Types of Electrical Power Connectors

Powersafe Electrical Connectors

What are Electrical Power Connectors?

All electronics require power, it is essential for them to function. These connectors are used to link a device to its power source, they are plugged into the electronic device’s receptacle to transfer the power to the device. Different connectors are used depending on the amount of current or the type of cable/wire used.

Electrical connectors also vary in form depending on the power source, which can be anything from small batteries to large power grids. One of several types of power connectors may be required depending on the purpose of the application and the current carried. 

It is helpful to examine how electrical power connectors are classified and the capabilities of each variant to establish which connector is best suited for use.

Power Connector Classifications

Electrical connectors are generally classified according to the voltage they carry. There are three categories of electrical connectors: light duty, medium duty, and heavy duty. 

The category heading refers to how much voltage the connector can handle.

Light Duty Electrical Connectors

Light-duty electrical power connectors can carry up to 250 volts (V) of a low current. However, if contact resistance does not stay low and stable, the device’s ability to transmit current may be compromised. Minimizing the presence of external contaminants on connector contacts (such as dirt, dust, and water) is important as the component is prone to oxidation and contaminants can catalyse the process. Power connectors found in cars, radio, and communication devices, and those intended for basic instruments are all classified as light-duty power connectors.

Medium Duty Electrical Connectors

Medium-duty power connectors carry a higher-level of electrical current, up to 1,000 V. Unlike low-duty connectors, medium duty variants can suffer from electrical wear if the contact material is not carefully monitored to prevent involuntary welding and erosion. Proper material selection is essential to ensure the device’s integrity. Medium-duty connectors can be found in various domestic and industrial applications.

Heavy Duty Electrical Connectors

Heavy-duty connectors carry high-level currents in the range of hundreds of kilovolts (kV). Heavy-duty connectors are effective in large-scale power distribution applications, as well as power management and protection systems, such as circuit breakers, due to the large load they can carry.
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Individual Types of Power Connectors

AC Connectors

AC connectors are mostly used to connect equipment to a wall outlet for powering the device. Power plugs are used for standard size devices while industrial AC power plugs are used for larger industrial applications.

DC Connectors

DC connectors are not standardized, unlike AC connectors. A variant of a DC connector is a DC plug, which generally supply smaller electronic devices with power. It is important not to accidently use incompatible variants as there are different standards of DC plugs.

Wire Connectors

AC power connectors are mainly used to connect equipment to a wall outlet to power a device. Of the types of AC connectors, power plugs are for standard size devices while industrial AC power plugs are for larger industrial applications.

Blade Connectors

Blade connectors feature a one wire connection, the blade connector is inserted into a blade receptacle and when the blade connector’s wire contacts the receptor’s wire a connection is made.

Plug and Socket Connectors

Plug and socket connectors have a male and a female component which fit together snugly. A plug: the male component, is comprised of many pins and prongs, which when inserted into the female socket, securely latch on to corresponding contacts. The plugs usually fit three phase or single-phase applications and will have specific wiring color standards which identify the different lines e.g. live wire, neutral wire etc.

Insulation-Piercing Connectors

Insulation piercing connectors are useful because they don’t require uncovered wires. Instead, a fully covered wire is inserted into the connector, and a small device inside the opening removes the wire’s covering as the wire slides into place. Then, the uncovered tip of the wire makes contact with the receptor, and electricity can be transmitted.
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