An electrical connector is a device used for joining two or more electrical circuits together. These connectors are commonly used to form temporary connections, although some may form permanent ones. Electrical connectors are an integral part of most modern day devices.
There are several different types of electric connectors such as plug and socket connectors, terminal blocks, component and device connectors and crimp-on terminal connectors. Plug and socket connectors have a male plug and female socket. Male connectors plug into receptacles, jacks, and outlets. Female connectors contain sockets to receive other devices. Gender changers convert female connectors to male connectors, and vice versa. Some examples are audio and video connectors, computer connectors and power connectors.
Terminal blocks provide a means of connecting individual electrical wires. They are also called terminal boards or strips. They are one of the most flexible types of electrical connectors available but they have some disadvantages. Firstly, it is difficult to connect wires than plugging a cable. Secondly, terminals are generally not very well protected from contact with people or foreign conducting materials.
Apart from individual screw terminals, fast-on or quick-disconnect terminals are also commonly used as component and device connectors. Crimp-on terminals are also called lugs. They are attached to wires to be connected with screw terminals. Crimp-on terminals are used for connecting two wires together permanently.
Computers also employ several types of electrical connectors. These connectors are used to fit ribbon cables, coaxial cables, batteries and power supplies.
Electrical connectors come in several different sizes. These vary, from the standard 16 contact connectors, to the 24 contact micro-miniature connectors. Water resistant electrical connectors are also available, suitable for areas with a high level of humidity. Prices of the connectors may vary, depending upon the function and durability. With technology developing at a rapid rate, newer and better electrical connectors are sure to bring about an evolution in the use of electric appliances.