Automation Canada Machine Safety Issue May 2021 - 24

DECODING THE VERSATILE M12
INDUSTRIAL CONNECTOR
BY COLIN CARTWRIGHT, SYSTEM SALES MANAGER,
MURRELEKTRONIK CANADA
If you were around in 1980's you will probably remember walkmans, vcrs, mix tapes and big hair bands on MTV, amongst other things. The decade
started with the release of PacMan, the Rubiks Cube and a Hollywood actor called Ronald Reagan winning the US Presidential election. It ended with
the first episode of the Simpsons, Timothy Berners-Lee inventing the World Wide Web and the Berlin Wall coming down to symbolize the end of the
Cold War.
Some notable 1980's inventions included the first artificial heart, CD players, the Apple MacIntosh computer, Microsoſt Windows, the Nintendo
Gameboy and the first GPS satellite to be launched into space.
But there was one more invention of the 1980s that wasn't really noticed by the general public, but ultimately paved the way for fast, easy and
reliable electrical connections that we oſten take for granted in control systems today. We are talking about the M12 circular connector that was
launched at the Hannover Fair in 1985 and has since become one of the most popular industrial connectors in the world.
These days, you will be hard-pressed to walk into any manufacturing plant without seeing an M12 connector. They are used to connect sensors to
I/O modules, vision systems to Ethernet switches, light curtains to safety controllers and much more. Originally only available in 3-pole and 4-pole
versions with an A-Coded keyway for power and I/O signals, the M12 connector is still evolving and has become one of the most versatile circular
connectors available.
Now, more than 35 years since it was launched, there are many different types of M12 connectors for signal, data and power connections. With
M12 connectors now capable of carrying up to 16A of power and transmitting data at speeds up to 10 Gbit/s, that quick connect M12 connector
invented in 1985 has truly become one of the most versatile industrial connectors of the world!
In addition to being relatively small and providing an IP67 protection rating (when tightened correctly), one of main the reasons that the M12
connector has been so successful comes down to the coded keyways that help prevent accidental cross connecting of different signal types. Some
M12 connectors are designed specifically for data and some are designed for power, so you really do not want to get them mixed up. The coded
keyways are extremely effective at preventing this from happening.
There are currently more than a dozen types of M12 connector coding that are identified with an alphabetic letter ranging from A to Y (there is no
Z yet). With so many different options available, it can be a little confusing to choose the right type of M12 cable / connector for your application.
Here at Murrelektronik we oſten get asked which coding works for a specific type of connection, so in this month's edition of Connectivity Corner I
thought it would be a good idea to decode some of the main types of M12 connector that are currently available.
To keep things simple, I will focus on the male side of the connectors and use " poles " to describe the electrical contacts, but rest assured the female
versions of the connectors have contacts with the same ratings as the male connectors. We'll cover the ten most popular M12 connectors in
alphabetical order first, then summarize these by application at the end. Let's get started with the letter " A " .
CANADIAN AUTOMATION
VOLUME 3, ISSUE 3
24
https://www.murr.ca/ca-en/

Automation Canada Machine Safety Issue May 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Automation Canada Machine Safety Issue May 2021

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