What is a Breakaway Connector?

A breakaway connector is an electrical safety component used on cables to disconnect corded equipment from moving components or rotating machinery. If rotating or moving machinery starts to move while a sensor or cable is tangled within it, the breakaway connector will disconnect immediately so the corded equipment isn’t dragged into the moving equipment. 

Breakaway connectors are commonly used with data collection equipment that connects to rotating machines, but they can be used for virtually any application where cords and corded equipment are in potential danger from high tensile loads. These components are also sometimes called weak links or weak fuses.

Best Materials for Breakaway Connectors

Breakaway connectors can be constructed from a wide variety of plastic and metal alloy options. Plastics provide lightweight, cost-effective components that resist corrosion damage. However, manufacturing plastic breakaway connectors does require an upfront investment to design and develop tooling for the molding process. Plastic may also wear down faster than other material options. 

Metals such as aluminum offer another viable and popular choice. This material is more resistant to wear and damage than plastic, while remaining lightweight and easy to work with. However, aluminum is more vulnerable to corrosion damage than plastic. Heavier metal options include brass and stainless steel. While these options are more resistant to corrosion and physical damage, the additional weight can interfere with the effectiveness of the component. 

It’s possible to enhance corrosion resistance and other properties on plastic or metal breakaway connectors through plating.

An infographic explaining breakaway connectors

The Importance of Plating and Color for Breakaway Connectors

By plating metal or plastic breakaway connectors with thin layers of other materials, manufacturers can imbue connectors with the positive characteristics of multiple materials. Chroming aluminum components, for example, allows for the use of lightweight metal while protecting it from corrosion.

Breakaway connectors also come in different colors, and those colors communicate important attributes of the connector. For example, mating pairs of components can have the same color so technicians can easily pair the parts together. Colors may also designate brand, orientation, and material characteristics for the connectors, depending on the application.

Breakaway Connectors From Amphenol NEXUS Technologies

At Amphenol NEXUS Technologies, we specialize in manufacturing and supplying 7- and 10-pin breakaway connectors with a durable, waterproof design. We provide a wide range of standard and miniature breakaway components, plugs, and jacks for an array of applications, including:

  • C4I systems
  • Military aircraft
  • Commercial aircraft
  • Military ground vehicles
  • Soldier systems
  • Missiles and ordnance
  • Commercial/industrial equipment

 Contact us today to see how our breakaway cables and components can improve safety in your operation.

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