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Glossary Of Terms


Accessories - Mechanical devices such as cable clamps added to connector shells, which are attachable to connectors to make up the total connector assembly.

Adapter (Adaptor) - An intermediate device to provide for attaching special accessories or to provide special mounting means.


Back-mounted - A connector mounted from the inside of a panel or box with its mounting flange inside the equipment.

Barrel - (1) Conductor Barrel - The section of the terminal, splice or contact that accommodates the stripped conductor. (2) Insulation Barrel - The section of the terminal, splice or contact that accommodates the conductor insulation.

Bayonet coupling, rotary - A quick coupling device for mating connectors utilizing pins on a connector and ramps on the mating connector. Mating and unmating is accomplished by rotating the coupling ring.

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Bin - Basic identification number. (See explanation elsewhere in technical section of this catalogue.)

Body, connector - The main portion of a connector to which contacts and other components are attached. This term is not used with connectors incorporating nonintegral shells in their construction.

Boot - A form placed around the wire terminations of a multiple contact connector as a protective housing or as a container for potting compound.

Braid - Flexible conductor made of a woven or braided assembly of fine wires.

Busing - The joining of two or more circuits.

Butting dies - Crimping dies so designed that the nest and indenter touch at the end of the crimping cycle. (Also called bottoming dies.)


Cable clamp - A mechanical clamp attached to the cable side of the connector to support the cable or wire bundle, provide strain relief, and absorb vibration and shock otherwise transmitted by the cable to the contact/wire connection.

Cable shielding clamp - A device consisting of a sealing member and cable support designed to terminate the screen (shield) of an electrical cable.

Circumferential crimp - The type of crimp where the crimping dies completely surround a barrel resulting in symmetrical indentations in the barrel.

Closed entry - A contact or contact cavity design in the insert or body of the connector which limits the size or position of the mating contact or printed circuit board to a predetermined dimension.

Coaxial contact - A contact having two conducting surfaces, a center contact and a coaxially placed sleeve.

Color coding - A system of identification of terminals and related devices.

Conductor stop - A device on a terminal, splice, contact or tool used to prevent excessive extension of the conductor barrel.

Connector, electrical - A device, either a plug or receptacle, used to terminate or connect the conductors of individual wires or cables and provide a means to continue the conductors to a mating connector or printed circuit board.

Contact - The conductive element in a connector which makes actual contact, for the purpose of transferring electrical energy.

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Contact area - The area in contact between two conductors, two contacts, or a conductor and a contact permitting the flow of electricity.

Contact arrangement - The number, spacing and arrangement of contacts in a connector.

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Contact engaging and separating force - Force needed to either engage or separate mating contacts.

Contact resistance - Electrical resistance of a pair of engaged contacts. Resistance may be measured in ohms or milivolt drop at a specified current over the engaged contacts.

Contact retainer - A device either on the contact or in the insert to retain the contact in an insert or body. (See section on installing/removal tools.)

Contact retention - The axial load in either direction which a contact can withstand without being dislodged from its normal position within an insert or body.

Contact size - An assigned number denoting the size of the contact engaging end.

Contact shoulder - The flanged portion of a contact which limits its travel into the insert.

Coupling ring - That portion of a plug which aids in the mating or unmating of a plug and receptacle and holds the plug to the receptacle.

Crimp - The physical compression (deformation) of a contact barrel around a conductor in order to make an electrical connection.

Crimping - A pressure method of mechanically securing a terminal, splice or contact to a conductor.

Crimping dies - Portion of the crimping tool that shapes the crimp.

glossary-crimping.gif (2376 bytes)

Crimping tool - Mechanism used for crimping.


Depth of crimp - The distance the indenter penetrates into the barrel.

Die Closure - The gap between indenter dies at full handle closure. Usually defined by Go/No-Go dimensions.

Dielectric - A material having electrical insulating properties.


Environmentally sealed - A device that is provided with gaskets, seals, grommets, potting or other means to keep out moisture, dirt, air or dust which might reduce its performance. Does not include nonphysical environments such as RF and radiation.

Extraction tool - See removal tool.


Ferrule - A short tube. Used to make connections to shielded or coaxial cables. Also used in connectors to reduce transmission of torque to grommet.

Flange, connector - A projection extending from or around the periphery of a connector with provisions to permit mounting the connector to a panel.

Filter contact - A contact which provides R.F.I. suppression without altering its normal function.

Front mounted - A connector mounted on the outside of a panel or box with its mounting flange outside the equipment.

Full cycle control - Controls placed on the crimping cycle of crimping tools forcing the tool to be closed to its fullest extent completing the crimping cycle before the tool can be opened.


Grommet, connector - An elastomeric seal used on the cable side of a connector to seal the connector against moisture, air and dirt.

Grounding fingers - A set of spring fingers provided in the connector to allow shell to shell grounding, before contacts mate and after they separate.

Guide pin - A pin or rod extending beyond the mating faces of a connector designed to guide the closing or mating of the connector to ensure proper engagement of contacts.


Head assembly - A positioner or turret designed to attach to a crimping tool.

Hermaphroditic connector - A connector design which utilizes pin and socket contacts in a balanced arrangement such that both mating connectors are identical. The contacts may also be hermaphroditic, and may be arranged as male and female contacts as for pin and sockets. Hermaphroditic contacts may also be used in a manner such that one half of each contact mating surface protrudes beyond the connector interface and both mating connectors are identical.

Hermaphroditic contact - A contact design which is neither pin nor socket and which mates with other contact of the same design.

Housing, connector, electrical - Connector less insert, but with insert-retaining and positioning hardware required by standard construction.


Indenter - That part of a crimping die, usually the moving part, which indents or compresses the contact barrel.

Insert, electrical connector - An insulating element with or without contact(s), designed to position and support contacts in a connector.

Inspection gage - It shall conform to the gaging limits specified on the applicable tool specification sheet.

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Inspection hole - A hole placed at the bottom end of a contact wire barrel to permit visual inspection to see that the conductor has been inserted to the proper depth in the barrel prior to crimping.

Installing tool - A device used to install contacts into a connector. A device used to install taper pins into taper pin receptacles.

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Insulation displacement connector (IDC) - An assembly process wherein an insulation piercing edge of the contact is pushed through the insulation and into contact with the wire by the assembly press. Most commonly used in mass termination applications.

Insulation support - The portion of a barrel similar to an insulation grip except that it is not compressed around the conductor insulation.

Interface - The two surfaces on the contact side of mating connectors or plug-in component and receptacle, which face each other when mated.

Interfacial seal - A sealing of mated connectors over the whole area of the interface to provide sealing around each contact.


Jacket - The outermost layer of insulating material of a cable or wire.

Jackscrew (screw lock) - A screw attached to one half of a two piece multiple contact connector used to draw and hold both halves together and to separate them.


Key - A short pin or other projection which slides in a mating slot, hole, groove or keyway to guide two parts being assembled. Generally used in shell-enclosed connectors to obtain polarization.


Lanyard - A device attached to certain connectors which permits uncoupling and separation of connector halves by a pull on a wire or cable.

Locator - Device for positioning terminals, splices, or contacts into crimping dies, positioner, or turret heads.


Mate - The joining of two connectors.

Milivolt drop test - A test designed to determine the voltage loss due to resistance of a crimped joint.


Nest - The portion of a crimping die which supports the barrel during crimping.

Nick (notch) - A cut or notch in conductor strands or insulation.


Pigtail - A short wire extending from an electric or electronic device to serve as a jumper or ground connection.

Pin contact - A contact having an engagement end that enters the socket contact.

Plating - The overlaying of a thin coating of metal on metallic components to improve conductivity, provide for easy soldering or prevent rusting or corrosion.

Plug connector - An electrical fitting with pin, socket, or pin and socket contacts, constructed to be affixed to the end of a cable, conduit, coaxial line, cord or wire for convenience in joining with another electrical connector(s), and not designed to be mounted on a bulkhead, chassis or panel.

Polarize - The arrangement of mating connectors such that the connector can be mated in only one way.

Polarizing pin, key or keyway - A device incorporated in a connector to accomplish polarization.

Positioner - A device when attached to a crimping tool locates the contact in the correct position.

glossary-positioner.gif (2136 bytes)

Potting - The permanent sealing of the cable end of a connector with a compound or material to exclude moisture and/or to provide a strain relief.

Power contact - Type of contact used in multi-contact connectors to support the flow of rated current.

Pull-out force - Force necessary to separate a conductor from a contact or terminal, or a contact from a connector, by exerting a tensile pull.


Rack and panel - The type of connector that is attached to a panel or side of equipment so that when these members are brought together, the connector is engaged.

Radio frequency contact (RF contact) - An impedance matched shielded contact.

Range, wire - The sizes of conductors accommodated by a particular barrel. Also the diameters of wires accommodated by a sealing grommet.

Ratchet control - A device to ensure the full crimping cycle of a crimping tool.

Receptacle, connector - An electrical fitting with contacts constructed to be electrically connected to a cable, coaxial line, cord, or wire to join with another electrical connector(s), and is designed to be mounted on a bulkhead, wall, chassis, or panel.

Removal tool - A device used to remove a contact from a connector. A device used to remove a taper pin from a taper pin receptacle.

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Safety wire - A means of safety wiring a plug and/or receptacle to prevent the loosening or vibrating free of the plug from the receptacle.

Scoop-proof - Scoop-proof means that because of the connector long shell design, it is impossible for the mating plug connector to inadvertently be cocked into the mating receptacle and damage the pins or electrically short the contacts.

Sealing plug - A plug which is inserted to fill an unoccupied contact aperture in a connector insert. Its function is to seal all unoccupied apertures in the insert, especially in environmental connectors.

Seamless terminal or splice - Terminal or splice conductor barrel made without an open seam.

Selective plating - The application of plating material to a limited portion of a connector contact, especially those areas susceptible to wear.

Service rating - The maximum voltage or current with a connector is designed to carry continuously.

Shell, electrical connector - The outside case of a connector into which the dielectric material and contacts are assembled.

Shielded contact - A contact which carries alternating current and is shielded from unwanted signals (RFI and EMI). Generally, these contacts are not impedance matched.

Socket contact - A contact having an engagement end that will accept entry of a pin contact.

Solderless connection - The joining of two metals by pressure means without the use of solder, braze, or any method requiring heat.

Splice - Device used to join two or more conductors to each other.

Stop plate (see locator) - A device attached to a crimping tool to properly locate a terminal, splice or contact in the tool prior to crimping.

Strip - To remove insulation from a conductor. (See details elsewhere in technical section of this cat.)


Taper pin - A pin type contact having a tapered end designed to be impacted into a taper hole.

Tensile testing - A controlled pull test on the crimp joint to determine its mechanical strength.

Threaded coupling - A means of coupling mating connectors by engaging threads in a coupling ring with threads on a receptacle shell.

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Thermocouple contact - Contact of special material used in connectors employed in thermocouple applications. Material often used are iron, constantan, copper, chrome, alumel and others.

Turret Head - A device that contains more than one locator which can be indexed by rotating a circular barrel, and when attached to a crimping tool, positions the contact.

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Zero-force connector - A connector in which the contact surfaces do not mechanically touch until it is completely mated thus requiring no insertion force. After mating the contacts are actuated in some fashion to make intimate electrical contact.

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