Rugged Interconnects for Harsh Environments eBook

Harsh environment connector designs depend on rugged materials, durable physical forms, and interfaces that can protect the connector pin to socket in the event of high shock and vibration and other environmental attacks. As circuit and sensor electronics evolve, they get smaller and operate faster on low voltages and currents. Micro and nano connectors are becoming the standard interface from cable to board or cable to instrument because they are lightweight and absorb high vibration and shock conditions. In many instances, the new equipment operating in extreme environments is detecting, collecting, and processing massive amounts of data without human involvement. These technologies are rapidly pushing beyond 10 Gb/s. To achieve these high speeds, digital signals are designed to operate at very short signal rise time. This is accomplished with higher-speed chip technologies such as GaAs and Gallium Nitride, which also operate at lower voltages. As a result, the short signal rise time and low-voltage signals flow on very short signal lengths at minimal heights. These new mini-digital signals must be carefully protected, both physically and electrically, from interference. For example, cable wiring is often designed to carry the positive and negative digital signals on separate wire pairs that run in parallel with their ground return wire. Each signal set is protected and wrapped in insulation and then shielded from outside electrical elements.

Digital cables used in extreme environments can be protected with polymer jackets that provide strain relief. This jacketing can survive heat cycles. With the addition of metal braided shielding, cables can be physically protected and shielded from electronic signal interference. In space-constrained applications that experience repetitive motion, the cable may need to be small in diameter yet also be strong, resilient, and flexible enough to accommodate constant bending and folding. For example, high-speed assembly robots are now performing many assembly tasks in the automotive industry. If the cable and connector are not designed properly, wear and tear on the interconnects can impact automated systems and shut down the assembly line.

Prior to connector and cable selection, designers should review potential exposure.

Review the application and potential harsh conditions using the checklist on the next page. THE COMPLETE DESIGN, MANUFACTURING, AND TESTING PROCESS

Shielded Micro-D and Nano-D from Omnetics

1. Begin work with a MIL-quality level interconnect company that has experience in similar applications and can offer design consulting. A company that can interactively


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