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The high pin count solution

02 September 2021

FROM ITS early beginnings in the audio industry more than 50 years ago, today’s M16 connector is very much a 'go to' connector solution for a huge variety of indoor and outdoor applications.

Thanks mainly to continuous development and refinement, the M16 connector is the ideal choice for specifiers looking for a cost effective, robust connector that can accommodate as many as 24 contacts – with or without EMI shielding.

M16 connectors, designated by the mating thread size, were originally designed to meet the requirements of Deutsches Institut für Normung (German Institute for Standardisation) that defined the standard for circular connectors for analogue audio signals.  These were used widely for many years and commonly known in the audio industry and to the consumer as DIN connectors.

Although still available in its original unshielded IP40 DIN formats, the latest M16 connectors are a far cry from the early audio versions.  Driven by market demands for lower contact resistance, higher pin count and improved levels of protection, today’s M16 connectors are capable of accommodating between two and 24 silver or gold plated contacts. They are usually housed in metal bodies, with or without shielding from electromechanical interference (EMI) and providing environmental protection up to IP67. 

Today’s applications for this versatile connector include the impending roll-out of 5G networks where binder’s ASIG-compliant connectors are designed to provide high environmental protection for outdoor installations. The AISG (Antenna Interface Standards Group) defines standards for the control and monitoring of antenna line devices in the wireless industry.

binder’s Series 423 and 723 M16 connectors are available in 8-pin DIN variants, of which four to five contacts are used. The products are AISG C485 compliant and available as male and female cable and panel mount connectors, with shielded versions also available. The connectors, which can be used for all wireless networks, meet the requirements for protection class IP68 when connected, offering maximum reliability even under adverse external conditions.

Versatility of application is assured as a range of alternatives are available for cable mounting with straight or right-angled connectors terminated by soldering or with screws.  Pre-moulded cables are available and the options are as equally comprehensive when it comes to the panel receptacles with front or rear fastening as standard for solder bucket versions and front-fastening for dip solder and pre-terminated flexible PCBs.

This connector style, along with the benefits of rugged design with good environmental resistance, have seen the M16 become widely used in instrumentation, measurement and sensors for both indoor and outdoor use where there is a need for a higher pin count than is offered by M8 and M12 sensor connectors.  Other applications include pneumatic controls, gas and pressure measurement, torque sensors and motor speed regulators.

The combination of a high pin count with the compact size of nominally 18.5mm diameter and 60mm in length means M16 connectors offer an excellent alternative to more expensive connector systems.  Special short versions and right-angled versions with a height of only 37mm mean M16 can be used in applications where space is very tight.

M16 connectors accommodate cables ranging from 4.0 to 10mm diameter, are rated to 250V and can withstand an impulse voltage up to 1500V, with current handling of up to 7A (at 40ºC).  With increasing requirements from equipment manufacturers for shielding against EMI more applications now require shielded cable systems with the requirement for connectors with good shielding characteristics.  For optimum results 360º shielding is required and this is achieved by integral shielding rings, providing a high attenuation over a large frequency band. 

Protection against dust and water ingress is rated at IP40 for the entry level connectors and the use of elastomeric seals and O-rings provide protection to IP67 (IP68 to special customer specifications) while providing high levels of chemical resistance. 

At binder we have found that the flexibility provided by our comprehensive range of M16 connectors with the seemingly endless options at relatively low cost compared to other connector systems, has led to its popularity continually increasing and its application range has extended remarkably from the humble 1960s microphone to the latest communications and security systems that touch us all.