Across industries and applications, countless forms of electronics exist to tackle various needs and wants. Whether the electronic device or equipment in question is a light fixture, mobile phone, refrigerator, or computer, all function through the use of electrical connector components that transfer power, data, and audiovisual signals necessary for operations. Based on the application, type of signal being transferred, and other such factors, a wide variety of connectors may be used. One common connector type is the banana plug, those of which are distinctly named for their protruding prong that bulges in the center, giving them a banana shape and appearance. Invented in 1924, such plugs serve a variety of common equipment, making it useful to have a general understanding of them.
Banana plugs are generally a type of 4mm connector, and they can be connected and disconnected quickly and easily from any equipment with compatible banana sockets. As such plugs are primarily used for audio equipment, they save time and remove the risk of short circuits by removing the need to attach and reattach bare wiring on equipment whenever changes are made. For their common applications, one may utilize banana plugs and sockets if they work with hi-fi receivers, wired sound systems and speakers, audio cabling and wiring, amplifiers, loudspeakers, and auxiliary jacks that are found on headphones. Outside of audio applications, banana plugs are also found in TV aerials and various forms of laboratory equipment.
Like many other forms of connectors, banana plugs can be procured in various subtypes to address different needs. Typically, the differences between each will come down to things such as whether or not insulation is provided, how the plug is shaped, what materials are used, etc. With a closed screw banana plug, the wire will be inserted into the plug from the back while being enclosed within a casing to be protected from external stressors. Generally, these banana plugs are utilized for speakers and audio equipment.
With gold banana plugs, the wire is encased within conductive metals such as brass. This allows them to have a high level of electrical conductivity which is very important in certain applications. For the last common type, solder type banana plugs are those that have wires attached through the process of soldering. While more permanent, soldering ensures a reliable electrical connection when desired or necessary. Beyond these examples, other common forms of banana plugs include banana plug covers, locking banana plugs, double banana plugs, and angled banana plugs.
In addition to type, it is also important to consider plug size before making a purchasing decision. The most common form of plug will have a metal pin with a diameter of around 4mm, though miniature plugs with 2mm diameters are also popularly used. Sockets also come in standard sizes such as 4mm and 2 mm, but like plugs, there are many varying diameters and lengths to choose from. For those in the United States, such plugs and sockets may be procured in inch sizing to make things easy.
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