Electronic Design

Twist-Pin Concept Increases Miniature Connector Reliability

Taking a 30-year-old connector contact concept one step further, Tyco Electronics' high-reliability microminiature connectors exceed certain Mil standards, suiting them for aerospace, defense, medical-equipment, and various instrumentation applications. Known as "twist pin," the concept involves obtaining as many points of contact possible within a connection interface.

The connector consists of a "bird-caged" stranded wire acting as the male component of the system and a precision gold-plated socket as the female element. Contacts can be spaced on centerlines as close as 0.05 in. The technology can be applied to many microminiature connector interfaces and can be used in high-density microminiature D connectors. It's also available in circular and rectangular connectors.

Wires are twisted into a helical shape, and the strands are bonded to form a tip. The tip is depressed, with the contact bulging in the center. The bulge makes contact with the inside of the socket (see the photo).

Unlike older twist-pin de-signs that use seven wire strands, Tyco uses nine for improved electrical performance. Tested in accordance with Mil-Std 1344 Method 5, test conditions IV and E, the twist-pin contacts showed no discontinuities for more than 1 µs. They also meet Mil specs for humidity, salt-spray, and fluid immersion.

Using a Microdot low-force socket, the nine-strand unit features a reduction in engagement force down to 100 grams, compared with the usual 200 to 400 grams needed for screwed machine contacts. The contacts are rated for a minimum of 500 mating cycles without any electrical performance degradation. They can handle wire sizes from 24 to 30 AWG and up to 3 A of current.

Contact Tyco at (800) 522-6752 or [email protected]

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