A banana connector is a sprung plug designed for use with a single wire, most commonly in sound systems. The design includes a single pin with curved springs that vaguely resemble bananas, hence the name. These springs hold the plug in place when inserted, while collapsing to allow the user to remove the plug when finished. In addition to being used in sound systems, they can also be employed in electrical test equipment used to check connections and lines. Electrical suppliers typically carry them, and can special order products if none of the available options meet the need.
These fittings are designed to be attached to the stripped end of a conducting wire. They may screw, clip, or snap on. Some require the use of a soldering iron to attach the wire. Consumers can cut cables to the desired length and fit banana connectors to suit their needs. For applications where the electrical current is high, the banana connector may be insulated to reduce the risk of electric shock and other problems.
Sound systems can be wired with bare wire inserted directly into sockets in many cases, but this poses some risks. The wires may corrode, cross, and interfere with each other. Using banana connectors provides a crisp, smooth connection that will be less prone to problems. In addition, it is much easier to handle cabling when it’s attached to connectors, as it will stay in place until firmly pulled to loosen the springs. With complex wiring, it can be important to have reliable attachments.
Variations on the banana connector are available for various uses. Some are designed to work at a right angle, and others are specifically designed to be stackable with an array of other fittings. They can also be mounted with jacks to allow multiple connectors to be combined. Color-coded banana connectors can help people sort wiring and organize a wiring scheme that will be easy to understand, an issue in venues where multiple technicians may work with the wiring.
The quality of the connection can depend on the construction of the banana connector. Some have gold plating, which provides excellent conduction and low corrosion, although it tends to be more expensive. Other metals may be used when conduction quality is not as important. If it becomes an issue, it’s possible to switch out the fittings, although the metals used in the cable are also important. If they are of low quality, even a very good banana connector may not resolve problems.