We see them mostly in computers, powering up the optical and hard drives among other peripherals. If you don’t know what it is, we will explain it in detail after reviewing some of the Molex connectors to look for in the market. To give you a clue, it is that 2-pin or 4-pin connector that you connect to the power section of your device. If you look at the hard drive in your desktop PC, it will have a bus connector one end and a power connection on the other. We are referring to the cable that does not look like the bus.
They have many other applications currently which were limited back in the day after it’s making by the Molex Company in the 1950s. They carry much current which goes up to 11A per pin. If you have to connect something that requires more power, for example, a 3D printer, a conventional method would be to utilize the molex connectors in the computer to power up the voltage-hungry circuits.
Here we are going to review some of the connectors that will enable you to customize and power up whenever you need that extra molex power connector. After that, there will be a small guide to explain some of the things you will encounter in the course of reading our review.
Molex Connectors’ Comparison Table
Number of Pins: Four pins
Wires used: 18 AWG/12 inches
Dimensions: 4.9 x 3.5 x 0.4 inches
Number of Pins: Two pins
Wires used: DIY Variable length
Dimensions: 4 x 4 x 1 inches
Number of Pins: Four pins per housing
Wires used: DIY Variable length
Dimensions: 5.6 x 5.3 x 1.3 inches
Molex Connectors’ Product Reviews
We start with a cable that is extremely useful when converting from IDE to SATA connections. It is a 12-inch SATA and Male-to-Female Molex LP4 Power Cable Adapter which contains a 4 pin molex connector on one end and a SATA connection on the other. That means you can use it to connect the drives and devices with the same number of pin connections. If you need to power from your desktop power supply, you can connect the SATA on one end and the molex to your computer’s power supply.
To give you reliable connectivity, the materials used in designing are meant to optimize your performance with a little trick. If you look at the black wires closely, they have crisscrossed in the sense that their arrangement on the SATA side is different on the Molex end. The reason behind this is to make both connectors adaptable to each other. Actually, it is due to the crisscrossing that the different connectors can work together. The wires are made with 18 AWG specification, and they can be found on the manufacturer’s site.
One thing that you need to note is the presence of counterfeit products. For you to get the original SATA to Molex connector, please check the StarTech Branding on the package to ensure that you get the right product from the company.
Now, if the 12-inch Molex to SATA connector above is not enough, then you can go for a three-pack of Cable Matters 4-pin Molex to SATA Power cables. These are shorter by half the length of the wire used in the above product but coming as a pack of three, you have more accessories for your internal computer management. They are flexible to connect the latest SATA optical drives, SSDs and HDDs to a power supply using the legacy Molex connection end.
You should, however, note that they are all female molex power connectors that will utilize male ones on the other end. On the other hand, buying this pack means you have the extras you need to keep upgrading your computer every time a new connection comes in. That is why many customers and IT repair technicians can rely on such an option to make their work easier.
Do you have those old power supplies that you can still use at this age? As long as they have a 4-pin interface, you will be good to go. Another thing to note is that they connect to 5V SATA drives and 12V ATX power supplies. If, for example, you are going to join it on a GPU or hard drive for mining purposes, then make sure that the power needed is not more than 54 watts. Otherwise, you will have some blowing cases that customers report after using these cables on connections requiring more power than the wires can handle.
The package instructions include a list of compatible devices so, make sure you look at that after gauging what you are going to connect.
Now, do you want molex connectors for that DIY project that you have been waiting to power up? Here is a 2-pin molex connector kit whose dimensions can only permit hooking up on the automotive as opposed to computer devices.
The pins are 0.093 inches in diameter, and the kit includes the male and female ends. The plastics are out of hardened nylon. With this, you have what you need to connect the wires you have. This ones, on the other hand, will go with 18-22 gauge wires so, make sure you check on that before connection.
For the automotive projects that you are having, one of the common questions would be mounting on a surface such as a project box. The female sides can go to the board as long as the hole made will fit in. To make them sturdy, there are wings on each side of the connectors allow you to mount on a panel. If you are using a different surface, then soldering will be the next best option.
A tricky part will come when crimping the connectors. If you don’t want to solder the wires too for a tight and sure connection after crimping with pliers, you can search for an appropriate crimping tool such as the ratchet crimping tool among others.
If you require molex connectors with more pins other than the 2-pin above, we present to you a 4-pin molex connector to deliver more power where you need more pin connections.
This kit measures just like the previous one, at 0.093 inches and you get two sets of connectors for your panel or the project that you are currently working on. The plastics are hardened nylon, and each set is complete with the male and female ends. While using the 18-22 gauge wires, the maximum voltage that each of the connectors can allow is 250V. As for the current, nothing should exceed 11A, but some customers have attested to exceeding up to 14A. If you are using lesser wires such as the 16 gauge category, 5amps are enough for the cables without causing any problems.
Now, there is some confusion on whether you can use these molex power connectors on your PC. Well, the answer is no due to a couple of reasons. If you look at what the peripherals use in the computer, they utilize a particular type of molex connection known as AMP/TE Mate-N-Lock connectors and other specialized kinds of connectors coined from Molex. These have male connectors in the female housing and vice versa. For the computer case, it is the other way round which means male pins in male house and female in the female.
With that, you can only use them for automotive projects.
The DIY project now goes beyond the automotive kits you are constructing. Here is a molex connector kit that allows you to make your male connections for the PC.
The kit includes four male molex connector housings, black in color with spaces for the pins insertion. There are 16 metal crimp pins to insert. Connecting them needs some ingenuity which calls for better crimping after a secure connection of the pins. Some of us do not trust crimping and will instead go for the soldering method. It is still okay as long as they serve.
You need 14-16 wire gauge specification to work with these connectors effectively. Overall, if you need to do it yourself and have a male end customized for your desktop connections, this is the way to go.
Last but not least is the Phobya $-pin molex connector kit that has 4-pin housings for PSU and other devices in your computer needing such a connection.
The kit offers you a chance to manipulate and replace worn out computer parts that need better connections. There are enough pins for each black, plastic casing and you have an allowance to cut wires to the desired length. If you need connections with longer cables, it is possible to do so as long as you use the required gauge. On the other hand, shorter wires may also be desired if you need to create more space in the enclosed desktop compartment for easier air movements.
They are female connectors that can be soldered on the cables for male connections on the panel, and the whole kit contains ten connectors. That can be more than enough for every other DIY repair that you may have. All you need is proper crimping and soldering of wires before connecting the devices to be powered.
This is an ideal molex connector kit for the drives, pumps, fans and other peripherals requiring the same connection.
Molex Connector Guide
After going through the molex connector products above, it is now time to know what they really are and how you can assemble one if you are going for the DIY kit.
Molex is the company’s name for these connectors and other related to the notion. This connector is mostly seen in the computers where it works as the main power supply to drives and other devices. For this reason, professionals refer to it as the molex power connector.
Devices Requiring Molex Connection
In your computer, as stated above, your hard drive, optical/disk drive and video card will make use of these connections. They also become useful if you need to power more of these devices other than the present ones.
In other cases, some automotive projects will require these connections for them to power and work according to the requirements. On the other hand, those with such plans may also consider the JST connectors which are majorly confused with molex connectors. As for the JST, they have a narrower dimension between the pin connections which are 0.25mm thinner than the molex.
Molex Connector Explained
If you look closely at the connector, there are four connections mostly, but the number of pins can vary. We are going to tell about the common 4-pin molex connectors.
Four cables go into the connector: yellow, two blacks, and red. The yellow wire is responsible for the +12V signal. All black cables are meant to ground while the red one carries a +5V signal.
The terminology used in molex connections is somewhat odd. When explaining the male and female connections, the female is on the cable end, and they are meant to slip into the male connectors that have a plastic shell surrounding the male pins. The connection is a tight one, and they are not suitable where you have to switch devices from time to time. The connectors can only be disconnected a few times when needed.
Assembling a Molex Connector
Here is how you go about it.
Place the connector assembly at your disposal with wires next to the plug and socket. The sockets are made to be larger, and the plugs will go directly in.
Arrange the male terminal pin in such a way that every wire will go into the plug and put the female terminal on the other end of the cables.
Make sure you know where the wires are meant to go before you go ahead to connect.
Use a wire stripper to remove the insulation at the end of the cables before attaching the molex connectors. You need to get at least 5/8 inches in length of the bare wire.
Twist the wire strands to form one connection using your fingers.
Lay the wires after stripping into where they are supposed to go. Make sure they stand on the sleeve and not inside the tube. The insulating coat should be past the crimping area by a distance of about 1/16 inches.
After meeting the above conditions, it is time for the crimping tool. Use it to crimp the wires on the connector pins area. It is an excellent practice to pinch the crimp zone around the insulator with an appropriate tool if you don’t want to solder. If your toll has an edged surface in the V-section which is meant to crimp, then that will enable you to do the inching in accordance to the wire’s shape.
Lastly, push the terminal pins into the housings, both socket, and plug. After proper insertion, the locking plastics and pins will produce a snap sound. Once you are done, it is now time to test and use the cable as desired.
Considerations to Make Before Buying a Molex Connector
Before we conclude on molex connectors, here are a few things you need to look at before making your final purchase: