RF connector has built-in locking feature

Jon Lawson

The engineers at I-PEX Connectors have designed automotive applications to handle the unique problems that stationary RF systems do not encounter, particularly shock and vibration.

Cars are in motion, roads are uneven, and this generates mechanical harmonics that could cause connectors to disengage over time.

Designers concerned about RF connectors that disengage from the PCB on high shock and vibration applications can rely on a new connector with a built-in locking feature.

The new MHF brand I LK Micro RF Coaxial Connector and Wire Harness from I-PEX is designed with a built-in lock that keeps the connector in place on the PCB. Designers no longer have to adhere their RF connectors with messy epoxy or adhesive.

This new locking mechanism keeps the connector in place on the board, increasing productivity and reliability. This connector has the same features as the tiny MHF I Connector, which is used to connect antennas to radios and for testing radios while maximising performance within minimal space.

Because of the tiny size of the connector, engineers have greater flexibility in designing their PCBs. This connector supports many of the new transmission standards, including Wi-Fi, 4G LTE, Bluetooth, GPS, M2M, IoT. SigFox, WiSUN, NB-IoT and LoRa.

They are suitable for high shock and vibration applications, particularly in the automotive, airline and drone industries.

The MHF I LK Connectors are available in a variety of cable sizes and lengths: O.D. 0.81mm, 1.13mm, 1.32mm, 1.37 mm and 1.80mm.

Keeping the connectors in place gives designers the freedom to focus on their own innovative solutions, especially as today’s drivers are demanding Smart Car connectivity like never before.

This demand has industry leaders investing heavily in Internet of Things (IoT) technologies to advance Smart Car connectivity at an astounding rate. In fact, Business Insider estimates the automotive industry will ship 94 million connected cars in 2021. This figure, which represents 82% of the industry, says a lot about the demand by today’s drivers for this rapidly evolving technology.

Currently, Smart Car connectivity occurs in two ways. Embedded cars utilise a built-in radio and antenna connecting to local cellular networks, while tethered cars use a wireless connected device, typically a cell phone, to provide the data connectivity.

This is done via Bluetooth or a USB cable. In addition to data connectivity, cars have GPS for navigation and emergency services, satellite radio (Sirius), hands-free calling, sensor and data gathering, as well as key-less entry and start.

Some of these system like tire-pressure monitoring, can utilise an embedded or board-level antenna.

Others, like emergency services or data-intensive systems like navigation or satellite radio require an external, application-specific antenna.

Despite these highly varied requirements, I-PEX Connectors is able to offer a robust and diverse product offering to suit critical RF interconnectivity needs for all of these systems thanks to I-PEX’s iFit MHF Micro RF Coaxial Connector Series.