Connector Selection: Understanding Cables

Many of today’s connectors are fitted to cables, and so understanding them is important when selecting the right connector for your application.

The majority of flex connectors use multi core cables. These are cables constructed of several individual conductors, each protected by their own insulation, which are bundled up into a single overall sheath. The outer sheath provides protection against the elements and abrasion, and defines to overall diameter of the cable, which is important when specifying the correct connector.

However, the overall dimension of the cable is only one element in its design. More important are the individual conductors or wires within. The most important characteristics of these wires are their construction and their cross-sectional area.

Wires are usually of either solid or stranded construction. As their name suggests, solid wires consist of a single conductor, and offer the best electrical performance. These wires are measured by their cross-sectional area, or alternatively by their gauge using the American Wire Gauge (AWG) scale. AWG uses an inverse scale – the larger the wire, the smaller its gauge.

Stranded wire is constructed of several smaller wires that are twisted together. The result is a more flexible solution. Stranded wires are also measured by their cross-sectional area, but because they include voids between each individual element, a stranded wire will be larger in diameter than its solid equivalent with the same cross-sectional area.

This is important to remember when specifying the connector into which the wires will be terminated. The Bulgin catalogue will show the recommended wire sizes for each connector in both mm2 and AWG, for example 2.5-4mm2 (12-14AWG).

To help you, at the back of the Bulgin Catalogue is a chart which compares the AWG with cross-sectional area of popular wire sizes. Download the Bulgin Catalogue today to help you choose your next connector.

HHP and Bulgin

HHP is the Florida representative for Bulgin, a leading manufacturer of environmentally sealed connectors and electronic components.

Their extensive product range consists of the Buccaneer IP66, IP67, IP68 and IP69K rated circular connector range (power, signal & data), mains connectors, IEC connectors, battery holders, EMI filters, fuse holders, indicators, vandal resistant switches, push button switches, rocker switches, toggle switches, voltage selectors and IP67 enclosures.

Bulgin has the ability to provide quick turn-around times on custom solutions and value-added cable assemblies through its dedicated Rapid Response Team.

Bulgin’s technological expertise improves the performance and energy efficiency of electronic and electrical equipment in industrial, marine, transportation/infrastructure, oil/gas, medical, renewable energy, data/telecom, recreation, agriculture and consumer electronics applications.