What Are Electrical Connectors

Much like a city or ecosystem, electrical networks are able to complete complex maneuvers only because they connect hundreds of smaller parts. One key way we are able to accomplish this is by using a variety of electrical connectors. Typically composed of a fixed female contact (socket) and a free male contact (plug), electrical connectors can be used to transfer a signal from one electromechanical component to another. Though they often have a similar basic design, electrical connectors come in a plethora of varieties, many of which can be organized based on their connection method. If you would like to learn more about the different types of connectors and where they can be used, read on as we discuss these mighty miniatures in electrical projects.

Electrical Connector Types

Electrical connectors can be made to fit a number of different applications, so they come in a wide selection of types. However, many of these variations can be placed into broader categories based on their general shape. The following are a couple major categories and their subtypes:

Circular Electrical Connectors

As their name suggests, circular electrical connectors are those which have a circular mating component which can only fit with other circular types. Within this general category, there are connectors which mate using a thread, bayonet, or push-pull design. Threaded connection types have a self-locking feature inherent in the way the threaded parts fit tightly with one another. To ensure that they will not come loose, they are also often used with a fuse set screw or ratchet wheel structure. Another type of circular connector uses a bayonet connection, which has three pins on the outer periphery of the socket. The matching plug is equipped with a suitable three-curve groove and a loaded spring to ensure self-locking. Finally, there are push-pull connectors that have three steel balls on the plugs and a matching arc groove on the sockets. When inserted into place, the steel balls fit into the arc groove under the action of the spring to ensure self-locking and a fast connection.

Rectangular Electrical Connectors

This connection method has a plug and socket that are rectangular shaped, and they generally come in two forms: straight plug-and-pull and thread locking. Threaded rectangular connectors work very similarly to their counterparts within the circular category of connectors, but their shape makes them especially useful for facilitating connections between printed boards and similar components. Since rectangular connectors have flat edges, they can fit closely with one another, maximizing available space while being more adaptable to printed boards that often use gridlike designs. Similarly, whereas straight plug-and-pull connectors rely on a guide mechanism much like the push-pull design, they are also better suited for printed boards.

Structure of Electrical Connectors

Electrical connectors are composed of a fixed female contact and a free male contact that connect via bayonet, plug and pull, and other design features. Despite coming in a number of different types, all connectors have a shell, insulator, and contact body. Within this design, the shell refers to the housing, nut, or tail attachment of the plug and socket, and it is mostly used for protecting the internal parts from damage. One of these parts is the insulator, a device which keeps the pin and jack at their set positions, providing electrical insulation between them and the shell. Finally, there is the contact body which includes a male and female contact piece, sometimes called a pin and a jack, those of which are made of a conductive metal that can transfer current.


Electrical connectors are one of the most versatile components in any given electrical assembly. They bring together a multitude of simple parts to create a working assembly that can accomplish complex tasks. If you are in need of electrical connectors for your assembly, you can rely on Integrated Aviation Hardware for our inventory of more than 2 billion new, used, obsolete, and hard-to-find parts, including a large selection of high-quality electrical connectors. Many parts in our inventory are subjected to rigorous quality assurance measures, tests, verifications, and assessments to ensure the quality of our products. To begin the purchasing process on any items of interest, simply submit a Request for Quote (RFQ) form from our website, and expect to receive a competitive quote for your comparisons in 15 minutes or less!


Semiconductor's Certifications and Memberships
The only independent
distributor with a
  • All Orders are fulfilled in the U.S.A.
  • All shipments must comply with U.S.A export laws.
  • No exceptions.

“We Proudly Support Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund that serves United States Military Personal experiencing the Invisible Wounds of War : Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Post Traumatic Stress (PTS). Please visit website (www.fallenheroesfund.org ) and help in their valiant effort”.

Thank You for Visiting.

We Hope that You Will Visit Us Again the Next Time You Need NSN Parts and Make Us Your Strategic Purchasing Partner.

Request for Quote