The current carrying capacity of a connector is defined as the maximum amount of current that a connector can carry without exceeding its maximum temperature rating. This temperature rating normally includes both conductive temperature rise and the ambient temperature.
In most applications, other factors also limit the current carrying capacity of connector.
- Conductivity of the contact material.
- Contact cross-sectional area and the contact length.
- Many times the contact interface is the “hot spot” in a connector.
Note: in a system where the contact interface is the primary source of heat generation, longer contacts will actually provide more cooling.
- The number of current carrying contacts in close proximity to each other.
- Ambient temperature.
- Housing material and construction.