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Circular connectors

Compact all-round talents for power and signal transmission

Coupling connector with male contacts
Cable connector with female contacts

The main function of the housing is to protect the electrical connection and the contacts. Environmental influences such as the penetration of foreign bodies (dust), liquids (water, oil or chemical substances) or the ambient temperature can impair the electrical connection. The housing also serves for mechanical stability, i.e. its ability to withstand mechanical influences such as external shocks and vibrations that can facilitate tear, breakage, wear or other damage.

The housings for our EPIC® circular connectors are made of metal or plastic. The metal housings have a conductive coating. This design ensures that the actual electrically conductive part of the connector is safely protected against electromagnetic interference. The plastic housings do not offer the option of connecting a cable shield and are therefore used with unshielded cables. However, the high-quality plastic also provides excellent protection against mechanical and chemical influences.

The contact insert is used to securely hold and secure the contacts. Here, the quality of the plastic used and a solid design of the contact insert are crucial for a long and reliable service life. Thanks to high-quality materials, leakage currents along the plastic surface are minimised and disruptive discharges are safely prevented.

The contacts – the actual current transmitters – are fixed in the contact insert. These are floating to compensate during connection and to minimise insertion forces. The contact area where the male and female contacts meet (between two connectors) and the contact area where the conductor is connected to the contact (between the cable and connector) are particularly important.

What pole configurations are found in circular connectors?

The way contacts are arranged in a contact insert is referred to as a pole configuration. The number of poles available depends on the number of contacts that can be used in a connector. Only as many contacts as there are maximum poles can be installed. If a pole configuration has, e.g. 7 poles, up to 7 contacts can be installed – but not more.

EPIC® circular connectors are available with different pole configurations, which result from the different configuration, number and type of contacts.

Generally the following applies:

Number of contacts and rated voltage

The more contacts are installed in a given connector housing, the lower the rated voltage for which a connector is designed can be. This means that the shorter the distance between the contacts, the lower the maximum voltage that can be applied to the plug.

Contact diameter and currents

As the contact diameter increases, the maximum possible current also increases (but other factors such as the contact material and the contact coating must also be taken into consideration).

For circular connectors, it is not only the number of poles, but also the type of conductor you want to connect to the circular connector. A distinction can be made between two types of conductors:

  • Conductors for working contacts.
  • Protective conductors (PE = protective earth): serves as safety and protects against electric shock. In the metallic housing, the protective conductor is conductively connected to the housing. The protective conductors are also pre-manufactured, i.e. it contacts first when being inserted and then disconnects last when being disconnected.

The pole configuration and pole configuration designation of a product allows you to read not only the number of contacts, but also the type of conductor that can be connected to it. If contacts of different design and diameters are provided for the working contacts, they are listed individually, such as in pole configuration 3+PE+4.

To explain: a total of eight contacts are included in one connector with a pole configuration of 3+PE+4. Three thicker contacts for power supply, one contact for protective conductors and four thinner contacts for signal transmission.

Example pole configuration designations and their meaning

What designs are there for EPIC® circular connectors?

The EPIC® circular connectors are available in a wide range of variants. Its external appearance – i.e. whether a circular connector is straight, angled, with a coupling nut or outer thread, with or without a fastening flange – is called the design. Use our design overview to find the right design for your application.