New automation products hit the market every day and each device requires the correct cable to operate. Even in standard cables sizes, there are a variety of connector types that correspond with different applications.
When choosing a cable, it is essential to choose the correct size, length, number of connectors, pinout, and codes for your application. This post will review cable codes, which signify different capabilities and uses for a cable. Cables that are coded differently will have different specifications and electrical features, corresponding to their intended uses. To distinguish between the different styles of cable, each connector has a different keyway, as shown in Figure 1. This is to prevent a cable from being used in an incorrect application.
There are a wide variety of cable codings used for different purposes. Below are the five most common M12 cable codes and their uses. They are as follows:
- A-coded connectors are the most common style of connector. These are used for sensors, actuators, motors, and most other standard devices. A-coded connectors can vary in its number of pins, anywhere between two pins and 12 pins.
- B-coded connectors are mostly used in network cables for fieldbus connections. Most notably, this includes systems that operate with Profibus. B-coded connectors typically have between three and five pins.
- C-coded connectors are less common than the others. These connectors are primarily used with AC sensors and actuators. They also have a dual keyway for added security, ensuring that this connector will not be accidentally used in the place of another cable. C-coded connectors have between three and six pins.
- D-coded connectors are typically used in network cables for Ethernet and ProfiNet systems. D-coded connectors transfer data up to 100 Mb. These connectors typically provide three to five pins.
- X-coded connectors are a more recent advancement of the cables. They are growing in popularity due to their ability to transfer large amounts of data at high speeds. X-coded cables transfer data up to 1 Gb. These are ideal for high-speed data transfer in industrial applications. While the other coded cables typically vary in number of connectors, X-coded cables will always have eight pins.