The importance of wire harness connectors to various electrical systems in today’s world is numerous. We see its applications in industries like electronics, automotive, telecommunication, medical, and even more. Also, wire harness connectors assist in smooth operations and easy in troubleshooting of machines.
Hence, today, we shall center this article on wire harness connectors, errors associated with them, and optimal performance maintenance. We trust that this guide will assist your decision-making on the best wire harness connectors for your project.
Table of Contents
1. What are wire harness connectors?
2. The component of wire harness connectors
Wire harness connectors have two components. They are:
Housing: This component is one that encapsulates or houses the terminals. Furthermore, it is more of an insulating case that protects the terminals from bridging, corrosion, and ensures stability. They are mostly insulators.
Terminals: These components of a connector are responsible for signal transfer. Technically, they are the pins you see in a connector. Also, their makeup is of metals with high electrical properties for conduction.
A connector with both housing and terminal on display
3. The types of wire harness connectors
Wire harness connectors differ from one another, and this depends on their use. In this chapter, we shall emphasize the six types of wire harness connectors.
3.1 Terminal Block
Terminal block type of connectors is a single connector, enclosed in an insulated modular case. This connector allows multiple connections of conductors. Also, they come in different types and colors, including PCB mount, feed-through, and barrier strips. Although they differ, they all perform the function.
Terminal block finds application in many electrical systems as it affords easy troubleshooting and repairs where necessary.
A Printed Circuit Board with a PCB mount terminal connector
3.2 Binding Post
These connectors are like screws that terminate a conductor. Also, they function to clamp wires to posts temporally. You can see their applications in some audio gadgets like amplifiers and loudspeakers.
Binding post connector
3.3 Plug and Socket
This combo consists of a male part known as the plug and a female part as the socket. The plug bears the pins that insert into the socket. They are easy to use and ensure a protected and firm connection. Also, they come in various types like cables, audio jacks and sockets, USB ports, and more. Additionally, they find applications in many consumer electronic goods, automobile, aviation, and more.
A cable plug and socket connector
3.4 Rack and Panel
Unlike some other connectors, the Rack and Panel connectors are adjustable and suitable for stationary devices. Also, like other connectors, they have types based on their connection. Examples include a cable to panel, cable to cable, and rack to the panel. Their application areas include telecommunications (e.g., server room connection), printers, and more.
Network cable in a rack
Blade connectors are like plug and socket connectors, but with flat conductive blades connecting wires to a receptacle. Also, their application areas include automobiles and some electronic devices.
A Blade connector in automobile
3.6 Ring and Spade
Ring and Spade could be small in size but are useful in ensuring firm connection. They are put in a post and screwed together to ensure connection. Also, they come in both insulated or exposed, depending on the one you need for your project. Furthermore, you attach the conductor to the connector by crimping or soldering it together. Most often, ring and spade connectors are useful for ground or earth connection. The connection here is also very seamless and very applicable to areas with a point to point connection.
A bunch of ring and spade connectors.
4. Common Wire Harness Connector Issues
Wire harness connector errors are as important as your project. If you don’t prepare against these errors at the design stage, you might waste resources after production. Also, you should know the functions each connector will play in your wire harness before design. It will determine how your wire harnesses makeup. Hence, we dedicate this chapter to information on the common wire harness issues.
Contacts are those tiny metals in a connector that carries electric current. The issue with contacts is that they can become corroded if not designed well. Hence, this can affect the continuous current transfer. Also, another issue with contacts is their mating cycle. Because connectors can often undergo a series of disconnection and reconnection, their grip is prone to become loose. Hence, while deciding on a connector, ensure to consider a high mating cycle. More so, when your wire harness is in an area of frequent mating.
A red plus
The issues that arise with the crimping of connectors to wire harnesses are more human or machine error. This error may lead to failure to properly crimp the connectors to the wire. Hence, this can result in loose connection, moisture build-up, and eventually short-circuiting. For these reasons, you should use the right crimp tools and techniques to crimping connectors.
4.3 Strain Relief
Every professionally designed wire harness should have a strain relief. It is a little additional length to the actual length during design to accommodate wires’ movement in a bend. This strain relief will prevent high mechanical stress that may pull out the connectors from the wire harness.
Another error with the wire harness connector is over-molding. Overmolding goes a long way to tell how long it will last depending on the over-molding material. The choice of materials for over-molding is dependent on the environmental factors and mechanical demands of the application.
5. Choosing the Wire Harness Connectors for your Project
Getting to choose wire harness connectors has never been an easy task everywhere.
Among the factors to consider, the nature of your project determines the types and sizes of connectors to use. Also, the location of use will determine the types of connectors. For example, the board-to-board, wire-to-wire, and board-to-wire configuration of connects serve best in their respective use. Also, considering the exposure rate of the wire harness to environmental factors is something to note. You might want to consider going for connectors that will not be affected by environmental changes.
We also do recommend CLOOM Tech as one of the good manufacturers of harness connectors. With years of experience and goods reviews, CLOOM Tech is becoming a rising giant in the space.
6. How to Clean Wire Harness Connectors
One routine maintenance of wire harness connectors is cleaning, especially connectors that are outdoors. Also, as said earlier, connectors that accumulate dust and moisture are prone to damage and reduced conductivity. This covering can affect the overall performance of the wire harness. Hence, we will provide you with simple steps to cleaning your wire harness connectors.
6.1 For male connectors
Firstly, you will want to ensure that your wire harness is not in use. Disconnect any connection to a power source. After which, you can wipe the dust away from the connectors with a piece of cloth. Also, watch out for any greenish dust on the contacts. It is a sign of contact corrosion. To get rid of this, use small size sandpaper and brush the pins repeatedly. However, you will have to replace the connector if broken or rusted. Next, use an electrical contact cleaner or vinegar to finish off the contacts. This you do by rubbing them to ensure they are clean. Lastly, spray the pins with contact lubricant. It will help reduce the rate of corrosion.
6.2 For female connectors
Also, female connectors have holes and might look difficult to clean. Spray your contact cleaner or vinegar into the holes and use a sizable steel brush to clean them. Then, you should insert the brush into the hole and rotate it in the direction of your choice. After this, you will pull it out quickly from the hole to allow debris to fall out. If you will have to do it for the individual sockets. After all of these, spray contact lubricant into the sockets and reinstall to the original position.
Cleaning a socket
In summary, wire harness connectors are vital parts of a wire harness. Hence, a wire harness area will determine the type and size of connectors considered in designing. It’s also important to note that this proper maintenance will eliminate connector errors and save you cost, and time.
CLOOM Tech offers the best customized and manufacturing services to suit your project. Your project specification is primary in designing. You can further reach out to us for more information or consultation.