Precision Connectors: PC 3.5 mm, PC 2.92 mm, etc

Key details about the precision connector series of interconnects: PC 3.5 mm, PC 2.92 mm, etc which are used for microwave frequencies and high precision connections.


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Related connector types: Other connectors    


The Precision Connectors series of RF interconnections provides a very high quality series of interconnects for use where high precision is required.

Often these RF connectors are used measurement applications, or where exceedingly high performance is required.The precision series of interconnections is typically intended for very high frequency RF, i.e. microwave interconnections.

Connectors in this series include: PC 3.5 mm; PC 2.92 mm; PC 2.4 mm, PC 1.85 mm; and PC 1.0 mm.

Each of these precision types of RF connector has its own applications and specifications. In view of the precision nature of these connectors, they are naturally priced accordingly.

Precision 3.5 mm (PC 3.5 mm) connector

The PC 3.5 mm connector is based upon the SMA connector. It was designed to provide a very rugged physical interface that would mate with popular SMA dimensions, allowing thousands of repeatable connections without undue loss of performance.

the connector was primarily developed at Hewlett Packard, now Keysight and early manufacturing was undertaken by Amphenol.

Although the PC 3.5 mm connector is compatible with cheaper SMA connectors beware of the tolerance of the centre pin of lower cost male SMAs with precision female connectors. Also be careful to not use it with damaged or dirty mating halves, especially SMA connectors that may not be treated with the same care. Damage to the PC 3.5 mm connector could be costly.


PC 3.5 mm Connector Specification Summary
 
Parameter Specification Details
Max frequency 26.5 GHz, some offer mode free operation up to 34 GHz.
Impedance 50Ω.
Typical centre contacts resistance * ≤ 3mΩ.
Typical outer contact resistance * ≤ 2mΩ.
Typical VSWR * ≤ 1.13 up to 26.5 GHz using RG405/U
Dielectric Air
Outer conductor diameter 3.5 mm
Recommended torque value 8 lb inches / 90 N cm

* depends on manufacturer.

Precision 2.92 mm (PC 2.92 mm) connector

The PC 2.92 mm connector was originally developed by Mario Maury in 1974. The PC 2.92 mm connector will interface to both precision 3.5mm connectors as well as SMA connectors.

This connector is often referred to as the "2.9 mm“ and the orginal version was made by Wiltron, which is now part of Anritsu. In this guise it was named the "K" connector as it was able to cover the K frequency bands.


PC 2.92 mm Connector Specification Summary
 
Parameter Specification Details
Maximum frequency 40 GHz
Impedance 50Ω.
Dielectric Air
Outer conductor inner diameter 2.92 mm
Recommended torque value 8 lb inches / 90 N cm

Precision 2.4 mm (PC 2.4 mm) connectors

The PC 2.4 mm connectors are intended for use into the millimetre wave spectrum having a top frequency of 50 GHz.

This precision RF connector type was developed by Hewlett Packard, Amphenol and M/A-COM. The design eliminate the fragility of the SMA and 2.92-mm connectors by increasing the outer wall thickness and strengthening the female fingers.

The PC 2.4 mm connector is mechanically compatible with the PC 1.85 mm connector, but it does not directly interface to an SMA, 3.5 or 2.92 mm connector types in view of the improved mechanical rigidity. However it is possible to use precision adapters to enable mating with SMA, 3.5 mm and 2.92 mm.

The 2.4 mm product is often offered in three grades:

  • General purpose:   General purpose grade is intended for economy use on components, cables, and microstrip, where limited connections and low repeatability is acceptable.
  • Instrument grade:   Instrument grade is best suited for measurement applications where repeatability and long life are primary considerations.
  • Metrology grade:   This is best suited for calibration applications where the highest performance and repeatability are required.

PC 2.4 mm Connector Specification Summary
 
Parameter Specification Details
Maximum frequency 50 GHz
Impedance 50Ω.
Dielectric Air
Outer conductor inner diameter 2.4 mm
Recommended torque value 8 lb inches / 90 N cm

Precision 1.85 mm connectors

The PC 1.85 mm connectors are intended for use into the millimetre wave spectrum having a top frequency 67 GHz.

These connectors was developed primarily by Hewlett Packard, now Keysight and the deign was opened up to the public domain in 1988 to encourage the standardisation of connector types.

The connector is designed, like the 2.4 mm to be rugged and indeed the 1.85 and 2.4 mm variants mate with each other but do not directly interface to an SMA, 3.5 or 2.92 mm connector types in view of the improved mechanical rigidity. However it is possible to use precision adapters to enable mating with SMA, 3.5 mm and 2.92 mm.

The 1.85 connector is often called the "V connector“ as it covers the V frequency bands.

This connector is sometimes considered to be the smallest coaxial connector that can be commonly used up to 65 GHz.

PC 1.85 mm Connector Specification Summary
 
Parameter Specification Details
Maximum frequency 67 GHz
Impedance 50Ω.
Dielectric Air
Outer conductor inner diameter 1.85 mm
Recommended torque value 8 lb inches / 90 N cm

PC 1.00 mm Connector

The dimensions of this connector are truly tiny, but this enables it to have a very high operating frequency - the top frequency for the PC 1.0 mm is 110 GHz.

This connector could be particularly fragile in view of its size. However, the mechanical coupling and thread sizes have been designed to maximize strength and to minimize damage to the inner conductor during the connecting process. Also the PC 1.0 mm connector is not compatible with any other connector design. Overall it provides a reliable flexible RF interconnection for exceedingly high frequencies.


PC 1.0 mm Connector Specification Summary
 
Parameter Specification Details
Maximum frequency 110 GHz
Impedance 50Ω.
Dielectric Air
Outer conductor inner diameter 1.0 mm
Recommended torque 3 lb inches / 34 N cm

These precision RF connectors are used for specialist applications and provide very high levels of performance. To ensure that their performance is maintained, cleanliness and care taken when mating the connectors is essential. At the highest frequencies of operation, even small imperfections can make a noticeable difference to the RF connector.



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