Circular Connector: Basic Structure, Advantages, Applications


The circular connector is a type of connector that is designed with a cylindrical-shaped basic structure. Its mating surface is also cylindrical and is used for interconnection between the devices. Any type of electrical connector that contains multipin interconnects with cylinder-shaped contact housing and interface geometries, falls under the category of a circular connector. The cylindrical structure of the circular connector is much better in strength and sturdiness when compared with other shaped connectors. 

A circular connector is comprised of plugs and sockets. They are both connected by a cable. It contains several terminals, ranging from 2 to 100. These connectors can be used to make connections between electronic devices.

Circular connectors’ basic structure

  • Contact

It is the most important part of any circular connector that is used to complete the connection between electronic devices. It is always available in a pair with a female contact pin and a male contact pin. When the male pin is inserted inside the female pin, an electrical connection is created. It is used to transmit both data and power.

  • Shell

Every circular connector is protected by an outer shield called the shell. The basic purpose of a shell is to provide mechanical protection to the in-built insulating plate and pins. It also plays a very vital role during mating by providing appropriate alignment between the plug and the socket. If the alignment is incorrect, the connector will not properly connect to the device. This protective layer aids in the connector’s efficient mating, which is then secured to the device. 

  • Insulator

It is considered the mounting plate of the connector. It ensures the right spacing and positioning of the contact pieces. Insulator also ensures the insulation performance between the contact pieces and between the contact piece and the shell. 

  • Accessories

The connector accessories are divided into two parts: structure and mounting accessories. Aligning pins, clamp rings, coupling rings, sealing rings, guide pins, positioning keys, cable clamps, gaskets, etc., are all included in the category of structure accessories. Coils, bolts, screws, nuts, etc. are all part of mounting accessories. Usually, all the accessories have standard and common parts.

The advantages of circular connectors

  • Their major advantages include ease of engagement and disengagement. 
  • They are best suited for applications that involve electrical connectors with stronger terminals. 
  • These connectors can expediently house diverse contact types. 
  • The cylindrical shape of these connector types makes them resistant to mechanical turbulence and damage. 
  • They get tightly sealed in any type of environmental condition and, therefore, are considered highly durable. 
  • They are highly durable and can​​ work in any environmental situation, such as extreme temperatures, moisture, dust, pressure, vacuum, etc. This is the reason they are used in various military and aerospace applications. MIL-DTL-5015 and MIL-DTL-38999 are the most commonly used circular connectors in military and aerospace.

The applications of circular connectors

Due to their higher durability and reliability, they are now used in various industrial sectors. Some of the applications that use circular connectors are automation & drives, transport, robotics, food processing technology, sensor technology, oil & gas, chemistry & pharmaceutics, etc.

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