1 Apr 2012
Engineers now have much more flexibility in designing circuits with Onanon’s unique customized “breadboard” connectors. Onanon has developed a technology using proprietary "breadboard" automated manufacturing methods to produce connectors that are integrated with low-profile electronic components. Engineers can now design functionality right into the connector, and opens up a wide range of new possibilities. This method has become very cost effective, and this connector now has great potential for use in OEM applications, such as automotive, military avionics, medical devices, and others.
This type of connector would probably have its greatest benefit in sensor applications, where a sensor of some type sends and analog signal back to an instrument or recording device for amplification and analysis.
This signal is usually sent through a coaxial cable or other type of shielded cable to reduce noise and interference. Sometimes the signal output would only change by a milli-volt or a few micro-volts which would need high sensitivity on the receiving end. So it would be very easy to distort the reading because of the noise interference along the length of the wire. A strain gage sensor on a torque monitoring device is an example of this.
This new type of connector would allow the signal to be amplified with an operational amplifier built right on the connector substrate and attached to the sensor. Low level, high impedance signals would then be converted to high level, low impedance signals. As the signal is transmitted through the cable, it would be much less susceptible to EMI and RFI. The use of an operational amplifier in the connector can also reduce the number of wires needed in the cable by converting a differential signal (from a strain gage, for example) to a single ended signal. The reference currents needed by the sensor, such as a thermistor, can be supplied by the connector’s circuitry.
This method can be taken one step further by integrating an analog-to-digital converter into the connector plug along with the op amp. The sensor reading can then be sent back in a serial digital format, and there would be no need for expensive cables to reduce interference on an analog signal.
If there are many sensors in a remote location that send their signals back to the processor, the sensor outputs can be digitally multiplexed, so only one serial data line would be needed to send all the signals back. Another serial data line would be connected from the processor to the connector circuit to control it. With two data lines and two power supply lines, the total number of pins needed on the connector would be only four, which is far less than with standard connections.
Electronic systems can be easily upgraded by using drop-in replacement connectors, which can include small circuit boards for tasks such as device ID, use-limiters, EEPROM functions and fine-tuning. With these enhanced capabilities, engineers can now integrate greater functionality than ever before into connectors.
Onanon is known for its expertise in advanced PC board and mass production IC placement techniques. Because of the automated process used in manufacturing these connectors, they are high quality, cheap and disposable. Onanon is also well known for their automated rapid wire termination technology, which makes it easy to connect wires to a PC board connector substrate.