What are M-Type Sensor Connectors?

By AJ Born | April 05, 2022

Updated: January 2023

Meet the Connector: M-Type Sensor Connectors

M-type connectors were originally designed for connecting sensors and actuators in automation equipment and industrial networks. They are now used in a variety of applications, including high-frequency transmission circuits in telecommunications, measurement equipment, robotics, and transportation. The M12 standard was adopted for its reliability and consistency by the automotive industry as a global standard interconnect solution.

Amphenol LTW’s M12 Sensor Cables/Actuator Cables N SEN, M12 A, 12P, PUSH PULL is one of many M-type variations LTW offers. Others include connectors with LED locking confirmation, push-pulls, and 100% backward compatible M12 1.0 threaded socket connectors.

The M-type connector is one of the most used and least expensive connector types. With an option for IP65 to IP69 protection, M-type connectors provide reliable data and power transmission in harsh environments.

As an industry-standard connector, the M-type is widely available for new projects and replacements are easily accessible. The M12 standard (IEC 61076-2-101) and the M8 standard (IEC 61076-2-104) ensure that a proper connection is maintained between components and offer some protection against foreign debris to preserve the integrity of signal and power transmission. The M5 standard (IEC 61076-2-105:2008) describes circular connectors with M5 screw-locking connectors.

Standardization aids engineers in determining the correct wiring for communication protocols. Testing to the IEC standard ensures that manufacturers produce compatible connectors with quality connections, giving end users options and creating a competitive market.

The threaded locking nut characterizes M-type connectors. Various connector sizes are available including M5, M8, and M12. Contact arrangements, most with IEC-compliant configurations, include three, four, five, eight, and 12 pins. The M12 is the most commonly used type, with many options for complete networking application solutions. It is credited with increased factory automation and higher productivity as well as decreased maintenance and downtime. The M5 and M8, however, have gained in popularity due to their compact size.

Design Notes

Standards: M12 (EC 61076-2-101), M8 (IEC 61076-2-104), and M5 (IEC 61076-2-105:2008)

Materials and options: M-type connectors are made of plastic and metal housing materials. They are available in straight and right-angle forms, field-installable versions, and standard or custom overmolded cordset lengths.

Shielding: M-type connectors are available with or without EMI shielding.

Sealing: Ingress protection ranges from IP65 to IP69.

Markets, Sectors, and Applications

M-type connectors are widely used in a variety of applications, but prevalently in industrial automation, actuator, sensor, measurement, robotics, automotive industries, and transportation.


M-type connectors are available in many variations from many manufacturers, including Amphenol IndustrialAmphenol LTWbinderBulgin, HARTINGITT CannonJAE, LumbergMETZ ConnectMolex, Mouser Electronics, NorComp (DigiKey, Heilind, Mouser Electronics) Phoenix ContactTE ConnectivityWAGO, and Weidmüller

Related Products

Like this article? Check out our other Meet the Connector, M12, and our 2022 Article Archive

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AJ Born
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