M8 vs. M12 Connectors: How to select and implement - Readytogocables

M8 vs. M12 Connectors: How to select and implement

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More than thirty years ago, the majority of industrial control systems (ICS) were hardwired. Usually, sensors and actuators came with long wires already connected or individual wires that weren’t even jacketed together. Those cables would be wired through conduits and then wired into the system. This was a time-consuming method that needed an electrician’s services, which cost organizations significant time and money.

It was during the Hannover Fair of 1985 that changed all that. M12 connectors were launched, and they stole the spotlight. Including the use of the smaller M12 metric thread, they were originally released in 3-and 4-pin versions, with an IP67 rating. The M8 was introduced into the market four years later, and soon both formats were standardized, making them the standard for ICS.

A system connected with M8 and M12 connectors makes testing, servicing, and assembling industrial control systems secure, faster, and cheaper. These benefits are enhanced when a cord set is applied instead of installing separate connectors and cables.

M8 vs. M12 Connectors: How to select and implement - Readytogocables


Save Time and Money During Maintenance and Installation 

While the Initial investment of cord sets and connectors is more significant than cables and wires, the cost savings originate from a decline in labor and maintenance costs. An extensive system that might take more than seven days to hardwire could be wired with connectors in as little as two or three days.

The savings coming from decreased installation time is important. Eradicating the need for an electrician further absolves the higher price point for M8 and M12 connectors.

There is another benefit that you may not have thought of. Machine testing and start-up are also faster. Most of the time spent during the start-up is the consequence of miswired. Prewired and tested cord sets represent a significant reduction of the majority of wiring mistakes.

Further cost reductions come from reduced downtime, as cord sets can quickly be replaced, without the need for a professional electrician. Connectorized sensors and actuators can also be substituted without rewiring the system.

How to choose the right cord set?

Start with the Environmental Needs

The potential combinations of wires and connectors are a remarkably high number. Like most engineering choices, there’s an equilibrium between cost and performance. You need to select the lowest cost option that fits the requirements of the application. 

Determine the Connector Configurations

Since the launch of the 3- and 4-pin variants of the M12 connector, many more versions and options have become accessible. While 4-pin M12 connectors are the most popular, be sure to analyze your application and choose from:

  • straight or right-angle configurations
  •  3-, 4-, 5-, 8- and 12-pin versions

For M8 connectors, your options are:

  • Straight or right angle configurations
  • Snap or screw connection 
  • 3-, 4- and 8-pin versions.

Select the Keying Options

The M12 connector is also accessible in a diversity of keying/coding possibilities to further minimize wiring mistakes as follows:

A-code – Essentially used with sensors and actuators

B-code – PROFIBUS fieldbus connections

C-code – Mainly used with AC sensors and actuators

D-code – 100Mb EtherNet/IP 4-pin

X-code – Gigabit Ethernet 8-pin

The following M8 connector configurations feature a keying/coding*:

B-code – PROFIBUS fieldbus connections

8-pin version

If you would like to receive a quote for any of custom cables or connectors, please do not hesitate to contact us by sending an email to [email protected] or calling in the USA this phone number (682-325-1944)

Jessica Cardona


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