Airsoft enthusiasts are always looking for ways to enhance their gear and performance in the field.
If you’ve been reading about or watching any of the popular YouTube channels out there about airsoft, chances are you’ve heard them discuss whether an airsoft rifle has Deans connector or a Mini-Tamiya connector.
In this article, we will explore both types of connectors, discussing what they are, their design, and their relative advantages and disadvantages so that you can make a more informed decision as to which is right for your needs (or whether you need to break out the old soldering iron).
What are Mini-Tamiya Connectors?
Mini-Tamiya connectors are small, rectangular connectors that are used to make the connection between the battery and gearbox of an airsoft gun and are the most common type of connector found in airsoft guns today.
They consist of a plastic shell that houses two internal copper contacts, as well as a small plastic clip on the underside that locks the male and female connectors in place.
Mini-Tamiyas, while found on some LiPos, tend to be the dominant connector found on NiMH batteries.
What are Deans Connectors?
Dean’s connectors are a type of electrical connector that can be found in airsoft guns, usually on more upmarket models.
They consist of a small, plastic box or shell with two protruding, T-shaped copper contacts and are used to connect the battery and gearbox of an airsoft gun in a more secure and reliable way.
Generally speaking, Dean’s are still a little less commonly found in airsoft guns than the other major industry connector type, the Mini-Tamiya, although manu LiPo batteries come with them as standard.
Benefits of Deans Connectors Vs Mini-Tamiyas
One of the primary benefits of Deans connectors is the fact that they tend to have lower resistance than a Mini-Tamiya.
Generally speaking the two connectors have a larger surface area compared to the small pins found in Mini-Tamiyas, which can mean greater metal-to-metal connectivity that can lead to higher efficiency in terms of reduced energy loss and heat generation.
They’re also better able to handle higher currents, making them slightly better suited for high-performance airsoft guns and builds that require a lot of power or that might be prone to sudden surges.
This can translate to slightly higher performance output, particularly where rate of fire (ROF) and general responsiveness is concerned.
Further, the T-shape design of the Dean’s connector means that they tend to plug in and out a little more easily than Mini-Tamiyas.
They also tend to be a bit more reliable over time, as a Mini-Tamiya’s small pins can misalign over repeated use and time, which can result in a sudden loss of power and ultimately, a potential disaster on the field.
Finally, Deans tend to be a bit more commonly found on LiPos compared to Mini-Tamiyas, which means that those who have LiPo-ready airsoft guns tend to have somewhat greater choice.
Disadvantages of Deans Connectors Compared to Mini-Tamiyas
One potential disadvantage of Deans connectors is their size.
The T-shape design of the Deans connector is a bit chunkier than a Mini-Tamiya, meaning it can take up more room in more cramped battery spaces and can make things a bit more difficult for airsoft players using smaller or compact airsoft guns.
Another potential disadvantage to a Deans is that their easy-in-and-out connection can be a bit of a disadvantage as they rely on tension to stay in and may come loose a little more easily with excessively rough handling.
Mini-Tamiyas have a small clip on the underside of their shell that, while more annoying to use when disconnecting and removing a battery, does hold things together in place a little bit more securely.
Finally, as the contacts on Deans connectors are exposed, rather than protected by a plastic shell, they can be a bit more prone to wear and damage over time, which is something to look out for when doing basic maintenance on an AEG.
Should I Switch Out My Mini-Tamiya for A Deans?
At the end of the day, Deans connectors do offer significant advantages in terms of efficiency, easier day to day handling, greater variety when it comes to LiPos and can offer users a slight boost in performance due to their lower resistance.
That said, it is important to restate that most airsoft guns today are wired to Mini-Tamiya, so changing a gun over to Deans will require opening up the gun and doing some soldering, which can take time and skill to do properly.
If you are comfortable soldering, have the time and want to perform a quick and cheap upgrade to your airsoft gun, we say go for it as the benefits are certainly there..
If your mod and soldering skills aren’t up to snuff and you don’t really feel like cracking open your $300 AEG, then we wouldn’t worry too much as you can probably get along just fine with your Mini-Tamiyas.
One thing we do want to point out, however, is that users should be careful with Mini-Tamiya to Deans adaptors.
While these do exist and high end models can work quite well, cheap adaptors can be loose or otherwise offer poor conductivity, which can essentially eliminate any benefit a Deans connector might have in the first place.
Really poor adapters may even have crossed wires that can short out a gun.
Both Mini-Tamiya connectors and Dean’s connectors have their own unique advantages and disadvantages in the airsoft, which is why they both ultimately continue to be used.
Simple and compact, Mini-Tamiya’s are the dominant connector type found in airsoft today, but tend to have slightly higher resistance and can be more of a pain to disconnect.
Dean’s connectors offer greater reliability, ease of use and lower resistance, but aren’t as commonly found in airsoft guns and may require some soldering.
What is best for you will depend on your individual needs and preferences as an airsoft player, as well as your gun’s design (or your willingness to mod) and what battery preferences you might have.
Ted Clark– Hailing from Florida, Ted has been an avid airsoft enthusiast since he was in middle school. When he’s not checking out and reviewing airsoft guns, he enjoys picking off his enemies one by one on the field as a sniper.