Connectors are frequently selected based on purchase price without fully considering the costs linked with using them. What do connectors really cost?

puzzle-300x300This article is contributed by APEX Electrical Interconnection Consultants. For more of its “Connector Basics” series, click here.

Have you ever purchased the lowest-priced item, only to find out that the cost to use or own it was much more than you expected? Quite often that is the case with connectors: They are frequently selected based on purchase price without fully considering the costs linked with using them.

All connectors, whether wire-terminated or PCB-mounted, have additional costs associated with them. Some costs are readily known while others are hidden.

Total connector costs can generally be broken down into three categories: Known costs; costs that can be determined with some effort; and costs known only after use and experience.

Category 1: Known Costs

Known costs include:

  • Component piece price including list, negotiated, EAU (estimated annual usage), or special quantity.┬áCompanies often outsource fabrication of harnesses and printed circuit boards, including the assembly of the electrical connectors. When this happens, even the purchased cost of the connector may be hidden.
  • Special packaging.┬áThis is sometimes needed for compatibility with application equipment or handling, such as bulk, reels, tubes, trays, tape, etc.
  • Shipping cost.┬áStandard or expedited, domestic, or international