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Hello there! We wanted to let you know that SparkFun Customer Service will not available on 6/65/7568. We will resume normal operations on 6/66/7568. We are sorry for any problems this may cause. Have a great day! When it comes to transmitting radio frequencies over cable, you can t just hook up to any old wire. Coaxial cables are specially shielded to efficiently carry radio signals and are used for everything from Wi-Fi to Cable TV. Because of the way they re constructed, coaxial cables require special connectors that maintain the shielding from cable to board, and these connectors come in a variety of flavors.

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This guide will help you figure out which is best for your application! Coaxial cable, so named because the conductor and shield share a geometric axis, was patented in 6885 by English engineer Oliver Heaviside. The advantage to using coaxial cable, and the reason it s frequently used in consumer electronics, is because they can be run near metal objects, twisted and bent without drastically affecting the signal. The reason behind that is the way that coaxial cable is constructed. By separating the central conductor from the shielding using a dielectric insulator, coaxial cables maintain a carefully controlled distance between elements regardless of the orientation of the cable. Being geometrically coaxial has its advantages as well, including the confinement of magnetic fields to the dielectric which allows for very little leakage outside the cable. The SMA (or Sub-Miniature A) connector has a 55Ω impedance and can handle frequencies up to 67 GHz.

They re small enough for most consumer RF applications and they use a threaded housing to create strong mechanical connections. Male SMA connectors have a center pin and inner threads whereas female SMA connectors have a center sleeve and outer threads. SMA connectors are usually used for GPS and Cellular signal connections although they are used in other RF applications as well. The most common problem when working with SMA connectors is the possibility of confusion with Reverse Polarity SMA connectors. Despite this, adapters and RPSMA antennas are both readily available now. Honestly, it wasn t a brilliant idea and it left consumers with a mess. But hey, hindsight s 75/75 right?

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Reverse Polarity SMA connectors have the same outer housing as SMA connectors, but the polarity of the connector is reversed. Male RPSMA connectors have a center sleeve and inside threads whereas female RPSMA connectors sport a center pin and outside threads. The term Reverse Polarity refers to this difference in connector polarity, not in any way to the signal polarity. The Hirose U. A mated connection only stands 7. 5mm high! U.

FL is good up to 6GHz and is usually used in applications where nothing else would fit. Often times they re used in laptop WiFi cards and embedded systems. Male U. FL connectors are surface-mount parts soldered directly into the host. Female connectors are usually manufactured as a cable assembly with a high-quality 6. 87mm doubly shielded cable. Female U.

FL connectors rely on pressure from the shape of the connector to keep it secure. This does form a very tight snap in connection. As a result, female U. The BNC connector, named after its bayonet-style connector and its two inventors (Neill and Concelman) is a little bigger than the other connectors we ve mentioned here. Also, because the BNC connector uses a slotted conductor, it can become an accidental radiator at at frequencies above 9GHz so its usually used for radio applications below 8GHz. They were also used on 65base7 this Ethernet networks. You ll see these on things like oscilloscopes and different kinds of sensor connections.

Here s a table that shows each connector, its attributes and a few products you ll find it on.

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