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Selecting and Using Terminal Blocks

In its most basic form, a terminal block is simply a way to connect two wires. An invention that’s elegant in its simplicity, these electronic components are used in countless applications ranging from grounds to switches and disconnects.

Selecting and Using Terminal Blocks
Kimball Electronics represents today’s most well-respected terminal block manufacturers, including Cooper Bussman, TE Connectivity, Keystone, Curtis and many more.

Types of Terminal Blocks

As basic as terminal block technology may be, this type of electronic component is manufactured for countless unique purposes. Most components are modular and insulated, arranged in a strip-like configuration. They are defined by structure as well as by the type of device in which they are used.

For example, single-feed structures are used to connect one wire to another, with one input and one output. Dual-feed (also known dual-level or two-tier) and three-level designs provide greater flexibility in a compact space.

To achieve wire connection, term blocks may use screw or spring clamps, tab connectors or insulation displacement connections (IDC). You can choose your preferred wire entry angle, size and even color to make identification easier.

Terminal Block Applications and Uses

Today, terminal blocks and screw terminals are used in computers and electronics, industrial equipment, power distribution, automotive and marine machinery, building controls, communications and safety equipment.

The construction industry is a major consumer of these electronic components, incorporating them in telecom systems, automation and electrical systems. Industrial equipment manufacturers also utilize these connectors, as do appliance and home audio manufacturers.

The automotive industry requires these components for a variety of applications. The many electronic motor vehicle components require complex wiring schematics, and execution must occur in compact spaces. For that reason, terminal blocks present the ideal solution for organization, identification and easy access.

Choosing the Right Terminal Block for Your Project

With thousands of options available, selecting the right connector for your needs is critical. If you choose the wrong one, your connection will fail, and you run the risk of damaging sensitive electronic components.

To ensure that you select the appropriate terminal block type and structure for your needs, start by identifying the wire size, current and voltage that you’ll be working with. Then, determine how you will mount the components.

DIN rail terminal block mounting utilizes aluminum rails, onto which the blocks snap easily. This creates an easily scalable — and modifiable — configuration that is compact and easy to access. You can choose from screw and screwless connection options as well as fuse and ground blocks.

NEMA designs, although less popular, are used more frequently in heavy-duty applications and those requiring high current. They are larger and provide fewer terminations; however, their open construction provides easier access for wiring.

Printed circuit board blocks, also known as PCB terminal blocks, are commonly used for power and data connections. Barrier-style terminal blocks are available in single, double and triple configurations as well as high-voltage.

The convenient Kimball Electronics Inc. e-commerce site features almost 600 terminal block options to choose from. Whatever your project requires, we have the high-quality electronic components you need. Visit us online today, or at one of our convenient store locations in Boise, Idaho, and Salt Lake City, Utah.