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RJ45 Connectors and Mini I/O Connectors in Industry

Dec. 22, 2021

The growth of the Industrial Internet of Things requires smaller, more reliable connectors. In harsh industrial applications with vibration environments, latency requirements will demand higher connection reliability.

RJ45 connectors are used in industrial IP20 applications, even though the interface was originally designed for unshielded telephone lines using perforated contacts. The Mini I/O connector system is ideal for industrial Ethernet, with a mating envelope that is only 25% of the RJ45 jack size.

Connector RJ45 female 8P8C

RJ45 Connector System

The RJ45 connects to the T568A and T568B pin arrangements specified in the TIA/EIA-568 standard and is compatible with telephony and Ethernet.

The RJ45 is a modular connector originally designed for telephone cabling. Modular connectors are described in the Registered Interface System of the U.S. The piercing contacts used in the RJ45 are the only known principle for reliable connection to wire, as used in fixed telephone coil wire. The modular design makes it ideal for terminating flat cables of various widths.

Over the past decades, the RJ45 has proven its versatility and is now even used in industrial environments with additional shielding and a rugged housing.

Mini I/O Connector System

Originally designed for the Japanese industrial market, Mini I/O was developed to be smaller and more reliable than the RJ45. Mating interface envelope reduction is achieved through the selection of fully enclosed metal housings that can withstand forces and provide tight tolerances and mating interface stability. By using additional multiple pads and additional hole anchors, it can withstand up to 98 N of pulling force depending on the product specification, while still being a true SMD pick and place. Using an androgynous contact layout, both plug and socket contacts have spring action and 2 separate contacts, also known as "bucket snake contacts".


RJ45 female 8P8C with shell

The main differences in the impact of each connector type on the stability of the connection are:

RJ45 layout

Contact stability; the IEC 60603 series enforces dimensions and tolerances that allow for very large contact point movements and contact normal force variations.

Single contact point; contact systems with only one beam/contact point can be very stable, but in combination with wear caused by poor contact point stability, parallel contact points without redundancy will directly show resistance fluctuations. This is especially true when the fit cycle wear is followed by environmental stress.

Shear edge connection: The stamping direction of the pierced contact will produce a shear edge on the contact mating surface. Some RJ45 plugs have a smooth contact surface.

Mini I/O Layout

Contact stability; contact point tolerance chain is well controlled. Metal housing allows tighter tolerances and provides higher stiffness.

In soldered versions of plugs and SMD sockets, both contacts have a smooth rolled surface.

More complex layouts require the use of elastic spring material on the plug and socket side.

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