Types of Connectors

Connector Types

A connector is an electro-mechanical device whose job is to connect or disconnect a circuit path. Connectors are made of different materials based on their functions. They come in different shapes, sizes, quality, and complexities. All the physical attributes of different connector types are mostly based on their functions. Due to which not all connectors are the same in terms of mating type, durability, ease of connection, etc. Since most of the connectors have to work in harsh conditions, their design should incorporate conditions such as high temperature, water, dirt, vibrations, etc.

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The image shows different types of connectors used to connect electrical circuits.

In today's world, there are a lot of different connector types that we can use in a lot of various applications. Some connectors are made for single use whereas some are made for permanent connections. Therefore, there are different types of connectors available in today's markets, and you need to understand them and use them in your day to day life.

Connectors Assembly

Manufactured connectors have two main parts, which are called housing and terminals. The terminals are the pins that protrude out and are used to transfer electric signals between two components. It is always made up of a material that can conduct electricity. The housing is the outside shell or coating over the terminal pins. Its main job is to hold the terminal pins in place, and also protect it from short-circuiting and from external conditions. It is made up of a material that does not conduct electricity, for example, moulded plastic. It can also be made from insulating materials such as ceramics. We will now look at different types of connectors.

Types of Connectors and Applications

Every connector has a male-end called plugs, and a female-end called jacks. There is a vast amount of individual electrical connector types that can be differentiated in several ways, and now we will see the classification of connectors based on its applications.

  • Keyed Connectors: These connectors can be joined together when they are adequately aligned together. This property helps avoid accidental damage to the terminal pins of the connectors.

  • ESD Shielded Connectors: The ESD connectors have protection from electrostatic discharge, which can damage the circuit of its components.

  • Locked Connectors: These connectors have an inbuilt locking mechanism which helps to keep the connection in place.

  • EMI Filtering: These connectors have an additional feature that is mounted on the housing. This feature helps the connector to shield itself from electromagnetic interference.

  • Water-Resistant Connectors: water can damage connectors very easily. Hence these connectors are made water-resistant.

  • Hermetically Sealed Connectors: these connectors can be used underwater. It will not get damaged by the water pressure.

  • Moisture/Oil Resistant Connectors: These connectors are specifically made to protect it from oil and moisture.

Classification of Connectors Based on Connector Level

  • Box to Box or Input/Output Connectors: The input/output (I/O) connectors are for attaching external devices, such as printers, keyboards, and displays, to the server.

  • Wire to Board Connectors: These types of connectors are used to connect wires to a printed circuit board to enable connectivity between circuits.

  • Chip to Package Connectors: A chip to package connector comprises a conductive member electrically coupled to the contacts and the remote device; wherein the contacts are arranged to be electrically and mechanically coupled to a circuit board.

  • Board to Board Connectors: This type of device is engineered to provide signal connections between two printed circuit boards (PCBs).

Classification of Connectors Based on Connector Function

  • Terminal Block: These connectors terminate a single wire and connect it to a circuit. We use terminal block connectors to connect wires from the same circuit without cutting the wires.

  • Binding Post: The binding post connectors are widely used in test fixtures for wire termination. You can find them in loudspeakers and audio amplifiers.

  • Plug and Socket: They are suitable for use in control circuits. They provide connections between control circuitry and components.

  • Rack and Panel: These connectors are specially designed to connect any device to an equipment rack. They are designed for military and commercial performance and are manufactured to the highest quality and durability standards.

Application of Connectors

As we have seen, there are a lot of connector types. Because there are so many different types of connectors, they tend to have unique roles. We will now see some unique applications of connectors.

  • You can find connectors on every computer and laptop.

  • We are all aware of Universal Serial Bus, also known as USB, which is also a standard connector.

  • Connectors are also used as a radio frequency connector. These connectors help prevent the change of the transmission line’s impedance.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What are Connector specifications?

Plug and socket: There are two different formats for connectors, the male, and the female. The male part is known as the plug while the female is known as the socket.

The number of pins: When choosing a connector, it is crucial to consider the number of pins that will be required you’re your application. The number of pins will determine the actual connector part and the series of the connector to be used.

Voltage rating: Connectors have maximum operating voltage levels beyond which it is not safe to use the connector. Almost all connectors can handle low voltages. When these voltages rise, they could become hazardous, causing the insulation to fail. Therefore, it is always worth ensuring that the connector’s maximum voltage is not exceeded.

Current rating: This is a significant factor of any connector. Some connectors have been designed to carry small currents while others have been designed for large currents.


2. What are GBIC and SFP connectors?

GBIC connectors stands for Gigabit Interface Connector. It is a transceiver which is used to convert electric current to optical signals and also to convert optical signals to electric current. SFP connectors stand for Small Form-Factor Pluggable. It is very similar to GBIC in terms of its functions. SPF is considered to be a better version of GBIC.