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What Is a Power Connector?

By G. Wiesen
Updated May 17, 2024
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A power connector is a piece of equipment used with many different types of electronics allowing a significant electrical current to pass into it. This is not typically used as a means by which a signal can be sent, such as a data stream from one device to another, but instead allows power to reach a device. The power connector for some devices is fairly simple, and is often designed as a way for an electronic component to plug into a wall outlet or other power source. There are also a number of connectors that can be used between devices, including those that allow a single power supply in a computer to connect to numerous components.

There are a variety of items that can be used as a power connector, though it is typically a length of cable that connects a device to a power source. This is often designed as part of a commercial product, such as a lamp or television that has a power cable permanently installed during construction. There are also some devices that have removable plugs, such as a computer monitor that can be disengaged from its power connector.

The distinction between a power connector and a signal connector is subtle, yet important. A signal connector can be used to pass some type of signal, which may take the form of an electrical current or digital signal. This is usually quite weak however, and is not typically intended as a means by which a device receives its main power supply. Cables used to connect different video and audio devices are typically signal connectors.

There are some types of cables that can function as both a signal and power connector. A universal serial bus (USB) cable, for example, can be used to allow data transfers between devices, but can also pass a sufficient current through it to charge a device or provide it with power. Many types of power connectors, however, are simply designed to allow a charge to flow from a power source into a device and give it the power needed for it to function. This can include a plug used with a wall outlet, as well as connections between an electrical device and a large external battery or generator.

A power connector can also be a cable or connection that allows power to reach different internal components within a larger system. Computer towers, for example, often have a power supply that connects to a wall outlet or similar source, and then distributes that charge to various internal devices within the tower. Different types of connectors are used within the case of a computer to attach this power supply to a hard drive, media drives, and motherboard.

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