Rugged Interconnects for Harsh Environments eBook

including a wide variety of industrial and consumer products. The D-Sub connector has been around since the 1950s, and one of its initial applications was as the standard for RS-232 and RS-485 communication, connecting peripheral devices such as keyboards and printers. It was also one of the primary interfaces used for creation of extensive networks between electrical devices in industrial settings. But D-Subs are now used in almost as many different applications as RJs, given its versatile and robust design. The USB connector was later developed to replace D-Subs for connecting computer peripherals, but once again this interface has found uses far beyond its original applications. These interfaces are widely used for so many applications because they have proven to be highly adaptable, and as such have become standards, making them inexpensive, highly available, and reliable. As a result, many types of equipment have been developed using these interfaces for their I/O connections, providing the signal, data, and power ports, and using widely available standard cables and plugs. These connectors have benefitted from multiple adaptations in mounting and termination styles, as well as electrical performance enhancements. For example, the RJ has been improved with clever contact designs and embedded signal conditioning features and, when combined with data protocol evolution, allow it to operate at higher data rates suitable for Ethernet and other networking applications. While such interfaces have typically been designed as touch-proof, IP20-rated connectors, they typically feature stamped metal shells, plastic insulators, and stamped metal contacts, none of which are suitable for use outside of a relatively dry, temperature- controlled environment.

Ruggedized RJ45 connectors (top) and standard versions (bottom). The die-cast housings of the ruggedized connectors and the external panel sealing gaskets ensure much greater durability and sealing protection than the standard connectors.

Figure 2. D-subs are highly adaptable with many mounting and termination options in both Ruggedized (top) and standard (bottom) variants.


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