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What Is an Electrical Connection?

M. McGee
M. McGee

An electrical connection is any structure that allows electricity to flow through it. While not technically part of the definition, it is generally stated that a connection allows intention transmission of electricity, not just any transmission. There are electrical connections in and between every electrical device, but most have a single overarching design. A cable with specialized ends runs between two connectors; those ends will interlock with the ends on compatible cables to allow the transfer of power.

The term electrical connection covers a staggering amount of systems, from plugging in a toaster to powering a microchip. Anything that uses electricity has a connection that leads to it from the outside. Inside the device are connections that lead to individual subsections of the system. Outside the device, a series of electrical transformers and substations lead all the way back to the electricity’s origin point. It would not be surprising for even a simple device to have hundreds of electrical connections involved in its use.


The most common sort of electrical connection is the basic interlocking cable. This form of connection is found in every size and configuration, from large to small and from simple to complex. This form of connection uses a cable that transports the energy to a terminal on the end of the line. This terminal has a special design that allows it to plug into another device and make a connection. The most recognizable form of this electrical connection is on the power cord belonging to most electrical devices, but other common examples include headphone jacks and light sockets.

In addition to the interlocking cable, two other basic connections can be found inside devices and within the wiring of complex systems such as houses and cars. A screw connection has a bare wire, or specially ended wire, placed into a threaded hole. A simple screw is wound down with the wire, creating a nearly inseparable connection between the wire and either the screw or the housing. This connection will stay secure through nearly any condition, making it common in devices with high vibration or other harsh conditions.

The other common type of electrical connection is capped ends. These connections are simply two bare wires wound together and then capped with an insulating plastic cap. This connection is easy to take a part so it is often used inside homes for things like mounted lights or electrical sockets. Since the connection isn’t directly fused or interlocked, these are typically only used in places where the wires won’t be bumped or allowed to come loose.

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