Types of Electrical Power Connectors
What are Electrical Power Connectors?
When it comes to electronics, power is essential. Electrical power connectors are the link between a device and its source of power. In electronics, electrical power connectors are what you plug into a device’s receptacle. Depending on the amount of current and type of cable or wire, different connectors are used.
Electrical power sources can range in size from small batteries to large power grids, therefore, connectors that allow the transmission of electricity vary in form. Depending on the electrical current carried and the purpose of the application, one of several types of power connectors may be appropriate. To better understand which connector is best-suited for a particular purpose, it’s helpful to examine how electrical power connectors are classified and the capabilities of each variant.
Power Connector Classifications
Generally, electrical power connectors are classified according to how much voltage they carry. There are three categories of electrical connectors: light duty, medium duty, and heavy duty. Each category heading refers to how much voltage the connector can handle.
Light Duty Electrical Power Connectors
A light-duty electrical power connector can carry up to 250 volts (V) of a low current. However, if contact resistance doesn’t stay low and stable, the ability of the device to transmit current may be compromised. It’s important to minimize the presence of external contaminants on connector contacts (such as dirt, dust, and water) because the component is prone to oxidation and contaminants can catalyze 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 Power Connectors
A medium-duty power connector carries a higher-level electrical current at up to 1,000 V. Unlike low-duty connectors, medium duty variants can suffer from electrical wear if the contact material isn’t carefully monitored to prevent involuntary welding and erosion. Thus, proper material selection is critical in ensuring the device’s integrity. Medium-duty can be found in an array of domestic and industrial applications.
Heavy Duty Electrical Power Connectors
Heavy-duty connectors carry high-level currents in the range of hundreds of kilovolts (kV). Because of the large load they can carry, heavy-duty connectors are effective in large-scale power distribution applications, as well as power management and protection systems, such as circuit breakers.