Wire-to-wire connectors are used to connect two wire-terminated connectors. They are used as electrical connectors, electronic connectors, and computer connectors. General specifications for a wire-to-wire connector include mating combination or gender, number of circuits or positions, and wire size. Male wire-to-wire connectors are designed to plug into female wire to wire connectors. Typically, the number of circuits or positions for a wire to wire connector ranges from 1 to 50. Wire size is usually measured in American wire gauge (AWG), a standard for non-ferrous wire conductor sizes. The term "gauge" refers to the wire’s diameter. The higher the gauge number, the smaller the diameter and the thinner the wire. As a rule, thicker wire carries more current because there is less electrical resistance over a given length. Other parameters to consider when selecting wire-to-wire connectors include durability, pitch or center spacing, plating material, orientation, and temperature range.
Wire-to-wire connectors carry both electrical and mechanical specifications. Electrical specifications include maximum current, maximum voltage, withstanding voltage, contact resistance, insulation resistance, and number of rows or contact points. Maximum current or current-carrying capacity is measured in amps (A) and ranges from 1.0 A to 50. A. Choices for maximum voltage and withstanding voltage include 25 V, 30 V, 100 V, 125 V, 250 V, 300 V, 500, 600 V, and 1000 V. Contact resistance is an electrical measurement across or between contact surfaces. Insulation resistance is the ratio of the applied voltage to the total current between two electrodes in contact with a specific insulator. Typically, the number of rows ranges from 1 to 4. Mechanical specifications for wire-to-wire connectors include wire pull-out force, maximum mating force, minimum un-mating force, minimum normal force, and maximum contact insertion force, and minimum contact retention force.
Termination method is an important parameter to consider when selecting wire-to-wire connectors. Choices include: crimp to crimp, IDC to IDC, FFC/FPC to crimp, crimp to IDC, FFC/FPC to IDC, FFC/FPC to FC/FPC, screw, and quick disconnect to quick disconnect. Crimp termination is a connection method for a wire-to-wire connector in which a metal sleeve is secured to a conductor via mechanical crimping. Insulation displacement connection (IDC) technology forces an insulated wire into a slot whose width is smaller than the diameter of the conductor. Flat flex cables (FFCs) can be smooth or corrugated, but have two flat surfaces. Flat printed circuitry (FPC) for wire-to-wire connectors is also commonly available. Screw terminals tighten the wire against the current bar, sometimes with a pressure plate. Quick connect and quick disconnect products can be easily assembled without the use of tools.