View A Video on Electronic-Connectors - A Quick Introduction
An electronic connector is a type of conductive device that is used in order to join two or more electrical circuits together. These electrical circuits can refer to either two lengths of flexible cable, or it can refer to a cable and an electrical terminal.
There are three main states of electronic connectors: temporary, assembly required and permanent. Temporary electronic connectors are best-suited for applications such as portable equipment, whereas electronic connectors that require assembly (as well as removal later) are better-suited for applications with more longevity. Lastly, permanent electronic connectors are used only for applications that are definitively going to be long-term. In addition to the different states of electronic connectors, there are also many different types of electrical connector types, each of which are better-suited for specific applications due to variations in material, size and other physical characteristics. Some applications and industries that electronic connectors are widely used within include: electronics, in which various types such as DIN connectors are often used for loudspeakers and analog radio equipment, and PCB connectors for printed circuit boards; industrial, in which power connectors are often used for electrical power control applications; and military, in which certain types, such as military connectors, are specifically manufactured to military specifications (MIL-SPEC).
Electronic connectors can be used to transfer alternating current (AC) power or direct current (DC) power. Alternating current power is when the electric charge periodically reverses direction, whereas direct current power is when the electric charge maintains a constant movement of electrical charge in one direction. While the electronic connector in no way transmits the electric charge itself, it does allow the electric charge to pass between the two points with minimum distortion or loss of the charge. The most fundamental aspect of an electronic connector is its contact system. The contact system of an electronic connector is very essential because its dimension configuration establishes the contact forces, density requirements and mechanical features of the electronic connector. Some advantageous characteristics that electronic connectors may feature include high insulation value, low contact resistance, highly durable and feature a rugged construction. In addition to being able to transfer two different types of electrical power, electronic connectors are also categorized by two different basic configurations: male and female. A male-configured electronic connector can be used to connect, also referred to as plug into, electrical circuits such as receptacles, outlets and jacks. Female-configured electronic connectors, conversely, do not plug into electrical circuits, but act as sockets that receive electrical circuits.
There are many different types of electronic connectors, although some are more commonly used in industrial-type applications than others. Some of the more common types of electronic connectors include pin connectors, cable connectors and wire connectors, fiber optic connectors and amp connectors. Pin connectors, on the other hand, refer to male-configured electronic connectors that have pins that allow them to plug into female electrical circuits or connectors. Pin connectors can have one or multiple pins for connecting. Cable connectors and wire connectors are also extremely broad categories of electronic connectors, and refer to the material used to make the electronic connector. A cable is a strong, heavy rope with a large diameter made from steel or fiber materials (which may be covered with an electrically-insulating material), whereas a wire is a pliable metallic strand, also called a rod, that can be made in varied lengths and diameters that can, if appropriate, be electrically insulated. Also referring to the material the connector is constructed from, fiber optic connectors are manufactured from very fine, flexible glass or plastic fibers. Conversely, amp connectors refer to the electrical current flow being transmitted rather than the material the connector is manufactured from. An amp is a unit of measurement that is defined as the basic unit of electrical current.
There are other types of electronic connectors that are widely-used, though are less common than those previously listed due to their more specific intentions. These types include DIN connectors, coaxial connectors, PCB connectors and RF connectors. A DIN connector is an electronic connector that meets the standards established by the Deutsches Institut für Normung (DIN), which is the German national standards organization. A DIN connector must specifically state the relevant DIN standard that it adheres to. At times referred to as coax connectors, coaxial connectors are a broad category in which many different sub-types of electronic connectors fall within. The term coaxial refers to having or being mounted on a common axis, and coaxial cables are able to maintain this form across the electrical connection. PCB connectors specifically refer to electronic connectors used with printed circuit boards, which are insulated boards on which interconnected circuits and components (for example, microchips) are either mounted or etched. Lastly, a RF connector is a type of electronic connector used to work with radio frequencies within the multi-megahertz range. RF connectors are typically a type of coaxial connector.
Electronic Connectors Types
vary by gender, geometry and configuration and are used to transfer
alternating current (AC) through electronic devices. AC power connectors,
which range from simple AC inlets and outlets to sophisticated power
entry modules, are used in a wide variety of industries within the commercial,
industrial and residential sectors.
range in amperage, which determines their application. Amp connectors
can be applied to either AC or DC applications and are used as PV array,
small power and battery, solar panel array and subarray connections,
- make connections between cable cords and electronic components.
are used on personal computers to establish connections for parts, such
as processors, motherboards and graphics ports. Card edge connectors
have higher maximum heat capabilities than many other connectors, due
to the heated internal environment of a PC.
(short for coaxial) connectors are single-conductor cables that have braided shields.
Coax connectors were used primarily in the 1980s for data transmission
purposes but can still be found in many video applications today.
- Deutsche Industrie Normen (DIN) connectors are round multi-pin connectors. DIN and
mini-DIN plugs, such as S-video connections, are considered audio connectors.
- Electrical connectors transmit electricity between a power source and devices that rely on electric power to run.
- Fiber optic connectors are electronic connectors, in which the material used to construct the connectors is a type of optical fiber.
- Military connectors are a type of electronic connector that has been manufactured according
to military specifications, commonly abbreviated as MIL-SPEC.
are connectors in which identical or similar sections can be assembled
to provide the ideal connector size or type for the application.
- PCB (printed circuit board) connectors refer to a type of electronic connector that is used to transmit
electrical signals between either two printed circuit boards or a
printed circuit board and another type of electric circuit.
are 1/4 inch in diameter and were originally used for telephone
connections. Mono phone jacks are used for a number of microphones,
while stereo phone jacks are often used for connecting headphones to
- Pin connectors are a type of electronic connector that utilizes pins, which are short,
straight, stiff pieces of wire that are designed with a blunt head and
a sharp point, in order to connect two or more electrical circuits.
- Power connectors transmit power between sources and devices that rely on power to function.
- Radio frequency (RF) connectors are a connection type that is designed to function
at radio frequencies. Variations of RF connectors include BNC, TNC,
N, SMA, SMB, SMC and F connectors.
are by far the most commonly used audio connections. RCA connectors
are used for coaxial and composite-video cables.
provide secure, corrosion-free contact without the risk of fraying wires.
Speaker connectors include banana plugs, binding posts, screw terminals,
spades and spring clips.
are a type of computer connection with a maximum data transfer rate
of about 12 megabits per second. USB 2 is an upgrade to the original
USB connector, offering a higher data transfer rate among other benefits.
- Wire connectors are used to connect one or more conductive wires to various electrical circuits.
Electronic Connectors Terms
- A style of contact that has a split pin which provides gastight
retention when used in conjunction with a printed circuit board.
at a connector resulting from the skewing of fiber end face angles.
- A type of configuration
in which the connector is attached to the interior of a box or panel,
along with its flanges for mounting.
- The largest or main section
of a connector to which all other parts are attached.
- A connector that
is inserted into a panel cutout from the component side of the panel.
- A fastening
device located in the center of a pair of mating connectors. On one connector
there is a threaded screw that attaches to the threaded bushing on its
- A device that
terminates an electrical or optical cable.
- The stationary
half of a connection that mates with a plug. Connector receptacles are
mounted on a panel or bulkhead.
- An electrically conductive
piece used in multi-circuit connectors.
- The number
of withdrawal and insertion cycles a connector must be able to withstand,
while remaining within performance levels of certain specifications.
- A device that is
attached to connectors to provide protection from foreign debris and dust.
- A tool that
is used to remove a contact from a connector.
- A projection that extends
from a connector and contains holes for mounting a connector to a panel
or mating connector.
- A device that provides
alignment when connecting mating connectors. Guide pins also prevent contact
damage due to the mismating of connectors.
- The capability
of a connector to stay assembled to a wire or cable under tension.
- The surfaces of
a multi-contact connector that face each other while the connector is
- A connecting mechanism
into which a plug is inserted to make circuit connections.
- A short fiber optic
cable that has connectors on either end.
- The amount of signal
power lost due to defects in connectors, splices or fibers. Loss is expressed
in decibels (dB).
- A method used
to attach a connector to a panel, board or frame.
- A term that refers to an optical
connector whose fiber ends physically touch, which minimizes backreflection
and insertion loss.
- A plug that is
used to seal unoccupied contact cavities. Sealing plugs are especially
critical in environmental connectors.
- The voltage
that a connector is able to withstand for a minute without showing signs
of electrical breakdown.