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Connector reliability is dependent on three factors: (1)
it is properly defined, (2) it is well engineered, and (3) it is correctly used
in its intended application. When this criteria is achieved, a connector should
perform its intended function, without failure, for the duration of its
specified period of operation.
Assessing the reliability of a specific connector
product requires considerable cost, as a significant number of contacts need to
be tested and measured over a number of conditions, to establish a known failure
rate(s) under the intended application(s). Manufacturer data may be of value,
but is not necessarily relevant to a specific application.
Quality assurance efforts can contribute to the best
choice of product for field reliability, since the inspections and evaluations
performed can provide insight as to the quality of the engineering. Design, fabrication, and the manufacturer’s
capability to maintain the attributes specified in their data sheet(s) and/or
the customer’s acquisition document(s).
Variations in reliability of a given connector product are not
uncommon. Even for a good connector choice and proper application, the connector
quality can be compromised during handling, installation, by extensive mating
operations, and simply due to normal aging, particularly in severe environmental
applications where the environmental harshness may be a variable (e.g. in
mobile, naval, and aircraft applications).