How fast can you plug in your power supply?

In a previous blog I commented on First Mate Last Break (FMLB) power and signal pins, also known as hot-plugging. A connector design in which power contacts engage before signal contacts when two connector halves are mated, FMLB prevents damage to electrical circuitry in the system by having the ground pin mate first, followed by the power pin, and finally by the signal pins.

Often used for grounding power and for signal sequencing, FMLB blades and pins rely on the different lengths to regulate when current, whether it be for power or lower voltage signals, begins flowing through a power supply.

What fascinates me about FMLB or LMFB (Last Mate First Break) is the fact that it is not uncommon for the pins to be as little as 2 millimeters in length difference! Mull that over. Since a power supply is often engaged using the same motion as you would use in closing a kitchen drawer it seems as though you can gently close the drawer or you can slam it shut. Literally we are talking about milliseconds of time in delay between the first mate blade and the remainder of the blades—a difference barely perceptible to the naked eye, much less the user. But then I listen to my high speed connector brethren and realize that this is actually quite slow.

I still marvel at how we can make milliseconds count for us! And, I wonder how might perceptions of speed change in the coming decade?