Omnetics Quarterly

Summer 2017

Omnetics Connector Corporation Quarterly Newsletter

In this Issue:

  1. Hybrid Circulars
  2. USB Quick Lock
  3. Omnetics' New Website
  4. From the Engineer's Desk
  5. Did you know?
  6. On the Road With Omnetics

 Hybrid Circulars

By Derek Hunt

These days, components of all sizes are constantly being assessed in an effort to scale down from larger design templates, and embrace today’s emphasis on miniaturization. Device portability, overall flexibility, as well as SWaP (Size, Weight and Power) continue to plague today’s design engineer. And throughout this evolution of miniaturization, connectors have always found themselves on the front line as designers continue to ponder Size vs. Weight. But what if you could have the best of both worlds? Omnetics Connector Corporation offers a wide range of hybrid connector options allowing designers the ability to transmit data, signals, and power easily in a single connector footprint. By doing so, Omnetics’ Hybrid Circular allows users the ability to save space, without having to sacrifice previous power requirements.

This new connector family is an ideal solution for designers looking to upgrade as it relates to not only the size, but as well as the overall performance of their miniature rugged devices. Designers themselves have the ability to determine the amount of signal and power connections that best serves their particular application. Omnetics Connector has laid out four standard design templates, ranging in size from 0.270” (6.86mm) O.D to 0.445” (11.30mm) O.D. The smallest option (shown above) allows for (2) 10 Amp power contacts, and (5) 3 Amp signal lines, all within the same O.D. as our popular 12-pin Micro Circular connector (shown too for comparison).

Similar to that of Omnetics’ standard off-the shelf Micro Circulars, Omnetics’ new Hybrid Circular family too has the ability to be sold with or without a latching feature.

Omnetics’ Hybrid Circular design also allows users to design their preferred hybrid contact interface directly into one of Omnetics’ three rugged metal shelled options: Threaded, Breakaway or a quarter-turn Twist-lock configuration. Each metal shell option, quickly allows Omnetics Hybrid Circular design to be used as a battlefield tested I/O solution to replace larger bulk-head options currently on the market today including 38999’s, and Mighty Mouse configurations. Like all of Omnetics metal shelled circular solutions, the new hybrid design allows for add-on features for excellent EMI 360° shielding, extremely robust keying options, as well as other custom sealing options.  Whether it’s housed in a plastic or metal shell, each Hybrid Circular configuration will include with it dependable and robust gold plated contacts.  These contacts are polarized and shrouded by Omnetics unique insulator, making these connectors capable of well over 500 mating cycles.

Omnetics family of hybrid connector options are an ideal interconnect solution for designers needing to adhere to and pass stringent power and signal requirements in some of the tightest spaces one can design around. These new hybrid offerings are currently being used across a number of markets from the battlefields to commercial food truck industry. These products are also suitable for robotics, portable communication systems, machine tools, and any other application that requires a compact rugged connector

 USB Quick Lock

By Derek Hunt

Omnetics Connector Corporation, a QPL manufacturer of Micro-miniature and Nano-miniature interconnects, is proud to announce their latest release; “Quick Lock” USB 3.0.

Unlike anything else previously engineered by Omnetics, there are no flex pins or sockets in our Quick Lock USB 3.0. In fact, Quick Lock USB 3.0 encompasses SuperSpeed “Type A” connectors sealed inside of a rugged, battlefield tested and proven IP67 housing to ensure users achieve the highest levels of reliability, while meeting USB 3.0 high-speed digital expectations. Once mated, this ruggedized high-speed connection is secure and waterproof to IP68 standards, and unlike ruggedized USB connectors packaged in the MIL-DTL-38999 circular standard, the rectangular Quick Lock USB 3.0 form factor utilizes a 32% smaller panel area footprint and is up to 4X lighter than other options currently on the market.

USB 3.0 speeds can run up to 5.0 Gb/s, and offer many benefits when moving large quantities of information from one place to another: Cloud transfer, portable instrument downloads, and high-speed digital camera applications all benefit. Surveillance equipment, from still-frame to continuous-scanning, can now send a constant stream of high-quality images with ease.

Omnetics’ introduction of the Quick Lock USB 3.0 connector comes at the perfect time; demands for higher signal speeds and uninterrupted performance are at an all-time high. Omnetics’ high-speed USB 3.0 connectors use a halogen-free cable jacket for environmental sustainability and support high, IR reflow temperatures of up to 255°C while maintaining solder mount compatibility. Omnetics’ Quick Lock USB 3.0 connectors come standard, in-line, as well as in panel mount configurations. The male plugs come prewired in a tough environmentally sealed over-mold, while the female board and panel mount connectors are available in dual row surface mount or through hole version terminations for convenient direct to board assemblies or wired for convenient routing to other areas of the systems.

The Omnetics Quick Lock USB 3.0 product line meets the electrical parameters outlined in the newest USB 3.0 standard, and does so in a familiar package that allows users the ability to mate and de-mate in a rapid fashion without any tools, even when the operator is wearing heavy gloves.

The newer signal transmission protocols, such as USB 3.0, require multiple signal paths, as they include separate paths for data transmit and data receive and the multiple paths increase speed and signal capacity greatly. Each set of signal wires is twisted to avoid interference and requires its own drain wire. Each couple of twisted wires are also shielded from other groups. Since we depend on fast digital signal processing, the rise-time of the circuit must be well managed. Most signal processors are designed to push the signal out to a set load, and requires that the cable impedance will have a similar load, which is specified at 90 ohms +/- 7 ohms. The overall cable shield is important and protects the rest of the circuit from adjoining noise. The jacket of the shield is connected tightly and wrapped totally around a metal back-shell on the connector. This gives the Omnetics’ USB Quick lock a superior performance to many of the lower end commercial units on the market.

Already, we see the “Quick Lock” USB being used in a number of high performance applications.  One company has a central process control box containing multiple ports and requires USB speeds that can be connected intermittently when needed. The mil/aero industry is using Quick Locks for fast interconnection to UAVs so downloading payload data can be done quickly and efficiently. Portable Ethernet systems in the battlespace arena must be quickly set-up and ready for rapid relocation. Each week we find a new application for this system that surpasses older, existing USB and commercial systems.

 Omnetics' New Website

Omnetics has a new and improved website! We have been working hard the past couple months to bring you a more user-friendly and clean-looking website that displays all of our relevant product and company data.  Information about our company, products, industries, applications, and resources can be accessed through our streamlined menus and simple navigation. The information you need is easy to access, whenever you need it. Start by exploring our products, solutions, and industries. Let us know what you think on our Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn accounts.

 From the Engineer's Desk

By Ryan Satrom

Cable Design Part I – Selecting the Right Conductor for your Application

In this installment, we are taking a break from our discussion on High-Speed Connector Design in order to look into Cable Design. This installment will look into the various options for conductors. Future installments will discuss insulation materials, shielding, and jacket materials. The series will conclude with a discussion on the various issues that arise due to cable selection.


Copper is the conductor for nearly all wires that are used in cable-connector assemblies today, but there are several different versions that can be considered. There is standard copper and copper alloys. There are also different platings to be considered, and the question of solid versus stranded wire. This article will discuss these options.

Base Material – Copper vs. Copper Alloy

As mentioned, copper is the best and most popular option for the base material in wires. It provides an excellent balance of conductivity, formability, and cost. Copper or copper alloy is used almost exclusively for nearly all wires Omnetics uses. There are a few other options such as platinum and stainless steel that are used sparingly for the medical industry, which doesn’t use copper for implantable devices. High-strength copper alloys are typically used for space applications and for smaller wires (typically 32 AWG and smaller). They have a reduced conductivity but provide improved tensile strength which helps avoid breaking wires, which becomes a challenge with smaller wires.

Plating Options – Tin, Silver, Nickel

Plating is typically added to the wire for three reasons: (1) To minimize oxidation and corrosion; (2) To facilitate a simpler and more effective termination (either solder or crimp); (3) To provide better high-frequency performance. The platings used most often are:

  • Tin: Typically used in low-cost commercial applications, tin provides a protective layer over the copper, ensuring that the copper will not oxidize. This allows for a crimp to make a solid connection to the copper. The downsides to tin is that it introduces soldering challenges due to tin whiskers, and it is a poor high-frequency material.
  • Silver: The default plating for Omnetics products, silver has excellent solderability as well as excellent conductivity for high-frequency applications.
  • Nickel: Typically only used for high temperature applications, nickel is higher cost and is not as good for terminations and solderability. However, nickel has an excellent temperature rating (around 250°C).

Solid vs. Stranded Wires

Stranded wire is strongly preferred for nearly all Omnetics applications. Stranded wires provide improved flexibility, improved flex life, and have significantly better crimpability. The most popular stranded wires include seven strands, but for applications that need additional flexibility, nineteen strand versions are available.

Solid wires are slightly cheaper and have a slightly lower resistance compared to the same diameter stranded wire. However, these slight benefits are rarely enough to justify their use. The only applications where solid wires are typically considered are very high-speed applications. This is because solid wires can provide lower skew (the difference in electrical length between two wires) due to a more concentric and symmetrical construction.


Choosing the right conductor is critical. The options outlined in this article will help ensure that the cable selected is optimized for your specific application.

 Did you know?

The oldest, and currently largest, user of high-temperature electronics (>150°C) is the downhole oil and gas industry. Temperatures in these hostile wells can exceed 200°C, with pressures greater than 25 kpsi. Active cooling is not practical in this harsh environment, and passive cooling techniques are not effective when the heating is not confined to the electronics. Besides the oil and gas industries, other applications, such as avionics, are emerging for high-temperature electronics.

See Omnetics' products optimized for the downhole oil and gas industry here.

 Calendar of Events


UAS Summit

Location: Grand Forks, ND | Booth: 404




Location: London, UK | Booth: S2-100




Location: Washington, DC | Booth: 8016



Space Tech Expo Europe

Location: Bremen, Germany | Booth: A20