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I need an inexpensive connector to deliver positive, negative, and signal. I was considering using a standard 3.5mm audio style plug.

However, I am concerned that when plugging in the connector, it could possibly short tip to sleeve for example, just from looking at how the jacks are usually constructed.

Is this true? Is there a better connector style to use then, something "hot swappable"?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, short can happen. Like when stereo becomes mono. \$\endgroup\$
    – user76844
    Oct 2 '18 at 20:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, it will short contacts between tips. What current rating? there are lots of suitable solutions. How about RJ11 for signals with shield pairs? How many life insertion cycles? \$\endgroup\$ Oct 2 '18 at 20:52
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With the metal-bodied sockets there's a good chance of a momentary short when plugging or removing, especially between the ring (the middle connection) and the sleeve of the jack. There are plastic-bodied sockets where the sleeve connection is a sprung leaf, the same as the ring connection, so these have a much lower chance of shorting, but that depends on the diameter of the insulating ring between segments on the jack - often they're sub-flush, which could still allow a short.

Ideally if you've got both power and signal present on a single connector, you need separate pins. There are thousands of styles available, the DIN connectors have been around for decades, in a number of different sizes and pin configurations, and are fairly cheap.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you! This would be to carry power, signal, and ground for some hand wired neopixels for an art project. I know I need to minimize the length of course, but I basically just need a nice panel mount connector so I don't have wire pulling on the first DIN of my first neopixel. I do like the look of aviation connectors but they are a little on the pricey side. \$\endgroup\$
    – cat pants
    Oct 4 '18 at 1:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ XLR connectors are popular in mobile entertainment industry (mixer panels, PA systems etc.) and a fraction of the price of the MIL-DTL-5015 connectors. They have positive retention, and most are soldered connections. There are a lot of very cheap connectors used in automotive, but they often require specialized, and expensive tools to assemble. amphenolaudio.com/products/xlr \$\endgroup\$
    – Phil G
    Oct 4 '18 at 13:29

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