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    Most engineers have witnessed a connector failure that caused either an intermittent system condition or a complete shutdown of an electronic system. The causes of intermittent system failures due to unreliable connectors are numerous: loose or corroded wires, cracked solder joints, corroded connector contacts, loose crimp connections, broken wires, and more. Reliability issues related to interconnections are magnified when one considers the harsh environments that some electronic equipment operates in. Changes in temperature, equipment vibrations (a source of fretting corrosion), moisture, washdown environments, and mechanical stresses can impact a connector and/or cable harness such that changes in contact resistance occur, causing intermittent open circuits. The Molex Micro-Lock Plus wire-to-board connector system addresses the aforementioned problems to provide reliable electrical and mechanical performance in rugged, high-temperature environments.

     

    Overview

    Micro-Lock Plus wire-to-board connectors made by Molex are ideal for applications that require premium performance in harsh environments, retention security, and compact size. Rated at a 105˚C operating temperature and 1.5A current rating (1.25 mm pitch), the Micro-Lock Plus Connector can be used in general market applications, but its terminal retention force provides electrical reliability in rugged environments that are subjected to shock, vibration, or rough handling.  They have a 2 to 42 circuit capacity, in single or dual rows, and vertical or horizontal plug configurations. Moreover, the connectors are available in multiple colors to help in assembly through color coding. Micro-Lock Plus Connectors are employed in many different applications, including steering wheels, drones, power tools, vacuum cleaners, air-conditioners, gaming machines, and industrial equipment.

     

    Secure Mating Retention

    Electronic systems often encounter problems when connectors do not mate properly. Improperly mated connectors can develop corrosion over time, negatively impacting reliability, resulting in additional costs for  maintenance, replacement, and repair. Beyond mis-mated connectors, loose connectors and bent pins are related causes of connector insecurity. These problems often happen in microminiature wire-to-board applications, where connectors are not fully mated, leading to end-product failure. Molex developed Micro-Lock Plus connectors to solve these problems by employing a wide positive latch design that connects with an audible click, alerting the operator that the connector is properly mated and retained. In addition, a dual contact terminal design and robust metal solder tabs offer secure PCB retention and strain relief to solder joints.

     

    Compact Design for Space-Constrained Applications

    The most obvious design trend today is the shrinking of electronic packages. The prominence of smartphones, handheld devices, tablets, and high-density control panels require all components to decrease in size. Reducing printed circuit board (PCB) size and increasing circuit density has become challenging for designing connectors that maintain creepage and clearance distance for a given material grade, working voltage, and pollution degree as detailed in UL and CE 61800-5-1. Micro-Lock Plus wire-to-board connectors have a 1.25 mm or a 2.0 mm pitch, making them the smallest 1.25mm-pitch connectors with a positive lock. Designers often have to forgo a positive lock on a connector due to space constraints, sacrificing retention security. Using Micro-Lock Plus connectors, engineers no longer have to choose between compactness and retention security.

     

    No More Whiskering

    Whiskering is another major problem in connector reliability. This detrimental crystalline metallurgical occurrence takes the form of unstructured growth of tiny hairs from a metallic surface. The unfortunate result? Whiskering can cause electronic equipment to experience short circuits or current leakage. In worst case scenarios, a vapor arc can be formed, generating a highly conductive path which can carry current in substantial amounts and cause significant damage. Micro-Lock Plus connectors combat the problem of whiskering with tin-bismuth plating. Tin plating may cause whiskering and signal intermittency. Gold plating -- a viable and durable alternative -- comes at a higher cost. Micro-Lock Plus connectors utilize tin-bismuth plating which reduces whisker growth length, offering improved reliability.

     

    Built for Rugged Environments

    The terminal retention force of Micro-Lock Plus connectors provides electrical reliability in rugged environment applications. The connector system is rated at 105˚C  and up to 3.0 amps (2.00 mm pitch). Rugged applications can be subject to shock, vibration, or rough handling that can dislodge terminals and cause signal interference. Reliability decreases and maintenance costs increase when connectors are used in harsh environments, including incidences of extreme temperature, vibration, and  contamination due to fluid and dust ingress.

     

    Off-the-Shelf Pre-Assembled Wire Cables

    Micro-Lock Plus off-the-shelf discrete Cable Assemblies come in a variety of cable lengths and are terminated with pre-assembled connectors to support both prototyping and global production. They are ready to use in consumer, home appliance, industrial, medical, and automotive industry applications. UL 1061 discrete wires for micro cable assemblies and UL 1007 discrete wires for other assemblies are available. They meet 2011/65/EU RoHS compliance and are assembled in ISO/TS16949-certified facilities.

     

    Examples of Micro-Lock Plus Wire-to-Board Connectors

    Micro-Lock PLUS 505567 SeriesMicro-Lock PLUS 505565 SeriesMicro-Lock PLUS OTS 45111 SeriesMicro-Lock PLUS OTS 45111 Series

    Wire-To-Board Connector, 1.25 mm, 2 Contact

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    Wire-To-Board Connector, 1.25 mm, 2 Contacts

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    Cable Assembly, Receptacle to Receptacle, 6 Positions, 300 mm

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    Cable Assembly, Receptacle to Receptacle, 6 Positions, 450 mm

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