Selecting connectors can be a tradeoff battle among high cycle life, contact resistance, and low insertion forces. Hypertacฎ hyperboloid-shaped spring-wire basket connectors aim to provide all three. First used for high reliability aerospace and military applications, where resistance to shock and vibration are also important, these connectors are now being applied in medical equipment (catheters and monitors), high mating-cycle test and measurement devices for rack-and-panel equipment, and hand-held dockable tracking units used by package delivery services. They are also used for down-the-hole systems for oil and gas exploration, where maintenance can be very costly.
According to Keri Souza, industry manager for test, measurement, and industrial markets, the basket contacts have about half the resistance of traditional stamped and formed contacts, over 100,000 mating cycles, and low insertion/extraction force (typically 1 oz for a 0.6 mm pin). "The wires surround the pin a full 360 degrees for high coverage and good wiping action to clean the contacts, but have low insertion force because they flex," she notes. The fact that the gold-plated wires always touch the pin provides good shock and vibration resistance, Souza adds.
Contact pin sizes range from 0.4 to 16.5 mm, with maximum currents of 1 to 500A, respectively. The smallest sizes have five wires in the pin mating socket and the larger sizes up to 30, depending on amperage and force required. Souza says engineers are investigating contacts even smaller than 0.4 mm, where the challenge is not so much technical but more the manufacturing issue of being able to physically put them together.
Contact: Keri Souza, Hypertronics 16 Brent Dr., Hudson, MA 01749-2978 Tel (800) 225-9228; Fax (978) 568-0680 www.hypertronics.com; or enter 509 at www.designnews.com/info.
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