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Definitions for jargon, scientific terms and phrases used at Harwin and across the connector and electronics industries.

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The application of an epoxy resin or similar compound to the rear of a connector (normally a cable connector). This resin barrier assists with strain relief and sealing. A connector designed for backpotting will have an additional wall on the rear edge of the housing, to contain the liquid epoxy while it sets to solid. Harwin's blog article on backpotting gives more in-depth information on usage, materials and processes.


An accessory item that fits onto the rear of a cable-mounted connector, to protect the rear of the connector from physical knocks and gives a larger connector area to help with unmating by hand. May also add strain relief to the cables (for when the cable connector is unmated by pulling on the cables). Depending on the design, can also add sealing to the rear of a connector. Also known as hoods.

Bend Radius

The minimum radius (defined by the manufacturer) at which a cable can be bent. To bend at a smaller radius risks damage to the cable, or will pull the insulation away from the end of the conductive core. The more flexible the cable, the smaller a radius possible. This will be determined by the size of the core, and the material and thickness of the insulation. Temperature extremes may also need to be considered.

Bill of Materials (BoM)

A complete list of all the components of a product to be manufactured. Each item should also list (as a minimum) the quantity or volume/length/weight required. The BoM can also include suppliers or manufacturers and their associated part numbers for purchased sub-items, packaging, relevant instructions or work procedures.

Blanked Pin

A form of polarization or keying. In the female half, instead of a receptacle with a hole in the center, it will be a solid contact (the blanked pin). On the other half, the male pin is removed. If the blanked pin is mated with a location where the male pin is still present, the connectors cannot be mated.

Blind Mating

The action of mating two connectors without being able to see the mating. This makes mating successfully and without damage more difficult, as misalignment is more likely. Connectors can have features that help with blind mating, such as alignment posts or large entry chamfers.

Board Level Shielding (BLS)

Shielding specifically designed to be mounted to the PCB to cover certain elements. The shield would act as 5 sides of a box - the PCB would need to also have an inbuilt grounding plane within or on the underside, which then completes the box and finishes the Faraday cage. See also Shield Cans. Harwin offers a range of BLS products.


A particular arrangement of mating connectors that are both mounted to PCBs - thus a connection is made directly from one board to another.


A profiled form of heatshrink, often used over the rear of a cable connector and the start of the cable, to seal off the vulnerable area and help with strain relief. The boots are profiled as often the cable will be much smaller than the rear of the connector - normal heatshrink (all the same diameter) may not shrink far enough to enclose the cable if it is large enough to enclose the connector.