What Are the Differences Between Connector Plugs and Receptacles?

Connectors are enclosures or shells that are utilized to house contacts and wires within electrical wiring harnesses. Each connector plug features an insert that is specifically-designed for a mating socket (receptacle), either being soldered or crimped into place and being easily removed using a special tool. The inserts in each connector must be oriented properly in order to achieve correct mating.

Generally, the shell or insert is equipped with a key feature to prevent misalignment that may damage the connector or lead to an electrical problem. Moreover, they can also be designed to be moisture resistant or serve as a hermetic seal that protects the connection, wires, plug, and receptacle. Of the aforementioned components that the connector protects, many are unfamiliar with the latter two.

Connector plugs and receptacles were originally devised for military aircraft in the 1930s. In fact, their implementation helped shape the MIL-SPEC and MIL-STD standards for the variations utilized in military operations today. Additionally, NATO STANAG (North Atlantic Treaty Organization Standardization Agreement) plugs and receptacles are also widely available, those of which are resistant to the ozone, corrosion, petroleum, and fungus, as well as waterproof.

Difference Between Connect Plugs and Receptacles

Despite having an entangled history, connector plugs and receptacles differ in form and function. Essentially, plugs are furnished with prolonged connecting pins that fit into a mating socket called a receptacle. It is important to note that in some applications a receptacle connector is oftentimes called a jack. More than that, a receptacle will have mounting features such as a flange with holes so it can be mounted on a surface.

Keep in mind that every electrical harness has a wide range of connector plugs and receptacles. In fact, one of the biggest challenges of assembling an electrical harness is ensuring that the correct connector plug and receptacle is used. Another important distinction is that these components are gendered, where a connector plug is considered male and a connector receptacle is considered female.

Wrapping Up

Emergent Purchasing is an online distributor of connector plugs for military aircraft, including electrical wiring, aircraft harnesses, and more. With over 2 billion new, used, obsolete, and hard-to-find options in our inventory, customers can meet rigid time constraints and strict budget parameters. Explore our vast catalogs, all of which are organized according to manufacturer, part number, CAGE Code, FSC, and other various categories. As our network of distribution centers spans across the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, we are equipped to offer expedited shipping on domestic and international orders alike.

At Emergent Purchasing, we regularly subject our inventory to a series of quality assurance measures, tests, verifications, and assessments, ensuring you receive only superior quality offerings from us. Get started with the fulfillment process by completing a Request for Quote (RFQ) form for any featured item in our catalogs. We only ask that you include as many of your part requirements as possible, such as desired quantities, target prices, and operational deadlines. Such information will help one of our expert team members craft a customized solution with your unique needs in mind. For additional questions, call or email us at any time, and see how Emergent Purchasing can serve as your strategic sourcing partner!


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