An electrical connector is an electromechanical device used to join electrical terminations and create an electrical circuit. Most electrical connectors have a gender – i.e. the male component, called a plug, connects to the female component, or socket. The connection may be removable (as for portable equipment), require a tool for assembly and removal, or serve as a permanent electrical joint between two points. An adapter can be used to join dissimilar connectors.
Thousands of configurations of connectors are manufactured for power, data, and audiovisual applications. Electrical connectors can be divided into four basic categories, differentiated by their function:
- inline or cable connectors permanently attached to a cable, allowing it to be plugged into another terminal (either a stationary instrument or another cable)
- chassis or panel connectors which are permanently attached to a piece of equipment, allowing users to connect a cable to a stationary device
- PCB mount connectors soldered to a printed circuit board, providing a point for to a cable or wire to be attached: (e.g. pin headers, screw terminals, board-to-board connectors)
- splice or butt connectors (primarily insulation displacement connectors) which permanently join two lengths of wire or cable
In computing, electrical connectors are considered a physical interface and constitute part of the physical layer in the OSI model of networking.
- Next >>