What are the main coupling types for circular connectors?
Meet the Connector: Circular Connector Coupling Types
Circular connectors are first defined by their cylindrical shape. Both sides of the mating pair meet in a circular format, with pins on one side and sockets on the other. However, within this category a variety of coupling types exists to make the connection secure. Coupling type refers to the way two halves of a mating pair connect, typically within a device. Each coupling type offers specific advantages to users and applications. The main five coupling types for circular connectors are bayonet, threaded, push-pull, snap-on, and screw-in coupling.
When specifying a circular connector, selecting the right coupling type depends on the application’s operating environment, power requirements, signal type, user access and ability, and other factors. Each coupling type offers unique advantages.
Bayonet Coupling: Bayonet connectors feature a plug on one side and a receptacle on the other. This type of coupling uses a rotating mechanism to lock the connector in place. Bayonet coupling is known for its reliability, ease of use, and high durability. It is commonly used in harsh environments where vibration and shock are present.
A variation, reverse bayonet connectors, was originally designed for NATO combat vehicles. Reverse bayonet connectors require a 120° turn to mate, enabling quick and easy mating and un-mating. Their design also allows the user to confirm mating in three different ways: tactile, audible, and visual. The user feels the connector lock into position when mated. A loud click is heard as the three studs snap into place when the coupling nut is fully engaged.
Tools: Bayonet coupling connectors do not typically require special tooling.
Threaded Coupling: This type of coupling uses a threaded mechanism to secure the connector in place. Threaded coupling is known for its high reliability and resistance to vibration. It is commonly used in applications where a high degree of protection against environmental factors is required.
Tools: Threaded coupling connectors are typically mated by hand, but some applications require a wrench to tighten or loosen the connector. It is important to ensure that the connector is tightened to the proper torque specification.
Push-Pull Coupling: Push-pull coupling uses a simple push-pull mechanism to lock the connector in place. The connection is released by squeezing the connector body or pulling back on an outer sleeve to unlatch the pair. This type of coupling is commonly used in medical devices, sensors, and instrumentation applications. It offers ease of use and prevention of accidental disconnection in busy operational environments such as clinical settings.
Tools: Push-pull coupling connectors typically do not require any special tools.
Snap-On Coupling: Snap-on coupling uses a simple snap-on mechanism to secure the connector in place, and the connection is separated by pulling on the connectors. This type of coupling is commonly used applications where space is limited. It is known for its ease of use.
Tools: No special tools are required; the connection is made by hand.
Screw-In Coupling: Screw-in coupling uses a threaded mechanism to secure the connector in place. This type of coupling is commonly used in audio and video applications, such as RCA connectors. It is known for its high reliability and ease of use.
Tools: This type of connection is typically made by hand but in some applications, a torque screwdriver is used to tighten the connection to a specified torque specification.
Standardization: A wide variety of standardized products exist in the circular connector category, including MIL-DTL-5015, M-Type circular connectors, 38999s, and many others.
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