411 on M12 Connectors

May 17, 2018 at 8:00 AM


Since their introduction in 1985, M12 connectors have grown to become the go-to interconnect system for industrial automation. These rugged connectors provide reliable connections in the harshest environments and have revolutionized the world of industrial automation connectivity.


M12 connectors are circular connectors that have a 12-mm locking thread and often boast IP ratings for protection against liquids and solids. They are ideal for connecting sensors, actuators, as well as industrial Ethernet and Fieldbus devices, mostly in industrial automation applications and in corrosive environments.


Prior to the inception of the M12 connector, engineers had to hard wire or repeatedly replace connectors that couldn’t endure in harsh conditions. Initially released with 3 and 4-pin models, the original M12 connector had a smaller current than its predecessor, the RK30, but still provided the protection of an IP67 rating. The 4-pin M12 connector allowed a single system to include more advanced sensors and actuators. Today, these rugged connectors are available with 3, 4, 5, 8 and 12-pin configurations with additional locking styles continuously being developed, such as bayonet and push-pull.


In addition to factory automation, M12 connectors and M12 cable assemblies are used in measurement and control, communications, transportation, robotics, agriculture and alternative energy applications. Choosing the correct pin count depends on the specific application. Three and 4-pin models are needed for sensors and in power applications. Ethernet and PROFINET require 4 and 8 pins. DeviceNet and CANbus mostly use 4 and 5-pin connectors. Twelve-pin models are typically specified for various signal applications.


Along with different pin counts, M12 connectors have multiple styles of key coding to prevent improper mating.  Here are the most common coding types and what they’re used for:


·       A-coded: sensors, DC power and 1 Gigabit Ethernet

·       B-coded: PROFIBUS

·       C-coded: AC power

·       D-coded: 100 Mbit Ethernet

·       X-coded: 10 Gigabit Ethernet

·       S-coded: AC power (will be replacing C-coded power parts)

·       T-coded: DC power (will be replacing A-coded power parts)


The most popular types of M12 coding are A, B, D and X.  The A, B and D-coded connectors are some of the first M12 connectors and have been on the market the longest. X-coded connectors are rising in demand for high-speed industrial Ethernet and will ultimately take the place of A and D-coded parts in Ethernet applications. The newest code designs being developed are K-coded for AC power and L-coded for PROFINET DC power.


Protecting Your Investment- Weatherproof NEMA Enclosures

March 17, 2016 at 8:00 AM


Spring is right around the corner and as the saying goes, April showers will bring May flowers. With the change in weather, now might be a perfect time to ensure that your wired and wireless communications equipment can stand up to the elements.


Ethernet networks are serious investments made-up of expensive components including switches, routers, antennas, and access points. Network operation is dependent upon all of these parts being fully functional in every environment.


When located outside or in an industrial setting, such as a factory or processing plant, these devices become vulnerable to damage from the elements, chemicals and physical contact.


A weatherproof NEMA enclosure is one of the best ways to safe-guard your valuable equipment. They protect against environmental hazards such as water, dust, oil, and corrosive chemicals like gasoline. Equipment enclosures also protect your critical equipment from theft and damage.


NEMA enclosures are ideal for a variety of situations and applications including:


·       Wireless network equipment installations

·       Wired network equipment installations

·       Extreme hot and cold environments

·       Solar powered applications

·       Corrosive environments

·       Sub-zero installations


NEMA-rated weatherproof enclosures can be made of steel, ABS plastic or reinforced fiberglass and they feature a wide range of options including heating, cooling, AC or DC power, DIN rail mounting and Power over Ethernet (PoE) interfaces.


When designing your network, make sure you consider the environment your equipment will be located in. A weatherproof NEMA enclosure might just be the insurance you need.


The Advantages of Fiber Optics in Harsh Environments

December 4, 2014 at 10:00 AM


A few weeks ago we posted about ruggedized cabling and how important it is to use such cables in applications with harsher environments. As a follow up, today we’ll talk about several benefits of using fiber optic technology in harsh environment communication systems.


First of all, fiber is immune to EMI and RFI "noise" which is commonly encountered on a manufacturing floor or processing plant. This could be a huge factor when planning for a network set up.


Secondly, fiber can support very long distances before a repeater is necessary, covering thousands of kilometers either inside and/or outside of an industrial facility.


Fiber also offers higher bandwidth compared to copper cabling and can be used in voice, video and data applications. This is commonly seen with IP surveillance cameras and NVR's located throughout a facility.


Lastly, the cost of fiber continues to decline as many manufacturers (both domestic and foreign) can now produce high quality fiber cabling, connectors, and transceivers.

Amazing features and its inexpensive? We’ll take it!

So if you are considering changing over to fiber cables or are already in need of connectors, adapters and other communication components for harsh environments, look no further.


You can choose from a wide variety of L-com fiber optic cable assemblies for harsh environments that are industrial and military grade. There are multiple cable options, including Single mode and Multimode as well as special crush and impact resistant jacketed fiber cables.


In addition to cable assemblies, take a look at the couplers and adapters meant for harsh environments. The Mil ST line of connectors and couplers meet or exceed 100% of the requirements of the military specification MIL-C-83522.


These highly durable connectors and couplers are built to withstand extreme temperature change, shock, vibration and corrosion. They are ideal for military, aircraft, spacecraft, shipboard and land-based applications. An added bonus with these connectors is that they are available in either locking (ANX, ANY) or non-locking (DNX, DNY) variations and use a convenient screw boot that eliminates the need for a cumbersome boot tool.

The Ruggedized COTS ST Connectors and Couplers, which are designed to be a more economical counterpart to the MIL-C-83522 line, feature a non-optical disconnect with nickel-plated brass or stainless steel configurations.


Finally, have a look at the FOC-XPLC2-MM and FOC-XPLC2-SM Industrial LC Plugs. These plugs provide a robust fiber connection in virtually any harsh environment. In addition to offering IP66/IP67 protection, the cable to plug strain relief has been dramatically improved over standard fiber jumpers. The plug kits include duplex Single mode or Multimode LC fiber connectors, industrial plug housing, a specialized fiber bend relief boot and heavy duty strain relief crimp components.


What fiber optic networking products have you used in your harsh application? Share with us below.


How Tough is Your Cable?

November 20, 2014 at 10:00 AM


Let us give you a general reminder that says a lot in just a few words:


Not all cables are created equal.


Have you ever considered that your application or next networking project might require more than a standard cable, whether it be USB, Ethernet, HDMI or other interface?


Of course, in either scenario you want a cable that is built to last. That’s why armored cables are built to stand up to the harshest of environments.


Armored cables are commonly used in factory automation, manufacturing networks, chemical and petroleum processing networks, and in any Industrial communication or Industrial HMI and A/V application.


For example, complex chemical and oil refining facilities employ some of the most sophisticated process control systems found in any industry. Mass-scale process control delivers consistently high system output (both quantity and quality) while simultaneously minimizing labor input and safety issues.


These results can only be achieved through the deployment of complex network control systems (including ruggedized cabling) that must operate under harsh conditions. Multiple control and monitoring points must interconnect in environments that include corrosive liquids and gases, severe heat and cold, high pressure and more. 


If you take a closer look at the details of your environment, you might be surprised to find that at least one of these factors puts it into the “harsh environment” category.


L-com offers an extensive line of metal and plastic armored cable assemblies to address all types of these industrial and harsh environment connectivity applications.


Here are some common features you’ll find throughout our ruggedized cable selection:

  • Choose from either metal armor that provides 1,500 pounds per square inch crush resistance to  protect cables from damage, OR plastic tubing - that provides 800 PSI crush resistance.
  • Heavy duty metal and plastic coupling nuts ensure armored sleeves remain anchored
  • Cable shielding provides maximum protection against EMI/RFI
  • Specially jacketed cable for use in hot/cold/corrosive environments (some types)


And for a detailed layout of the “behind the scenes” of how these cables are constructed, below are some diagram tutorials. Have a look and give us a call if you have any questions!


Armored D-Subminiature Cable Assemblies



Armored USB Cable Assemblies



Armored HDMI Cable Assemblies



Armored DVI Cable Assemblies



And last but not least: Armored Ethernet Assemblies



All of L-com’s armored cable assemblies are available off the shelf for same day shipping with no minimum order quantities.


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