Sourcing Aircraft Electrical Connectors for Your Next PCB
Avionics designers face plenty of challenges: power and signal integrity requirements, low and high temperature environments, mechanical shock, and EMI from other devices. Add to this the requirement for rugged components and connectors, and avionics designers have plenty to contend with. Working with a design package like Altium Designer helps avionics engineers design systems to meet these mechanical, thermal, and electrical standards, as well as plan for production and ensure manufacturability.
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The only PCB design package that unifies your design and component management features in a single platform.
Electrical systems in aircraft and other aviation/avionics systems carry strict design requirements. The goal is ensure a long lifecycle, reliability, and resistance to mechanical shock, temperature, ESD, and EMC. These systems must be designed to be extremely rugged and to operate at the highest performance in extreme environments.
PCBs for aircraft are not only complex in terms of their own design, but they tend to be involved in larger electrical or electromechanical systems. These boards provide critical functions, such as control over mechanical systems, communications and data processing, or power distribution. These boards need the right aircraft electrical connectors to provide connections as part of a multi-board system. Electronics designers need access to tools that can streamline their design process while ensuring manufacturability.
Electrical connectors for your next avionics system need to be precisely placed on your board with an eye towards manufacturability. Design for manufacturing requirements are specified in the IPC and MIL standards, and there are other reliability standards related to connector placement and attachment specified by other standards bodies. If you’re working on aircraft for the military, the connectors you use must be designed to be waterproof, suppress noise, withstand a broad range of temperatures, and suppress EMI.
Aside from the structural issues involved in connectors, you’ll also need to ensure that sending data and signals through connectors to other boards or electrical systems do not degrade signal quality. Your terminals and electrical connections must be designed to minimize susceptibility to EMI and prevent on-board signal issues that can arise from excessive contact resistance and impedance mismatch. Working with the right design software will help you accurately add multiple electrical connectors to your board while maintaining signal quality.
Managing Multiple Electrical Connectors in Your Design Software
The best design software will allow you to design the proper terminals for your electrical power connectors directly on the board and include the right fiducial markers to aid your manufacturer. Working with software that unifies mechanical design with electrical design allows you to place and rotate your components easily and accurately while still meeting important electrical requirements. Working with the right design software allows you to manage component models for your aircraft electrical cable assemblies and easily place them in your PCB layout.
- Many PCBs for aircraft are part of a larger multi-board electrical system. Using the right connectors make it easy to form connections between your boards.Learn more about using connectors in multi-board designs.
- No one wants to wait for rework due to manufacturing defects. Preparing for manufacturing requires adding tooling marks and fiducial markers for your connectors. Learn more about adding fiducial markers and connectors on your board.
- Strict design standards require ultra-accurate placement of components on your board, including electrical connectors for aviation systems.Learn more about designing with ECAD/MCAD integration.
3D mechanical design for component placement in Altium Designer
If you’re working on a design for military aircraft, you’ll need to consider more than just the structural and electrical specifications on your components. You’ll have important procurement regulations that you’ll need to manage. This is where component management and sourcing tools that give you full supply chain visibility become indispensable.
Sourcing unique components, such as radio frequency modules and specialty aircraft wiring, can be difficult. Although these components are available, you’ll need to get instant information on the state of your supply chain by taking information directly from your supply chain. You’ll be able to manage lead times, control costs, and ensure that your components are only sourced from compliant distributors. You’ll have an assurance that your design, components, and connectors meet important standards while keeping costs within budget.
Managing Multiple Electrical Connectors in Your PCB
If you’re not sure which connectors are right for your application, choosing the right aircraft electrical cable assemblies are easier when you have access to real-time sourcing information and a comprehensive component library package. When these tools interface directly with your design tools, you’ll be able to import your component models directly into your layout, create deliverables for your manufacturer, and source your components within a single program. Integrated design software allows you to manage mechanical, electrical, and sourcing data for multiple components with a single program.
- Electrical components are critical for multi-board design, and you’ll need to plan your layouts to guarantee signal integrity throughout the entire system.Learn more about multi-board design with signal integrity expert Ben Jordan.
- No matter which type of connector you use in your next avionics system, you’ll need to ensure your components are sourceable. You’ll need to manage obsolescence, choose suitable replacements, and avoid counterfeits.
- With aircraft and avionics systems being so complex, you’ll need tools that help you manage your design data, component data, and sourcing information.
3D view of components and connectors in Altium Designer
Whether you need to include heat shrink butt connectors, space connectors, blade connectors, or any other connector, you can place and source all your components with the right design tools. Working in an integrated environment places your component management tools alongside your design tools, helping you ensure your designs will meet important standards for reliability and quality.
This takes CAD and component management tools that work together in a single program, allowing you to import component models for any connector into your layout. Once it’s time to plan for manufacturing and sourcing your components, you’ll need supply chain visibility to manage your component lifecycle, control costs, and avoid falling prey to counterfeit components.
Management and Design in One Program with Altium Designer
When your design and management tools are all in one location, you can easily import and source the connectors and receptacles you need for your board. You can also verify the functionality of your design by checking your layout against standard and customized design rules. Once you’re ready to start production, you’ll have full control over your supply chain, and all within a single design platform.
- Managing your connector sources and controlling costs is much easier when you use the right supply chain management tools within your design software.Learn more about real-time bill of materials management in Altium Designer.
- Working with the right component and connector placement tools will help you ensure manufacturability of your next avionics system.Learn more about smart component placement in Altium Designer.
- Controlling for high temperature in your board is easier when your design and verification tools show you the thermal connection between pads, vias, and conductors throughout your board.Manage thermal demands with the right design and simulation tools in Altium Designer.
If you’re an avionics engineer or designer, the top-notch CAD, verification, and production planning tools will help you place and source the right components for your next avionics system. Once it’s time to produce your system, the bill of materials and supply chain management features will help you include the connectors and receptacles you need for your boards.
Avionics design is difficult enough, but your design software should streamline the design and production process. Altium gives you the resources you need to get started and use the software successfully. With the AltiumLive forum, an extensive knowledge base, product extensions, feature tutorials, podcasts, and webinars with expert designers, you’ll have the support you need to design successfully.
Given the challenges involved in designing electronic systems for aircraft, avionics designers need the right design and sourcing tools to help them place and procure the right components and connectors for their systems. Working with Altium Designer’s integrated environment will help you include the aircraft electrical connectors you need for your next avionics system.