Bulkhead power connectors present a problem in an industrial setting. They are at once a potential weak point in your bulkhead, but also necessary for your operation. Bulkheads exist to contain controlled, intense environments or potential mishaps and they cannot be compromised, even to run power through to the operation on the other side. That’s why it’s imperative to choose a bulkhead power connector that you can count on.
A good bulkhead power connector does three things: it gets the job done, it’s absolutely secure, and it lasts a long time. Here’s what to look for to make sure your connector checks all the boxes.
- The right kind of termination. This should seem like a basic thing, but it’s amazing how many companies take the time to engineer a great bulkhead connector but only make it available in one kind of termination. You should not have to make changes in your design to accommodate your connector. Instead, look for one that supports your choice of threaded hole, stud, or clamp termination.
- EMI shielding where it’s needed. Not every operation needs to worry about EMI (electromagnetic interference). But if this is a concern in your operation, your bulkhead feedthrough will need to provide shielding. Look carefully at the specs. Many connectors say they provide shielding, but only from one side or certain angles. You want 360-degree shielding in most cases.
- A reliable boot that matches your cable size. The boot exists to tightly secure the cable where it passes into the connector. This is a small job but an important one. You should not be asked to change your cable size to meet a bulkhead connector’s specs. Instead, it should be available with a boot that matches your chosen cable.
- The RIGHT conductor for your operation. Many power connectors will use silver plated copper as their default conductor. This is a high performance conductor and a good choice. But, you may need to reduce costs or reduce the overall weight of the feedthrough. In that case, they should be able to offer you alternatives, such as nickel plated aluminum.
- Strain relief. There should be a housing or shell over the connector that not only protects it but offers strain relief on this important junction through your bulkhead.
When you follow these guidelines you will end up with a connector that works well, requires little maintenance and lasts a long time.
What does your operation look for in a bulkhead power connector?