Updated: February 21st, 2019

Never underestimate the importance of contact/housing retention mechanisms. Serious issues can arise if contacts are not assembled properly or if the retention device is not robust.


Connectors retain their electrical contacts within an insulating housing. Some retention mechanisms are more reliable than others. Serious issues can arise if the contacts are not assembled properly or if the design of the retention device is not robust.

Rectangular connectors for the automotive industry need to handle shock and vibration, but also be flexible enough to still maintain the connection.

Although some connectors are supplied to an end user with contacts pre-assembled in a housing (headers, surface mount tails, etc.), often the user must assemble contacts himself. Because this usually occurs after terminating conductor wires, it can affect connector performance, for better or worse.

Electrical contacts enable a separable, conductive path through a connector, and in effect extend the attributes of the primary conductors (wires, PCB traces, etc.). A housing physically separates, and electrically isolates, individual contacts while maintaining their orientation and spacing. This permits proper engagement and mating of the connector.

Electrical contact housing

Contact retention features ensure proper axial contact positioning, facilitate assembly of the contacts and wiring/harnesses, and may allow the connector to be repaired. These features absorb contact mating forces and resist forces resulting from normal use of the connector (mating/unmating)