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Increasing the current rating in connectors makes them larger. But what happens when you don't have the room? The Samtec mPOWER® connector presents a solution.

mPOWER range

Power connectors are large, and with good reason. Traditionally, the only way to make a connector carry more power was to make it bigger. Take a look at any power connector, especially a hybrid connector like a mixed density D-subminiature, and it is clear how power affects the size of the terminals.

There are many factors at work when determining the power capacity of an individual terminal, from the materials used in its construction to the amount of space in which it sits. Regardless of other considerations, one of the most critical considerations is how a terminal makes physical contact with its mating half.

Almost all connectors work in pairs. The interface between the two halves of a mated pair of terminals is critical to their current capacity. In this case, the key characteristic is the cross-sectional area of the contact between the two contacts.

In the simplest designs, such as the Samtec Tiger Buy™ system shown here, contact between terminals is made in two discrete areas. The amount of physical contact between the two terminals is just as important as the size or design of the terminals themselves in determining their power rating.

One method to improve the current-carrying capability of a terminal is to increase the contact surface area. This can be achieved by increasing the overall size of the terminal itself. An alternative solution is to adopt a design with multiple points of contact, as illustrated by this animation of the Samtec Tiger Eye™ system.

However, both solutions will result in the growth of the overall size of the terminal and therefore a parallel growth in the connector that houses them. This may be unimportant in the case of cable-mounted connectors. However, for a printed circuit board (PCB) designer who is battling with the need to reduce the size of a design and at the same time, increase its functionality, this increase in size presents a significant challenge.

The mPOWER® PCB-mounted power connector family delivers a solution to this challenge. The mPOWER uses a blade-type terminal that provides a greater contact surface area to maximise the current rating, while the slim design allows the connector to deliver up to 21 Amps per circuit with a pitch of just 2mm.

In addition, the wide terminal design allows the overall height of the connector to be kept low. In PCB applications, the mPOWER can deliver a board-to-board stacking height of as low as 5mm without sacrificing current capacity. Take a look at this video for an overview of the mPOWER’s capabilities in action.

The mPOWER® connector is available from RS Components, with options including contact counts between 2 and 5 poles, and in a choice of stacking heights. And if you would like to see how the connectors would appear before you buy them, take a look at our new Interactive 3D Product Explorer.

Samtec is a worldwide manufacturer of board-to-board interconnect solutions, including designs at the very cutting edge of data speeds and power capacity. Alongside technical excellence, customer service is at the very heart of what we do.