Plug and Socket 12v Two items Merit Malta
The connection may be temporary, as for portable equipment, require a tool for assembly and removal, or serve as a permanent electrical joint between two wires or devices. An adapter can be used to effectively bring together dissimilar connectors.
Electrical connectors are characterised by their pinout and physical construction, size, contact resistance, insulation between pins, ruggedness and resistance to vibration, resistance to entry of water or other contaminants, resistance to pressure, reliability, lifetime (number of connect/disconnect operations before failure), and ease of connecting and disconnecting.
They may be keyed to prevent insertion in the wrong orientation, connecting the wrong pins to each other, and have locking mechanisms to ensure that they are fully inserted and cannot work loose or fall out.
Some connectors are designed such that certain pins make contact before others when inserted, and break first on disconnection; this protects circuits typically in connectors that apply power, e.g. connecting safety ground first, and sequencing connections properly in hot swapping applications.
It is usually desirable for a connector to be easy to identify visually, rapid to assemble, require only simple tooling, and be inexpensive.
In some cases an equipment manufacturer might choose a connector specifically because it is not compatible with those from other sources, allowing control of what may be connected.
No single connector has all the ideal properties; the proliferation of types is a reflection of differing requirements.