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Practical Electronics: Components and Techniques by John M. Hughes

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Chapter 7. Connectors and Wiring

Wires and connectors are the glue that binds electronic components, assemblies, and devices into cohesive systems. Wires can be the copper traces on a PCB or actual insulated wires from one point to another inside the chassis of a device. The concept of a wire extends to include things like USB cables, power supply wiring, Ethernet cables, and shielded cables carrying audio, video, or RF (radio frequency) signals.

This chapter covers the basics of wire sizes, stranded versus solid wires, and multi-conductor cables. It also looks at shielding and how it is employed to reduce interference from external noise sources, as well as how twisted-pair wires work.

Connectors provide convenient end points for wires and allow the parts of a device or system to be modularized. This makes for easier testing, assembly, and maintenance. Without connectors, we would have to resort to soldering the wires that connect various parts of a device, or removing wires from a circuit if part of it needed to be replaced. At one time, this was indeed the case. If you ever get the opportunity to disassemble an old television set from the 1960s, you should. It is an eye-opening example of how to do things the hard way (but, in all fairness, there weren’t a whole lot of affordable options back then).

Nowadays, connectors are ubiquitous. This chapter presents descriptions of some of the more common of the various types of connectors available and describes where they are typically ...

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