An electrical connector is a device that is used for fitting electrical circuits together. Connectors are made up of a plug and a jack. The plug is considered the male end and the jack is considered to be the female end. An electrical connector can be temporary, like for portable equipment or it can be permanent between two wires or devices. There are adapters that can be used to join to incompatible connectors. There are hundreds of different electrical connectors.
Electrical connectors are identified by their pin out and physical construction along with their size, contact resistance, ruggedness to vibration, resistance to entry of water insulation between pins, resistance to pressure, reliability and ease of connecting and disconnecting. Electrical connectors may be keyed to prevent plugging in the wrong orientation. This will also prevent connecting the wrong pins together. They may also have locking mechanisms to make certain that they are fully inserted and cannot come loose or fall out.
There are different types of electrical connectors. A terminal is a basic type of electrical connector that joins together two or more wires to a single connection point. Terminal blocks offer an easy way of joining individual electrical wires without a splice or having to physically join the ends. They are used to join wiring among a variety of pieces of equipment with an enclosure to make connections between individually enclosed items. Terminal blocks are are one of the most common types of electrical connectors because they allow for a wide variety of wire sizes and terminal qualities. They are one of the most flexible types of electrical connectors you can find.
Posts are another type of electrical connectors. This is a general type of connector that just screws or clamps bare wire to a post. Posts are frequently used in electrical test equipment and for audio equipment. Binding pots often accept a type of connector called a banana connector plug.
Plug and socket connectors are very popular. They are made up of a male plug with pins and a female receptacle with socket contacts. Plugs generally have one or more pins that get inserted into an opening with a mating socket. The connection between the metal parts must be sufficiently snug to make a tight electrical connection and complete the circuit.
A blade connector is a single wire connection that uses a flat conductive blade that is inserted into a blade receptacle. Typically, the blade connector and the blade receptacle have wires that are attached to them either through the wire of the blade or crimping of the blade wire. A Faston Terminal is a common type of blade connector.