Country: United Kingdom

Ribbon Cables and their applications

Single- and multi-coloured ribbon cables are used e.g. in fixed connections in telecommunication devices or electronic control systems for machines.

Telephone cables in practice

These cables are used not only in telecommunications, but they also proved to be good for standard telephone connections with the most common number of cores.

Separable joints

Separable joints
Photograph 1. In case of connectors with spring clamp terminals, a wire is inserted into a socket. In order to take the wire out, special button must be pressed to release spring pressure.

The basis of a separable connection is a connector that ensures appropriate electrical contact as well as easy and multiple connections. In the case of multicontact connectors, the quality of insulation between particular contacts is important as well.

Separable joints are used e.g.:

  • for connecting power supply,
  • for input signals,
  • in connecting modules or functional blocks of an electrical installation,
  • for the purposes of service operations.

Types of separable connections

Connectors allow for the cable-cable or cable-board connections.

  • The cable-cable versions come in different shapes (rectangular, round) and include two functional components – a plug and a socket, which form a connection pair.
  • The cable-board connections, on the other hand, are elements for connecting signals and power supply to circuits on a printed circuit board. They are available only as single-element components or as a plug-socket pairs.

terminal block
Photograph 2. One piece wire-board connectors with a screw terminal are often called “terminal blocks”.

Cable fastening

The connectors also differ in terms of cable fastening system, which may use:

  • clamp pins,
  • screw terminals,
  • spring clips.

Connectors to be mounted on a PCB board are fixed (soldered) in the process of surface mount technology (SMT) or through-hole technology (THT).

Types of contacts used

Particular types of contacts determine connection properties and the application scope:

  • screw terminals are primarily used in electrical engineering and power electronics - for connecting power supply;
  • spring clips are used for electrical devices as well as in industrial applications;
  • pins, where the cable is fixed by clamping, can usually be found in electronics, automotive, and industrial applications.

terminal block
Photograph 3. An example of a connector with a screw terminal, used in electrical engineering.

There are also specialist versions available, e.g. for the needs of audio signal, power supply, high frequency, etc.

See also:


It is estimated that there are far over 1,000 types of different couplings on the market. On the one hand, it allows you to pick an appropriate element in virtually any situation, but on the other hand, it requires quite a bit of knowledge and orientation in offers from manufacturers.