The idea of a connector, or any electrical component for that matter, being referred to as ‘male’ or ‘female’ may be a bit confounding. However, not knowing the difference between a male and female connector can cause a huge error in mechanical equipment, or a full-fledged disaster in process equipment. For connectors to operate properly, they must fit seamlessly. This blog will explain the differences between male and female connectors as well as their importance.
A male connector is any type of connector with protrusions. The male connection could be attached to a cable, some type of hardware, or one or more wires. A prime example of a male connector is a two-pronged electrical plug. This connector is designed to be inserted into another piece of equipment. If the electrical plug doesn’t fit tightly into the electrical outlet (female connector), the result is a faulty connection to the electrical impulse within the outlet.
There are many other easily-identifiable types of male connectors. Besides an electrical plug, the most recognizable male connector is likely the USB cable. At the end of a USB cable is a plug that connects to a modem, computer, or other electrical machinery. USB plugs are intended to meet computer system standards in order to be useful. Male connectors usually feature a collection of prongs or pins originating from a small base or adapter. Ranging in size and function, male connectors are always a key tool in electrical systems.
Like male connectors, female connectors are attached to hardware, wires, and cables. However, this is where their similarities end. Female connectors have small holes or openings into which a male connector is inserted. For example, take a look at an electrical outlet. There are openings for the insertion of an electrical plug. An outlet is perhaps the most obvious example of a female connector. Computers also have many female connectors to allow for the insertion of keyboards, monitors, and other devices, usually via USB, HDMI, or other cable types. Like male connectors, female connectors can vary greatly in size and usage. In industrial, non-electric projects, a female connector could be a small coupler or a large pipe.
In plans or diagrams, engineers use schematic symbols to differentiate male and female connectors. For male connectors, the symbol often appears as a horizontal arrow with the tip pointing outward. The female symbol appears as a horizontal, Y-like shape. These symbols are intended to represent ‘sender’ and ‘receiver’ images. Male and female connectors have a multitude of functions. From sophisticated electrical systems to simple, snap-together toys, male and female connectors are in use throughout everyday life.