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GLOSSARY OF TERMS

A

Abbreviation for ampre. Measurement of the flow rate of electric current.

AMP

Abbreviation for ampere. Measurement of the flow rate of electric current.

Analog

a mechanism in which data is represented
A mechanism in which data is represented by continuously variable physical quantities.

ANSI

American National Standards Institute – Founded in 1918, ANSI is a voluntary organization composed of companies large and small that create standards for the computer industry.

Asynchronous

Not all elements of a device or system operate at the same time, nor in a predetermined sequence.

Asynchronous Transmission

Transmission in which time intervals between transmitted bits may be of unequal length. Transmission is controlled by start and stop bits which frame each character.

ATA

Supports one or two hard drives, a 16-bit interface and PIO modes 0, 1 and 2. Also known as IDE.

ATA Interface

Abbreviation for AT Attachment, a protocol written for computer systems. See IDE.

ATA-2

Supports faster PIO modes 3 and 4 and multiword DMA modes 1 and 2. ATA-2 is also marketed as Fast ATA and Enhanced IDE (EIDE).

ATA-3

Minor revision to ATA-2.

ATAS

CA trademark name short for ATA Socket, a 40-pin grounded connector designed to accept 80-conductor cable.

Attenuation

A reduction in power. Occurs naturally during wave travel through lines, waveguides, space or medium such as water. Attenuation may be produced intentionally by placing an attenuator in a circuit. Amount of attenuation is generally expressed in decibels.

AWG

American Wire Gauge – System of numerical designations for wire size. The higher the number, the smaller the wire.

Backplane

Communication line to which individual components of an electronic system are connected. It can be as simple as a series of wires on the back of a panel or as complex as a microprocessor driven circuit board. A PC motherboard is a backplane.

Bail Lock

Spring members which are attached to the connector flanges and are used to hold mated connectors together.

Bandwidth

Measurement of the amount of data that can be transmitted over a medium. Bandwidth for analog devices is measured in Hertz (Hz) and is the difference between the highest and lowest frequencies. Digital devices are measured in “Bits per Second.”

BC

Abbreviation for beryllium copper, a contact material.

Bifurcated Contact

A spring contact that has been split lengthwise to provide two independent contact surfaces. This redundancy assures two points of contact with the mating element.

Bit

The smallest element of information in binary data types.

Blind Mating

The act of mating two connectors without being able to see the actual connection. Blind mateable connectors have design features such as guides that assure their proper mating.

Body

In a connector, the main or largest portion of the housing.

Braid

A weave of metal fibers used as a shield covering for an insulated conductor or group of conductors.

Bus

1) Wire – Uninsulated conductor. 2) Circuits – One or more conductor paths used to transmit information from any of several sources to any of several sources.

Byte

A group of 8 Bits.

Cable Assembly

A completed cable and its associated hardware consisting of cable, connector(s), and attached accessories.

CAD System

Abbreviation for Computer-Aided Design. Specially designed software used in engineering design.

Capacitance

The property of dielectric material that permits the storage of electromagnetic energy when voltage is applied across the dielectric material.

Centerline

An imaginary line drawn from the center of one object to the center of another.

Closed Entry

Contacts are not visible on the “point of entry” surface of a socket.

Color Coding

A selective color sequence for the conductors of cable to aid in its identification when terminating.

Conductor

In cable, the individual wire (solid or stranded bundle) used to carry electricity from the contact of one connector to the contact of another connector.

Configuration

The number and specific arrangement of the contacts in a given connector.

Contact Wipe

The area the of the contact surfaces that are touching during mating of one connector to another.

Continuity

A continuous path for the flow of current in an electrical circuit.

Controller

A device that controls the transfer of data to and from a computer to another device. Monitors, keyboards, printers are examples of devices that need a controller. Do not confuse controllers with drivers.

Crosstalk

A magnetic or electrostatic coupling which causes the unwanted transfer of energy from one conductor of cable to another (resulting in unwanted noise or interference).

CRT Display

A computer terminal monitor with a cathode-ray tube.

CSA

Abbreviation for Canadian Standards Association. The Canadian counterpart of the Underwriters Laboratories.

Daisy Chain

A hardware configuration in which devices are linked in a series. Data is transferred from the first device then to the second and so on.

Daughterboard

A smaller PC board that is inserted into a connector which is mounted onto the larger motherboard.

DB Connector

Alternate terminology for D-sub connector. DB9 is a 9 pin D-sub connector.

DDWG

Abbreviation for Digital Display Working Group, a group of companies writing the standards for DVI technology.

DFP

Abbreviation for Digital Flat Panel referring to very thin digital computer monitors and television screens.

DIP

Dual Inline Package – Two rows of symmetrical pins in a plastic housing.

DIP Soldering

The process of making electrical connections, usually to a PCB, by means of dipping one side of the board in molten solder, thus soldering the projecting connector leads to the circuitry printed on the board.

DMA

Direct Memory Access – A data transfer technique where data transmission between devices are not routed through the CPU. This allows for faster data transfers.

Dual In-line Package (DIP)

Connectors which have 2 rows of parallel contacts on the 2 longer sides of the housing.

Dual Leaf

Dual beam socket contact that mates with both sides of the mating pin.

Dust Cover

A connector accessory used to provide protection against dust and foreign debris. CA manufactures a dust cover for the MDP & NFDP connectors.

DVI

Abbreviation for Digital Visual Interface

Edge Connector or Edge Card Connector

A connector into which the edge of a printed circuit board is inserted.

EIDE

Abbreviation for Enhanced Intelligent Drive Electronics or Enhanced Integrated Drive Electronics. See IDE.

EMI

Abbreviation for Electromagnetic Interference. Unwanted electrical or electromagnetic energy causing noise or malfunction.

End Stackable

The dimensions of the plastic are precise enough to stack them end-to-end and maintain the same pin to pin spacing from connector to connector.

Epoxy

A material used to form a chemical bond when applied over wires soldered to connector contacts, such as CA’s DIP plugs.

Face

The interface of a connector. See mating face.

FC

Abbreviation for Fibre Channel

FEP

Abbreviation for Fluorinated Ethylene Propylene, a Teflon insulation for cable.

Fiber Optic Cable

Cable used for high-speed data transfer that uses pulses of light instead of electric current. Fiber Optic cable contains a bundle of flexible glass thread inside a plastic sheath.

Flange

A projection extending from a connector with holes for mounting the connector to a panel, or to a mating connector. Also referred to as mounting ears.

Gas Tight Connection

An electrical connection of sufficient pressure to prevent the intrusion of a corrosive atmosphere into the contact area.

Gigabit

When used as a rate of measuring data transfer rates, a gigabit equals 1,000,000,000 bits.

Gold Flash Plating

A very thin plating, usually 3 to 5 micro inches, only enough metal to uniformly cover the surface of the base metal.

Ground

A connection between an electrical circuit and some conducting body, such as a cable wire ground to the metal housing of a connector.

Header

Generic term usually referring to a male connector or plug.

Hi-Temp

A connector designed with materials that can withstand extremely high temperatures.

High-density

A connector design that incorporates a larger number of contacts in a smaller housing by decreasing the spacing between contacts.

Hot Pluggable

Referring to the ability of a cable assembly to be plugged into a computer system or device without turning off the computer or rebooting.

Hot Swappable

The ability to disconnect and reconnect device in a system without turning it off.

Housing

The part of a connector that holds the contacts. Also referred to as the connector insulator.

HSSDC

High Speed Serial Digital Connector

I/O

Abbreviation for Input/Output

IC

Integrated Circuit – The combination of passive and active components to make a complete function.

IDC

Abbreviation for Insulation Displacement Connector or Insulation Displacement Contact.

IDE Interface

Abbreviation of either Intelligent Drive Electronics or Integrated Drive Electronics. An interface technology for mass storage devices in which the controller is integrated into the disk or CD-ROM drive.

IDT

Insulation Displacement Termination – A method of cable termination where by the wire is pressed on to the connector.

IEEE

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers – Organization that develops networking and communication standards, including standards for cabling, access, schemes and physical topologies.

Impedance

Measure of resistance in a wire to electrical current flow. The less impedance, the better.

Inductance

The property of a wire or circuit that opposes changes in the current flow.

Injection Molding

A method of molding plastics by first heating granular plastic to its molten state and injecting it into the mold cavity where the plastic solidifies and is then ejected from the cavity.

Insertion Force

A measurement of the required pressure to engage mating connectors.

Insulation

In cable, a material used to cover wires to prevent contact of adjacent conductors which would result in a short circuit.

Insulator

The part of a connector that holds the contacts. Also referred to as the connector housing.

Interconnect

Mating connectors or cable assembly used to make connection from one connector or board to another connector or board.

Interface

The surfaces of two connectors which face each other when mated.

Intermateable

When a connector manufactured by one company will mate directly with a competitor’s connector.

ISO

International Organization for Standardization – Organization comprised of standards groups from around the world that develop international and national standards for a variety of fields including data communication.

Isochronous

Time dependent. Processes where data must be delivered within certain time constraints.

Jackscrew

A connector accessory (one or two per connector) used to draw mating connectors together and to separate them. Includes a threaded screw on one connector which screws into the threads on the mating connector.

Jumper

A metal bridge that closes an electrical circuit. Typically, a jumper consists of a plastic plug that fits over a pair of protruding pins, like CA’s 2-pin shorting jumper (02SJO-A).

Key (or keying plug)

A projection, usually made of the same material as the connector housing, designed to provide additional polarization for mating connectors. Edge card keys fit into slots between the contact cavities.

LAN

Abbreviation for Local Area Network. A privately owned network system interconnecting electronic equipment locally, as in an office building.

LCD

Abbreviation for Liquid Crystal Display.

Lead(s)

Another name for pins or terminals of a connector.

LED

Abbreviation for Light-Emitting Diode.

LIF

Abbreviation for Low Insertion Force when referring to connector contacts.

Low Profile

Height of the actual visible plastic height above the PC board.

LVD

Abbreviation for Low Voltage Differential, a SCSI standard that uses a 32-bit bus and supports data rates of 160MBps.

Mass Termination

A means of terminating multiple conductors of cable to all of the IDT contacts of a connector in one pressing process. Special application tooling is required.

Mate

To plug two connectors together.