Uses of Pin Terminals | All That You Need to Know

If you have ever tried some basic house wiring/panel, you might know how tricky it can get to connect a wire to a European-style terminal block or other components. The whole process of removing the insulation at one end of the wire and winding it such that it can be held in place with a set screw on the electric/electronic device can get painstaking. This is where pin terminals can be of use.

Pin terminals are small devices that can offer quick and easy connections in applications where set screws are used to make electrical contact with the conductor wire. All that you need to do is to connect the wires to a pin and then use this pin for insertion into terminal blocks or other electrical/electronic components.

Where are pin terminals commonly used in?

While pin terminals are used both in electrical & electronic systems, they find more use in electronic/communication systems.

An electronic system includes different electronic devices that are interconnected. This network of various components/circuits is connected using different interconnects.

An interconnect is a physical/logical connection between 2 electronic devices of networks.

Interconnects of various types have been developed for varying purposes such as signal transmission, power distribution, and more.

Based on termination ends, these interconnect have been classified into three:

1.       Board-to-board connectors

2.       Cable/wire-to-cable/wire connectors

3.       Cable/wire-to-board connectors

Discussing all these connectors in detail will make this a one-hour read and we know it’s not your area of interest either. Still stepping forward without a brief will be unfair.

Board-to-board connectors: These connectors are mostly used for interconnecting PCBs without a cable. They save space on cables, hence making them suitable for systems with limited space irrespective of parallel & perpendicular configuration. Motherboard and daughterboard arrangements usually employ board-to-board connectors.


Cable/wire-to-cable/wire connectors: As its name suggests, it connects two wires or cables. One end is connected to a permanent wire while the other end to a separable interface.  There are a lot of varieties of Cable/wire-to-cable/wire connectors in the market each serving different purposes.

cable/wire-to-cable/wire connector

Cable/wire-to-board connectors: As its name suggests, Cable/wire-to-board connectors connect a wire to a PCB.  They are similar to the wire-to-wire connections, especially in the mating interface.

cable/wire-to-board connector

Are you wondering why we are discussing connectors instead of terminals? Well, that’s because they are the same and there is nothing much to differentiate between them.

Terminals give different meanings when used in different disciplines. From an electrical perspective, it simply means a point at which a conductor comes to an end whether it be a component, device, or network. The textbook definition of a terminal would be, a connecting joint at an endpoint, acting as a reusable interface and creating a point where external circuits can be connected. To locate it in a circuit you can look at it at the end of a wire probably fitted with a connector or a fastener.

Listing the types of terminals will be a tiring process. Whatever you see as connectors, line splices, terminal strips, solder cups, wire wraps, crimp terminals, turret terminals, crocodile clips, screw terminals, wire nuts or leads can be called a terminal. They are usually represented as a circular hollow ring in a circuit diagram.

While we have thousands of terminals available in the market, we restrict our literature review around the most popular of all the terminals, the pin terminals. 

The pin area of these terminals has a smaller diameter than the wire thereby offering a smaller pin area. This makes them an ideal candidate for the wire to board applications where you only have to solder the pin through a hole on the board.

They are also used for terminal blocking applications where there are chances of faults in the long run because of weak points due to the stress on the wire. They also prevent damages caused to the wire due to over-tightening and thus make a reliable electrical connection.

Let’s have a look at two of the commonly seen pin terminals in the market:

1. Insulated and non-insulated pin terminals

Insulated pin terminals have a plastic cover on the barrel with electrical insulation made of nylon/vinyl plastic offering electrical insulation of up to 600V and thermal insulation of up to 220 Fahrenheit. The terminal material is made of copper, plated with tin with a length of 0.35” to 0.46”.  The solid pins make the task easier for inserting the stranded wire into the screw clamp connections.

Nylon insulated terminals are chosen over vinyl plastic insulation as it has an internal brass sleeve accounting for extra-tight crimp for high-vibration applications. Note that UL Listed and CSA Certified pin terminals should be chosen from your options in the market.

Non-insulated pin terminals lack a cover on the top hence have a drop in electrical insulation to 300V. But they have a higher thermal insulation rating (up to 300 Fahrenheit). The terminal is made of copper, plated with tin, and is commonly available in lengths of 0.37” and 0.46”. We recommend the pins to be UL Listed and CSA Certified.

2. Heat shrink terminals

Crimping is the process of removing frayed wire ends. It uses a special tool to install a connector at the end of the cable. Crimping offers a stronger hence reliable connection than soldering. In soldering the filler material will degrade over time and will cause the connection to fail.

Heat shrink terminal pins are available to gap the disadvantages of these. They have an internal sealant which makes them viable in harsh conditions. The heat is applied after crimping the wire onto the wire. Thus, it keeps the moisture of the wire and ensures it doesn’t pull out of the terminal.

Red, yellow, and Blue coded shrink wired are available in the market which facilitates an environmentally sealed wire termination. Being tough, it protects the wire from abrasions, mechanical abuse, water, salts, or other contamination. They are thermally stable over a range of -55 Celsius to 100 Celsius.

With all these advantages they are used widely over many applications and are the most suggested pin terminals by experienced hands. We filter the best of those available in the market and make it ready for purchase at your fingertips. Our pins are electrically stable up to 600V and we guarantee them anti split at any harsh conditions. What are you waiting for? Place your order now!! 

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