Industrial Connectors: Are rectangular or circular connectors better?

An electromechanical device that is used to join electrical conductors and create an electric circuit is known as an electrical connector. To create a circuit, these connectors have a gender called “plug”, which is a male component, and a “socket”, a female component that is used to connect with the male component.

For some portable equipment, these connectors may be removable while for some it requires some tools to assemble them or for the removal. Some connectors create a permanent connection when are joint between two points. There are various categories of electrical connectors-

  • Inline or cable – These connectors are permanently attached to a cable.
  • Chassis or panel – These connectors are permanently attached to a piece of equipment.
  • PCB mount – These are soldered to a printed circuit board.
  • Splice or butt – They permanently joint two lengths of wire or cable.

These industrial connectors are designed in two shapes, rectangular and circular. Both of them have their advantages and applications. So, before comparing both the connector types, we must understand what each one of them offers and then decide which one is better.

Circular Connectors

A circular connector is a cylindrically shaped, multi-pin electrical connector that is used to transmit electrical signals, data, and provides power to electrical devices using contacts. Its circular interface is designed in a way that it can easily connect or disconnect power, signal, and optical circuits without using any tool. Due to this, they can be used in any kind of harsh and difficult environmental situations.

To maintain the alignment, contacts are shielded by a composite or metal shell and are fixed in insulating material. To avoid any environmental interference or accidental decoupling, the contacts are paired with a cable. This helps them in avoiding any kind of such situations which makes them more reliable and robust.

The circular connectors are used in various applications including aerospace, broadcast, defense and security, electronics, energy, industrial, instrumentation, medical, and transportation. MIL-DTL-5015 and MIL-DTL-38999 are commonly specified circular connectors that are used in military, aerospace, industrial machinery, and rail.

Rectangular Connectors

These connectors are designed in a rectangular shape that satisfies certain needs that were little covered in various sectors for years.

Let us check some advantages of rectangular connectors over circular connectors.

  • Due to their slim shell design, they have high contact density and take less space as compared to the circular connectors. No, extra space is left inside and almost all of their surface is occupied.
  • They are very easy to use.
  • They require fewer tools for tightening or larger spacing as they have stackable shells.
  • The pins are more protected in rectangular connectors.
  • There are various devices in which circular connectors cannot be connected, hence, these types of connectors are used in such devices. Some of them are PCBs, coaxial, fiber optics, or Ethernet themselves.
  • With using the standard module, they easily combine different signal types in the same connector.
  • Rectangular connectors provide great protection against overvoltage.

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