What is a Backshell Connector?

Connectors are crucial components for almost all electronic devices, ensuring that various electronic parts are interconnected for the means of transferring data and power. At the point of connection where contacts meet, connectors often face wear and tear due to mechanical strain, environmental factors, and other various stressors. To best protect contacts and connectors, accessories known as backshells are often used. In this blog, we will discuss the functionality of backshells, allowing you to better understand their importance in the protection of connectors.

Backshells often vary in their design depending upon the application in question and the types of connectors for cables that are being protected. Generally, such components will range in their materials, finishes, and angle configurations. Backshells also play multiple roles to optimally guard electrical components, some providing for strain relief, environmental protection, EMI/RFI protection, and more.

Strain is a major cause of connector breakdowns, and a strain relief backshell can be used to support a connector by gripping the cable to alleviate stress. While guarding cables and the contact junction, strain relief backshells lack the ability to protect components from other harmful things such as moisture or interference. As a result, such backshells are limited to environments that are clean, dry, and temperature controlled. Furthermore, self-locking variations may be procured if the environment exhibits high amounts of vibration. If the space of installation is compact, one may use strain relief backshells with a 90 degree angle for redirection.

Cables are often at risk from environmental factors such as moisture, dirt, water, and dust. When exposed to such elements, electronic parts can quickly break down or lose performance. To protect connectors, environmental backshells may be used to seal sensitive parts of the cable. Typically, environmentally shielded cable backshells can be procured in straight, 45 degree, and 90 degree angles.

While protection from environmental stresses is important, cables may also be exposed to electromagnetic interference (EMI) and radio frequency interference (RFI) which can be detrimental to the transmission of signals and power. With an EMI/RFI environmental backshell, a cable or connector can be ideally guarded against interference and environmental stresses at the same time. Coming in a variety of angled configurations, EMI/RFI environmental backshells are the best choice for military and aerospace applications where electronic components are placed in extreme environments with various stressors and fluctuations.

The final major type of backshell component is the shrink boot, that of which serves as an alternative to metal backshells. With such variations, strain relief and environmental sealing can both be upheld while presenting a low-profile assembly that can benefit certain spaces. Often, these backshells are paired with specially designed boot adapters, allowing a jacketed cable to be sealed against a connector. If EMI and RFI protection is required or desired, then a shrink boot backshell may be paired alongside a banding boot adapter.

Whether you need a strain relief backshell, an environmental backshell, or protection from various interference types, NSN Orbit has all the various parts and components that you require. Take the time to explore our expansive part catalog as you see fit, and our team of industry experts is always ready to assist you through the purchasing process however needed. At NSN Orbit, we are fully dedicated to the quality of our offered components, choosing to only work with leading global manufacturers to source top quality items that may be depended upon. If there are specific items in stock that you are interested in, fill out and submit an RFQ form as provided on our website, and a dedicated account manager will reach out to you in 15 minutes or less with a personalized quote. Get in contact with a representative today and see how NSN Orbit can serve as your strategic sourcing partner today.


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