Connectors 101

Connectors 101

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There are 184 names in this directory beginning with the letter C.
Cable
Two or more insulated conductors, solid or stranded, contained in a common covering, or two or more insulated connectors twisted or molded together without a common covering, such as a shield and/or jacket.

Cable Adapter
A part of a connector or an accessory consisting of a rigid housing for attachment of the connector body. It may incorporate provisions for a cable clamp or seal for terminating cable shields and provide shielding to electrical interference. It may be straight or angled.

Cable Clamp
A connector accessory or portion of a component that is designed to grip the wire or cable to provide strain relief and absorb mechanical stress that would otherwise be transmitted to the termination.

Cable Clamp Adapter
A mechanical adapter that attaches to the rear of a plug or receptacle to allow the attachment of a cable clamp.

Cable Seal
A device designed to seal a jacketed cable to a component.

Cable Sealing Clamp
A device consisting of a gland nut and sealing member designed to seal around a single jacketed cable, providing an environmental seal.

Cable Shielding Clamp
A connector accessory device consisting of a sealing member and cable support designed to terminate the shield of the electrical cable at the connector.

Cable Support Sleeve
A flexible accessory or a part of a component placed around the cable to minimize flexing of the cable at the point of entry into the component.

Cantilevered Contact
A spring contact in which the contact force is provided by one or more cantilevered springs.

Capacitance
That property of a system of conductors and dielectrics, that permits the storage of electricity when potential differences exist between the conductors. Its value is expressed as the ratio of the electrostatic charge on a conductor to the potential difference between the conductors required to maintain that charge.

Capacitive Coupling
The electrical interaction between two conductors caused by the capacitance between them.

Capacitive Reactance
The imaginary part of impedance due to capacitance. NEEDS FORMULA

Captive Device
A multi-part fastener, usually screw-type, whose components are retained without separation when loosened from its base assembly.

Captive Device-Fasteners
A fastener, usually screw-type, whose components are retained without separation when loosened from its base assembly.

Captive Hardware
Hardware, that is held in place by some mechanical means.

Card Edge Connector
A connector designed to have a printed wiring board inserted into the connector, to make contact with the printed wiring on the board.

Cavity
The lengthwise opening in a printed circuit edge connector that receives the printed circuit board. (also see CONTACT CAVITY)

Center-to-Center Spacing
The nominal distance between the centers of adjacent features on any single layer of a printed board.

Certification
Verification that specified training or testing has been performed, and required proficiencies or parameter values have been attained.

Chamfer
The angle on the inside edge of barrel entrance of a connector that permits easier insertion of the cable into the barrel.

Characteristic Impedance
The ratio of voltage to current in a propagating wave, i.e., the impedance that is offered to this wave at any point of the line. (In printed boards its value depends on the width of the conductor, the distance from the conductor to ground planes, and the dielectric constant of the media between them.)

Circuit
The interconnection of a number of electrical elements and/or devices performing a desired electrical function.

Circuit Layer
A layer of a printed board containing conductors, including ground and voltage planes.

Circular Connector
A connector, that is basically circular and has a mating face with a basically circular periphery.

Circumferential Crimp
A type of crimp where the crimping dies completely surround a barrel resulting in a symmetrical reshaping of the barrel. Some circumferential crimps are oval, hexagonal, circular, etc.

Circumferential Separation
A crack or void in the plating extending around the entire circumference of a plated-through hole, in the solder fillet around the lead wire, in the solder fillet around an eyelet, or at the interface between a solder fillet and a land.

Clad
A condition of the base material to which a relatively thin layer or sheet of metal has been bonded to one or both sides, i.e., "a metal clad base material."

Cladding, Fiber
That part of a fiber, that concentrically surrounds the core of the fiber and has a lower refractive index than the core.

Cladding, Metal
A method of applying a layer of metal over another metal whereby the junction of the two metals is continuously welded.

Clearance Hole
A hole in the conductive pattern larger than, but coaxial with, a hole in the printed board base material.

Clip
A resilient device, that deflects on mating to produce a connection.

Clip Connection
A connection made by a clip.

Clip Post
A termination to accept a clip connection.

Clocking
The arrangement of connector inserts, jack-screws, polarizing pins/sockets, keys/keyways, or housing configurations to prevent the mismating or cross mating of connectors.

Closed Crimp Barrel
A crimp barrel with a closed shape before crimping.

Closed End Splice
A splice, open at one end only, designed to terminate two or more conductors. (See SPLICE)

Closed Entry
A design that limits the size of mating parts to a specified dimension. Usually used in reference to pin and socket contacts.

Closed Entry Contact
A socket or contact cavity design in which the insert or body of the connector limits the size or position of the mating contact or printed wiring board to a predetermined maximum dimension.

Coating, Fiber
That part of the fiber, that surrounds the cladding and provides physical protection from exposure to the atmosphere.

Coaxial Construction
The construction of a connector, contact, or cable with an inner conductor surrounded by a dielectric that in turn, is enclosed in an outer conductor that also acts as a shield. A protective jacket usually covers the outer conductor of a cable and also acts as an insulator. Compare to Triaxial.

Coding
A system for the identification of components, wires, contacts, materials, tools and related devices by means of color.

Coefficient of Thermal Expansion
The incremental linear dimensional change of a material per unit change in temperature, usually expressed as parts per million or in inches per inch per degree.

Coined
The pressure forming into a particular shape of a conducting material or conducting metal alloy.

Cold Flow
Permanent deformation of material due to mechanical force or pressure (not due to heat softening).

Cold Weld
A weld achieved by pressure only, without electrical current or elevated temperature.

Cold Work
Hardening and embrittlement of metal due to repeated stress action.

Compatible Connectors
A feature set that results in connectors being intermountable, intermatable and of identical performance.

Compliant Press-In Termination
A press-in termination having a compliant press-in section.

Component
An individual part or combination of parts that, when interconnected, perform a design function(s).

Component Element
An identifiable part of a component, that is an assembly of individual elements. In the case of a connector the component elements are the individual parts of the connector assembly, such as the contacts, insulator body, shell, etc.

Component Hole
A hole used for attachment and electrical connection of component terminations, including pins and wires, to the printed board.

Component Mounting
The act of attaching a component to a printed board, or the manner in which it is attached, or both.

Component Mounting Orientation
The direction in which the components on a printed board or other assembly are lined up electrically with respect to the polarity of polarized components, or with respect to one another.

Component Pin
A component lead that is not readily formable without damage.

Component Side
The primary side of a single-sided assembly.

Composite Connector
A connector, that has its structural shell, constructed of either reinforced-polymeric materials, metal matrix composite materials, or combinations of polymeric resins and non-polymeric materials used in lieu of what would ordinarily require an all-metal shell. The connector may or may not have a conductive element, component and/or finish.

Compression Connector
A connector crimped by an externally applied force; the conductor is also crimped by such force inside the tube-like connector body. Compression connectors are in very intimate contact with the two ends of the conductors being spliced.

Compression Ring
A separate ring, within the backshell assembly, that is chamfered to provide an environmental seal by compressing the rear grommet.

Compressive Strength
The maximum compressive stress a material is capable of sustaining. For materials that do not fail by a shattering fracture, the value is arbitrary, depending on the distortion allowed.

Concentric Contact
A set of coaxial contacts providing independent circuits through a single mechanical assembly.

Concentricity
In a wire or cable, the degree to which the location of the geometric center of the conductor coincides with the geometric center of the surrounding insulation.

Conditioning
Time-limited exposure of a test specimen to a specified environment(s) prior to testing.

Conductance (G)
The reciprocal of resistance. It is the ratio of current (I) passing through a material to the potential difference (V) at its ends. The measure of a materials ability to conduct electric charge. The real part of the complex representation of admittance.

Conductive Foil
A thin sheet of metal that may cover one or both sides of a base material and is intended for forming the conductive pattern.

Conductive Pattern
The configuration or design of the conductive material on the base material. (This includes conductors, lands, vias, heatsinks, and passive components when these are an integral part of the printed board manufacturing process.)

Conductivity
The ability of a material to conduct electric current. It is expressed in terms of the current density (J) per unit of applied electric field (E). It is the reciprocal of resistivity.

Conductor
An electrical current-carrying material; the conductive element in an electrical wire.

Conductor Pull-Out Force
Same as CONDUCTOR TENSILE FORCE

Conductor Stop
A device or design feature on a terminal, splice, contact, or tool, which correctly positions the conductor on the conductor barrel.

Conductor Tensile Force
The force required to destroy a termination by separating a conductor from its terminal end by exerting an axial pull.

Conduit Adapter
An accessory to secure a connector to a conduit.

Configuration
Specific configuration and arrangement of contacts in a multiple-contact connector.

Confined Crescent Crimp
A crimp that remains within the OD of the original barrel. It is usually identified by two crescent-shaped forms on the top and bottom of the wire barrel crimp.

Conformal Coating
An insulating protective coating that conforms to the configuration of the object coated, usually applied to the complete PC board assembly.

Connection
A physical interface between conductors and/or contacts to provide an electrical path.

Connection Slot (IDC)
The specially shaped opening in an insulation displacement termination suitable to displace the insulation of a wire and to insure a gas-tight connection between the termination and the conductor(s) of the wire.

Connector
A component used to provide rapid connect/disconnect service between electrical wire, cable, fiber, and printed wiring boards, and configured to properly terminate to these elements.

Connector Assemby
A connector with attached accessories as it exists in the final assembly on a system; e.g., connector with backshell, cable clamp, contacts, and dust cover.

Connector Block
A connector housing.

Connector Body
A connector, less its contacts, termination elements, and accessories required to make a complete connector assembly.

Connector Front
The side of a connector that is the mating face.

Connector Housing
The part of a connector into which the insert and contacts are loaded.

Connector Insert
An insulating element designed to support and position contacts in a connector housing.

CONNECTOR INSERTION LOSS
The loss of power due to insertion of a mated connector into a cable.

CONNECTOR INTERFACE
The two surfaces of mating connectors that face each other when mated.

CONNECTOR MATED SET
A particular combination of mating connectors.

CONNECTOR MODULE
A family of connector inserts that are uniform in external dimensions, but have the ability of each accepting different types of contacts or having different contact densities or configurations.

CONNECTOR REAR
The wiring side of a connector.

CONNECTOR SET, ELECTRICAL
Two or more separate plug and receptacle connectors designed to be mated together. The set may include mixed connectors mated together, such as one plug connector and one dummy receptacle connector, or one receptacle connector and one dummy plug connector.

CONNECTOR SHELL
The case that encloses the connector insert and contact assembly. Shells of mating connectors can protect projecting contacts and provide proper alignment.

CONNECTOR SHIELD
A cable outlet specifically designed to terminate the cable braid and provide shielding to electromagnetic interference.

CONNECTOR STYLE
A particular connector within a type, e.g., rectangular, circular, trapezoidal.

CONNECTOR TERMINATION ELEMENT
The component element (part) that connects the individual contacts to the conductors being terminated in the connector. Usually an integral part of the contact elements.

CONNECTOR TYPE
Connector with a particular sub-family, e.g. edgeboard connector, a mated set comprising a board mounted connector and its counterpart, etc.

CONNECTOR VARIANT
Variation within a connector type and style or within a group of related connectors, e.g. number of contacts, polarization, terminations, etc.

Connector, Area
That portion of printed wiring used for the purpose of providing external electrical connections.

Connector, Edge Card
A connector into which the edge of a printed wiring card is inserted so as to make electrical contact with conductive traces located on the circuit board.

Connector, Electrical
A device, either a plug or a receptacle, that is used to terminate individual electrical conductors, and provides a means to continue the conductors to a mating connection device.

Connector, Hermaphroditic
A connector that has features enabling it to be mated with an identical connector.

CONNECTOR, PLUG
An electrical connector, intended to be attached to the free end of a conductor, wire, cable bundle, or a printed circuit board that couples or mates to a receptacle connector.

CONNECTOR, RECEPTACLE
An electrical connector, generally mounted or installed onto a fixed structure such as a panel, electrical case or chassis, that couples or mates to a plug connector.

CONNECTOR, RIGHT ANGLE
A connector that is generally mounted onto a printed wiring board and whose contacts are inserted into a matching pattern of plated through holes in the circuit board and soldered in place.

CONNECTOR, UMBILICAL
An electrical connector, used to connect a cable to a vehicle such as an aircraft or rocket, that is mated prior to or during initial movement or launching of the vehicle, and unmates during launch.

CONTACT
The conductive or transmissive element in a connector that makes actual contact with a similar conductive or transmissive element in a mating connector for the purpose of transferring energy.

CONTACT ACTIVE AREA
See “Contact Area”.

CONTACT ALIGNMENT
A requirement of the overall side play that contacts shall have within the insert cavity so as to permit self-alignment of mated contacts. Sometimes referred to as amount of contact float.

CONTACT AREA
The area in contact between two conductive elements through which electrical current flow can take place.

CONTACT ARRANGEMENT
The number, spacing and arrangement of contacts in a connector.

CONTACT BACK WIPE
An actuated contact surface where a contact travels on the surface of its mating contact during the actuation cycle then moves back to a clean wiped surface at the completion of the actuation or engagement cycle.

CONTACT CAVITY
A defined hole in the connector body itself into which the contact must fit.

CONTACT CHATTER
Connector ohmic discontinuities.

CONTACT DURABILITY
Endurance measured by the number of mating insertions and withdrawal cycles that a connector withstands while remaining within its specified performance levels.

CONTACT ENGAGING AND SEPARATING FORCES
Forces resulting from engaging or separating individual contacts with either the mating contact or gauge pins, also referred to as individual insertion and withdrawal forces.

CONTACT EXTRACTION FORCE
The axial force required to extract a removal contact from a component.

CONTACT FLOAT
The overall side-to-side play, axial movement, and/or angular displacement of contacts within the insert cavity.

CONTACT FORCE
The normal force (90 degrees) that exists between engaged contact surfaces. Frequently mis-identified as contact pressure.

CONTACT INSERTION and REMOVAL FORCES
The force required to insert or remove a contact from its housing with or without the aide of insertion or removal tools.

CONTACT INSPECTION HOLE
A hole in the cylindrical rear portion of a contact used to check the depth to which a wire has been inserted.

CONTACT LEAD-IN
A chamfered or flared portion of a socket or receptacle contact to facilitate insertion of a pin contact.

CONTACT LENGTH
Length of travel made by one contact in contact with another during assembly or disassembly of a connector. Sometimes called Contact Mating Length. Also see Wiping Action

CONTACT PLATING
The deposit of metal applied to the basic contact metal surface to provide the required contact-resistance and/or wear resistance.

CONTACT POSITIONS
In most connectors the maximum number of contacts that can be actively engaged. In edge connectors the number of contact positions along the length of the connector, as opposed to the total number of contacts. Also see Readout.

CONTACT RESISTANCE
The electrical resistance of a pair of engaged contacts. Resistance may be measured in ohms or as a voltage drop at a specified current through the engaged contacts.

CONTACT RETAINER (CLIP)
A device either on the contact or in the housing that retains the contact in an insert or body.

CONTACT RETENTION
The provision or means in an electrical connector by which the contacts are retained. The ability of a connector to retain contacts.

CONTACT RETENTION FORCE
The axial load in either direction that a contact can withstand without being dislodged from its normal position within an insert or body.

CONTACT SHOULDER
The flanged portion of the contact that limits its travel into the insert.

CONTACT SIZE
Either a single number designator based on the AWG size number most closely corresponding in Circular Mil Area (CMA) to the CMA of the pin contact set, or a double number designator, similarly based whereby the first number corresponds to the CMA of the pin contact, and the second number corresponds to the max wire size accommodated by the contacts termination barrel.

CONTACT SPACING
The distance between the centers of contacts within an insert.

CONTACT SPRING
The spring placed inside the socket-type contact to force the pin into a position of positive intimate contact. Depending on the application, various types are used, including leaf, cantilevers, napkin-ring, squirrel cage, hyperbolic and "chinese-finger" springs. All of these types perform the function of aiding in wiping and establishing good contact.

CONTACT WIPE
The distance a contact travels on the surface of its mating contact during engagement or separation.

CONTACT WIRE RANGE
The size of conductors accommodated by a particular conductor barrel.

CONTACT, BLADE
A contact that is a flat broad contact whose width is significantly larger than it’s thickness with a lead in champher. It is designed to mate with a socket and receptacle contact.

CONTACT, ELECTRICAL
The electrically conductive element in a connector or other device that mates with a corresponding element to provide an electrical path or circuit.

CONTACT, HERMAPHRODITIC
An electrical contact that has features that enable it to be mated with an identical contact.

CONTACT, PIN
A diametrical contact designed to mater with a socket or receptacle contact. May be hollow or solid, rigid contact.

CONTACT, POST
A square contact designed to mate with a socket or receptacle contact. It is a solid structure.

CONTACT, SOCKET
A contact having an engagement end that will accept entry of a pin contact with the point of electrical contact on the inside diameter of contact.

CONTINUOUS CURRENT RATING
The designated rms alternating or direct current that the connector can carry continuously under specified conditions.

CONVENTIONAL CRIMPED CONNECTION
A connection achieved by the action of inducing crimp indentations to a ferrule that encircles one or more conducting elements.

COPPER ALLOY
An alloy in which copper is the predominant element. Generally, the addition of sulfur, lead, or tellurium improves machineability. Cadmium improves tensile strength and wearing qualities. Chromium gives very good mechanical properties at temperatures well above 200 degrees C. Zirconium provides hardness, ductility, strength, and relatively high electrical conductivity at temperatures where copper, and common high conductivity copper alloys tend to weaken. Nickel improves corrosion resistance, while silicon offers much improved mechanical properties. Beryllium, when present in copper alloys, permits maximum strength, while about 0.5% content offers high conductivity.

CORE, FIBER
The center region of the fiber that has a higher refractive index than the cladding surrounding it, and through which the optical signal passes.

CORROSION
The contamination/destruction of the surface of a metal by chemical reaction.

COUPLING RING
That portion of a connector housing that, by rotation, aids in the mating, captivation or unmating of the plug to the receptacle connector.

COUPLING TERMINATION
Connection in which a metal sleeve is secured to a conductor by mechanically crimping the sleeve with pliers, presses, or automated crimping machines.

COUPLING TORQUE
The force required to rotate a coupling ring or jackscrew when engaging a mating pair of connectors.

COUPLING TRIPLE START, SELF-LOCKING
A coupling mechanism using a triple start thread for quick connector mating with one full turn of the coupling ring.

COUPLING, BAYONET, CYLINDRICAL
A coupling mechanism utilizing spiral ramps in one cylindrical connector half to engage projections in the mating half so as to provide jacking and locking together of the mating halves through limited rotation of the coupling ring.

COUPLING, BREECH
A coupling mechanism that distributes the coupling load over large solid metal engaging and locking lands for positive coupling alignment and complete connector mating with a limited rotation of the coupling ring.

COUPLING, QUICK DISCONNECT
A design feature that permits relatively rapid joining and separation of mating parts.

COUPLING, SELF-LOCKING
A device that contains means to automatically ensure that a threaded coupling remains connected, to prevent any accidental de-coupling during vibration and/or shock. A self-locking connector is intended to be connected easily, but be more difficult to disconnect.

COUPLING, THREADED
A coupling mechanism utilizing matching screw threads for mating and unmating of cylindrical connectors or other devices.

COUPLING, THREADED SELF-LOCKING
A coupling mechanism utilizing matching screw threads for mating and unmating of cylindrical connectors or devices incorporating automatically actuated locking mechanism to prevent the coupling ring from disengaging under vibration conditions.

COVER, DUST
A covering device or material used during storage and transit to protect connectors, harnesses or electrical assemblies against dust and other foreign matter. It may be of a design that attaches to a connector (see COVER, PROTECTIVE) or may completely envelop a connector, harness or electronic assembly.

COVER, PROTECTIVE
An accessory used to cover the mating portion of a connector for mechanical, environmental and/or electrical protection.

CREEP
The dimensional change with time of a material under load, following the initial instantaneous elastic deformation; the time-dependent part of strain resulting from force. Creep at room temperature is sometimes called "cold flow".

CREEP DISTANCE
The shortest distance on the surface of an insulator separating two electrically conductive surfaces.

CREEPAGE
The conduction of electricity across the surface of a dielectric.

CRIMP
The physical compressing or reshaping of a conductor barrel or ferrule around a conductor, with mechanical force, and cold welding, to provide good electrical conductance and mechanical attachment.

CRIMP ANVIL (NEST)
The portion of a crimping die that supports a barrel or ferrule during crimping.

CRIMP BARREL
A conductor barrel designed to accommodate one or more conductors and to be crimped by means of a crimping tool.

CRIMP CONTACT
A contact designed to have a particular size (or range of sizes) of wire crimped into its termination, and not designed to have a wire soldered in place.

CRIMP INDENTER
That portion of the crimping die that indents or reshapes the barrel or ferrule.

CRIMP INSPECTION HOLE
A hole in the conductor barrel to permit visual inspection of conductor position.

CRIMP POT ADAPTER
A sleeve that fits around the stripped conductor and allows for a small wire to fit into a large gauge crimp pot.

CRIMP TENSILE STRENGTH
The axial force required to separate the wire from the crimped conductor barrel. The wire may pull out of, or break in, the crimped area of the conductor barrel.

CRIMP TERMINATION
Connection in which a metal sleeve is secured to a conductor by mechanically crimping the sleeve with pliers, presses, or automatic crimping machines. Splices, terminals, and multi-contact connectors are typical terminating devices attached by crimping. Suitable for all wire types.

CRIMP-AND-POKE
The mechanism of crimping a wire (CRIMP) into the termination barrel of a single contact of a removable pin/socket connector and inserting (AND POKE) the contact into a prescribed contact cavity in the connector body.

CRIMPED CONNECTION
A connection made by crimping

CRIMPER
That part of the crimping die, usually the moving part, that indents or compresses the terminal barrels. Also called the Indenter.

CRIMPING
A method of permanently attaching a termination to a conductor by pressure deformation or by reshaping the termination barrel around the conductor to establish good electrical and mechanical connection.

CRIMPING CHAMBER
Area of a crimping tool , formed by mating the anvil (nest) and the crimper (indentor), in which a contact or terminal is crimped.

CRIMPING DIES
That portion of a crimping tool that compresses and reshapes the conductor barrel or ferrule to form the crimp.

CRIMPING TOOL
The device used to perform a crimp.

CRIMPING ZONE
That portion of a crimp barrel where the crimped connection is achieved by pressure deformation or reshaping of the barrel around the conductor.

CROSS CONNECTOR
A connector that joins two branch conductors to the main conductor. The branch conductors are opposite to each other and perpendicular to the main conductor.

CROSS CRIMP
A crimp that shapes the terminal by pressing the top and bottom of the terminal barrel without confining the sides.

CROSSED WIRE
A technique of measuring contact resistance that eliminates all resistances but the resistance of the contact point.

CROSSTALK
The phenomenon in which a signal transmitted on one wire of a cable of a transmission system is detectable in another adjacent wire; also known as bleed through.

CROSSTALK RATIO
The ratio of the signal coupled (induced) into the quiet signal conductor or conductor pair to the magnitude of the signal in the driven conductor or conductor pair. Both signals shall have the same units of either voltage or current ,and the ratio may be expressed as percent or dB.

CURRENT (I)
The rate of transfer of electricity, usually expressed in amperes.

CURRENT CARRYING CAPACITY
The maximum current an insulated conductor can safely carry without exceeding its insulation and jacket temperature limitations.

CURRENT RATING
The maximum current which a device is designed to conduct for a specified time at a specific temperature.

CUTOUT, CONNECTOR
A hole or group of holes cut in a panel, case, or chassis for the purpose of mounting a connector.