Terminal (electronics)

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Terminal symbol
A terminal strip, to which wires can be soldered

A terminal is the point at which a conductor from a component, device or network comes to an end.[1] Terminal may also refer to an electrical connector at this endpoint, acting as the reusable interface to a conductor and creating a point where external circuits can be connected.[2][3] A terminal may simply be the end of a wire or it may be fitted with a connector or fastener.[citation needed]

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 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.[4] They are distinguished from nodes or junctions which are entirely internal to the circuit, and are denoted by solid circles.[5]

All electrochemical cells have two terminals (electrodes) which are referred to as the anode and cathode or positive (+) and negative (-). On many dry batteries, the positive terminal (cathode) is a protruding metal cap and the negative terminal (anode) is a flat metal disc (see Battery terminal). In a galvanic cell such as a common AA battery, electrons flow from the negative terminal to the positive terminal, while the conventional current is opposite to this.[6]

Types of terminals[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Davis, Larry (4 January 2012). "Definitions of Technical Terms - 'T' to 'Ter'". Electronic Engineering Dictionary. Retrieved 1 July 2019.
  2. ^ Connectors - Technologies and Trends (PDF). ZVEI - German Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers’ Association. August 2016. p. 51.
  3. ^ Barach, John. "Definition of Terminal". Dictionary of Automotive Terms. {{cite encyclopedia}}: |website= ignored (help)
  4. ^ "Circuit Symbols for Wires, Cables, Switches, Connectors". Electronics Notes. Retrieved 1 July 2019.
  5. ^ Electronics Symbols Handbook (PDF). Cleveland Institute of Electronics. p. 6. Retrieved 1 July 2019.
  6. ^ "An introduction to redox equilibria". Chemguide. Retrieved 4 July 2019.