Very few environments test the integrity and reliability of electronic components like motorsport. Temperature extremes, vibration, moisture and sometimes violent impacts can all combine to provide a severe test for all types of components - particularly electronic connector systems.
In fact, so severe are the environmental conditions, that purpose designed electronic connectors have been developed to meet the specific needs of the motorsport industry. These are lightweight, ultra-small connector systems that maintain total contact integrity whatever the extremes of temperature and vibration while also resisting the ingress of water, oil and other liquids and gases. They have also been designed to make installation and replacement a simple, quick and completely reliable operation.
Based on and often exceeding recognised military and aerospace standards, these connectors are used in many areas including batteries, starters and alternators, fuel pumps, engine control units, communications equipment, data acquisition systems and harnesses. Their design and construction enables them to overcome the environmental demands while meeting the performance, size and weight constraints specified by designers of the latest motorsport systems. As well as meeting the exacting performance levels, the connectors also need to be available on demand and in any quantity.
Lane Electronics has a specialist motorsport division to supply from stock these purpose designed connector products following its appointment as an assembling distributor for Souriau. Souriau is one of only two manufacturers to produce these high performance connectors designed specifically for the harsh environments found in all types of motorsport.
The Souriau 8STA Series of circular connectors consists of several connector types, each designed to meet specific motorsport applications. The series also includes the industry’s smallest circular connector, the Size 02. This is derived from established military specifications MIL-DTL-38999 and JN1003 and its ultra-compact design and lightweight construction make it ideal for connecting sensors and other complex electronic systems.
Featuring a rugged aluminium body, plated with conductive black Zinc or Nickel as standard, the new connector incorporates a positive locking mechanism with locked colour indicators as well as six colour coded keyway orientations plus universal. Designed to be scoop proof, the Size 02 connector is fitted with removable gold-plated copper alloy contacts and features an endurance level of 500 mating cycles.
Operating temperature is – 55ºC to +175ºC and, when mated, the connector meets the requirements of IP67 which means it can withstand salt spray and other motorsport fluids.
Other 8STA connectors are available in a wide variety of shell sizes with 1 to 128 contacts and all feature quick bayonet locking with visual indication when mated. 8STA connectors are available in a variety of receptacle styles including Jam Nut, Oval Flange, In-Line and Through Bulkhead.
The 8STA Power connector will accept a wide range of wire sizes and is ideal for high power applications up to 200A continuous. Ideal for batteries, starter motors and alternators for example, a key advantage of this connector is its ability to incorporate mixed contact types which allows a single connector to transmit both signal and power.
According to Lane, the 8STA High Density connector series is the smallest and lightest circular connector of its type currently available and its high density capability provides up to 68 size 26 contacts using 24 to 30 AWG wire. This allows a smaller shell size to be used for the same application.
The connectors feature a rugged aluminium body plated with conductive black zinc as standard. Seven shell sizes in seven layouts are available from size 02 to 14. Contacts are gold plated copper alloy with liquid silicone rubber insulator and seal. The size 26 contacts are rated at 3A.
Importantly, the new connector is 100% scoop proof and incorporates a positive locking mechanism with locked colour indicators. They can handle 500 mating cycles, 300g shock for 3ms and vibration levels to 147m/s2, 10 to 2000Hz.
Operating temperature is – 55ºC to +175ºC and, when mated, the connector meets the requirements of IP67 and can withstand salt spray and other motorsport fluids.
These connector products are used in many motorsport areas including engine control units, communications equipment, data acquisition systems and harnesses. Souriau connectors can be found in Formula 1, Indy cars, GP2, World rally cars, endurance racing including Le Mans 24 hours as well as World Superbikes and Moto GP.