What is a DIN connector?
A DIN connector is an electrical connector that was originally standardized in the early 1970s by the Deutsches Institut für Normung (DIN), the German national standards organization.
There are DIN standards for various different connectors, therefore the term "DIN connector" alone does not unambiguously identify any particular type of connector unless the document number of the relevant DIN standard is added (e.g., "DIN 45322 connector"). Some DIN connector standards are:
DIN 41524, for circular connectors often used for audio signals or some digital signals like MIDI.
DIN 41612, rectangular connectors used to connect plug-in cards to a back plane or motherboard.
DIN 41652 D-subminiature connectors used for computer data and video.
DIN 41585 automotive coaxial connectors.
In the context of consumer electronics, the term "DIN connector" commonly refers to a member of a family of circular connectors that were initially standardized by DIN for analog audio signals.
Some of these connectors have also been used in analog video applications, for power connections and for digital interfaces such as MIDI (DIN 41524) or the IBM PC keyboard and IBM AT keyboard connectors (DIN 41524, later PS/2 connectors for keyboard and mouse are Mini-DIN connectors). The original DIN standards for these connectors are no longer in print and have been replaced with the equivalent international standard IEC 60130-9.
While DIN connectors appear superficially similar to the professional XLR connectors, they are not compatible.
To identify your type of DIN connector let us know the number of pins, gender (based on the signal conductor in the form of Male to Female), and connection type, e.g. cable mount, panel mount.
All male connectors (plugs) of this family of connectors feature a 13.2 mm diameter metal shield with a notch that limits the orientation in which plug and socket can mate. A range of connectors of the same form that differ only in their pin configuration exist and have been standardized, originally in DIN 41524 / IEC/DIN EN 60130-9 (3-pin at 90° and 5-pin at 45°), DIN 45322 (5-pin and 6-pin at 60°), DIN 45329 (7-pin at 45°), DIN 45326 / IEC/DIN EN 60130-9 (8-pin at 45°), and other standards for a range of different applications, including the following examples:
The plugs consist of a circular shielding metal skirt protecting a number of straight round pins. The pins are 1.45 mm in diameter and equally spaced (at 90°, 72°, 60° or 45° angles) in a 7.0 mm diameter circle. The skirt is keyed to ensure that the plug is inserted with the correct orientation, and to prevent damage to the pins. The basic design also ensures that the shielding is connected between socket and plug prior to any signal path connection being made. However, as the keying is consistent across all connectors, it does not prevent incompatible connectors from mating, which can lead to damage; this is changed in Mini-DIN, which keys different connectors. Additionally, some "domino" five-pin connectors had a keyway on opposing sides of the socket, allowing it to be reversed. If used as a headphone connector the plug may have had a cut-out in the body that, depending on which way the plug was inserted, would either allow (e.g.) external speakers to be switched off or not as required; inserting the plug one way would activate a switch on the periphery of the socket (thus switching off the speakers), inserting the plug in the opposite orientation the switch would not be activated due to the cut-out in the plug body - the left and right channels would not be transposed as the plug was wired such that each headphone speaker was connected 'top left - bottom right' and 'top right - bottom left'. If used as a serial data connection the transmit and receive lines could be crossed (although the standard pinout adopted by Acorn did not allow for this).
There are seven common patterns, with any number of pins from three to eight. Three different five-pin connectors exist, known as 180°, 240°, and domino/360°/270° after the angle of the arc swept between the first and last pin (see figures above). There are also two variations of the six-pin, seven-pin (one where the outer pins form 300° or 360° and one where they form 270°), and eight-pin (one where the outer pins form 270° and one where they form 262°) connectors.
Of note, for eight-pin connectors, DIN45326 defines the 8-pin 270° connector.
DIN41524 defines the 8-pin 262° connector, which was used as the video connector for the Commodore C64 computer.
There is some limited compatibility; for example, a three-pin connector will fit any 180° five-pin socket, engaging three of the pins and leaving the other two unconnected; and a three-pin or 180° five-pin connector will also fit a 270° seven-pin or either eight-pin socket. In addition to these connectors, there are also connectors with 10, 12, and 14 pins. Some high-range equipment used seven-pin connectors where the outer two carried digital system data: if the connected equipment was incompatible, the outer two pins could be unscrewed from plugs so that they fitted into standard five-pin 180° sockets without data connections.
Screw-locking versions of this connector have also been used in instrumentation, process control, and professional audio. In North America, this variant is often called a "small Tuchel" connector after one of the major manufacturers, now a division of Amphenol. Additional configurations up to 24 pins are also offered in the same shell size. A version with a bayonet locking ring was used on portable tape recorders, dictation machines, and lighting dimmers and controls through from the 1960s to the 1980s, an example being the microphone input connector and some others on the "Report" family of Uher tape recorders. The bayonet locking version is sometimes referred to by the trade name Preh. Belling Lee offered a version with a sprung-loaded collar which latched on insertion but required the collar to be pulled back to release the connector, similar to the LEMO B series connector. This connector was commonly referred to as the "Bleecon", an example of its use being the Strand Tempus range of theatrical lighting dimmers and control desks. A version with a pushbutton latch similar to that on an XLR cable mounted socket was also available. Female connectors with screw-locking, Bleecon, or bayonet latching features are compatible with standard DIN plugs.
Some manufacturers offered panel-mounted jacks with potential-free auxiliary contacts that would open if a plug were inserted.
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Wikipedia contributors. (2020, December 9). DIN connector. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 18:41, April 23, 2021, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=DIN_connector&oldid=993156941