What Are FAKRA Connectors And How Do They Work?
Meet the Connector: FAKRA Connectors
A mainstay of automotive connectivity for the past two decades, FAKRA connectors are a variation of subminiature version B (SMB) coaxial RF connectors developed by Rosenberger and standardized by the German Committee of Automobile Manufacturers. FAKRA is an acronym for Fachkreis Automobile or Working Group Automobile. These versatile connectors are in widespread use in the global automotive industry, primarily in telematics, safety, and communications applications. An average connected car contains at least 15 FAKRA connectors.
The FAKRA standard defines the connector’s interface and mechanical and electrical characteristics. FAKRA connectors consist of a plug and jack that mate via a push-on mechanism embedded within a plastic housing. An audible locking confirmation lets operators know a connection has been made. Some variations include a secondary lock. They are available in 14 different mechanical layouts. Color-coding enables easy identification and prevents mismatching. FAKRA connectors can operate up to 6 GHz.
FAKRA connectors are used throughout automotive vehicles in applications such as telematic and GPS navigation, entertainment systems, Bluetooth, cellular, keyless entry, climate controls, and radio antennas. They are also used in sensor systems for autonomous controls. Other non-auto applications include outdoor routers, industrial process control boxes, machine-to-machine modules, and IoT devices.
There are several subtypes of FAKRA connectors: The original FAKRA I connectors are now primarily used in antenna applications. FAKRA II, the second generation of FAKRA, is considered the current base standard. They are available in a variety of angles and configurations, including an IP6K9K sealed and weather-resistant version for use in outdoor applications. Customized and miniaturized versions are available from some manufacturers.
Standardization The FAKRA standard is accepted worldwide by major car manufacturers and system suppliers for automotive communications and entertainment applications. FAKRA products are compliant to ISO 20860-1 & 2, DIN ISO 20860, SAE/USCAR 18 standards.
Configurations FAKRA encompasses a complete line of configurations based on application, with various entrance angles, color coding, mechanical keying, and cable designation options.
Durability A rugged plastic housing helps protect FAKRA connectors from the harsh conditions vehicles face in operation, including debris, weather conditions, shock, and vibration. They are designed to handle a temperature range of −40°C to +105°C. Sealed versions are available.
Mating cycles These connectors are designed to handle a minimum of 100 mating cycles.
Performance FAKRA connectors are designed to perform up to 6 GHz and handle 335 volts RMS continuous.
Assembly To meet the needs of automated assembly, FAKRA connectors are optimized for tape and reel packaging. They are also suitable for selective, wave, and reflow processing.
Markets, Sectors, Applications
FAKRA connectors are used for telematics, safety, and communications applications in the automotive industry, as well as in non-auto vehicles such as watercraft, motorcycles, and off-highway heavy equipment. They are used in safety, driver assist, V2V, and other in-vehicle networks.
FAKRA connectors per ISO 20860-1 and -2 (or USCAR-17 and -18) are bigger physically than the connectors being called FAKRA-mini (such as the HFM from Rosenberger). Traditional FAKRA connectors do not perform as well in RF testing, either. To avoid confusion, USCAR calls the new connectors “mini coax connectors.” An upcoming specification, USCAR-49, will define an industry-standard test specifically for mini coax connectors.
FAKRA are available from many connector suppliers including Amphenol RF, IMS Connector Systems, JAE, JPC Connectivity, Molex, TE Connectivity, ACES Connectors, APTIV (available from TTI Inc.), Pasternack, Rosenberger, Yamaichi Electronics
- RF Connectors
- SMB Connectors