Military Embedded Systems

How to Specify Nano-D Connectors

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Nano-D ConnectorsNano-D connectors are often designed for use in small, rugged robotic applications beyond industrial. Within these applications, the emphasis on a smaller and lighter form factor intensifies. Nano-D connectors made of beryllium copper at 17200 ksi and tempered for continuous spring force with an open end provide better travel in compression and expansion. When the connector is hot, the copper alloy socket expands and the opening spring increases contact pressure; when the connector is cold, the socket contracts and the spring ends close but save excess stress on the spring to give the connector longer life. In high vibration environments, some connectors allow 10ns open circuit time, while the spring pin has exhibited zero opens under vibration testing. The open-end spring pin exceeds 2000 mates/de-mates in rugged testing. The tapered spring design of the interface has four continuous points of contact in the bow shape so it lasts longer and is stronger in all cases.

Other considerations when specifying Nano-D connectors include the following:

  • To ensure long life, the contacts should be nickel/gold-plated after forming, per ASTBM B488 Type II, with 50 microinches of nickel and 50 microinches of gold that is controlled by XRF measurement and checked for non-porous surfaces.
  • Nano-D connectors with metal shells are lightweight and withstand very high shock and vibration, well beyond many of the heavier and larger connector designs.
  • Pre-wired standard and off-the-shelf Nano-Ds are available in multiple pin 

As robotics expand their reach beyond industrial systems, designers must remember to specify materials and standards in connectors that meet the application level of the equipment they are to be used.  Roving and flying robotics will need to pay attention to items such as vibration and ruggedness while security oriented robotic designs may need surveillance related packaging and cabling. The specification methods will have to be tailored to the need.   

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