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Complete Guide to Banana Test Sockets (Jacks)

26 November 2018 16:20

The Complete Guide to Banana Test Sockets (Jacks)

Banana Socket or Banana Jack (US terminology) is a female electrical connector used to safely connect a single wire or lead to electronic or electrical test equipment, instruments or other apparatus. There are 2 common sizes and several types of banana jacks. We’ll explain the common connector types and provide examples of where they are typical used.

1 - General Information On Banana Sockets (Test Jacks)

2 - Banana Socket (Jack) Sizes: 4mm & 2mm

3 - Banana Sockets (Jacks): Sleeve Types

4 - Banana Sockets (Jacks): Termination Type

5 - Banana Socket: Binding Posts

6 - Dual Banana Test Sockets and Posts

7 - Conclusion

1 - General Information on Banana Sockets (Jacks)?

Banana Sockets (Jacks) are female electrical connectors that a Banana Plug inserts into to make a connection. Banana Sockets (Jacks) are commonly found in either 4mm (standard) or 2mm (miniature) socket sizes. Discover the Complete Guide to Banana Plugs for more information on types and sizes.

  • Standard Banana Socket (Jack) accepts either; unshrouded or retractable shrouded 4mm (standard) Banana plugs irrespective of the pin leaf number. However, a standard Banana Socket cannot accept a standard Shrouded Banana Plug.
  • Shrouded Banana Socket (Jack) accepts; shrouded, unshrouded and retractable shrouded 4mm (standard) Banana plugs irrespective of the pin leaf number.

Banana Sockets (Jacks) can be found in a range of colours, the most common being black and red. It is common to see them follow the standard colour codes; 0 - Black, 1 - Brown, 2 - Red, 3 - Orange, 4 - Yellow, 5 - Green, 6 - Blue, 7 - Violet, 8 - Grey, 9 - White.

4mm Vs. 2mm Standard Straight Banana Sockets

2 - Banana Sockets (Jacks) Sizes: 4mm and 2mm

Banana Sockets (Jacks) are usually available in two sizes, standard and miniature. In Europe, a standard banana socket refers to a 4mm socket. Generally all standard Banana Sockets are compatible with all 4mm Banana Plugs. A miniature or mini Banana Socket is a smaller version of the Standard Banana Socket. 

Standard Banana Sockets are frequently found in; automotive diagnostic, industrial and electrical testing applications. Specific applications affect connector body type and preferred colour.

Shrouded Banana Socket 4mm vs 2mm sizes

3 - Banana Sockets (Jacks): Sleeve Types

Shrouded (safety) Banana Test Sockets

Shrouded Banana Sockets (Jacks) are also referred to as Safety Banana Sockets. They feature insulation (protective plastic sleeve) around the connector to avoid accidental contact with the metal socket in high voltage situations. Standard (4mm) Safety Banana Sockets accept Standard (4mm) Banana Plugs.

Unshrouded (uninsulated) Banana Sockets

Unshrouded Banana Sockets (Jacks) are also called uninsulated banana sockets. They feature a bare socket that is uninsulated and visible. The uninsulated banana socket is commonly used in lower voltage electrical testing applications.

4 - Banana Sockets (Jacks): Termination Types

Banana Sockets (Jacks) are female connectors that banana plugs (male) are inserted into. They are typically mounted to fit in an enclosure or on a panel. The Banana Socket interface rests on the surface of the enclosure or panel for easy access for the plug.

Banana Sockets (Jacks) can have different types of connection terminals at the front end which enables the socket to connect to different electrical fixtures or circuits. Bindings Posts are one type of Banana Socket (Jack). 

Faston Terminal (Spade)
PJP 3270-I Yellow Solder Bucket
PJP 3250 Binding Post Binding Post

5 - Banana Socket - Binding Posts

Binding Posts are a connector consisting of a threaded screw to which bare wires are attached and held in place by a nut. Binding posts can also be referred to a universal post or 5-way because there are several methods to attach wire to the connector. The popularity and of the binding posts is largely due to the flexibility and connection capability. Connection methods;

  1. Banana Plugs via the socket in the screw top
  2. Pin Connectors via the hole in the post or a socket in the screw top
  3. Bare Wire via a hole in the post
  4. Lug Terminal by inserting the lug between the screw top and base
  5. Alligator Clip via clipping onto the post

Where are binding post Terminals commonly used? 

Binding post terminals are typically found on; speakers, receivers, high-voltage test equipment and various test and measurement hand held devices. 

6 - Dual Banana Jacks and Posts

Dual Sockets are simply two sockets together that make it safer to plug in two wires with no chance of stray wire strands creating a short across contacts. Similarly, dual binding posts are two posts together that commonly have a dual plug inserted.

Where are dual Banana Sockets (Jacks) and posts commonly used?

Dual Banana Sockets and posts are typically found in amplifiers or speakers that use traditional binding posts. Dual double binding post with BNC connectors are used for miniature-to-subminiature coaxial cable in radio, television, and other radio-frequency electronic equipment, test instruments such as automotive oscilloscopes, and video signals.   

7 - Banana Sockets (Jacks) Conclusion

Banana Sockets (Jacks) are a common and important component in many electrical applications. Joining wires and leads to equipment correctly is invaluable for safety and performance. Be sure to choose the correct; size, sleeve type, terminal style and colour for your electrical application.