A picture of such fittings appears in the Genderless hermaphroditic connectors section of this article. The IBM token ring connector was another widespread example, but it has become obsolete and is being phased out. Abbreviations and alternate terminology[ edit ] The standard letters "M" and "F" are commonly used in part numbers to designate connector gender. However, a physical attempt to mate two USB "Type A" cables with each other reveals the fact that the connectors will not interconnect. These connections are usually not sealed or caulked, instead relying on gravity to move the rainwater from the male end and into the receiving female connection located directly below. Hermaphroditic connections, which include both male and female elements in a single unit, are used for some specialized tubing fittings, such as Storz fire hose connectors. However, since one-way flow is implemented by forced-air fans or blowers, "backwards" gendered connections can be seen frequently in some systems, since all connections are typically sealed with duct sealing mastic or tape to prevent leakage anyway. The same generally occurs also in Italy, where the English word "jack" is commonly used to indicate the connector on the end of a headphone lead. These mating surfaces are mounted into identical fittings which can freely mate with any other, without regard for gender provided that the size and type are already matched.
In such cases, the gender is assigned based on the innermost connecting point. A casual glance at a USB "Type A" plug connector may give the false impression that it is hermaphroditic. Electrical and electronic[ edit ] Male VGA connector Gender of electrical connectors is defined by the pins Although the gender of tubing and plumbing fittings is usually obvious, this may not be true of electrical connectors because of their more complex and varying constructions. Downspout[ edit ] Downspouts downpipes, rain conductors or leaders are used to convey rainwater from roof gutters to the ground through hollow pipes or tubes. Instead, the "maleness" of the D-subminiature connectors is defined by specific presence of male pins, rather than by the protrusion of the connector, which is also true for many other pin-based connectors like XLR. Depending on the design of the power adapter, it may react to a short circuit by shutting down temporarily, or instead by blowing out an internal safety fuse. Power is provided by the female plug on the right to the male jack on the left; the exposed conductors are not hazardous due to the low voltage. It is common practice to use female connectors for jacks, so the informal gender-based usage often happens to agree with the functional description of the technical standards. See the discussion of Genderless connectors elsewhere in this article for more detailed information. Some audio multicore cables are fitted with hermaphroditic multipin quick-disconnect connectors for ease of use in the field. Hermaphroditic connections, which include both male and female elements in a single unit, are used for some specialized tubing fittings, such as Storz fire hose connectors. The hermaphroditic design is useful when multiple complex or lengthy components must be arbitrarily connected in various combinations. This is usually done because female connectors are more resistant to damage or contamination, by virtue of their concealed or recessed electrical contacts. Close examination of these connectors reveals that the contact "pins" are not actually pins, but instead are conductive surfaces that slide past each other when they mate. Another closely related type is the stackable connector for electronics, which typically has male pins on one surface, and complementary female sockets on the opposite surface, allowing multiple units to be stacked up like plastic milk crates. These connections are usually not sealed or caulked, instead relying on gravity to move the rainwater from the male end and into the receiving female connection located directly below. The IBM token ring connector was another widespread example, but it has become obsolete and is being phased out. For example, in Switchcraft XLR microphone or hydrophone connectors, the part numbers are denoted as follows: Devices that need to be robust against mechanical damage use a special male IEC C14 connector see Gallery above , which is recessed below the surface of a mounting panel, providing the desired physical protection while conforming to safety regulations. These mating surfaces are mounted into identical fittings which can freely mate with any other, without regard for gender provided that the size and type are already matched. Both terms mean the same thing but could be construed to be completely different items. As an illustrative example of some design tradeoffs in power connector selection, consider the adjacent picture. With the exception of reverse polarity BNC or TNC, where the outer shell determines the gender and the innermost connecting points are opposite to a standard connector, for example a female RP-TNC connector has a solid innermost pin. Typically, the airflow through a ductwork connection is from male to female. Several of these latter alternate names are ambiguous in meaning, and should not be used unless carefully defined in context.
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