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issue: September 2008 APPLIANCE Magazine

Motor Technology
Secure Motor Connection

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A new connector for HVAC motors helps engineers save costs while increasing safety.

Faston Positive-Lock HVAC Motor Connectors from Tyco Electronics are UL-recognized, CSA-certified, and compliant with RoHS requirements.

FASTON Positive-Lock connectors from Berwyn, PA, U.S.–based Tyco Electronics Corp. (www.tycoelectronics.com) are designed for quick and easy wire harness connection in high-efficiency HVAC blower motors. While the new connectors utilize standard one-piece housings and crimp/snap processing, Val Karabcievschy, product manager, says the design offers more than the cost advantages associated with traditional crimp/snap manufacturing. “Some offerings require the harness maker to go through the costly process of prepositioning terminated leads in a fixture and having to assemble two plastic parts using an arbor press to make the final assembled connector,” Karabcievschy explains. “This is time-consuming for the wire harness operation and can create scrap costs, as the arbor press operation can result in the fracturing of one or both of these separate plastic pieces.”

The components are also designed to increase safety. Positive latching with an audible click helps ensure secure interconnection of all connector positions to the motor. “Of paramount concern for all manufacturers of HVAC systems is safety,” Karabcievschy notes. “This includes the proper electrical grounding of all units and the electrical components within these units. The secure latching that is inherent to the connectors helps to confirm the integrity of the ground circuit to these electronically commutated motors.”

Karabcievschy says the connectors also offer safety by providing electrical circuit isolation in applications with high humidity and condensation. “As warm, moist air comes in contact with cooler components within an HVAC system, there is an opportunity for condensation to develop on these components,” he says. “This may include the electrical connector contact and housing surfaces. This can cause issues when there is an electric potential between surfaces, as is frequently the case in electrical connectors.”

Tyco Electronics addressed this concern by creating the greatest possible distance over surfaces between adjacent electrical contacts within the connector. According to Karabcievschy, this prevents arc tracking that could develop on those surfaces.

Based on the company’s Mark III positive-lock connector system, the receptacle contacts are designed with spring members containing latching dimples. When mated to tabs that have properly positioned holes, these dimples engage the holes and latch the receptacle to the tab. To release the dimples from the holes in the tab, the spring member is actuated and the receptacle slides off the tab with a slight pull. Karabcievschy says that when this simple concept is applied to multiple-position connector housings, each receptacle contact latches to the corresponding tab found on the motor. “Even with a hard tug on the wire leads, the connector will not unmate from the motor,” he says. “But with a simple pull on the connector housing, the spring member of each contact is actuated by an internal cam surface, moving the dimple out of the hole in the tab and allowing the connector to unmate from the motor.”

Polarized housings help mate the connectors in the correct orientation at final assembly. And since wire harnesses are typically pretested by wire harness departments or subcontractors, Karabcievschy says the potential for miswiring on the assembly line is virtually eliminated.

The components are available in four- and five-position housings. The four-position housing is designed for use with power connections, providing three 187-series receptacles for L, G, and N line-voltage circuits and a single 250-series receptacle for the low-voltage signal common. For discrete speed tap control, the five-position housing uses 250-series receptacles. Receptacle terminals are available to cover a wire range from 12 to 22 AWG. 

Suppliers mentioned in this article:
TE Connectivity (former Tyco Electronics)

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