Electrical connectors can simply be defined as devices that are used to send power or signals from one source to another. Generally, everyone uses connectors either knowingly or unknowingly. If you ever got up close with a connector, you would have definitely noticed its pins. It will vary in size, shape, color, and material. Though it seems to be a very small part, this details a lot about the specifications of that particular connector.
These can be small, broad, long, short, straight or right-angled depending on its use. One of the main features we should learn about the connector pins is the plating used for it. Most connector pins are made up of copper, which is a great conductor itself and the tail pins are made out of tin generally. This basic structure makes any pin suitable for serving its purpose. Still, these are plated with a more conductive metal, to improve the quality of the device.
Though many metals are generally used, the most common plating elements are gold, silver, and alternatively, alloys of gold. Let’s take a closer look into these metals and their features in plating connector pins.
Gold is one of the most common and well-appraised elements used in electrical connectors. One of the most prominent reasons for using gold over other metals is its conductivity. Look into any high-quality connectors like AirMax or XCede, you can find the usage of gold-plated pins. Gold-plated contacts mainly improve transmission of signal over power. In addition to that, it enhances connector durability. Though connectors with gold-plated pins are the most expensive quality connector performance justifies the expense.
Gold alloys are one of the closest alternatives to gold plating. Although these elements include gold with impurities, they are highly conductive and durable.
Gold Alloy offers a cost-effective solution as compared to Gold plating. Therefore, many people prefer Gold Alloy plating to match their budget without compromising much on the quality.
Silver is the next best material used for plating connector pins. In any case, it is also the most expensive metal besides gold. Though the conductivity and durability are slightly lesser than gold, this meets the requirements of any budget customers. However, silver stands atop gold, when it comes to power conductivity. Hence these are largely used in automotive industry.
Choose the best plating, according to your requirements and budget to achieve the best results.