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Overcome hurdles in high-voltage connector design

05 Jun 2013  | Keith Rooney

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The difficulty of the design also affects the ability to maintain a repeatable, reliable process. If the process is not repeatable you will have inherent cable failures. These potential processing issues should be caught and addressed during the design review.

Selecting the correct material with the required performance characteristic and maintaining design effectiveness is critical. High-voltage cable assemblies and connectors require materials that perform well both electrically as well as mechanically.

A careful analysis of the operating environment and how it will affect the materials is key. Using dissimilar materials can prove to be problematic. A good adhesion between materials is critical when trying to offset high voltages. Without good adhesion between the materials there is nothing to offset the voltage accept the air, which requires designing components with greater distances between the high voltage and ground.

Using similar materials allows for a cohesive bond between them, effectively offsetting the high voltage and allowing for smaller connectors. If dissimilar materials are to be utilised in the design the use of primers and adhesion promoters has proved useful depending on the material you are trying to bond to.

A corona-free design can sometimes prove to be extremely difficult. A well designed corona-free cable assembly will ensure reliable, resilient cable assemblies that stand the test of time.

There are many aspects that must be considered when designing a corona-free design. The first is choosing the right cable. Most designs utilise a triple extruded cable. This ensures the conductor and ground is smooth and uniform. Next is the connector interface. The interface should allow for adequate distance to offset the applied voltage and also to remove any air.

Tips to avoid design road blocks
Size: Start thinking about the cable assembly or connector configuration sooner. High voltage can require more space than you think.

Existing design in place: If you need to modify an existing design it may be best to consult a custom designer so they can ensure it will meet your new requirements.

Cost: Don't be hyper focused on cost. A reliable, durable, and safe design will be cheaper in the long run.

Manufacturability: Don't over-design; be realistic with your expectations. Sometimes simpler is better.

Materials: To ensure the best and most reliable bond between dielectrics use similar.

Corona/Partial Discharge: Connector geometry is very important. Sharp edges and points act like corona antenna. All sharp edges should be rounded whenever possible.

Ask questions: Don't be afraid to ask questions to a customer designer to get some input.

About the author
Keith Rooney is the business development engineer for Caton Connector Corp. He has been with the company for more than 10 years. Caton Connector is a solutions based company that designs and builds high voltage cable and connector assemblies for military and commercial applications.

David Galambos is working as the Business Development and Marketing Manager at Caton Connector Corp. In this role, he is in charge of all marketing efforts, working with website designers, and identifying new strategic business opportunities for Caton, including new business, divestiture opportunities, and acquisition opportunities.

To download the PDF version of the version of this article, click here.

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