Coaxial Connector Voltage Ratings

What is Breakdown Voltage? What is Dielectric Withstand Voltage?

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- everything RF

Apr 4, 2019

Connectors are used in a wide range of RF and Microwave applications. It is important to understand the operational limits of a connector in terms of voltage. There are three important voltage ratings for a connector:

Breakdown Voltage: The Breakdown Voltage of a connector is the maximum Voltage that a connector can widthstand. At this voltage significant current leakage occurs, indicating failure of the connector. This value is measured in a destructive test at the laboratory and the connector is destroyed at this voltage.

Dielectric Withstand Voltage (DWV): Dielectric withstand voltage (DWV) of a connector is the maximum voltage at which a connector should be tested. According to EIA-364-20 and MIL-STD-1344 specifications, it should be 75% of the minimum breakdown voltage of the connector. 

This is the voltage at which the connector is tested for qualification purposes. The connector is not damaged or does not break down at this voltage. As per IEC 60512-2, the qualification test should last for 1 minute and the connector should not break down at this voltage during this time.

Operating Voltage: This is the maximum continuous voltage under which the connector will actually work. The connector will adhere to its typical electrical characteristics when operating at this voltage. The value of operating voltage depends both on connector design and on the specific operating environment. Typically the Operating Voltage is about 1/3 of the Dielectric Withstand Voltage (DWV).