A new breed of connector and cable increases rugged density in tomorrow’s electronic systems.
Highly portable electronic instruments must be compact, lightweight and rugged for use in applications from military, aerospace, robotics, sensors, surveillance and medical systems. Connector and wiring systems used in routing data and signal information from one module to another need to match those demands, as well. In many cases high speed digital signals will be speeding critical images and activation information to control systems. Fortunately, many of the advanced circuits operate on lower voltages and reduced current levels and higher density circuit boards include standard connection points at 25 mils, .625mm) pin to pin spacing. Sensor device technology are using PZN connectors in a plethora of serious applications from autonomous devices, to human monitors and robotic machinery, where rugged miniaturization is critical.
To meet the new demands, Omnetics’ PZN connectors have been designed, built and tested using military style Nano-pin and sockets to sustain constant signal integrity during shock and vibration for rugged and portable electronic systems. The connector contact spacing is set at 25 one-thousandths of an inch and uses both the male and female within the same insulator design. The connector design insures self-alignment during the mating process. Shell and lead formats for SMT and other shapes are readily available with contact counts from 4 to 24 leads. Typical wiring for cable interconnection is accomplished using 30 AWG Teflon® insulated multi-strand copper wire rated for up to 1 ampere of current. By using key elements proven in Military specification 32139 Nano-D connectors, the PZN connector pin-to-sockets use the same highly tempered BeCu springs or flex elements that are then nickel plated and subsequently coated with gold.
The spring strength will remain strong through temperature cycles and daily rugged use while the plating on the key elements retains very low contact resistance throughout the life of the instrument.
PZN connectors are being used inside data packs for covert surveillance equipment requiring miniature connector and cable for miniature camera systems. Nano-eye sized cameras offer stealthy performance for mounted viewing as well when employed on dismounted soldiers and portable systems. Micro sized data devices require ultra-miniature connectors such as the PZN format pictured in the image attached. Surface mount receptacles fit with the size and height of other active components on the p.c. boards. The Nano interconnecting pin to socket method retains signal integrity during active pursuit situations in rugged situations and remain easily plugged and disconnected in discrete environments. Board designers specify the number of pin elements needed to keep size and weight to a minimum.
LIDAR surveillance systems on board satellites as well on autonomous weapons are used for more difficult imaging such as hyperspectral analysis and geophysical mapping. Charge coupled devices, (CCD), and CMOS chips are rapidly improving their higher resolution capabilities. Parallel chip receivers are also extending image capture breadth and resolution. As a result, processing speeds are doubling with larger image frames and the use of increased frame rates from 30 and 60 frames per second to over 100 frames per second. This is driving digital signal data rates from the, (older), 5 Gigabits/second to above 10 gigabits/second. To handle this rush for higher resolution simultaneously with higher speeds, new cable and connector designs are required to deliver quality signals to the image processor and storage systems. Also including the use of infrared spectrum scanning and mixed light frequency monitoring. These systems will push the limits of high speed signal management simultaneously with high density interconnection systems. PZN interconnect methods can be adapted to match many of these designs by changing pin use spacing or dual connector systems.
Airborne electronics face similar challenges. PZN connectors are actively used in missile guidance control electronics where high inertial forces and vibration is prevalent. Drones often require a rapid and easy connector mating and de-mating of GPS and camera modules with rapid installation of new data storage modules onboard. Digital data rates of 5 Gigabits per second need to be quickly and safely downloaded. By using Fire Wire cable with Nano-connectors signals are safe and cable noise if reduced. Smaller airborne systems generate considerable vibration during flight and can induce shock during landing. The PZN Nano connectors have been proven to perform well with the small size and reduced mass.
Standard connectors vs custom design is often a question of time and cost. Today, however, tailored variations of high reliability customized standards are done quickly and at much lower cost. Most standard connector models are in residence in solid modeling software at the connector supplier’s factory. A system designer can call and work remotely with the connector supplier to adapt and even re-size connectors for new camera and surveillance systems with little effort. The solid works systems can then send data to 3D modeling or CNC machines to build up the 1st article product. It can then be placed into the new unit to assure form and fit within a short time frame. The key is using the same pin to socket mating elements within currently high reliability connectors in the industry.
Bob Stanton, Director of Technology – Omnetics Connector Corporation