Terminal (electronics)

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Electrical terminal diagram symbol

A terminal is the point at which a conductor from an electrical component, device or network comes to an end and provides a point of connection to external circuits. A terminal may simply be the end of a wire or it may be fitted with a connector or fastener. In network analysis, terminal means a point at which connections can be made to a network in theory and does not necessarily refer to any real physical object. In this context, especially in older documents, it is sometimes called a pole. On circuit diagrams, terminals for external connections are denoted by empty circles. They are distinguished from nodes that are entirely internal to the circuit, which are denoted by solid circles.

The connection may be temporary, as seen in portable equipment, may require a tool for assembly and removal, or may be a permanent electrical joint between two wires or devices.

All electric cells have two terminals. The first is the positive terminal and the second is the negative terminal. The positive terminal looks like a metal cap and the negative terminal looks like a metal disc. The current flows from the positive terminal, and out through the negative terminal, replicative of current flow (positive (+) to negative (-) flow).

Types of terminals[edit]

  • Splices
  • Cups
  • Hooks
  • Solder Lugs
  • Tongue Crimp terminals (ring terminals)
  • Turrets
  • Test probes (pogo terminals)
  • Clips
  • Screw terminals
  • Tab terminals (quick-connect, quick-disconnect)
  • Wire nuts

See also[edit]