Connectors are electro-mechanical devices that join together electrical circuits as an interface using a mechanical assembly. Some of these connections are permanent, but most are temporary so that the equipment is portable and can easily be assembled and removed. Some join together two lengths of wire of cable, while others connect to an electrical terminal. There are hundreds of different connectors available and as technology progresses, connectors evolve in their size, shape, abilities, and accessories.
Some features that differentiate the numerous types of connectors include ruggedness, size, shape, resistance to environmental concerns (such as vibration, temperature, water, dust, and other contaminants), ease of connection, mating type, physical construction, insulation between pins, and durability. Whatever your concern is, you can find a connector that will work around it. If you’re worried about the connector staying in place, there are connectors fit with locking mechanisms. If you won’t be able to see the connector during mating, try a blind mate connector. If you’re planning a trip to the moon, try a space connector with low magnetism and non-gassing properties. Of the hundreds of connectors available, you’re sure to find the perfect match.
To alleviate any customer confusion, manufacturers try to make connectors easy to identify visually, sometimes with a specific color, shape, or design. They’ve also addressed the question of how to distinguish between the two parts of a connector by comparing the connectors’ anatomy to human anatomy. Thus, a male connector (sometimes called a plug) has protruding pins while a female connector (sometimes called a jack) contains holes or sockets. Though it occurs infrequently, a connector may have both pin and socket connections.
And to address the issue of incorrect mating, many connectors are “keyed,” which means they contain a mechanical component that prevents the attachment of an incorrectly oriented connector. Keying also prevents connector damage that might occur when a frustrated user starts to jam the equipment together, anxious for a connection even though the component is set at the wrong angle or incorrectly positioned. Some methods of keying include placing the sockets/plugs unevenly on the connector and giving the connector asymmetrical notches. Unevenness and asymmetry are key because they prevent the different components of the connector from being confused with one another, making the correct orientation apparent to consumers.
Each type of connector serves a unique purpose. A terminal connects two or more wires to a single connection point. A terminal block connects individual wires without splicing them together. A post screws bare wire to a post. A plug and socket connector links a male plug and a female receptacle. Then there are component and device connectors and blade connectors and ring and spade terminals . . . Suffice it to say that all connectors complete the same basic task—making a connection—but they each do it in their own way.
Positronic produces a wide variety of connector families including power connector, D-subminiature connectors, circular connectors, rectangular connectors, fiber optic connectors, hermetic connectors, and thermocouple connectors. With their experience, assembly support, and limitless options and accessories, you can trust that you’re in the right hands for all your connector needs.
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