A power connector, also known as an electrical connector, is an electromechanical device designed to create an electrical circuit. In simpler terms, the term describes any device that transmits power to an electrical appliance, machine, or gadget.
You’ll find both AC and DC power connectors on the market today. If you’re unsure about how to go about choosing a connector for your device, you’re in luck—this article will tell you everything you need to know.
Let’s start with a quick run-through of how power connectors work.
Power Connector Basics
There are many types of power connectors available to today’s consumers, serving various user needs. Luckily you can purchase a wide range of connectors at suppliers such as RS Components.
It’s likely you already have several power connectors in your home right now, such as:
- The wires inside your computer case
- Your car’s battery cables
- The plug you use to power up your toaster
Essentially, all the power connectors in your home fall into one category—residential power connectors. For workplace use, most connectors will call into the industrial category. Within these categories, power connectors will carry either DC (direct current) or AC (alternating current).
Power connectors work because of conductivity. Regardless of its use, a power connector will always consist of these two components:
- A conductive material
- An adapter, allowing the power supply to interact with the load
Usually, manufacturers will rate a power connector to ensure users don’t attempt to connect it with an incompatible device. If the current running through a connector is too strong, it could lead to heat damage or—in dire situations—a fire.
Types of Power Connectors
Along with the residential power connectors you’re likely most familiar with, several other types of connectors are available today. Some common types include:
- Blade connectors
- Wire connectors
- Insulation-piercing connectors
- Plug and socket connectors
- Automotive connectors
- Compact power connectors
- Hazardous area connectors
The type of connector you choose will depend on your industry and your specific needs.
For example, you might choose an automotive connector to hook up multiple low current devices within a vehicle. Alternatively, if the electrical appliance you’re using could contact hazardous materials, use a hazardous area connector.
If you run a manufacturing, construction, or other industrial business, you’ll likely need a specialized type of industrial connector.
Because industrial machinery uses significantly more power than standard household appliances, they require specially designed connectors. Industrial connectors also offer added benefits, such as extra security to prevent damage and accidental disconnections.
For some industrial applications, you might need a heavy-duty power connector. These connectors are especially durable. Typically, they are attached securely to a power supply, preventing unwanted disconnects or damage.
When you’re using industrial connectors, make sure to also install an industrial interlock. These safety devices prevent machines or electrical circuits from turning on unexpectedly.
When an employee is working with hazardous machinery, accidental startups could cause acute injury or death—so stay safe with an industrial interlock.
With your new knowledge about power connectors, you’ll be prepared to power up any device. Whether you need an automotive, energy-saving, hazardous area, or basic connector, you’ll know the perfect choice to make for your business.