Cables and connectors are some of the most important components in any project, and yet they’re often the most overlooked. If you’re working with low current, as with most microcontrollers, you can get away with using pretty much any wire or connector. But if you need to handle a lot of current, things get tricky. For that you need substantial connectors and heavy-gauge cables. To accommodate that, Molex has just rolled out the new Coeur CST interconnect system, which can support currents up to 200 amps, while also compensating for physical stress.
Working with current that high means you need thick cables and heavy-duty connectors that are rated for application. There are many options on the market for those, but most leave something to be desired. Take, for instance, the cables and connectors used for your car battery. The battery likely has post-style terminals and the cable connectors need to be bolted on. That keeps them secure even under heavy vibration and stress, but they are difficult to remove and require tools to do so.
The Coeur CST interconnect system is unique because it can handle a lot of current while also compensating for mechanical stress and remaining easy to connect or disconnect. The secret to achieving that is in the female sockets, which are mounted through a unique wave spring float mechanism. That means that the socket itself can move around inside of its mount by up to 1.00mm without affecting functionality at all.
That float mechanism makes the Coeur CST interconnect system ideal for high-current applications where vibration or other stress is likely to occur. For example, it would work well for battery connections in electric vehicles. We got our hands on a few of the new connectors, and they are very solid and well-made. It doesn’t take much force to insert a male pin into a female socket, or to remove it. They do, however, remain secure when connected. Any forces perpendicular to the pin axis are absorbed by the float mechanism, which reduces stress on the cables and connectors.
Another interesting use of the these connectors is in situations where alignment may be an issue. For example, if you’re connecting two rigid components, like PCBs, together. Most connectors have to be aligned perfectly or they won’t mate properly. Because of the Coeur CST interconnect system’s float mechanism, they can be misaligned by up to 1.00mm and still connect without a problem. There are three sizes available: 3.40mm, 6.00mm, and 8.00mm, so you should be able to find the right connectors to suit your project.