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Connector Technology: From Micro to Micro
As analog circuits have moved digital circuits and electronic devices from wired connections to wireless connections, the overall device design is moving from the desktop to the portable. System design engineers have begun to design pre-tested modules and then superimpose or blindly insert them as a major building technique. This requires nanoscale interconnects. Manufacturers in the medical industry and even in the military/aerospace industry are pushing the system along this modular direction to meet the reduction in size, weight and current required for complex signals. To meet these challenges, the new connector design must accommodate the combined requirements of enhanced electrical performance and durability while reducing the size and weight of the interconnect system.
Size and weight advantage
Most of the insulative housings are injection molded liquid crystal polymers, and some older designs use polyphenylene sulfide. This insulation material still has high retention and high electrical insulation strength when the 0.025" pitch is such that the insulator between the pins is only 10 to 11 mils. The highly reliable connector body can be used for plug-in and low vibration applications. Made of insulating material, but most high vibration and high impact applications require a metal casing.
Durability depends on a good installation design. Force and acceleration are key factors in testing connector strength in harsh applications. Thanks to a reasonable mounting bracket, the nano connector can pass vibrations and shocks above 10,000 Gs, such as under fire and fire conditions.
Compared to the nano circular connector, the miniature circular connector (0.050" pitch) is very large. When the pins and jacks with a pitch of 0.025" are installed, they can be used in the same circular area. More than 4 times the interconnect device. The currents of the new circuits are mostly required to be less than 1A, because digital processing allows wires with smaller gauges to fit into the nano-circular connectors within the cable assembly. Therefore, the total weight and diameter of the interconnect system are greatly reduced. An added benefit of nano-cables is increased flexibility, as smaller diameter cables are easier to route in tightly constrained locations.
Depending on the application, there are many types of nano-circular connectors. The metal-shell type nano-circular connectors are the most durable, with excellent strain relief and handle mechanism. They are equipped with 360 seals for shielded cables and environmental seals to protect against impregnation. Typically, they are used to connect remote detectors, sensors, and instrumentation to the front panel of the device. The micro-circular connectors are molded or mounted into the system engineer's own instrument. This approach saves most of the space and allows the device or detector to have its own complete motor and mechanical connectors.
The module is unique in shape and in some cases continuously moves or rotates. Micro-robots, servos, gyroscope systems, and oil drilling all involve highly developed electronic components. These modules are placed near the circuit function work area to ensure optimal signal performance.
Conventional wires are generally too large, too hard or even too expensive to be installed. The new computer automatic mapping system quickly simulates nano-flexible circuits to accommodate dense points. High-density, low-duty flexible nano-connectors have become an important solution for many difficult designs.
Due to the increased functionality of the modules, the number of wires they handle is also growing. The number of pins is also increasing. At the cable end of the module, the micro connector solves many size and weight problems. But usually the sensor side or board-to-board interface of the system requires a higher density of interconnects. The solution is a micro-millimeter cable or a flexible system. The high-contact, high-swap system uses a miniature connector that is ultimately connected to the high-density 0.025" pitch micro connector at the other end.
Miniaturization, light weight and harsh applications are on the rise. Digital electronics, high-speed transmission systems, and small robots all require increased density and number of circuits. Numerous applications for current micro-connectors include unmanned spacecraft (UAVs) in the military/aerospace industry, displays, missile guidance; magnetic resonance coils in the medical industry, surgical drilling and digital stethoscopes; communications in aerospace applications Navigation for satellites, Mars probes and space shuttles.
Nano connectors have been proven in military and aerospace applications. In addition, they have served the medical and petroleum industries and are entering a wide range of portable and remote control products. The new design allows nano-connectors to replace micro-connectors, such as high-density nano-circular connectors that are replacing many of the larger miniature circular connectors. Circuit and board designers will expand their horizons, and nano connectors will help achieve their goals.