What are Bulkhead Mount Connectors?

By AJ Born | January 10, 2023

Meet the Connector: Bulkhead Mount Connectors

The term bulkhead mount refers to the mounting style of the connector. In this case, it is the method used to attach a connector to a product casing, enclosure, or panel from the front or rear side. Normally, it involves a threaded body or a push-pull device. The connector can then be mated and unmated as required.

A bulkhead connector can be used instead of a continuous feedthrough when users need to disconnect wires from the chamber. They are beneficial for applications that require quick connections or disconnections on either side of the chamber wall. High quality connectors should be chosen to prevent electrical losses or problems with poor sealing.

Standard bulkhead connectors typically accommodate four wire gauges with only 10-pin configurations per wire gauge. Mixed-wire-gauge connectors may not be readily available or may have to be special-ordered.

“Many bulkhead connectors have an interfacial seal to prevent ingress of water or dirt into the casing or through the bulkhead and it is becoming more common for the connectors themselves to be sealed to IP67/8 to further seal the device for use in harsh environments,” explained Brian Tea, sales manager at COAX Connectors.

 

Available in both 50Ω and 75Ω, Coax Connectors IP68 RF Connector products are sealed to 10 meters x 4 hours un-mated and are available in all commonly used interfaces including BNC, TNC, N Type, etc. The connectors provide a minimum 500 mating cycles with operating temperature ranges from -65 °C to +165 °C, have MIL 39012 interfaces, and are available in a variety of surface finishes.

Available in both 50Ω and 75Ω, Coax Connectors IP68 RF Connector products are sealed to 10 meters x 4 hours un-mated and are available in all commonly used interfaces including BNC, TNC, and N Type. The connectors provide a minimum 500 mating cycles with operating temperature ranges from -65 °C to +165 °C, have MIL 39012 interfaces, and are available in a variety of surface finishes.

 

SV Microwave’s standard SMA and 2.92mm female bulkhead cable assemblies are used to transmit a signal through a panel using a single mounting hole.

SV Microwave’s standard SMA and 2.92mm female bulkhead cable assemblies are used to transmit a signal through a panel using a single mounting hole. The bulkhead connector style allows installation through a box or panel without the use of screws. The fastening nut is installed around the front of the connector on the outside of the box or pane.

 

SV Microwave series of SMA and 2.92mm cable connectors and adapters with built-in electromagnetic interference (EMI) shielding.

This SV Microwave series of SMA and 2.92mm cable connectors and adapters with built-in electromagnetic interference (EMI) shielding. These interconnects feature a gasket that improves EMI shielding over similar products, resulting in minimal to no electromagnetic interference.

ITT Cannon’s APD series is a versatile range of full plastic direct, in-line, and bulkhead circular connectors that are resistant to engine, transmission, and brake fluids.

ITT Cannon’s APD series is a versatile range of full plastic direct, in-line, and bulkhead circular connectors that are resistant to engine, transmission, and brake fluids. This series meets harsh environment requirements, high sealing grades, and vibration requirements.

 

A thru-bulkhead flange mount is used to feed circuits on bulkheads or panels and includes a receptacle on both ends of the shell. Courtesy of PEI-Genesis.

A thru-bulkhead flange mount is used to feed circuits on bulkheads or panels and includes a receptacle on both ends of the shell. Courtesy of PEI-Genesis.

 

Arrow Electronics supplies TE Connectivity’s Unmanned Power (UMP) connector series that offers up to 80 amps per contact.

Arrow Electronics supplies TE Connectivity’s Unmanned Power (UMP) connector series that offers up to 80 amps per contact. This UMP features a smaller bulkhead mount compared to competing connectors.

Design Notes for Bulkhead Mount Connectors

Bulkhead mount style is found in a variety of connector interfaces including RF types (BNC, TNC, N-Type, SMA, etc.), rectangular types (D-subs, and rack & panel), and circular (MIL-Spec and commercial equivalent styles, push-pull styles, and M style). Many hermetic connectors are offered with a bulkhead mount option allowing them to be disconnected without losing their hermetic seal.

 

Radiall’s EPXB2 Bulkhead receptacle provides permanent sealing between two zones with different environmental conditions.

Radiall’s EPXB2 Bulkhead receptacle provides permanent sealing between two zones with different environmental conditions.

For outdoor use or anywhere water ingress is a concern, bulkhead mount connectors with IP67/68 ratings are available.

Many bulkhead connectors have a built-in plate or flange with pre-drilled mounting holes, allowing the part to be bolted to the cut-out. Others utilize a separate face plate or bulkhead plate with a coupling nut that is screwed on and holds the connector in place against the plate. This method is popular for connectors that need to be removed for repair or rework.

Applications for Bulkhead Mount Connectors

  • Military
  • Aerospace
  • Transportation
  • Test and Instrumentation
  • Telecommunications
  • Base Stations
  • Process Controls

Suppliers

COAX Connectors Ltd., ITT Cannon, PEI-Genesis, Radiall, SV Microwave, Amphenol RF, TE Connectivity, Arrow Electronics

Related Products

  • Panel mount
  • Flange mount

Like this article? Check out our other Meet the Connector and Harsh Environment articles, our Sensors and Antennas Market Page, and our 2023 and 2022 Article Archive

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