Coax Plugs: A Guide for the Selection

FACTS CHECKED BY  Jose George​

Coax plugs have insulation that is wrapped around the central conducting pin. These plugs can carry vast information and work perfectly with any coaxial cable. Moreover, you can also use them as mini power connectors for low-voltage devices. However, some specs of the connector often confuse the masses. What are these specs, and how can you identify them? Let’s find out.

Wiring Box
Wiring Box
Coax Plugs 1

Caption: Metal Coax plugs 

Coax Plugs-The polarity of Coaxial Connectors

Coaxial connectors connect with the help of different Male and female parts. The standard connector types are easy to identify, but as the polarity reverses, the designs change. So to check the male and female connectors, you should consider the following.

  • As you mate the plugs, ensure that both sides have the same polarity. Thus they can be either standard polarity or reverse polarity.
  • In standard RF, the plugs are usually male, and their threads are on the inner side of the shell. On the other hand, Jacks are female and have threads outside their shells.
  • The shell of the plug or Male covers the female plug shell.

Standard Polarity Specs

  • The Female will have a socket in the middle that can connect to the pin of the male plug. Moreover, the threads will be on the outer area.
  • The Male will have a center pin that inserts in the middle of the female jack. Also, the plug or male counterpart has threads inside the shell.

Coax Plugs-Reverse Polarity Specs

  • The female jack has the pin in the middle and threads on the outside of the shell.
  • Male Plug has the socket in the middle where the female pin will insert. Also, the threads are on the inside, and the shell covers the female jack.

Coax Plugs-Plating Material of Coaxial Connectors

Most of the time, copper, nickel, gold, or silver is used to plate coaxial connectors.

  • Copper: Copper is a metal that looks red. This metal is used a lot because it is good at conducting electricity and is easy to plate with other metals. Copper is easy to shape and smooth down. Copper plating is useful because it is a good heat conductor, easy to polish, and very flexible.
  • Silver: Silver is a good choice for plating because it is cheap. Also, It works well as a heat and electricity conductor. Moreover, it is easy to solder and has a high level of lubricity, making it good for bearing surface areas and applications that prevent galling.
  • Gold: Gold is popular in things like electronics and space travel. It is the third-best electrical conductor (after copper and silver). It is very flexible and has better protection against corrosion. Moreover, it is also easy to solder and moves heat well.
  • Nickel: Nickel makes things wear-resistant, hard, slick, and magnetic. It looks smooth and dull grey, but bright nickel is also available and is suitable for decorative purposes. Nickel does not rust or tarnish easily, making it a good choice for plating.

The geometry of Coax Cables

Coaxial connectors can be either straight or right-angled in their design. For a connection to work, it must be able to fit into the system into which it is installed.

The cable’s diameter is a crucial specification to know. Cables with RG-6 and RG-59 are the most frequent. Here the RG is the abbreviation for “Radio Guide.” The digits following it shows the diameter of the cable, as well as the internal properties of the cable, such as the types of cables jacket and the level of attenuation, which refers to the amount of signal loss per length of cable.

Coax Plugs 2

Caption: Choosing the right coaxial adapter

Source: https://www.globalspec.com/ 

Types of Coax Connectors

In the market, there are different types of coax connectors available, which include: 

Micro miniature RF and Micro-Coaxial Connectors 

Coax Plugs 3

Sub-miniature RF and Micro-Coaxial Connectors 

Coax Plugs 4

Miniature RF and Micro-Coaxial Connectors 

 

Coax Plugs-Standard RF and Micro-Coaxial Connectors 

 

Coax Plugs-Other common types of RF and Micro-Coaxial Connectors

Coax Plugs-Termination Options of Coax Cables

Terminals are devices to connect the end of a conductor to a post, stud, chassis, another conductor, or something similar so that you can make an electrical connection. Termination is different for each type of coaxial connector.

  • Screws, lugs, and screw-on are easy to use but aren’t as safe. It is because small pockets of air stick in the connection, weakening the signal.
  • To terminate the wire quickly, you can also use Tabs. 
  • Cage clamps don’t need special tools or much prep work. Thus, it is easy to set up and has a high level of mechanical security. 
  • Crimping is the physical process of squeezing and deforming the barrel of a connection wire around a wire to make a mechanical and electrical connection. 
  • In Wire Wrapping, you will wrap an unstripped and stripped wire around the end using a special tool having sharp corners.
  • Insulation displacement connectors (IDC) connect by cutting through the jacketing. Moreover, as you push the insulated conductor into a tight slot, the insulation moves, and the bare wire makes contact with the sides of the slot. 
  • Through-hole technology (THT) can put the component leads holes in a Printed Circuit Board (PCB) and solder it to the board. Also, in pin termination, parts are put on printed circuit boards (PCBs) without soldering.
  • With PCB solder or soldering pin end, you will solder the pins to a printed circuit board, thus making an electrical connection.
  • Solder cup termination makes an electrical connection by connecting the connector to where it will be mounted.

Coax Plugs-Performance of Coax Connectors

Here are some performance specifications for coax plugs.

  • ImpedanceThe opposition of electric flow with the nominal value of 50 to 75 Ohms
  • Frequency range: The range of frequencies on which the coax cable will function
  • Voltage rating: Maximum operating voltage
  • Contact resistance: resistance between the contacts when you screw them with each other
  • Insulation resistance: Resistance between two contacts as the insulation is between them.
  • Voltage standing wave ratio (VSWR) expresses the quantity of reflected energy on the device’s input and ranges from 1 to infinity. Any value other than one implies some energy passing through the input.
  • Operating temperature: The ambient temperature range under which the component will work.

Conclusion

Coax plugs are important when connecting a device with another device or port. Thus, keep in mind that the wires should be of the same polarity; otherwise, the connection will not be stable. Moreover, there are certain performance parameters on which you can judge your coax cable. Here at Bloom, we offer different coax cable types and wiring harnesses,  and your connection is made with attention to detail.

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