Thursday, June 28, 2012

Dust Caps for Electrical Connectors

Covers for Your Connectors

( L-com's unique cover for CN24 connectors on IEEE-488 GPIB products

When you look at an entire link between devices, from terminal to server, for instance, the highest vulnerability point is at the connectors. That's because they are two separate products, most often a jack and a plug, that must correctly mate and allow the signal to pass with minimal loss. It's no surprise that the more connections you have in a link, the greater the loss overall.

Because they are so important and vulnerable, many people buy inexpensive connector covers to protect the connectors from anything that could harm them, including things like dust and particulates, moisture, and damage from moving or shipping the device or cable. Did you know that investing a small amount in dust cap protectors could dramatically extend the life of your devices and cables?

Types of Connector Covers

RJ45 Protective Covers for Jacks, Pkg/100

Today, there are many options for covering and protecting connectors and jacks. The most common are friction-fit plastic protective covers. These are simple molded plastic pieces that fit snuggly into a jack or over a plug. Inexpensive, they are often the best choice for cables and even most jacks. Friction fit connectors include covers for USB Type A and B male and female, and USB Mini B5 and Micro B covers; RJ45 (8p x 8c) covers; DVI and HDMI video connector dust covers; universal connector and coupler fiber dust caps; and D-Subminiature covers.

Shielded D-Sub Cover for DB9F/HD15F

Another popular cover type is the assembled-fit caps. These are usually for D-Subminiature connectors or others that have screw locks to hold them in.  L-com carries a line of assembled-fit covers for DB9 and HD15 (VGA) connectors, DB25 and HD44 connectors, and IEEE-488 GPIB (HPIB or CN24) connectors. Since these covers are often metal and connect to the shielded part of the cover, they can be very effective at preventing EMI/RFI on open ports.

One final cover type of note is the threaded-fit cover. These covers, often circular, have actual threads to allow them to screw over the connector, sort of like a hood. When coupled with a sealing gasket, these Type-N Protective Cap for Female, with Chaincovers can even provide IP67 rated protection. L-com carries some options like this waterproof USB cover and this shielded USB cover, these for RJ45 (8p x 8c) jacks, and this for fiber LC duplex connectors. In each of these cases, however, the covers only work with the corresponding IP67 or waterproof plugs and jacks. For coaxial covers, there are some that screw on, but without a sealing gasket they do not meet IP67 ratings.


Quick note: There are about as many cover types as there are connector types, probably even more. If you have a specific need, my advice is to contact L-com. Besides the extensive product offering on their website, they also custom manufacture products and may be able to provide a solution you hadn't thought of.

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