An M12 connector is a type of circular electrical connector widely used in industrial and automotive applications.The M12 connector has several different types of encoding.">

M12 connector - Everything you need to know !

Circular electrical connector used in industry and automotive.
Circular electrical connector used in industry and automotive.

M12 connector

An M12 connector is a type of circular electrical connector widely used in industrial and automotive applications.

It gets its name from its 12mm outer diameter. This type of connector is designed to provide a robust and reliable connection, especially in harsh environments, such as industrial applications where vibration, moisture, and contaminants may be present.

It is a waterproof circular connector, the threaded coupling clamps the rubber O-ring into the connector, the O-ring waterproofs the electrical connection

M12 connectors are typically used to convey electrical signals or data signals between different equipment or devices, such as sensors, actuators, controllers, I/O (input/output) modules, cameras, programmable logic controllers (PLCs), automation devices, control equipment, etc.

Typical features of M12 connectors include :

- Diversity of contact types : M12 connectors can have different types of contacts depending on the needs of the application, such as contacts for electrical signals, contacts for Ethernet data signals (RJ45
RJ45 - Registered Jack 45 - is also called an Ethernet cable. This cable can be straight or crossed depending on its use, its connections follow precise color codes. It is the most common cable for network connections for example to the Internet.
This type of cable has 8 pins of electrical connections. Its connector is called 8P8C connector (8 positions and 8 electrical contacts).
), coaxial contacts for RF signals, etc.

- Protection against harsh environments : M12 connectors often come with waterproof properties to resist water, dust, and contaminants, making them suitable for industrial and outdoor environments.

- Mechanical Robustness : M12 connectors are designed to withstand vibration, shock, and mechanical stress, making them a suitable choice for applications requiring a reliable connection in harsh conditions.

- Ease of installation : M12 connectors often feature a screw or bayonet locking mechanism to ensure a secure connection and prevent accidental disconnections. They can be easily installed and maintained in the field.

M12 Concepts

To get to know the M12 connector better, it is important to understand certain concepts : the M12 encoding, the M12 connector pinout, the M12 connector color code, the coding table, the M12 wiring diagram :

- M12 connector coding : this means the types of coding of the M12 connector, including A-code, B-code, C-code, D code, X-code, Y code, S code, T code, L-code, K code, M code.

- M12 coding table : it's a table that shows the types of encoding, the pinout of the M12 connectors.

- M12 connector pinout : it indicates the position of the contact pin, the shape of the insulation, the pin arrangement of the M12 connector, different codings. M12 connectors have different pinout, and for the same encoding, the same amount of contact, the male and female connector pinout is different.

- M12 connector color code : It shows the colors of the wires connected to the connector's contact pins, so users can know the pin number by the color of the wire.

- M12 wiring diagram : It is mainly used for M12 connectors on both ends, M12 splitters, shows the internal wiring of the contact pins of the different ends.


Here is the M12 coding table, it concerns the pinout of the M12 male connector, the pinout of the M12 female connector is reversed, because the male and female connectors must mate :

The number in the column represents the amount of contact and the letters represent the type of coding, for example, A represents the code M12 A, B represents the code M12 B,
According to the coding table that we can see, M12 A code has 2 pins, 3 pins, 4 pins, 5 pins, 6 pins, 8 pins, 12 pins, 17 pins,
but the M12 D code has only 4-pin type pin layouts.

Here are the main types of M12 encoding :

- Code A M12 : Available for 2-pin, 3-pin, 4-pin, 5-pin, 6-pin, 8-pin, 12-pin, 17-pin, are mainly used for sensors, actuators, small power, and data transmission.

- Code B M12 : 5-pin, can be used for fieldbuses such as Profibus and Interbus.

- Code C M12 : 3 pins, 4 pins, 5 pins, 6 pins, can be used for the sensor and AC power supply provider.

- Code D M12 : 4-pin, widely used for 100M data transmission, such as Industrial Ethernet, Machine Vision.

- Code X M12 : 8 pins, widely used for 10G bps data transmission, such as industrial ethernet, machine vision.

- Code Y M12 : 6-pin, 8-pin, hybrid connector, includes power and data connection in a single connector, suitable for compact applications.

- Code S M12 : 2 pins, 2+PE, 3+PE, rated voltage 630V, current 12A, designed for AC power connection such as motors, frequency converters, motorized switches.

- T-code M12 : 2 pins, 2+PE, 3+PE, rated voltage 60V, current 12A, designed for DC power supply connection, as fieldbus power supply supplier, DC motors.

- Code K M12 : 2 pins, 2+PE, 3+PE, 4+PE, rated voltage 800V, current 16A, up to 10KW, can be used for a high power AC power supply supplier.

- Code L M12 : 2 pins, 2+PE, 3 pins, 3+PE, 4 pins, 4+PE, rated voltage 63V, 16A, DC power connector such as PROFINET power supply supplier.

- Code M M12 : 2 pins, 2+PE, 3+PE, 4+PE, 5+PE, rated voltage 630V, 8A, designed for three-phase electrical connection.

Note : "PE" often refers to "protective ground," which is a safety grounding connection used to protect users and equipment from electric shock in the event of a fault. The PE connection is usually connected to a ground pin on a plug or power connector.
So, technically speaking, a ground pin can be considered a PE connection, but it's important to note that not all ground connections are necessarily PE connections.

Types of connectors

M12 connectors are available for the following types :

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