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Custom Solutions Connect in Harsh Environments

Nov. 14, 2019
When standard connectors don’t fit, these connectors can be customized to meet the mechanical/electrical requirements of the most demanding military and commercial applications.

Cables and connectors are often an afterthought—until they fail. Whether as a loss of power, phase distortion in a receiver, or irregular signal transfers, seasoned system designers have learned the importance of making the best connections possible, which can be difficult at times depending on the mechanical and electrical configuration of a radar, electronic warfare (EW), or electronic countermeasures (ECM) systems. However, at least one source—Connectronics Corp.—offers custom cables and connectors for high-voltage, high-current, and even underwater applications targeting military, industrial, and commercial markets.

For many systems, standard high-voltage and high-current connectors will provide the performance levels needed to meet electronic defense specifications. For example, the Dual HVL series high-voltage connectors are available in panel-mount or in-line configurations for maximum voltages from 10 to 20 kV and for use at altitudes to 70,000 ft. The corona-resistant, radiation-resistant connectors handle operating temperatures from −55 to +125°C. The connectors can be assembled at the factory or in the field.

For high-voltage applications through 15 kV dc where corona effects are a concern, the company’s CMC-715 Series high-voltage connectors (Fig. 1) incorporate tapered interfaces designed for high altitudes (to 70,000 ft.) and high temperatures (from −55 to +125°C). They can be used with AWG-16 through AWG-24 stranded wire, with knurled- or hex-nut threaded coupling, and supplied as parts of kits for customer assembly or terminated at the factory, complete with straight or right-angle overmolding. 

1. High-voltage connectors like the CMC-715 devices can be used to 15 kV dc at altitudes to 70,000 ft. and temperatures to +125°C.

Channeling Current

High-current connectors include the Safety Lock Series for safe and reliable interconnections, available in 200- and 400-A versions for three-phase service use at voltages to 600 V. The single-pin connectors employ a ground configuration that makes it difficult to improperly connect any power until the ground and neutral connections are made. For safety, including in emergency-service applications, ground and neutral connections cannot be disconnected until all other power lines are disconnected.

These high-current connectors can be installed in stationary panel boards (with standard size of 3.5 × 19.0 in. for input and output boards) for rack-mounted setups or used in the field. The connectors feature a large self-wiping contact area and silver-plated construction. They can be assembled with standard tools and require no special maintenance. The UL-listed and patent-protected safety lock system features machined aluminum shells with a corrosion-resistant anodized finish. The connectors are designed for operating temperatures from −65 to +125°C and for altitude to 10,000 ft.

For applications requiring custom connectors and/or cable assemblies, the firm offers examples of its engineering and in-house test capabilities in the forms of specialized connectors, such as O-ring-sealed, stainless-steel-overmolded connectors for underwater use, and its hermetic connectors (Fig. 2). Hermetic connectors, for example, are 100% helium leak tested prior to shipping.

2. Specialized connectors such as these hermetic options are well-suited for high-vacuum and high-current aerospace systems.

Specialized and custom connectors can be developed with thermocouple functions for currents beyond 1 kA, for low-outgassing applications, and for temperatures as high as +250°C in the most demanding applications (e.g., in x-ray equipment and nuclear systems). The company backs all of its designs with extensive engineering experience, a well-equipped CNC machining facility, and well-stocked test laboratory, along with the people who know how to use those instruments. 

Connectronics Corp., 2745 Avondale Ave., Toledo, OH 43607-3732; (800) 965-0020, (419) 537-0007

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