique operating conditions in space and how those conditions impact […]
How does the PICMG IoT.1 specification for smart IoT sensors work?
The PCI Industrial Computer Manufacturer’s Group (PICMG) is developing a series of specifications to enable plug-and-play interoperability of smart sensors and effectors. The effort includes the large installed base of legacy non-IoT (not IP-enabled) devices and newer IoT-enabled smart sensors. The PICMG program includes development of a family of three IoT specifications. PICMG IoT.1 is […]
What’s the difference between 2-, 3-, & 4-wire RDT sensing?
The difference is measurement accuracy. Using 2-wire resistance temperature detector (RTD) sensing provides good accuracy (maybe), the accuracy of 3-wire sensing is better, and 4-wire sensing provides the best accuracy. In addition, there’s the option of using Wheatstone bridge topologies to improve the performance of 2- and 3-wire RDTs. This FAQ begins with a review […]
What are emerging sensor technologies for Agriculture 4.0?
Agriculture 4.0 is emerging and requires an expended sensor suite. Agriculture 4.0 refers to systems that employ drones, robotics, the Internet of Things (IoT), vertical farms, artificial intelligence (AI), renewable energy, and advanced sensor methodologies. Agriculture 4.0 is similar to Industry 4.0 in some ways: Where Industry 4.0 is designed to support automation and mass […]
What sensors are used in AR/VR systems?
A wide range of sensor technologies is required to support augmented reality and virtual reality (AR/VR) systems. Today’s AR/VR implementations are mostly focused on visual and audio interfaces and rely on motion tracking and listening/voice recognition sensors. That’s beginning to change with new types of sensors and various types of haptics being introduced. This FAQ […]
What’s an acoustic leak detector?
Acoustic leak detection sensor technologies rely on the fact that liquid and gas leaks are noisy. However, it’s not necessarily a noise that the human ear can detect, it can be in the ultrasonic region. Leaky water pipes are a significant environmental challenge – UN Sustainable Development Goal No. 6 states that clean (drinking) water […]