Blog What Are Connector Backshells?

What Are Connector Backshells?

The connector of a backshell is a mounted accessory that serves to protect contacts and wires as well as enhance the operational characteristics of the electronic component. The connector backshell is paramount for strain relief, ensuring that the stress induced on a particular cable is minimized for its integrity. Depending on the application and its requirements, there are a variety of backshell types that may serve a particular connector. Furthermore, variations may present different protection capabilities such as moisture resistance or EMI/RFI guarding. In order to find the right backshell component for your needs, it can be useful to understand their functionality and common types.

Generally speaking, the connector backshell consists of a piece that is secured to the back portion of the connector. In order for the accessory to remain attached to the connector, a screw or similar component may be used to secure the assembly. The backshell is crucial for the protection of the connector shell, that of which houses the crimped or soldered contacts of the cable assembly. Many connector backshell components may provide a cable clamping mechanism to ensure stress relief which is important for the terminals of the connector. Having the proper strain relief for a connector can also ensure a longer service life and increased rigidity, making such accessories an important aspect to never look over. Depending upon the backshell, defense may also be provided against EMI or RFI conditions which can affect the performance of wire and cable connectors.

When choosing between various connector backshell accessories, one should always consider the specific requirements of the system of which such parts will serve. For example, a steel-braided cable assembly that requires shielding may need a robust cable clamp while a simple wire may only need a small shell. Another consideration is the size of the cables and their orientation as backshells should never cause a wire to be overly bent or forced into an assembly where it may be damaged. Alongside such factors, prospective buyers should also consider specifications such as the component’s materials, environmental protection capabilities, strain relief, temperature ranges, repairability, and more. Such accessories can also be procured in a variety of angled configurations such as straight, 45°, and 90° variations. 

If a particular connector is intended for use in harsh-environmental applications such as satellites, defense systems, and military avionics, it is crucial that the backshell of the connector is fit for such extremities. As an essential component, the failure of a backshell can easily lead to lengthy delays and high costs as the cable or connector becomes damaged. Despite some mil-spec connector components coming with their own backshell, many require the user to order the component separately.

The backshell is a component that is often looked over when procuring electronic components, but it is paramount for the safety of connectors and their contacts. Whether one is assembling a personal computer system or a robust military unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), the backshell of each connector can make the difference between a reliable electrical system and one at risk of damage. When you are searching for the most reliable connector backshell components and mil-spec hardware, look no further than ASAP Distribution.


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