How to Select Military (MIL-SPEC) Connectors   MIL - C- 26482 | MIL - C - 24308 | MIL - C - 28748 Image Credit: Amphenol | ITT Cannon | Delphi   Military (MIL-SPEC) connectors are shell-type connectors which are built in accordance with military specifications. Their design takes into account the need to protect the connection from environmental factors, allowing them to be used in military and aerospace applications. The type AN (Army-Navy) connector set the standard for...
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Q & A on Military (MIL-SPEC) Connectors

We asked our users for their input on Military (MIL-SPEC) Connectors. Here are the results of 372 users familiar with Military (MIL-SPEC) Connectors.

Who Took Our Poll? | Design Trends | Applications and Use | Features | Buying Advice

Who Took Our Poll?Top

Design TrendsTop

Q:
What new technologies are influencing military (MIL-SPEC) connector design?
56 answers
Answers:
Advances in distributed control and management system technologies. Data and power links need to be reliable, robust and have no failures or failure rates.
~Greg B, Research & Development, Pretoria, South Africa
Size of connector and the connector stack (backshells, boots etc). Development of highly integrated connectors and receptacles into components.
~Pete W, Design Engineer, UK
High frequency feed through; EMI and lightning protection; Hybrid connectors and F.O.; high-speed and broadband signal transmission.
~Willi H, Project Manager, Eisenberg, Germany
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Q:
From your perspective, which companies are creating the most innovative military (MIL-SPEC) connectors?
63 answers
Answers:
I have always had the best service with Glenair, Inc. They have extremely fast turn arounds, precise engineering designs, and fund any project without a blink of an eye.
~Chris X, Design Engineer, Los Angeles, CA
LAPP USA, HUBER+SUHNER; Pasternack Enterprises, Inc.; Positronic Industries, Inc.; Air Electro, Inc.;Amphenol Aerospace Corporation
~Srivinay P, Design Engineer, Bangalore, India
We needed and could find Amphenol Industrial and their web site worked well in finding the one we needed.
~D B, President, N. Tazewell, VA
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Applications and UseTop

Q:
What are some of the applications you have used military (MIL-SPEC) connectors for?
100 answers
Answers:

As a specialised communications engineer I always used first grade components and these were almost always MIL SPEC. I have used MIL SPEC connectors nearly everywhere but especially on Oil Rigs, Land mobile communications, Cruise Liners etc.

~Fabian B, Retired Electronics Engineer, B'kara, Malta

I designed and integrated Mil-Spec 38999 connectors into a Military Gas Turbine electrical system that was located in and around the static components at the front of the engine.

~Pete W, Design Engineer, UK

Military equipment and electronics like binoculars, cameras, communication equipment, battlefield equipment like armored vehicles, etc...

~Srivinay P, Design Engineer, Bangalore, India
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Q:
Please share with us any “non-standard” applications that military (MIL-SPEC) connectors have been used for.
29 answers
Answers:
We are forced to solder thermocouple wires into the contacts as the crimp-type connectors just do not seem to be available. Thermocouple wire does not solder (bond), a questionable mechanical connection results - alloys are incompatible with solder.
~John L, Design Engineer, Seattle, WA

Many of the applications in space where MIL-SPEC connectors are used are "non-standard" unless you buy them as Space grade parts that have been conditions for out-gassing and off-gassing.

~Larry W, Design Engineer, Huntsville, AL
I have been working on nearly three dozen break-out-boxes that are not flight qualified required - still MIL-STD connectors are required.
~Ed C., Design Engineer, Magna, UT
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Q:
Do you know of any disastrous mistakes that occurred due to the incorrect usage of military (MIL-SPEC) connectors?
14 answers
Answers:
I guess there are plenty examples for that. But one I experienced was a customer who wanted to do a vibration-test on a hermetic version of a Mil C 26 482 series 2 receptacle. He had no plug series 2 available, but remembered that a series 1 would fit perfectly. And series 1 scraped away perfectly all the gold of the contacts in less than 10 minutes.....
~Neil Z, General Management, Ermelo, Netherlands
Bayonet coupling connectors that rely on O-rings in order to lock securely can be a hazard if wrong size O-rings are used. This has been the case in the F-16 Flight Control Power system. A connector plug was disconnected from the receptacle as soon as the mechanic touched it because the O-ring was too small.
~Egil H, General Management, Lorenskog, Norway
Even if keying is specified, the user may attempt to connect cables incorrectly. If connectors are not scoop-proof, accidental shorts may occur with subsequent damage to equipment.
~Design Engineer, Toronto, Canada
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FeaturesTop

Q:
What would your design or feature "wish list" be for this product?
41 answers
Answers:

I would like to see a reduction in the overall length of the connector stack. The length of the combined connector, receptacle, backshells and boots can be prohibitive in confined spaces, meaning a limit on usefulness, or the inability to use the full suite of protective features (Backshells and boots).

~Pete W, Design Engineer, UK
All contacts must connect every time. Mechanically easy to connect - connectors are often in inconvenient places and are sometimes difficult to align and connect/disconnect. Some easy type of cable crimping technique that allows for multiple wires and pins to be crimped - like 3m ribbon cable type.
~Greg B, Research & Development, Pretoria, South Africa

Free, in-stock, zero weight, corrosion proof, hermetic, zero insertion loss, scoop proof, reconfigurable, field repairable, bullet-proof, strong, zero mating force, vibration and shock proof.

~Jonathan W, Design Engineer, Baltimore, MD
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Q:
Is there any advice you want to share with users to help them avoid common errors in selection or usage of military (MIL-SPEC) connectors?
32 answers
Answers:
Know your interface requirements, voltage, current, bandwidth, thermocouple, EMI/ESD, hot-pluggable, physical space, environmental constraints altitude, pressure, humidity, depth, dust, shock, vibration, temperature, vacuum.
~Jonathan W, Design Engineer, Baltimore, MD
• Don't try to stuff a pre-manufactured cable with maximum backshell entrance diameter into a 90 degree backshell • When you can, build your own cables • Hire engineers with cable manufacturing experience
~Dave H, Design Engineer, Denver, CO

Make sure to match Male/Female types, use key positioning to make the difference between same size & same pin count, use Jamnut type only if your mechanic is VERY accurate, prefer BOX/Panel mount (with four screws) for longer life.

~Erez K, Design Engineer, Tel-Aviv, Israel
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Buying AdviceTop

Q:
Do you have any advice for people relative to buying or using military (MIL-SPEC) connectors?
37 answers
Answers:
If you use a MIL-SPEC part number then you have a QPL with a list of qualified vendors for that part, whereas if you call out the vendor part number you only have one choice. MIL_SPEC parts are made to survive harsh environments as well as benign ones.
~Larry W, Design Engineer, Huntsville, AL
MIL-SPEC documentation can be confusing, along with manufacturer's part numbers, it can be difficult to specify the correct options. Contact manufacturer for customer drawing/3D model for clarification/validation of selection.
~Design Engineer
All mil-spec is not the same. We have bought from low cost vendors, only to find the assembly fell apart due to insufficient adhesive. Many of those also had flaws within the locking mechanism of the contact insert.
~Engineering Tech/Buyer
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