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22
Apr

Power Connector Considerations

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b2ap3_thumbnail_33491768_thumbnail_20140422-201908_1.jpgSo you have a high power application where you need to run high current?  There are many things to consider when specifying a connector or a connector package, but Amphenol Aerospace recommends you answer three key questions when making your connector selection.

1.  What is the ambient temperature of the application? It is important know the ambient temperature that your application will be exposed to, especially when under full power. The power that is running through the connector and wires will contribute to the overall maximum temperature of the connector. If you are running full power through your connector, and also running in an ambient temperature that is at the maximum rated temperature of the connector, you could be drastically shortening the life of your connector components (and, in some cases, your wires).  

2.  What is the application’s highest frequency? When using connectors at higher frequencies (generally above 800 MHz), a condition can occur in conductors called the “skin effect”. This condition causes the bulk of the current to attempt to be carried on the periphery of the conductor. This results in significantly higher temperatures on your conductors and in the connector, as only the outer portion of the power cables is being used.

3.  What is the highest current used in the application? We list the maximum recommended current carrying amperage for each conductor in our catalogs. This current listing is based on either the MIL-DTL-39029 military specification or historic test data. The rating is based on the maximum current being applied and the maximum temperature rise of no more than 30°C. This data should be combined with your ambient operating temperature to help determine if you are operating in the recommended temperature zone to be sure you get the longest life out of your connector. Many standard connector socket contacts, because of materials and construction, may start to lose strength in the tines over time in as little at 150°C operating environments.

Once these three questions about high power, high-current carrying connectors are answered, we have the expertise and product options available for just about any military and aerospace application in existence.

Amphenol manufactures many types of high power and high-current carrying products, including some of the original designs and materials that were used during WWII to connect Allied aircraft magnetos. More modern options are available using alternate materials for high temperature applications in both connector and conductors. Be sure to research these areas and remember Amphenol experts are waiting to help!

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Rick Barnes is the Engineering Manager for Amphenol Aerospace’s Micro-Miniature Products Group.  He is a graduate of the State University of New York Institute of Technology and has been with Amphenol for 22 years.

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