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A Guide to Sensor Connectors


If your business utilises sensors as part of its workflow, finding robust and reliable sensor connectors will be an essential consideration. High-quality sensor connectors offer a wide range of benefits, including easy connection, strong protection and impressive versatility.

These components are widely used in a range of key industries and applications, including industrial processes, automation initiatives and food and beverage production. With such a wide range of sensor connector options available, it is important to get the right product information to make an informed purchasing choice.

Here, you can learn all of the basics on how sensor connectors work and what benefits they can deliver for your application, courtesy of the experts at Northern Connectors.

What are sensor connectors, and how do they work?

Sensor connectors are the components used to connect sensing technology - including sensors, switches, transducers and other devices - together to function as a coherent system. By connecting the various cables and components, sensor connectors make it possible to create complex automated systems that are able to run reliably with little maintenance.

The size, design and specifications of sensor connectors vary significantly, depending on their specific application. This includes various pin layouts, as well as a choice of different materials, sizes and lengths, to accommodate all sorts of sensor technology and automated systems.

A letter-based coding system is used to differentiate products with different pin counts and layouts, with many being colour-coded to make it easier to identify the right connection at a glance. This coding system works as follows:

  • A-coded connectors - feature varying pin counts of between 2 and 12, and are widely used with a variety of devices including sensors, actuators and motors
  • B-coded connectors - feature between 3 and 5 pins, and are used with network cables for fieldbus connections, including the Profibus standard
  • C-coded connectors - feature between 3 and 6 pins, as well as a dual keyway to provide extra security. These are most often used with AC sensors and actuators
  • D-coded connectors - feature 3 to 5 pins and transfer data at speeds of up to 100Mbps, enabling their use with network cables
  • X-coded connectors - feature 8 pins and can transfer data at high speeds of up to 10Gbps
  • S-coded connectors - feature 3 or 4 pins and are a newer variation for transferring AC power, designed as a successor to C-coded connectors
  • T-coded connectors - feature 4 pins and are a newer variation for transferring DC power, designed as a successor to A-coded connectors

Sensor connectors largely work in a similar way to standard circular connectors, and are equally useful for in-line or cable to panel-mount connections.

What are sensor connectors used for?

Sensor connectors have an extremely broad range of applications across multiple sectors and industries, and are regularly used in conjunction with the following equipment:

  • Current transducers
  • Oxygen level sensors
  • Photoelectric sensors
  • Pressure sensors
  • Proximity sensors
  • Safety sensors
  • Speed sensors
  • Temperature sensors
  • Ultrasonic sensors
  • As such, they are widely used in the following industries for various purposes:
  • Automotive design, including for measuring speed and oxygen consumption levels
  • Bridge or dam monitoring
  • Data transmission, including industrial Ethernet or fieldbus connections
  • Food and beverage production lines
  • Medical device design
  • Industrial process control and automation environments

Because the range of different sensor connectors available is so varied, it is best to seek advice from a trusted supplier or expert if you are unsure about which device would suit the needs of your application.

What are the benefits of sensor connectors?

Finding the right sensor connector will allow you to unlock a significant number of practical benefits that this technology can deliver. This includes:

  • Compact designs, ensuring that your system’s wiring is both economic and rational
  • Robust performance, with options for shielded connectors and ingress protection up to IP67, to facilitate use in harsh or exposed outdoor environments
  • Easy to plug in and install, with greater versatility and shorter setup time compared to pin terminals
  • Reliable transmission, delivering maximum efficiency and minimal downtime
  • A wide range of available connectors, sockets and accessories, ensuring that your system can be flexibly configured according to your needs

By selecting a connector that is tailored for your specifications, you can maximise the benefits of these components, ensuring the best possible performance for your systems.

Find out more

If you want to know more about sensor connectors or need guidance with selecting a suitable solution for your application, Northern Connectors is here to help.

You can explore the sensor & automation connectors section of our website, call us on 01744 815001, or complete our online contact form and we will be in touch at the nearest opportunity.

Technical expertise is just a click away. For rapid service & personalised support, complete the following form or call 01744 815 001

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