Jameco power connector challenge

Jameco Electronics presents a challenge to correctly identify power connectors as male or female. While most connector genders are determined by common characteristics and become set in terminology, this is apparently not the case for barrel type power connectors.

Jameco is conducting a survey to determine which of the above connectors should be characterized as male and female.

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28 Comments

  1. I have a dirty mind and I always associate connector’s gender to sexual intercourse. So for me, you insert the male into the female so the plug will be the male and the jack the female.

    1. But there is multiple “penetrations” involved, the scenario is a bit more vulgar and convoluted.

  2. The jack is male. The same holds for most coaxial connectors. The gender is defined by the central contact, and the shield is usually the opposite gender.

    1. “The gender is defined by the central contact”
      Evan gave the text book answer. This is what you will be expected to answer when tested, usually =P

  3. These are very old school terms, sex taboos and such, if they were any older they might of been “bung” and “bunghole”.

    “Jack” is the term used to refer to the assembly, the parts of the assembly are a “Plug” and a “Socket”.

    Common usages:
    “Is the pin shorted to the shroud in the socket?”
    “Is the plug pulling free from the cable?”
    “Wiggle the jack around, did it ___?”

    *Shrug* What does RCA say, pretty sure they are to “blame” for most of those era connectors.

  4. I usually consider the item with the protruding element male (similar to human anatomy) and the one that is even to the surface and does not have any exposed element female.

  5. This isn’t a complicated issue. The one on the left is male. It goes inside something. The one on the right is female, something goes inside it. Even if there’s a 100 little pins inside a receptacle, it’s still female if it’s a recessed cavity and something goes inside of it.

    1. Or the other way around, The one on the left is the female, the center ‘pin’ goes into her. The one on the right is male, the center pin is all firmly set there. Even if there’s 100 little pins inside a receptacle, it’s still male(s). :p

      Jokinly, but some truth to it :)

      Personally, I prefer to let the ‘sex’ of the jack be determined by center pin(s).

    2. Sorry Greg, but this isn’t the case with many. Consider a normal everyday DB25 connector, the Female has the body which protrudes and inserts into the other shell, yet it’s a female because the pins on the mating connector insert into it. It’s almost always determined by the pins, not the shell

  6. I think the one which provides current should be called male. For safety reasons, almost no plug that provides current allows you to touch both the positive and negative poles of such a plug. In the case of standard 12V 5.5mm plugs/sockets as depicted, i’d say that the left one is male, because it’s the ‘safest’.

    1. So, in a standard AC wall outlet, the socket is male and the plug is female? That sounds backwards…

  7. As with coaxial RF connectors, the center pin always determines gender. For example the ubiquitous “N-type” connector also has the “female” outer shell going inside the “male” connector however, as is standard, the center pin determines this.

  8. You oppressive people sicken me!!! Why do we have to be so quick to use arbitrary labels to artificially constrain others? Why don’t we let the parts themselves decide if they are male or female? Maybe they don’t want to be referred to by ANY arbitrary, artificially constraining label like that. Have you thought about that?!?

    1. So they could be gay connectors? Or perhaps those pictured are ‘confused’ or perhaps Bi-sexual connectors? Actually the Anderson connectors used on electric forklifts can be either!

  9. it’s all about the center pin. protective measures are irrelevant. always practice safe connections!

  10. I always consider the jack to be female because something gets inserted into it, regardless of the center pin(s). I’ve always considered the end of a wall-wart to be a male, whether it hosts the center pin or not.

    I always thought this way how it worked, but I guess its about 50-50 as far as votes.

  11. Based on general convention, yes whoever wrote the article does have it wrong – though he does not that these connectors use this specific convention, so that infers that for whatever reason, these connectors are treated differently. So he / she is probably correct for that particular connector, but it’s treated differently to general convention for whatever reason (likely just adoption by the manufacturer).

    Let’s face it, this is a grey area for many connectors that have male sections and female sections, or a number of both. At work we sometimes shift away from the ‘male’ and ‘female’ designations for that very reason and use names like ‘Plug’ and ‘Socket’ which can sometimes help where it’s more obvious which is which – e.g. DC barrel jacks.

  12. Edit – should have written “…does note that these connectors use this specific convention”. Missed the ‘e’ and so it sounds wrong.

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