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Automotive Connector Materials

Automotive Connector Materials

Electronic connectors are incorporated in nearly every kind of technology. Medical equipment? Yes. Industrial machinery? Of course. Telecommunication gear? You betcha. Automobiles? Wouldn't dream of ignoring these parts. Without electronic connectors, we wouldn't be able to go about our day the way we do. We would have to rely on outdated tech and continue to use horses. Automotive connectors don't just help us innovate our routine but provide comfort during road trips and daily commutes. 

What Are Automotive Connectors?

Automotive connectors are a recent invention used to improve our routines. It allows our transportation to power up the windshield wipers and media, ensure we can actually hear what we want, merge supplementary devices with the vehicle, and navigate the world without needing a physical map. However, it's important to realize these aren't all accomplished by one single kind of automotive connector. There are different categorizations for automotive connectors: Group A, Group B, Group C, and Group D.
The following is a shortened definition of each automotive connector group. Group A involves power connectors allowing energy to run through the machine. Group B are connectors ensuring sound is working throughout the vehicle. Group C connectors, or wires, connect all supplementary devices to the automobile. Group D connectors guarantee your navigation system is working harmoniously with your car's location. How do these automotive connectors accomplish all of this? Through the use of durable and high-quality materials.

What Materials are Used to Make Automotive Connectors?

Without these automotive connectors, we would drive in silence and be highly restricted during the night. However, to assist our driving, these electronic connectors need to include a few key automotive-based materials, such as plating, PBTs or LCPs, and a style of reflow.

Why are Connectors Gold, Tin, and/or Nickel Plated?

Gold, tin and nickel being used to plate the connectors ensures the connectors are durably made and are reliable through several mating cycles. For instance, gold and nickel plated connectors can usually sustain as much as 200 mating cycles but they also need to be quite thick and lubricated; about 30/50 in thickness and lubrication. However, 30/50 micro inches in thickness and no lubrication may only be able to handle 25 mating cycles. 
Another plating regularly used is a combination of gold, palladium and nickel, and nickel is usually based with 2/25/50 micro inches of thickness, and can tolerate 200 mating cycles, but requires lubrication. If the automotive connector isn't lubricated, don't expect more than 25 mating cycles. In short, these plating materials helps with longevity and durability. 

What is Polybutylene Terephthalate?

Depending on the automotive connector series, polybutylene terephthalate, also known as PBT, may be used. For instance, Oupiin's 5290 Series automotive shrouded connector and the 2042 Series Automotive PCB Sockets utilize PBT as its housing. This semi-crystalline engineering thermoplastic material protects the connector against a litany of electrical discharges and range of chemicals with its strong and stiff properties, as well as resists heat aging behaviors. PBTs will even stabilize the automotive connector from nearly every dimension. When all of this is combined, the electronic connector has the power to convert the roughest automobile into a smooth-riding vehicle.

How does Liquid-Crystal Polymer Work?

Similar to how the 5290 Series Automotive Shrouded Connector and the 2042 Series Automotive PCB Sockets incorporate PBT for its housing needs, the 5090 series Automotive Headers utilizes liquid crystal polymers (LCP) as its housing. This advanced polymer retains a powerful molecular structure in both its solid and liquid phases, which is how it possesses an enhanced mechanical strength. For instance, retaining their order when injection is molded or extruded; withstanding temperatures reaching 340℃, but only for short periods; handling a wide range of external chemicals; incorporating an extremely low direction of flow when expanded linearly; and preventing severe damage when sterilizing radiation is introduced. 

UL Classifications

Regardless of whether or not you go with a PBT or LCP housing, you will need to be given a UL94 identification. UL94 is a standard approved by the American Underwriters Laboratories, which evaluates plastics according to their ability to endure different orientations of burning and its thickness. However, the part's thickness is going to be one of the ultimate deciders on the rating it is provided, which is why you—the consumer—needs to be certain about the additives and thickness chosen. 
Based on all of these findings, an electronic connector will be given one of six classifications: HB, V-2, V-1, V-0, 5VB, and 5VA. HB is when there is a slow burning on a horizontal axis. V-2 is given when burning stops within 30 seconds of a part allowing a drop on a vertical flammable plastic. V-1 is provided when the burning stops within 30 seconds on a vertical part of a plastic not inflamed. V-0 is similar to V-1 but the burning only lasts 10 seconds. 5VB and 5VA are a little more specific in definition. The former having a burn stop within 60 seconds on a vertical part that doesn’t allow for drops of plastic not inflamed and may have a hole present. 5VA is nearly identical but there should be no hole present after the test is finished.

IR Reflow VS Vapor Phase Reflow

Depending on your personal preferences, you may choose to go with one of two soldering processes: IR reflow or a vapor phase reflow (VPR). IR reflow soldering is one of the most common methods used to solder a PCB and electronic connector since it involves a paste merging to the circuit board with little potential for damage or self-burns. VPR is a more advanced technique and utilitzes a high boiling point on an inert liquid to merge electronic components to said PCB. Allowing designers to limit the chance of facing temperatures higher than necessary, which, in turn, prevents parts from overheating and breaking. However, VPR soldering prevents large batches from being made since it's heavy on personal manual labor.

Contact Oupiin Group Today!

Automotive connectors are a newer electronic connector, which is why Oupiin has created this informative article for you to consume and share with your colleagues, friends, and/or family. We don't want you to feel left out or in the dark and providing these articles avoids these moments. However, if you want to learn more about our services or products, we highly recommend contacting us. You can email or call (+886-3-3655030) for our Taiwan office. You can also call our United States office with 1(661) 294-0228 or by emailing We are looking forward to your contact and can't wait to assist you with all of your technological needs!