Banana connectors offer a quick and easy way to join wires. They’ve been around for nearly a century. Also known as banana plugs, banana connectors feature a plug-and-play design. You can plug them into other banana connectors or equipment. If you’re thinking about using them, though, you should learn the advantages and disadvantages.
What Are Banana Connectors?
Banana connectors are electrical connectors that are used to join single-conductor wires to each other or to pieces of equipment. They are available in two styles: male and female. To join two wires together, you can install a male banana connector on one of the wires and a female banana connector on the other wire.
Alternatively, you can connect a wire to a piece of equipment by installing a male banana connector on it. Equipment such as speakers often feature female banana connectors built into them. You can plug male banana connectors directly into them.
Advantages of Using Banana Connectors
You can easily install banana connectors. Like most other connectors, they require wire stripping. Whether it’s a male or female banana connector, you’ll need to strip the end of the wire before installing it. After removing the jacket and exposing the conductor, you can install the banana connector on the stripped wire.
While some banana connectors require crimping, others do not. There are screw-type banana connectors that live up to their namesake by leveraging a screw to hold the wire in place. Just insert the stripped wire into the center of the screw-type banana connector, after which you can turn a screw so that it presses against the wire.
Banana connectors are available in different sizes. Some of the most common sizes include 2 mm and 4 mm. Both of these sizes represent the diameter of the plug itself. The latter is twice as big — diameter-wise — as the former. In the United States and Europe, banana connectors come in 2mm and 4 mm sizes.
Disadvantages of Using Banana Connectors
There are still some disadvantages associated with banana connectors. For starters, their applications are somewhat limited. They are typically rated for 30 V. For applications requiring a higher voltage rating, you may need to choose a different type of connector.
Banana plugs are designed for use with low-voltage applications because of their exposure nature. The plug, for instance, may be partially exposed if a male banana connector isn’t pressed all the way into a female connector. To protect against injury, banana connectors are typically rated for 30 V.