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Connector Basics You'll Want to Know, The Role of Connectors and What to Pay Attention to During Design

What is a connector? Hirose Electric, a long-established connector manufacturer, answers the simple questions like "What is a connector?” and provides more technical information including important points for mounted products in our Connector Basics You’ll Want to Know Series. The first article is “The Role of Connectors and What to Pay Attention to During Design”.

Connectors are all around us, but we may not have many opportunities to be aware of them in our daily lives. However, without connectors, vacuum cleaners and hair dryer would be directly connected to the wall...Sounds inconvenient, right? Connectors are used not only in the electrical outlets around us, but also in a wide range of products, from large to small, that conduct electricity.

History of The Increase in Connector Demand

Connectors are now widely used, but when did this start? It is said that the demand for connectors increased in the 1940s during World War II.

Until then, wires were twisted together and soldered (wrapped around metal to increase the strength of adhesion), or wires were directly screwed together. However, in order to efficiently assemble and produce equipment and devices on the battlefield where every second counts, connectors, which can be connected in bulk, became indispensable, and demand for them quickly increased.

<Initial Electrical Connections>
Connected One by One

<Initial Electrical Connections> Connected One by One

Quick Batch Connection On Site

<1940s> Quick Batch Connection On Site

Expanded Connector Use

Connectors, which enable quick and easy connections, are used not only for simplifying the connection between devices, but for a variety of other purposes.

(1) Connecting Between Different Devices

(1) Connecting Between Different Devices

Connectors enable instant connection and disconnection of different devices, such as adding functionality by connecting a hard disk to a PC, or connecting equipment and antennas in a broadcasting vehicle.

(2) Enhanced Equipment Design Flexibility

(2) Enhanced Equipment Design Flexibility

Placing connectors in between boards gives you more layout options in your equipment. Whether you are placing boards upright, stacking boards on top of each other, or vice versa, connectors are what hold the boards together.

(3) More Convenient Assembly

(3) More Convenient Assembly

In assembly line work, it is necessary to assemble a huge number of parts. By connecting parts from various companies with connectors, line work becomes quicker and easier.

(4) Enables Expansion/Exchange of Memory, etc.

(4) Enables Expansion/Exchange of Memory, etc.

Connectors make it possible to add memory to a PC or other device just by inserting it. The also enable PC repair by replacing only the broken parts.

As you can see, connectors have a wide range of uses, and our surroundings are filled with them. For example, dozens of interface connectors, internal connection connectors, and coaxial connectors are used in a single smartphone. Wireless earphones and e-cigarettes also use ultra-small connectors.

Connectors are used not only in home appliances, but also in cars, trains, power plants, power stations, factories, robots working in factories, and everywhere else in society.

Connector Technology (The Role of Connectors)

What is the role of a connector? Connectors have a variety of uses, but role they are most commonly required to play is to transmit electricity correctly. There is no point in using a connector if the power is not transmitted and a voltage drop occurs or if the signal sequence changes. Also, since electricity and signals are invisible, they require measurement using an instrument which can be cumbersome.
The most important role of a connector is to transmit electricity correctly, and this is also what we should pay attention to during design and production.

Poor Usage Due to Incorrect Design

Bad Example, No Power Transfer, The Signal Sequence is Not Transmitted Properly

In order to transmit electricity properly...

Three connections are important for the correct transmission of electricity:

(1) The connection between the cable and the connector terminal
(2) The connection between the board and the connector terminal
(3) The contact between connectors

These three are also the order of the manufacturing process, so I will explain them one by one.

(1) Cable Connection, (2) Board Mounting Section (Soldered Area), (3) Contact Portion

The next articles introduce these three key connection points for proper electricity transmission in detail based on the manufacturing process order.

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