Electrical connectors are devices that connect circuits together. Most connectors are removable or temporary, but some can be permanent. Connectors make electronic products easier to assemble and manufacture. They also simplify circuit maintenance and provide flexibility in design and modification. They are widely used in circuits in communications, computers, industrial machinery and consumer electronics.
Most connectors consist of two main parts: the housing and the terminals.
The shell is a shell or structure used to fix the terminals, stabilize the connection and protect the contacts from short circuits and/or various environmental hazards. The housing is usually made of some type of molded plastic, but it can also be made of any type of insulating material (such as ceramic).
The terminal pins in the connector provide conductivity to make the connection. They are almost always composed of some type of metal, but any conductive material (such as carbon or silicon) can be used.
There are a large number of individual electrical connector types that can be distinguished in multiple ways (ie, level, function, and termination).
Each connector type can be placed in one (or more) of the five categories, which are called levels in the industry. These are defined by various companies with the support of the National Electrical Distributors Association (NEDA).
• Wire-to-board or sub-assembly to sub-assembly level
• Box to box or input/output level
•IC chip or chip to package level
• IC package or package to board level
•PC board to board level
Audio connectors are used to fix cables to other audio equipment to provide electronic signal transmission and grounding protection. The application of the audio connector can be universal, telephone or microphone. Most audio connectors are used for commercial purposes, but some may meet military specifications.
Automotive electrical connectors are designed specifically for use in vehicles.
Onboard connectors or circuit board connectors are connectors that can be used as components embedded on a computer board.
A board mount connector or a circuit board connector is a connector that can be used as an embedded computer board component. The board can be customized to meet the user’s application.
The Centronics connector is a standard parallel interface device used to connect printers and other peripheral devices (such as portable disk drives, tape backup drives, and CD-ROM players) to the computer. Centronics connectors are named after the printer that used them for the first time and include two rows of flat contacts.
Circular connectors are multi-pin connectors mainly used for external interfaces. They can be used for data transmission, electrical signal transmission or for powering electrical equipment. In some cases, circular connectors have been designed to carry what can be called mixed-signal circular connectors, and can be described as power and control connectors. These types of multi-pin connectors are used for power and signal transmission.
The coaxial connector consists of an insulated center wire wrapped in another cylindrical conductor (shield). The cable is usually wrapped in another insulating layer and an outer protective layer. Coaxial cables and connectors have the ability to carry large amounts of information. They are commonly used in high-speed data and CATV applications.
Card edge connectors (also called edge card connectors) are embedded devices that can mate with the edges of single-sided or double-sided printed circuit boards (PCBs) to provide external electrical connections. Industry standards define power specifications, such as voltage levels, power pin placement, and power requirements. For example, the PICMG 1.0/1.2 standard defines the power supply specifications for Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI) and Industry Standard Architecture (ISA) buses.
IEEE 1394 connectors are used to connect FireWire® devices such as host controllers, adapters, hard drives, hubs, repeaters, and card readers. FireWire is a registered trademark of Apple Computer and is a communication protocol used to transmit data, video and audio at a very high bit rate through a single cable.
The panel interface connector (PIC) is a device installed outside the panel, and the panel accommodates PLC, computer or other equipment. PIC allows users to connect to a PLC or computer without opening the panel door, thereby avoiding potential safety hazards. Power sockets and communication ports can be placed in various combinations to produce various customizable products.
Wire-to-wire connectors are used to connect two wire-end connectors. They are used as electrical connectors, electronic connectors and computer connectors. The general specifications of wire-to-wire connectors include mating combination or gender, number of circuits or positions, and wire size. The male-to-wire connector is designed to plug into the bus-to-wire connector.