High-strength aluminium connector shells are lighter than brass

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ITT Interconnect Solutions has developed an innovative machined aluminium shell for its K128 and K134 space connectors that greatly reduces the possibility of misconnects during testing and final assembly, as well as offering substantial weight reductions of up to 15.4 per cent over conventional brass shells. The connectors have optional polarisation keys to that similar pin layouts and genders can be differentiated easily from one another. Customers have a choice of eight different key locations on the plug and socket of each aluminium connector, which are then added to the base part designation for ease of ordering.

Manufactured from a high-stress aluminium alloy with a heavy, non-magnetic nickel under-plate and over-plated with gold, these lightweight connectors are claimed to be stronger than conventional connector shells. Available in two different series, K128 and K134, all sizes and pin layouts mate with standard ITT space D-subminiature connectors built to NASA/GSFC/ESA dimensions. Weight savings, when compared to standard brass shell connectors, range from 8.1 per cent for size D (50 or 78 pins), right up to 15.4 per cent for shell size E (9 or 15 pins).

The K128 machined aluminium connectors are available in standard and high-density configurations as solder cup, crimp with optional grommet, straight PCB and 90 degree designs. The second series, K134 aluminium blind hole 90 degree PCB connectors, are available in standard and high-density versions, and six different shell sizes with 15, 26, 44, 62, 78 and 104 contacts.

Machined aluminium shell space connectors with optional polarisation keying are detailed in an application note that is freely downloadable from

30 June 2009

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