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~ Why engineers shouldn’t write off the versatile D-Sub connector for challenging applications in harsh conditions ~

D-Subminiature electrical connectors, commonly known as D-Subs, have been around for decades, and are often used in everything from military, space, commercial aerospace, medical, industrial and transport applications. Because of their versatility, many engineers often misjudge D-Sub connectors, dismissing them as a jack of all trades and master of none. Here Sean Fitall, Positronic Product Manager at electrical connector specialist PEI-Genesis, discusses the versatility of D-Sub connectors and explains why they remain the best connector for the job in many challenging applications.

For roughly 70 years D-Sub connectors have been used in most applications where electrical connectors are required, from aerospace, communications and defence to industrial, transport, medical and consumer electronics. Notably, D-Sub connectors are even used in space applications as they are so reliable in extreme conditions. So, what is it that makes D-Subs so appealing across so many industrial sectors?

D-Sub design considerations

D-Sub electrical connectors can transmit data, power and radio frequency signals and, thanks to the characteristic D shape of their shells, are simple to use. Unlike other connector models such as USB-A, they cannot accidently be plugged in the wrong way around.

The metal shell also adds a robust housing for the rows of contacts inside while providing shielding against electromagnetic interference (EMI), which can be further improved by adding a dedicated backshell. This is particularly useful as EMI remains a major concern for engineers in many applications, especially those where signal integrity is crucial to ongoing operations, such as mission-critical military and aerospace applications.

For applications subject to ongoing or excessive vibrations that could cause accidental disconnects, D-Subs come equipped with mounting options such as jack screws, slide locks and spring latch systems. This ensures connections remain secure even in the most challenging environments, such as those regularly experienced by military ground vehicles.

Many people wrongly assume that because D-Subs have been in use for so long that they are outdated when, in fact, their longevity is actually a strength. Generally, D-Sub connectors are low-cost solutions that are easy to install and almost certainly compatible with your existing equipment, whether it be in a commercial environment or the harshest of industrial environments.

PEI-Genesis offers the full range of Positronic D-Sub connectors, which are well suited for use in harsh and rugged environments as well as for general use in industrial, aerospace and military applications. This range of connectors is industry-proven, meeting strict performance requirements under SAE AS39029 and MIL-DTL-24308 Class M standards, and available with options for 15, 26, 44, 62, 78 and 104 contacts.

To find a Positronic D-Sub connector that suits your application, visit PEI-Genesis at www.peigenesis.com/en/positronic-d-sub-connectors.html.

Manufacturing Update