What Are the Common Types of Electrical Connectors?

Electrical connectors are a basic building block of countless electrical devices and systems, commonly serving to connect electrical circuits together. Coming in permanent and temporary solutions, such components allow for an ease of product manufacturing and assembly, as well as promote design and modification flexibility. Depending on whether the application is a communications circuit, computer, consumer electronic, or other electrical device, there are numerous connector types that may be used. In this blog, we will provide a brief overview of some of the most common connector types and their uses.

Audio and Video Connectors

Audio connectors are commonly used alongside audio equipment, facilitating the connection of cables to ensure signal transference. Generally, audio connectors can range in application from general purpose equipment to telephones, microphones, and more. Video connectors are similar, albeit serving as a medium for video signal transfer.

Circular Connectors

Circular connectors are typically multi-pinned and circular, and such types may serve a diverse set of uses such as for the transmission of data, electrical signals, and power. In some instances, specific circular connectors can even be used for mixed signals, acting as a power and control connector at the same time.

Coaxial Connectors

Coaxial cables are specialized types that are specifically designed for the shielding of cables, featuring an insulated central conducting wire that is encapsulated by a cylindrical conductor. With the addition of another insulating layer and an outer protective layer, coaxial cables can facilitate the transmission of data with high amounts of protection.

DIN Connectors

DIN connectors are a type of electrical connector that meets the standards established by Deutsches Institut für Normung (DIN) which is a German national organization focused on standardization. DIN connectors come in the form of multi-pin components that are high frequency, and their ends are typically guarded with a metal skirt to ensure alignment.

IC Interconnect Connectors

When attempting to connect interfaces or chips to printed circuit boards (PCB), IC interconnect connectors are important as they bridge the gap between conductors for signal transfer. Such components are often composed of plastics, ceramics, and metal enclosures which house the IC on a die.

Military Connectors

While coming in various types, military or MIL-SPEC connectors are those that have been manufactured in accordance with military specifications. Generally, such connectors are specifically designed to withstand harsh environmental conditions so that they may excel in demanding aerospace and defense applications.

RF and Microwave Connectors

Radio frequency and microwave connectors are designed to carry signals that are within the radio or microwave spectrum, often being used for a number of broadcasting and communication applications alike.

Terminal Blocks

Terminal blocks are useful for securing multiple wires together, allowing for the securing and termination of components. Terminal blocks are most beneficial when grounding wires or for connecting electrical switches and outlets to equipment pieces.

Conclusion

Beyond the aforementioned types, numerous other connector variations are commonly used across electronic applications, including those such as the fiber channel connector, wire terminals, USB connectors, wire to wire connectors, and much more. When establishing a connection, it is crucial that the correct termination style is used to prevent damage to the wires and equipment. Generally, common termination methods include crimping, soldering, and insulation displacement.

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