Also known as AC adapters, power supplies, and chargers, power adapters are specialized electronic devices that convert AC power from a wall outlet to usable DC voltage. Power connector refers to the plug that connects the adapter to the electronic device.

When working on a new electronics project, such as building a PC, you’ll need to select a suitable DC power connector for your build. Today, connectors are easy to find and inexpensive. Your choice will depend on your unique business needs.

Let’s walk through the main points you should consider when selecting a power connector for your business.

Choosing the correct power connector size

There are two measurements used to specify the size of a DC connector or plug—OD, which refers to the outer diameter, and ID, referring to the inner diameter.

The most common type of connector you’ll find will be labelled as a ‘2.1mm DC connector’. These connectors feature a centre pin measuring 2.1mm and have an outer diameter of 5.5mm.

Most single-voltage adapters will work fine with a 2.1mm plug. You can also select a universal power adapter that allows you to change out the DC connector when required.

Some other DC plug sizes include:

  • 5mm x 1.35mm
  • 0mm x 1.7mm
  • 8mm x 1.7mm
  • 5mm x 1.7mm
  • 5mm x 2.1mm
  • 5mm x 2.5mm
  • 3mm x 3.0mm
  • 3mm x 4.4mm

You can determine the size of a DC connector by measuring the centre pin’s diameter (ID) and the port’s inner diameter (OD).

For male and female DC connectors to connect securely, the OD and ID measurements must match.

Choosing the correct polarity

Once you’ve made sure you’re buying a correctly sized connector, you’ll need to make sure the polarity matches, too.

Most appliances feature a circular connector. Within these connectors, the inner hole carries one pole, while the outer hole carries the other.

The most common type of connector is centre-positive, although centre-negative connectors are also available.

When selecting a power adapter for your business, you’ll need to make sure its connector matches your electronic device. Check the symbol on your AC adapter to make sure the connectors have the same polarity.

Universal power adapters

If you’re unsure about the size and polarity of a DC power connector, or if your business works with multiple electronic devices at once, a universal power adapter may be the best choice for you.

Universal adapters allow you to use different connectors, polarities, and voltages. As always, make sure to triple-check the polarity and voltage of your adapter and its connectors—if things don’t add up, you could seriously damage your electronic device.

Conclusion

DC power connectors facilitate a connection between AC adapters and electronic devices. Their role is to convert AC power from a wall outlet to DC voltage usable by PCs, laptops, and other appliances.

When choosing a connector for your business, make sure the size and polarity match up. If you’re unsure, you can always invest in a universal power adapter instead.

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