Blind-Mating Coaxial Connectors Product Roundup

By Christine Stieglitz | April 20, 2021

This week’s Product Roundup highlights blind-mating coaxial connectors from leading suppliers.

Blind-Mating Coaxial Connectors 

Delta RF VITA 67 series for blind-matingCDM Electronics is an authorized supplier and design partner for Delta Electronics and offers numerous connectivity solutions from the Delta RF product line, which targets applications within the aerospace, broadcast, industrial, medical, military, military QPL, and telecommunications markets. One such solution is Delta’s VITA 67 RF connectors for 3U and 6U formats in OpenVPX architectures. Ideal for blind-mating daughtercards to motherboards, these VITA 67 connectors are available with four- and eight-position (VITA 67.1 and 67.2) housings precision machined from stainless steel or aluminum and equipped with either pre-loaded within- and between-series jack-to-jack adapters or cost effective, direct-snap-in, male, cable-mount SMPM contacts compatible with both 0.047” and 0.086” flexible, semi-rigid cable. Designed in accordance with MIL-STD-348, these 50Ω SMPM contacts tolerate ±0.010” of radial misalignment and a minimum of 0.079” of axial travel, support frequencies extending from DC to 40GHz, and exhibit excellent return loss up to 40GHz, with typical maximum VSWRs of 1.25:1 from 26.5GHz and 1.4:1 from 26.5–40GHz and less than 100dB isolation from DC to 26.5GHz. They are also rated for 200VAC and operating temperatures extending from -55°C to +105°C and require at least 3.5lbs of engagement force. Motherboard solutions are available in vertical two-piece housings with direct snap-in SMPM contacts, offer improved insertion loss and return loss compared to the adapter solutions, and allow the opposite end of the assembly to be terminated with a variety of Delta RF interfaces, while daughterboard solutions are available in right-angle housings with direct snap-in floating SMPM contacts. Both motherboard and daughterboard solutions allow housings to be selectively loaded, eliminate the need for adapters, and employ 0.240” center-to-center spacing. Within- and between-series jack-to-jack adapter solutions are available in catcher’s mitt SMPM to full-detent SMPM and catcher’s mitt SMPM to DM45 configurations and also allow housings to be selectively loaded.

Smiths Interconnect MDHC Series for blind-matingSmiths Interconnect’s MDHC Series spring-loaded, high-frequency, Micro-D coax connectors have a constant 50Ω airline impedance interface, exhibit a low maximum VSWR of 1.5:1 up to 40GHz (typical mated pair performance), and are 30% smaller than its SCX coaxial connectors. The series features compact, lightweight, and low-profile electroless nickel plated aluminum housings equipped with PTFE insulators capable of supporting high-density arrangements of 2, 4, 6, 8, or 10 coax contacts with a maximum overall diameter of 0.125”, as well as hybrid arrangements of signal, power, coax, and high-speed twinax contacts comprised of gold-plated brass or beryllium copper. It also supports a maximum float-mount misalignment tolerance of 0.010” in both the radial and axial directions, is available with locking post mechanisms or blind-mating hardware attachments, and doesn’t require any cumbersome spring mounts. MDHC Series connectors are RoHS compliant, tested to various MIL-STD-202 specifications for corrosion, shock, vibration, and thermal shock resistance, and rated for a minimum of 500 mating cycles in operating temperatures extending from -65°C to +165°C. In addition, MDHC coaxial contacts are a drop-in alternative to the company’s MDCX RF contacts, but with an increased frequency range spanning DC to 40 GHz.

SV Microwave SMP spring bullets for blind matingSV Microwave’s new SMP Spring Bullets eliminate gaps between bullets and shrouds for maximum RF performance and maintain consistent, high-frequency RF response from DC to 40GHz during channel-to-channel gang mating and under all states of compression. These compact connector solutions are available in smooth bore, limited-detent, and full-detent designs and a wide range of sizes and are ideally suited for high-density, small-form-factor, board-to-board applications, including large-scale blind-mating arrays, in military and aerospace equipment. SMP Spring Bullets are rated for 50Ω impedance, frequencies up to 40Ghz, typical VSWR of 1.15:1 to 26.5GHz and 1.5:1 to 40GHz, shielding efficacy greater than or equal to -80dB from to DC to 3GHz and -65dB from 3–26.5GHz, 500Vrms dielectric withstanding voltage, and operating temperatures extending from -65°C to +165°C. They also tolerate 0.010” axial misalignment and ±0.010” radial misalignment, require 3–7lbs of engagement force, 0.5–9lbs of disengagement force, support 1,000 (smooth bore), 500 (limited-detent), or 100 (full-detent) mating cycles, and satisfy MIL-STD-202 specifications for corrosion, vibration, shock, thermal shock, and altitude performance.

LEMO’s 00 Series miniature, blind-mating, and self-latching 50Ω coaxial connectors were LEMO’s 00 Series miniature, blind-mating, and self-latching 50Ω coaxial connectors were developed to meet the exacting performance standards of particle physics applications practiced at CERN and other nuclear research establishments and, along with LEMO’s closely related 01 Series, form the basis of the NIM-CAMAC CD/N 549 standard. The extremely versatile and highly reliable 00 Series is also compatible with UL, CE, and RoHS requirements and now offers more than 40 compact, lightweight, ruggedized, and fully shielded shell styles equipped with LEMO’s proprietary push-pull self-latching system, which mate using a simple, axial, push-pull action that reduces the required mounting space to the absolute minimum and, as such, enable very high connector densities with up to 50 sockets per square decimeter. In addition to nuclear physics applications, these user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing blind-mating connectors are also widely employed in telecommunications systems, sensor networks, medical equipment, space research labs, test and measurement equipment, and control systems. LEMO’s 00 Series connectors are available with nickel-, chrome-, or gold-plated brass, black-chrome-plated brass, or PEEK housings equipped with PTFE or PEEK insulators, IP50 sealing, EMI shielding that exhibits greater than 90dB efficacy at 10MHz and greater than 70dB at 1GHz, male and female crimp or solder contacts, and three collet options: cable collet clamping, cable crimping, or oversize cable collets. It is also available in in extensive range of metal housing configurations designed to accept cables with outer diameters spanning 1.5–5mm, including a range of fixed plugs, straight plugs, elbow plugs, straight and elbow plugs with sockets, plugs with resistors, fixed sockets, elbow sockets, free sockets, sockets with microswitches, fixed couplers, free couplers, and water- and vacuum-tight straight sockets and couplers. The series exhibits more than 18N of contact retention force, requires more than 100N of cable pull-off force and more than 90N of connector pull-off force, and endures more than 5,000 mating cycles in operating temperatures extending from -55°C to +250°C. It is also rated for 50Ω impedance, 0.7kVrms operating voltage and 2.1kVrms test voltage at 50Hz, 4A, and less than 6mΩ contact resistance.

Allied Electronics & Automation supplies Amphenol RF’s line of 50Ω SMPM connectorsAllied Electronics & Automation supplies Amphenol RF’s line of 50Ω SMPM connectors, which have a well-shielded, microminiature, blind-mating interface per MIL-STD-348, support frequencies extending from DC to 65GHz, and are available in push-on and snap-on configurations with full detent and smooth bore mating systems. These SMPM connectors support both board-to-board and cable-to-board configurations — the former of which with the assistance of a floating bullet adapter that provides a link between mating pairs and adequately compensates for both radial and axial misalignment (0.51mm and 0.25mm, respectively, with a 6.6mm minimum board-to-board distance) — and are commonly used in miniature, high-frequency coaxial modules and other high-data-rate applications within antenna systems, broadband, wireless, and instrumentation equipment, military and medical electronics, and quantum computing systems. Amphenol RF’s SMPM plugs are available in straight and right-angle configurations designed to terminate either 0.047” or 0.086” semi-rigid or conformable coax cable, and its SMPM receptacles are available in surface-mount, through-hole, and end-launch configurations. Electrical characteristics include 50Ω impedance, DC to 26.5GHz performance for standard designs and DC to 65GHz performance for extended-range designs, a minimum dielectric withstanding voltage of 325Vrms, and maximum VSWR of 1.15:1 from DC to 10GHz, 1.25:1 from 10–26.5GHz, and 1.35:1 from 26.5–50GHz. Additional electrical characteristics include a minimum of 5,000MΩ insulation resistance, a maximum of 6mΩ center and 2mΩ outer contact resistance, -85dB or less RF leakage from DC to 4GHz, and 16W of power handling at 1GHz and 25°C. Amphenol RF’s SMPM connectors are also tested to various MIL-STD-202 specifications for corrosion, vibration, mechanical and thermal shock, and moisture resistance and are designed for operation in temperatures extending from -65°C to +165°C. Smooth bore variants require a maximum of 11N of engagement and disengagement force and are rated for a minimum of 500 mating cycles while full-detent variants require a maximum of 19N engagement and 25N of disengagement force and are rated for a minimum of 100 mating cycles.

COAX Connectors’ BMA EasyFit/Solder Floating Rear-Mount Bulkhead Jacks for semi-rigid cableCOAX Connectors’ BMA EasyFit/Solder Floating Rear-Mount Bulkhead Jacks for semi-rigid cable, including 0.085″-diameter RG405 cable and other similar cables in group HA, have compact, lightweight (8.03g), blind-mating form factors with gold-plated push-fit center contacts and soldered bodies/outer contacts for optimal conductivity. These 50Ω BMA connectors support frequencies up to 6GHz and are rated for 750Veff dielectric withstanding voltage, 5,000MΩ insulation resistance, and 500 mating cycles in operating temperatures extending from -55°C to +155°C. Mechanically, they adhere to the IEC 60169-15 design standard and feature gold-plated, beryllium copper (BeCu) EasyFit center contacts, PTFE insulators, and gold-plated BeCu solder-termination outer contacts. BMA EasyFit Rear-Mount Bulkhead Jacks require 23Ncn engagement and disengagement force and achieve at least 27N of contact retention force and 200N of cable retention force. They also offer IP54 protection when mated and comply with RoHS3 specifications. In addition, COAX Connectors offers a small range of alternative BMA EasyFit connectors that are not included as part of this main product series, which it’s happy to elaborate on upon request, as well as custom cable assemblies, which customers can quickly and easily adapt to suit their unique needs using its online cable configurator.

PEI-Genesis supplies TE Connectivity’s modular, high-density, blind-mating RF backplane connection system,PEI-Genesis supplies TE Connectivity’s modular, high-density, blind-mating RF backplane connection system, which combines high-performance, broad-bandwidth, multi-position RF interconnects in a customer-configurable platform that’s ideal for use in a wide range of backplane and daughtercard applications within military, aerospace, telecommunications, transportation, and consumer electronics equipment and devices. This 50Ω system features four- and eight-position modules designed to meet the requirements of VITA 67.1 and VITA 67.2 and support modular configurations of high-density coaxial contacts, including compliant pin backplane contacts, that are suitable for use with a variety of low-loss cables and arranged on 0.240” centerlines. It also features float-mounted jacks that maintain a positive RF ground, exhibit high channel-to-channel isolation, and is additionally compatible with TE’s Fortis Zd backplane connector system. This series is designed and qualified to VITA 67.0, VITA 67.1, and VITA 67.2, as well as designed to meet the vibration, environmental, and corrosion resistance requirements of ANSI/VITA 47, and its SMPM coaxial contact interfaces comply with MIL-STD-348 while all materials meet MIL-PRF-39012 the requirements. Module bodies are available made of Type 303 corrosion-resistant steel with a passivation treatment or aluminum alloy 6061-T6 with a Trivalent chromate conversion coating, insulators are made of PTFE, connector housings/outer contacts and center contacts are both made from gold-plated beryllium copper, and springs are made of nickel-plated music wire or Type 316 corrosion-resistant steel with a passivation treatment. Mechanically, these blind-mating RF modules provide reliable resistance against shock, vibration, humidity, and temperature cycling and are rated for 500 mating cycles (smooth bore variants) in operating temperatures extending from -55°C to +85°C. They also tolerate a minimum of 0.079” (2.0mm) axial float misalignment and ±0.010 radial misalignment and typically require 18.75N of engagement and 3.25N of disengagement force. Electrically, the series supports DC to 6GHz frequencies with PCB-mounted contacts, DC to 26.5GHz with semi-rigid cable contacts, and DC to 20GHz with flexible cable contacts and exhibits 50Ω impedance with a maximum VSWR of 1.15:1 to 20GHz and 1.25:1 to 26.5GHz. It is also rated for a minimum of 5,000MΩ insulation resistance, a minimum of 325Vrms dielectric withstanding voltage at sea level, a maximum of 6mΩ center and 2mΩ outer contact resistance, and less than 100–140dB channel-to-channel isolation depending on frequency. Ideal applications for TE’s modular, high-density, blind-mating RF backplane connection system include wireless, antenna, telecommunications, central computing, and infotainment systems, consumer electronics devices, home appliances, autonomous vehicles, electronic countermeasure systems, land and sea anti-ballistic signal processing equipment, UAV electronic sensing and processing equipment, avionics and ground-based radar systems, base stations, and satellite and shipboard computing systems.

Amphenol Pcd’s Pegasus Series connectorsAmphenol Pcd’s Pegasus Series connectors are small, lightweight, low-cost, shielded, sealed, and ruggedized and are designed to support power and signal distribution in a range of harsh-environment military, aerospace, industrial, and transportation applications. The series is available in a wide variety of sizes, colors, and configurations, and with both power and signal contacts including twinax and quadrax variants, and is capable of supporting USB, CAT5a, and CAT6e communications. In addition, variants with size 22 Mil-Spec contacts can support airborne PoE and USB 2.0 IoT applications. Pegasus Series connectors have Ultem insulator bodies with electroless nickel over copper plating for EMI shielding, quarter-turn bayonet-style coupling mechanisms with keying for easy and efficient wire installation and maintenance in blind-mating applications, and interfacial and triple-barrier silicone rubber seals for IP67 protection. They also have copper alloy spring finger gaskets for shell-to-shell conductivity, stainless steel contact retainers for high contact retention force over the operating life cycle, and scoop-proof contacts to prevent contacts from being bent or electrically shorted during mating. The series is resistant to altitude, temperature cycling, shock, thermal shock, vibration, salt spray, noise, humidity, immersion in a variety of fluids, and flammability (UL94 V-0). It is also RoHS and REACH compliant and rated for a minimum of 100 mating cycles (250 typical) in operating temperatures extending from -65°C to +125°C. In addition, the series exhibits between 40dB and 60dB attenuation depending on frequency and 100Ω differential impedance, which enables wide eye diagram openings with low jitter content, insertion loss, and return loss and provides adequate support for I00Base-TX (IEEE 802.3bw), 1000Base-T (IEEE 802.3ab), USB2.0, 2.5GBaseT, 5GBaseT, and 100Mb/s BROADR-Reach communications protocols. Pegasus Series connectors are ideally suited for a range of commercial and military aerospace applications, including missile guidance and control systems, seatback peripherals, in-seat communications, in-flight entertainment systems, interior and exterior lighting, intelligent sensors, remote avionics modules, and avionic sensors, controls, and actuators. But that’s not all. This versatile series is also well suited for use in UAVs, military weapons systems, soldier communications systems, interior and exterior LED lighting, vehicle actuators, heavy equipment, transportation systems, and oil and gas equipment.

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Christine Stieglitz
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