1. What is the current rating of a connector? How many amps will it handle?
(CCC, or Current Carrying Capacity)This is a very common question. It’s extremely rare in the connector world that a manufacturer tests the connector the way a customer uses it in his application. There are simply too many design and application variables. For example, many product specifications list a current rating for a single pin, but few customers have only one pin powered. Our test reports provide multiple configurations with a variety of pins powered to support a broad range of applications. We typically power and test the following configurations at various ambient temperature:
- 2 pins
- 4 pins
- 6 pins
- 8 pins
- maximum pin count (e.g. 100 pins in 2 x 50 configuration)
2. How many cycles will this connector handle?
(Durability / Life Cycle Tests)Our typical answer is “it depends.” Our connectors are not tested to failure. We typically test our connectors from 25 to 100 cycles depending on the connector design. Failure is best determined by the application and we are always willing to discuss custom testing scenarios. Low Level Contact Resistance (LLCR) is measured initially and after exposure to mechanical stress (cycles), thermal shock, and cyclic humidity. Our goal is stable LLCR throughout all of the stresses, and we will typically not release a product for sale if there is more than a 15mΩ delta (change in resistance) from the initial value. Many customer applications are easily able to handle much more resistance than this, and this is why we say “it depends” when addressing cycle life. Samtec Extended Life Products (ELP) are designed to withstand extreme applications and are tested to a higher number of cycles. See Figure 3 for a flowchart showing typical steps in the durability testing process. Figure 3: Example of Extended Life Product Test Flow
3. What is the force required to mate or un-mate a connector set?
(Mate, Un-Mating Force Tests)Configuration, number of pins, number of rows, and plating can drastically impact the required mating and un-mating force. We typically test the connector set under three conditions:
- the smallest number of positions offered
- the mid-point number of positions offered
- the largest size number of positions offered