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Data Cabling Tutorial
  • What is D-Subminiature?
    D-Subminiature products are connection products utilizing various D-Subminiature style interface types to transmit data signals.
  • How is D-Subminiature used?
    D-Subminiature products are used to connect a data generating device such as a CPU (Central Processing Unit) to a data producing device such as a printer.
  • Where are D-Subminiature
    products used?

    D-Subminiature products are used in numerous data transmission applications found in office, industrial, home or testing environments.
Data Cabling Terms
American Wire Gauge (AWG): A U.S. standard set of non-ferrous wire conductor sizes. Typical data wiring is AWG number 24, 26 or 28. The higher the gauge number, the smaller the diameter and the thinner the wire.
Backshell (Hood): A mechanical backing that is sometimes put onto a connector. The device protects the conductors and can be assembled or injection molded. Commonly used with D-Sub connectors.
Cable: A set of insulated wires or conductors within an extruded jacket. Many types of cable utilize shielding around the wires and under the cable jacket.
Cable Assembly: A cable that has been terminated with one or more connectors.
Conductor: A metal path (usually copper) that passes electricity. When discussing data cabling, "wire" and "conductor" are synonymous.
Connector: An electromechanical coupling device that provides an electrical interface that can be mated and unmated.
Contact: The specific points of contact within a connector. Contacts can be male (pins) or female (sockets.).
Contact Resistance: First, resistance is basically the opposition to electron flow in an electrical circuit and connector manufacturers strive to attain the lowest amount of resistance possible for each contact. Contact resistance is the cumulative resistance value for mated contacts.
Crimping: A means of securing an electrical contact to a wire using tools that compress the metal contact around the wire.
Crosstalk: When unwanted electromagnetic fields from conductors are transferred into adjacent conductors. Crosstalk is controlled by separating or shielding conductors or twisting into a pair.
D-Subminiature: A common connector type that utilizes multiple pins and a D shaped housing.
Drawing: The mechanical process of making conductors smaller by forcing through dies.
Electromagnetic Interference (EMI): Unwanted electrical or electromagnetic energy that causes unwanted responses in electronic equipment.
Extrusion: The mechanical process of coating a wire or group of wires with insulating material.
Ground: Any zero-voltage point. Earth is considered a zero voltage grounding point.
Ground Wire (Drain Wire): An extra conductor (usually a bare wire) added to a cable for connection of the grounding path.
Injection Molding: The process used to inject molten polymer into a mold. Connector backshells are often injection molded.
Insulation: A material with very high resistivity used to protect conductors. Insulation is usually extruded over the wire or conductor after the drawing process.
Shielding: A conductive foil or braid that covers insulated wires in a cable. The shield provides electrical grounding and protection from external electromagnetic interference (EMI). Shielding is also used to control internal electromagnetic radiation.
Soldering: A means of securing an electrical contact to a wire by heating a low alloy of tin and lead also known as "solder".
Solid Wire (or Conductor): One strand of wire. Usually less flexible, lower in cost and lower in resistance than stranded wire of the same AWG. Solid wire is typically used in permanent installations where flexing does not occur.
Strain Relief: A method of protecting the wire to contact point from flexing or pulling.
Stranded Wire (or Conductor): Multiple small AWG strands of wire that are put together to make a flexible wire with similar electrical properties as a similar solid wire. Stranded wires are usually used in data cabling.
Twisted Pair: Two insulated conductors twisted at a fixed rate of twists per unit of length, typically used in balanced circuits where nominal impedance and crosstalk are critical characteristics.
Wire: A conductive material (usually copper) that has been drawn down to a specific size (see wire basics) and is then coated with an insulating material. A "bare wire" utilizes no insulator coating.
Wire Drawing: The mechanical process of making conductors smaller by forcing through dies.

Wire Basics

Soldered vs. Crimped Contacts

Soldered vs. Crimped Contacts

How to Crimp D-Sub Contacts Using Hand Tool CP3127CT

How to Crimp D-Sub Contacts

How Slimline Adapters Are Used
Slimline adapters are used in a variety of applications, as illustrated here. Due to their low profile, they help reduce leverage strain on overstressed interface ports. (F = Female Connector, M = Male Connector)

Gender Changers:
Allow two same gender connectors to mate. Very handy to have on hand to solve problems in the field or lab.

Can also be used as pass through connectors for panel mounting.

How Slimline Adapters Are Used

Socket Savers:
Extend the life of more expensive D-Sub connectors on PCBs and cable assemblies that are subject to frequent mating and unmating.

Can also be used as pass through connectors for panel mounting.

How Slimline Adapters Are Used

Null Modem, Reverser and Custom Wired Adapters:
Convert existing straight wired cables to the desired wiring scheme.

Can also be used for panel mounting.

How Slimline Adapters Are Used

The Difference Between Assembled and Molded Cable Assemblies

The difference between an assembled and molded cable assembly is in the construction of the backshell. An assembled backshell can be plastic (not shielded) or metal (shielded) and can be disassembled by removing hardware. On a molded cable assembly, the backshell is typically molded PVC that cannot be disassembled.Assembled vs. Molded Cable Assemblies

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