What Are Terminal Blocks?
When setting up an electrical assembly and attempting to organize wires, terminal blocks are useful devices to implement more optimal and efficient connections. Terminal blocks are simply modular, insulated blocks that secure two or more wires in an assembly, bolstering organization while protecting wires from damage. With several individual terminals arranged in a strip, terminal blocks open up more opportunities to connect wiring to a ground, connect electrical switches and outlets to mains, and more. As terminal blocks can work with multiple types of connector components while deterring corrosion, damage, and other issues, it can be quite useful to have a general understanding of common variations and options.
There are many ways in which terminal blocks can be categorized, one popular method being through their structure. Single feed-through blocks are a common design option, and they are often considered the most basic for wire-to-wire connections. These structures will generally have one input and one output contact, and connections within the housing may be established by having two distinct wires fed through either side of the block. The next common structure is the dual level terminal block, that of which has two levels of contacts to save space for more complex wiring needs. For enhanced circuit flexibility, a bridge may be used to connect levels to one another. For the final structure, the three level terminal block is available, that of which is simply a dial level block with an extra stack of contacts that may be bridged.
Beyond structure, terminal blocks are also commonly categorized based on the applications or devices that they serve. For example, ground components and systems regularly rely on ground circuit terminals, those of which are insertable and often interchangeable with standard terminal blocks. Meanwhile, systems that face the risk of short circuits may take advantage of fuse holders which have their own fuses to protect wiring sections. If temperatures need to be measured or monitored for operations, then thermocouple blocks are a good choice that permit the attachment of thermocouples. Alongside these examples, other options include I/O blocks, sensor/actuator blocks, power distribution blocks, and disconnect blocks.
Aside from classifications, other important specifications that are useful to know when shopping around are mounting and termination options. For mounting, most terminal blocks are either snapped onto metal rails, screwed into panels, or mounted onto a printed circuit board (PCB). For metal rails, DIN rails are the most optimal choice as there are various standardized sizes available, examples being miniature top-hat rails, G32 rails, and top-hat rails. When it comes to PCB mounting, integral pins, plugs, or other such attachment components may be used.
When it comes to termination options, there are a variety of methods that may be used, options including screw clamps, spring clamps, insulation displacement connections (IDC), and tab connections. As some simply require mechanical force while others require soldering, it is important to first consider your needs so that the right type of termination can be implemented. Once you have narrowed down the particular structures, applications, and specifications that fit your needs, let the experts at AFR Enterprises help you source everything you require with competitive pricing and rapid lead times.
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