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What Are the Classifications of Terminal Blocks?

As electronics continue to become more advanced, both decreasing in size and phasing out obsolete and unneeded parts for design, the connector remains an indispensable part of system design. For electronic circuits to function, they require connection to various power sources, inputs, outputs, and other external components. Connectors provide for this attachment, coming in a variety of sizes, types, and shapes in order to connect electrical conductors and produce electrical circuits. One connector type in particular, the terminal block, is one that may be found in virtually all sectors, including wiring, rack systems, and other I/O applications.

Terminal blocks are specific types of connectors that are able to terminate a single wire and connect it to either another system or circuit. They may come in a variety of forms, always connecting to a single wire for termination. Such connector types are beneficial for applications in which a semi-permanent connection is required, allowing for wire replacement, repair, change, and inspection. There are multiple methods of connecting terminal blocks, the most common being the use of a screw which clamps down on inserted wires when tightened. Depending on your need, there are multiple terminal block types that serve various applications, and the most common include screw, push-fit, barrier, and pluggable terminals.

The screw terminal is a type that utilizes screws to fasten cables or wires, and they are typically used for domestic and commercial wiring where current and voltage demands are more moderate. Despite not having a soldered wire or cable, screws provide for optimal securing if installed correctly. Nevertheless, it is critical that installation is done carefully and correctly, as overtightening can lead to wires becoming damaged and may cause dangerous or inefficient connections.

The push-fit terminal is a terminal block type that secures inserted cables by using small spring-loaded levers. With such levers, the cable can be inserted through one direction, and then is secured so that pull-out is prevented. As compared to the screw terminal type, the push-fit terminal ensures that overtightening is not possible. Despite this protection, the spring is heavily relied on to keep the wire on the conducting body through force. Due to their lack of a removing lever, push-fit terminals are also not removable and thus need a full replacement if repair work is conducted.

The barrier terminal is similar to screw terminals, utilizing a screw to hold cables securely in place. Barrier cables also feature multiple termination points, permitting an assembly of multiple cables, each in individual terminals separated by barriers. To protect connections and cables, barrier terminals implement lids and enclosures. Typically, barrier terminals are used for high voltage scenarios and domestic wiring that needs to be protected from short-circuits and arcing.

A pluggable terminal allows for cable entry, permitting the connection of a wire or cable. With a plug output, connection to a socket is also made possible. Such terminal types are most often utilized for applications where there is a need for hot swapping or a connection needs to be removable for inspection or servicing.

When deciding what terminal blocks are the best fit for your needs, it is important to consider multiple factors including current requirements, voltage requirements, what wires are used, and environmental strength. By understanding your operational specifications, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each terminal block type, finding the right choice can be made easy.

When it comes time to begin sourcing the terminal blocks and electronic circuits that you need for your operations, ASAP Semiconductor has you covered with everything you are searching for. At ASAP Semiconductor, we can help you find the aviation, NSN, and electronic parts that you are searching for, new or obsolete. ASAP Semiconductor is an FAA 00-56B, AS9120B, and ISO 9001:2015 certified enterprise. For a quick and competitive quote, email us at sales@asapsemi.com or call us at +1 (714) 705-4780.


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