back to article El Reg BuzzFelch: 10 Electrical Connectors You CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT!

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  1. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    Soldering iron

    Makes everything fit and the cheap ones are orange.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Lightening connector, 30 pin?

      1. Badvok

        Re: Apple?

        "Lightening connector, 30 pin?"

        What does that do then? Shave a few pounds off anything passed through it? Or is it more about adjusting the brightness of transmitted pictures?

        1. Robert Grant

          Re: Apple?

          It shaves a few pounds off your wallet.

      2. Euripides Pants

        Re: Lightening connector

        Silly AC, the whole point of lightning is that it can't be contained by a connector...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Re: Soldering iron

      Exactly - who needs a drill when you've got one of these?

    3. Bobbo

      Re: Soldering iron

      Noooo! When you solder crimp connectors, the solder wicks up inside the wire. This causes the wire to become stiff and will fracture with flexing. Any connectors which use soldering will have better cable support.

      Also, with the crimp terminals, use the ratcheting crimp tools-about 4x the cost of the cheap flat ones but they make joints that acutully last

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Soldering iron

        Which is exactly why cars use crimp connectors and also why soldered joins cause all of the the really annoying intermittent faults on cars.

        Diesel glow plug relay or fuel pump power module being two I've encountered, the soldered joints degrade.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Soldering iron

          I'm no expert but most the non-cable related soldering problems are now down to "lead free" or whatever safer solder. The old stuff did the job, but may not be family friendly...

  2. jake Silver badge

    "BuzzFelch"? WTF?

    Sounds like ass to me.


    1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

      Re: "BuzzFelch"? WTF?

      Sounds like an excuse not to have a BOFH, come on Reg give me my BOFH fix!

    2. Fatman

      Re: "BuzzFelch"? WTF?

      If they only knew the real meaning of Felch.

      See below:

      1. Not That Andrew

        Re: "BuzzFelch"? WTF?

        I'm pretty sure they do know the all the various meaning of felch, which is why they decided to use it. It's a parody of these content exaggerators, after all

      2. Andrew Richards

        Re: "BuzzFelch"? WTF?

        Three words: "The Day Today" (or if a Radio 4 purist, "On The Hour"). (Same for origin of "speak your brains", also a favourite around here).

        And from this we know that 'Fact' times 'Importance' equals... NEWS.

        1. Ed_UK

          Re: "BuzzFelch"? WTF?

          "Three words: "The Day Today" (or if a Radio 4 purist, "On The Hour")."

          Excellent choice, Sir. If I may contribute "The thin twig of peace has been stretched to breaking point."

          1. DiViDeD

            Re: "BuzzFelch"? WTF?

            My Favourite was 'It's the thin end of a very long and complicated wedge'

      3. Scott 1

        Re: "BuzzFelch"? WTF?

        You don't think The Register knows the definition of a slang term describing a deviant sexual act?

        Are you new here?

        I wouldn't be too surprised if The Register *invented* the act.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      I got the impression that they're already leading up to April first. Can't start preparing soon enough ;)

  3. Cornholio

    Yeah, cool...

    We need more stuff like this please :o)

    1. Cliff

      Re: Yeah, cool...

      This belongs in the 'You won't believe the Top 10 Linkbait pseudo articles you'll see this year' pseudo article I'll get some bot and intern to knock up for ad-rev clickbait.

  4. jake Silver badge

    On a more serious note ...

    No serial or parallel port?

    What about light-bulb sockets?

    Fuse/ground-fault interrupt/breaker connections?

    Automotive battery connections?

    Where should I stop?

    1. Not also known as SC

      Re: On a more serious note ...

      Isn't it obvious

      #11 Serial or parallel port (Isn't USB serial???)

      #12 light-bulb sockets

      #13 Fuse/ground-fault interrupt/breaker connections

      #14 Automotive battery connections

      1. Spanners Silver badge

        Re: On a more serious note ...

        15 Standard 13 Amp Plug

    2. Valeyard

      Re: On a more serious note ...

      <i<where should i stop?</i>

      when you see that submit button, Just stop and think "Is there something around my self-sufficient commune I could be doing?"

    3. Anonymous Coward

      Re: On an even more serious note ...

      No Cannon XLR?

      Omissions don't get any more glaring

    4. Benchops

      > Where should I stop?

      When you've listed 10

    5. Feet-R-up

      Re: On a more serious note ...

      Five maybe six lines ago! ;-/

      1. Eddy Ito

        Re: On a more serious note ...

        What? No hermaphroditic "red right, tongue top" powerpole connectors?

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: On a more serious note ...

      Everything can be run off USB... rught?

  5. Admiral Grace Hopper

    BS 546

    I protest the absence of the UK three-pin AC power plug.

    1. Admiral Grace Hopper

      Re: BS 546

      Downvoters are probably insisting on BS1363 rectangular pin AC power plugs, but each to their own.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: BS 546

        Quite right. And there should be a special award for BS1363 as "The Most Painful Mains Plug To Step On In Your Socks".

        No foreign plug comes close.

        1. JDX Gold badge

          Re: BS 546

          The US 2-pin mains plug is just horrible. I never understand how it isn't actively dangerous, you always seem to get sparking when you plug stuff in/out, and plugs just wobble rather than engage securely like the UK plug.

          1. Fihart

            Re: BS 546 @JDX

            Decades ago most Japanese, US and a few British hifi amplifiers had US-style mains outlets on the rear for connecting turntable etc.

            Used in the UK with nearly twice the mains voltage these were particularly lethal as you could touch the live pins as the plug was removed/inserted.

            Did this once when still damp from a bath and, oddly, survived.

            Noticed that on later models these sockets were sealed off and were eventually banished.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: BS 546 @JDX

              > Decades ago most Japanese, US and a few British hifi amplifiers had US-style mains outlets on the rear for connecting turntable etc.

              Living here in Canada.

              They still do this.

              It is insane. So much metal chassis equipment being made *now* and no earth. @{DEITY} help these people join the 21st century, please!

        2. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: BS 546

          "No foreign plug comes close."

          You've never stood on a AS/NZS 3112 ("Type I") side entry plug. They're much worse than the BS1363s

 - photo 2

          Unlike a BS1363, these can leave you bleeding if you're not careful in the dark.

          1. Not That Andrew

            Re: AS/NZS 3112

            Ouch, those look like they could cause serious injury, even put one through your foot. But you can really cause a nasty wound with a BS 1363. I should know, as I've seriously mangled my toes on one

    2. lawndart

      Re: BS 546

      The UK plugs are all in the Premium section, along with a lot of other exciting connectors such as bayonet fittings and SCART. It is £25 well spent, I can tell you.

      BuzzFelch? Better than FuzzBelch, but not much.

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon

        RJ-11 FTW

        I think they are missing the historical significance of the RJ-11 connector - without which we would probably have never reached the heady heights of the RJ-45 and all the blessings that that has bestowed upon us.

    3. Anonymous Coward

      Re: BS 546

      Here here! I`m surprised the EU haven`t mandated downgrading to unshutterred german shitztconnect or the worse safety of ground free things from all over Europe rather than adopt the best.

      Like the fire extinguisher coding fiasco where now they are all red and people are put at risk. Oh and the 3-phase colour coding directive which has already claimed a number of lives

      Arguably a shuttered version of the shrouded and shielded pin kettle style IEC would be a way to go but It would have to be bigger and right angled IMHO

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: BS 546

      Erratum: Dyslexia rules thst should have been "schutzkonnect" I believe.with k or c.

      I forgot to say all plugs should be fused for ultimate safety unlike US and EU and most non-uk influenced areas.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: BS 546

        I forgot to say until now that I was on the BSi and industry committees for a number of years, and I much prefer Schuko plugs and sockets with individual circuit protection.

        Because in the BS 1362 system, you can put a nail, in the plug and so negate any safety. The fuse can give a false sense of security, and at least one factory has burned down because of it.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What about the first universal power supply outlet?

    The car lighter socket.

    1. Eponymous Bastard

      Re: What about the first universal power supply outlet?

      Good shout. I know someone who has one of these on the front of his PC so he could light his "cigarettes" with one of those glow plug jobs which every car used to have.

    2. The First Dave

      Re: What about the first universal power supply outlet?

      Good example of how 'universal' things are almost always shit - a connector for use in a vibrating environment, that only has friction-locking...

      Anyway, I know that it would require an article in itself, but what about SCSI connectors?

    3. Spanners Silver badge

      Re: What about the first universal power supply outlet?

      Or the second, the USB.

    4. Anonymous Coward

      Re: What about the first universal power supply outlet?

      That would be the domestic light socket - if you watch a few B&W UK films and see the number of people powering electric irons from them.

      The car lighter is almost brand new in comparison.

  7. Denarius

    actually ICAN

    Have you guys been pestered by some semi-literate commentards lately ? Hang on, let me rephrase that. Have you been contacted by the products of the modern education system lately ? Bring on more teleportation workaround stories with some quantum mechanics. At least the comments can be fun. Also, the beginning of the year shutdown is ending. Should be some real news real soon now. Super X class flares, spooks admit they cant catch a cold, Windows 8 admitted to be a design mistake...oh, too late

  8. Captain DaFt

    "BuzzFelch - an automated aggregator which trawls the internet in search of lively tech-related imagery and compiles it into a fantastic numbered list."

    Um... Uh... Well it must have seemed like a good idea right before closing time at the pub.

    1. Cliff

      Do you see much of the internet? This is a spoof of those linkbait sites that aggregate or simply screen scrape a bunch of images, surrounds them with adverts, forces you to click through one at a time, with titles that consistently involved hyperbole and a number '5 incredible photos of blah', 'your eyes won't believe x can be so exciting', '12 wired cancer treatments that really work!!'.

      It's a pastiche of buzzfeed and ilk if it needs spelling out.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        > Do you see much of the internet?

        No, I read ElReg to escape such inanity.

        Seriously though, did ElReg let some student sit in the captain's chair for a few minutes?

      2. Captain DaFt

        "This is a spoof of those linkbait sites"

        Yeah, I got it... I still stand by my original post.

        Lame idea is still lame.

  9. Knoydart


    Where is the socapex, excellent mains multipin connections?

    1. jaywin

      Re: socapex

      Socapex FTW

      No other connector comes close in the "what does it carry?" stakes - 240V / 415V / amplified audio / motor control / 6 circuits / 9 circuits - all "standards".

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Learn something new every day

    For example I wasn't aware that MJ Quinn & Kellys subcontracted for Indian telecos as well as Openreach, but the last photo is so fucked up it can only be their "workmanship" :P

    1. DF118

      Re: Learn something new every day

      Nah, that Indian one clearly took years to accumulate and perfect. Kellys can do that in a day.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Learn something new every day

      Isn't that the Dell tech support building in the background?

    3. DiViDeD

      Re: Learn something new every day

      The Indian lashup reminded me of a trip to Koh Samui last year. Once you get out of the main tourist strip, the mains is all overhead cables, and the way you hook up your house is that two johnnies come along with cable, big crocodile clips and a LOT of wide insulating tape. Also thick gloves.

      They wire to the house, carefully avoiding letting the cable hang too low by pulling it taut, then scurry up a ladder with their gloves on and jam the crocodile clips into the live overheads. Then it's just a matter of seeing how many rolls of insulating tape they can wrap around the junction.

      Apparently this saves the inconvenience of switching off power to customers while splicing in new cables.

      Yes, we did have a remarkable number of power cuts while we were there. Why do you ask?

  11. Big_Boomer Silver badge

    Connect me!

    Those of us with a few grey hairs will remember the ubiquitous 5-pin DIN connector with much affection. And who could possibly forget the IDE, IEC, D Sub 15, the 6.35mm and 3.5mm Jack plug, and of course the simple, pure and lovable Phono plug. Yes,... I do need a life ;-)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Connect me!

      Upvoted for the mention of the Phono. Very few hi-fi buffs or instrument technicians here, I gather?

      Plus the good ol' strip and twist style of electrical buggerdry.

      1. Alfie

        Re: Connect me!

        Even better, the strip and twist without even sellotape for insulation.

        +1 for a pair of red and black RCA plugs as well, although I always liked the BNC with bayonet, always felt properly secured, until the 50Hz terminators failed and the whole backbone went down...

        ... tell that to kids these days, and they dont believe you!

        1. Toltec

          Re: Connect me!

          "I always liked the BNC with bayonet, always felt properly secured, until the 50Hz terminators failed and the whole backbone went down..."

          You mean 50 ohm...

          At least I resisted making a bad pun, I seem to do that with increasing frequency and it can impede the discussion.

          Arrghh - now look what you made me do!

        2. Nigel 11

          Strip and twist

          Would you believe 100Mbit server networking down a stripped and twisted cable? (and does it work with newfangled Gbit? I've never tried).

          Well, what would you do at 4am, when you discover that you have to connect the server to a switch 13m away from the rack and you have only 10m cables and shorter?

          It was working the next morning and the strip-twisted cable assembly was swapped as soon as possible the next day.

    2. Frankee Llonnygog

      Re: 5 pin DIN

      Still widely in use for MIDI - even among the yoof

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Connect me!

      I thought that the connector was called an RCA Jack and that the word "phono" was actually a reference to the voltage levels used?

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon

        Re: Connect me!

        BNC was all very well, but severely flawed in a rack environment imho.

        The lack of distinguishing colour from the the multitude of cable-tied AC power cords instigated one of the more challenging 'noisy' line problems I ever investigated*

        *Closely followed by the daily 11am** disconnection of the p2p microwave link between two offices (because the council wouldn't let them dig up the small park in between the two buildings to lay some cable).

        **+/- 10 mins

        An upvote to the commentard who can work out the riddle of the last one.

        1. kmac499

          Re: Connect me!

          Gate Guards Tea Break

          Cleaners Hoovering round

          Fire Drill Alarm Test

          RAF Tonado Radar on daily fly pass

          OH Go on I give up..

        2. Vulch

          Re: Connect me!

          "An upvote to the commentard who can work out the riddle of the last one"

          Probably related to the occasion at an ITV station where I was employed when the emergency standby generator fired up and cut in around 3pm due to loss of external power, then promptly shut down due to excessive load taking the region off the air.

          Later that afternoon a missive went round suggesting it would be detrimental to peoples career prospects if kettles were ever found plugged in to the technical mains again...

          1. Sir Runcible Spoon

            Re: Connect me!

            kmac499 is closest so far with..

            "Cleaners Hoovering round"

            and oddly..

            "RAF Tonado Radar on daily fly pass"

            But not quite in the sense that I think you meant.

        3. This post has been deleted by its author

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Connect me!

          *Closely followed by the daily 11am** disconnection of the p2p microwave link between two offices (because the council wouldn't let them dig up the small park in between the two buildings to lay some cable).

          **+/- 10 mins

          Double Deckker Bus by any chance ?

        5. Swedish Chef

          11:00am disconnection

          Was it a high-frequency control signal to cut off power to washing machines during the peak hour before lunch time?

          1. Sir Runcible Spoon

            Re: 11:00am disconnection

            I'm heading off early today so I'll tell you..

            Every morning around 11am a street cleaner (you know the ones with those kerb brushes etc. that used to drive around places) turned up at the park.

            It would scare the massive flock of pidgeons that nested in the trees and they would fly up through the microwave beam. So the hoover and tornado guess was oddly close :)

        6. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Frankee Llonnygog

        Re: Connect me!

        phono - short for phonograph, surely?

    4. Fihart

      Re: Connect me! @Big_Boomer

      DIN plugs, spawn of the Devil or Deutschland. Recent acquisition of an aged Quad 405 amp/preamp transported me back to the bad old days of soldering my fingers and trying to plug the bloody things in blind round the back of units and them always being the wrong way up (or the wrong number of pins). And then later falling out.

      Only SCART sockets (thanks France) come close.

      Have you continentals never heard of phono plugs ? They just work.

      1. Kubla Cant

        Re: Connect me! @Big_Boomer

        DIN plugs...falling out

        I once fitted some audio equipment with incredibly sexy DIN plugs that had a screw-down (or possibly bayonet) collar that would prevent them falling out.

        SCART connectors, on the other hand, were designed specifically for falling-out. I didn't know they were French, but it doesn't surprise me.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Connect me! @Big_Boomer

          there were 2 different flavours of locking for 5pin dins, the threaded are tuchel connectors, used on microphones on portable reel to reels by UHER i think maybe even Nagra (?) and the bayonet ones are a din pin version of the us ham tranceiver plug range with same style locking ring. what the generic name is/was escapes me.

          both were compatible with a plain din socket as I remember.

          As for peritel/scart Merde! non constant impedence also, non standard impedence for video, Hmmm, Niiiice ;{

          I am reliably informed by an ex BBC colleague old enough to remember firsthand it was a french measure to stop Japanese flooding the french market as every TV had to have one to be sold. 6months and the Japanese tv`s had one of these substandard things, good thinking monsieur? NOT.

        2. KPz

          Re: Connect me! @Big_Boomer

          If I ever meet the man who invented SCART, I will punch him in the face.

          Worst. Connector. Ever.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Connect me!

      My previous boss still called all PC and TV connectors "DINS". When asked about a "DIN" for the TV, I assumed he meant the S-Video type. I did not get any angry phone calls when the order arrived, so I assume I was right on that.

  12. Vociferous

    Mumbai Multiway

    That's what every pole along every mains line looks like in South East Asia. I'm amazed they ever have any electricity.

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Mumbai Multiway

      Probably done by the same people that did some of these:

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Mumbai Multiway

      A "Mumbai Multiway" sounds like some unspeakably disgusting and convoluted sexual act made up by a 14-year-old posting on Urban Dictionary.

    3. Nigel 11

      Re: Mumbai Multiway

      Having electricity isn't the amazing thing. Not dying by it is!

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'm amazed they ever have any electricity.

      I'm amazed they ever have any electricity.

      Unlikely that there are any electricity cables there. It is probably all stuff like cable TV.

      Electricity (3-phase) is carried by the bare cables that run five-year-old's-arm's length from balconies on which five-year-olds play.

      I'm amazed we have any six-year-olds.

  13. frank ly

    Leads to ....


  14. Mike Wilson

    Ohh shiny

    Mst hav moar like ths pls

  15. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    #3 - terminal blocks

    It turns out that in Brazil, they *don't* call them 'choc blocks'...

    1. Peter Simpson 1
      Thumb Up

      Re: #3 - terminal blocks

      I prefer the pluggable ones (but they only work for PCBs). Don't need to unscrew each wire when the PCB needs replacing (or repair or whatever).

      Oh, and +1 for the "Mumbai Multiway" -- I shall be using that from here on, in place of "rat's nest", when referring to spaghetti wiring.

      1. TheBully

        Re: #3 - terminal blocks

        One day back when I first started there was a stink in the server room on Monday morning. A rat had got tangled up in the rats nest of patch cables that lay in front of the rack cabinet and had died. ;)

        1. Nigel 11

          Re: #3 - terminal blocks

          I raise you a well-cooked mouse that had inserted its head into the fan on an (old, hot) Opteron server.

          I never could convince myself that there was any hole in the chassis large enough for that mouse to squeeze through. I do hope that the poor wee squeaker's neck was broken by the fan, otherwise it was a horrible death.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: #3 - terminal blocks

      "Chock Blocks" are specifically different (so I learned last year after 25 years of getting it "wrong", or just using a different local name).

      I think the "Chock Block" has to come with a box to hold the terminals in. I may be wrong though, but that's how the chaps differentiated the two.

  16. GettinSadda

    few words, article done!

  17. MJI Silver badge

    Missing are

    Phono - essential to every HiFi, BNC for component & composite video is already listed


    SCART - not nice but for years so usefull for RGB connections.

    And of course the BS1363 mains plug

    1. Nigel 11

      Re: Missing are

      What about a vampire tap kit for an old thicknet Ethernet?

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not just an angry American

    but the lesser-spotted earthed variety, designed to instil 100% less fear in the British applice-using traveller.

    Not room for splice connectors? For shame.

    1. Eddy Ito

      Re: Not just an angry American

      The ancient ungrounded two prong is NEMA 1 and you'd need a fairly old building to find one. In most commercial buildings you'll see the NEMA 5 installed with the hole for the ground pin on top.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not just an angry American

        Got a house full of these things. Local building inspector INSISTED on having the hole down or he wouldn't issue the Certificate of Occupancy. The vast majority of these things are installed hole down although I have seen a few installed hole up. Why? No reason other than "we've always done it that way."

        1. Peter Simpson 1

          Re: Not just an angry American

          USAian here. "Ground down" has been the standard, ever since those things were introduced (I know, I was there).

          A few years ago, some bright light got the idea that they should be installed "ground up". This was post 1993, when my house was built, but I can't nail it down any more precisely than that.

          The word-of-mouth reasoning for "ground up" is that a wire, metal cover plate, or other conductor, falling across a partially unplugged connector, would contact the ground first, instead of falling across the two line terminals, as it might, if the outlet had been installed "ground down".

          This seems to me to be a low probability occurrence (to say the least) and the National Electrical Code agrees with me as it doesn't state a preferred orientation (and shows outlets "ground down").

          So "down" is "normal", unless you're paraoid, then "up" is OK. It seems to be an individual preference or the preference of an overly controlling local electrical inspector.

          A secondary reason is that some electricians mount outlets controlled by wall switches in "ground up" configuration to distinguish them from unswitched outlets. This seems to be an uncommonly sensible idea.

          // yeah, I know, way TMI...have a nice weekend!

          1. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: Not just an angry American

            "The word-of-mouth reasoning for "ground up" is that a wire, metal cover plate, or other conductor, falling across a partially unplugged connector, would contact the ground first, instead of falling across the two line terminals, as it might, if the outlet had been installed "ground down"."

            The original reason for being "ground down" is the same as why Australia/NZ require it - it means that should the plug be pulled out by the weight of the cable, the earth pin is the last one to be disconnected. (AU plugs were originally "ground-up" to protect against anything falling on the plug, but a couple of electrocutions in the 1930s due to partially-pulled-out plugs changed everyone's mind.)

          2. Eddy Ito

            Re: Not just an angry American

            Ah that explains it, thanks. I had asked the inspector when doing an addition a few years back why the new town buildings all had ground up and he replied it was part of the State code for commercial buildings so I guess it's some local requirements in addition to the NEC. He also mentioned that while I passed at the time, I would have failed had I waited for the new codes to come into place. It seems the new code requires AFCI breakers to be installed in all panel circuits with a few exceptions and as I understand it those are mostly where one would normally use GFCI breakers.

      2. kain preacher

        Re: Not just an angry American

        Then the guy is a jack ass. Go to a US hospital you will seethe ground plug up. It is actually code to have the ground plug up now. Most people know this. I'm looking at a NEMa code book.

  19. Hugh Pumphrey

    F---ing connectors

    In these days of DAB radio and satellite TV, can I really be the first to mention the F connector? And what is the name of those odd co-ax plugs used for analog TV aeriels? And for proper wake-in-the-night-sweating nightmares: SCSI. All 573 varieties.

    1. Mage Silver badge

      Re: F-connectors and Phono AKA RCA

      Both are American, Late 1940s early 1950 (F) and late 1930s (RCA coax).

      Old UK TV connectors are "Belling Lee" (actually the original maker and not a real part name), of indeterminate RF impedance and designed for AM radio aerials in 1930s! The USA I think has used F-connectors for a long time for coax when not using 300 Ohm Ribbon.

      A Phonograph uses cylinders and Gramophone uses disks. But USAians call a Gramophone a Phonograph, even though Gramophone was first called that in USA (Emile Berliner, Victor Talking Machine Co, who founded Japan's JVC and UK's HMV, Victor was taken over by RCA to become RCA Victor. This is why RCA, JVC (only in Japan as Victor) and HMV all have the "horn" and Nipper dog logo)

      Abbreviated as P.U. (Pickup), Gram or Phono on the Radio. In the 1920s they first released Pickup adaptors for windup acoustic Gramophones, in 1930s standalone electric players for the Radio. Originally US used 2 x 1/8" wander plugs like UK did till 1960s. but in late 1930s or early 1940s RCA introduced the coax plug, which as it was most used in USA and for Gramophone plugged into a Radio, or for internal connections on a Radiogram.

    2. Nigel 11

      Re: F---ing SCSI connectors

      And for proper wake-in-the-night-sweating nightmares: SCSI

      You're obviously too young to remember the connector on a Digital Massbus(TM) disk cable. SCSI was a sweet dream by comparison.

      The aforesaid cable was about 40mm in diameter. I think one of them once featured in a Star Trek episode, strangling a crewman by telekinesis.

    3. Darryl

      Re: F---ing connectors

      Yeah, all 573 varieties of SCSI, and whenever I needed one, I didn't have the cable with #327 on one end and #182 on the other, so I'd have to plug in an abandoned SyQuest drive or something to act as an adapter between two cables.

  20. cmrayer


    Shouldn't there have been one of those fiendishly complex proprietary network stacking connectors used by companies that claim to be standards based? ;-)

  21. Blacklight

    Terminal blocks?

    Nah, Wago connectors :)

    Whilst refurbing, I wanted to kit out the house with some Hue bulbs, and needed to replace the light fittings as (at the time) only ES27 Hue bulbs were available. Terminal/chocolate blocks were mahoosive given the flush(er) fittings I wanted, and then I stumbled across Wago connectors - push fit and lever/clamp - and they're really tiny.

    No more trying to hold a fitting *and* chocolate block *and* wires in one hand whilst trying to tighten a fiddly tiny bl**dy screw with the other for me :)

    1. monkeyfish

      Re: Terminal blocks?

      I hate to break it to you, but that there is a 'terminal block with lever', wago are just one of the many brands to make them, and wago themselves make lots of other connectors themselves. Though there cage-clamp ones are great for vibration tables, still have to hold the wire and the connector and push down on the spring with a screwdriver while making sure the whole thing doesn't ping across the room. Unless you fix it securely first of course, but that would make you a looser. Check this out for lots of sexy connector goodness.

      1. Piro Silver badge

        Re: Terminal blocks?

        I always called them "choc blocks"

        1. Mage Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: Terminal blocks?

          But that was because they were made of Brown Bakelite then. You must be as old as I am.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Terminal blocks?

            Nah, some of us are third generation, and the lingo just came with the skin.

  22. jai

    a fine job!

    i saw the teaser for this on Twitter yesterday, and it did not disappoint!

  23. Bronek Kozicki


    I protest at absence of C13 plug (aka "computer cable")

    1. Rukario

      Re: C13

      Or indeed the rest of the IEC 60320 standard.

      (And C13 is the socket, C14 is the plug. </pedant>)

  24. Adrian Jones

    Have any of these had songs sung about them?

    I don't remember any.

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon

      Re: Have any of these had songs sung about them?

      I didn't go to youtube link as I'm at work, but can I assume you are referring to the venerable RS-232 Interface lead?

      Of course, it won't solve your local networking difficulties*.

      *don't despair and don't threaten to kill yourself.

  25. Slartybardfast


    Lester you are a genius.

    "Hot couplings to rock your world" - I can't wait to see how many hits you get from Google searches

    Have one on me.

  26. Bigbird3141


  27. ElectricFox

    Is it just me, or do those crocodile clips look like heavy duty jump leads?

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Similar in the Philippines

    The wiring mess you've shown at the end of the articles is a very similar sight in the Philippines.

    Every ISP/Telephone provider have their own install crew who run cables down the street, to properties etc. There doesn't seem to be any regulation and old wire doesn't get removed.

    I live in a small compound with about 30 houses and we have similar wiring inside our compound, because each time someone changes provider, a new line is ran and the old one is left just sitting there taking up space.

  29. bsdnazz


  30. f1rest0rm

    Consider my world rocked ...

    That was a happy few minutes of not working :-)

    And reading the comments has taken more time.

    And now I need to make up my own "What about kettle leads FFS" post - with youtube links etc

    This could get me through to lunchtime ... Thank you El Reg for making Friday morning bearable.

  31. Avatar of They


    I would add.

    'sata to usb' for every IT techy who has to rebuild a PC.

    A mini usb for those old tech that still linger in the office.

    but you owe me a new keyboard "Oh no angry American" cheered me up.

    1. Darryl

      Angry American

      I've always thought they looked more shocked (get it?) than angry... Either that or reminiscent of blow-up sex dolls' facial expressions

  32. Tompkinson

    The award for the worst connector ever goes to...

    The UHF TV connector aka Belling-Lee IEC-169-2. Still in use 90 years later on the back of all digital tellies at frequencies approaching 1GHz when it was only ever meant to carry the BBC's medium wave stuff. Truly disgusting, but nobody dares get rid of it.

    Tellies also seem to have a monopoly in sh*t connectors cos the SCART runs it a very close second.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How many people would know what BNC connectors are for today?

    And how many use them on a regular basis? RG-58 coax feeds I once used to hammer Ethernet frames down (at the blistering speed of 8Mbps) now cough up 100W PEP of RF to my antennas. A lot of my equipment uses SO-239, N-type and SMA connectors, but my standard RF connector of choice these days is the humble BNC as its cheap, good to 2.7GHz, easy to terminate, quick-connect and durable. Paul Neill and Carl Concelman knew what they were doing when they invented it.

    DIN5 I see is notable by its absence, both in that it was used for MIDI, but also for the original PC keyboard port. They're a cheap and reasonably rugged connector in my experience.

    IEC power is another notable omission. Show me a standard XT, AT or ATX desktop or server power supply without one.

    1. Mage Silver badge

      Re: How many people would know what BNC connectors are for today?

      Yes. And while BNC is 50 Ohms the BBC as well as MUSA used the mysterious 75 Ohm BNC (or cheated). Cable TV trunk use the rarer 75 Ohm N-Connector (regular ones are 50),

      BNC are also often used for SDI (?) etc, carrying MPEG data either as a single stream or in MPEG-2 Multiplexed format (not same spec as MPEG-2 Codec as it can have MPEG4 or indeed nearly any kind of data).

      Then there is a 50 Ohm connector very like an F-connector (often used on on GSM / 3G client aerials) but with a pin rather than centre of coax.

      SCSI Yes I have large collection of those. I'm not sure how many flavours of SCSI exist never mind the connectors which have oddly included DB25 also used for "Centronics" Parallel (bad IBM!) and RS232 Serial.

  34. BongoJoe

    Ladies would surely suggest a certain something from the Ann Summers catalogue...

    1. Peter Simpson 1

      As an older electrical engineer, I was once told by a very attractive summer female intern at our company, that she could never remember which connector was the male, and which was the female.

      I somehow managed to explain it to her while keeping the conversation on a professional level, but I can't for the life of me remember how I did it!

      1. willi0000000


        for you -------------------------------------->

        i could never have explained m/f connector theory with any degree of aplomb.

        [or survived trying]

  35. ISYS

    Universal connector

    Bare wires and insulation tape/matchsticks.

    My father could connect anything to anything with the above - however this sometimes meant replacing the house fuses with something a bit more reliable like a nail.

    Happy days...

  36. Thecowking

    Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

    But seriously, Buzzfelch?

    Arse kissers.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    OMG LOLZ - what bout teh Kanye West Kim Kardashian Britney Spears rock party house tower grass moon iPad Samsung Galaxy?

    Buy sunglesses here:

    P.S: Sorry, I'm not very good at this, and I genuinely feel ill having just typed that...

  38. lukianp

    Sarcasm is the highest form of humour

    You get the feeling that this is a dig at buzzfeed, the bottomfeeder monolith of plagarism of the interweb!

    Relevant.. -->

    1. Anonymous C0ward

      Re: Sarcasm is the highest form of humour

      F*cking hell, Maddox is still around?

  39. Pahhh

    Connector Fetish

    Its very very wrong to get excited about connectors but after years of suffering the inadequacy of SCSI cables (pretty much all them, from the Centronics that just fall out as soon as you turn your back to the newer ones where the pins get bent), I was quite excited (yes, that sad) by the External SAS connectors.

    Specifically the SFF-8088 . Its easy to distinguish which up it goes in, its a very firm fit and then it solidly clicks into place.

    I agree with some of the posters on the worse connectors. The TV Arial connector is up there but not as bad as the SCART. But for me, the SCSI Centronics connectors (like the large version of the printer connector) takes the award.

    1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

      Re: Connector Fetish

      You're one of the people who removed the wire clips from the Centronics-type SCSI-1 connectors (they weren't Centronics connectors, that was for parallel printers), aren't you?

      With those buggers clipped in, it was often impossible to get the cables out, especially if there was no space on either side of the plug to unclip them!

      1. Pahhh

        Re: Connector Fetish

        "You're one of the people who removed the wire clips from the Centronics-type SCSI-1 connectors "

        Nope, they just used to fall off after being squeezed a few times. Plus sometimes the female connector didnt have the clips as the socket was in a recess which meant there would be no way to access the clips.

        1. Pahhh

          Re: Connector Fetish

          "they weren't Centronics connectors, that was for parallel printers"

          They were Centronics. Same as printer connector but wider. Made by the same company.... Centronics :)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Connector Fetish

      Doesn't the Arial connector join one typeface to another?

  40. John Sturdy

    Anderson connectors

    Nice big genderless DC power connectors; the middle-size ones I use are rated at "a very high current for ten seconds, or 175 amps continuous". They seem to have dropped the 700A version, which had up to 10 data connectors in the middle; I would have called that "data + power, done properly" but it was almost the size of a netbook, which unfortunately probably ruled it out as a contender for a new variant of USB.

    Available in lots of colours, too, with slightly incompatible geometries, for different voltages, although everyone seems to ignore the manufacturer's suggested colour coding scheme.

    1. Nigel 11

      Re: Anderson connectors

      Along those lines, does the 1000-amp-plus 12V car battery connector have a name? The modern one that goes around the post and tightens with a wrench? (It works). Or the ancient Lucas twelve-clawed one that was supposed to push on and tighten with a thumbwheel on top, which would corrode itself into an unfortunate combination of immovability and high resistance within a year of fitting a new battery?

      1. Admiral Grace Hopper

        Joe Lucas - Prince Of Darkness

        @Nigel 11 - thank you for dredging up the memory of my Dad (who worked in the automotive component industry) intoning, "Joe Lucas, Prince Of Darkness", whenever conversation turned to automotive electricals.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Joe Lucas - Prince Of Darkness

          My onetime boss who had been a senior person at Lucas said that in fact Lucas had just signed a pact with the Devil; in exchange for the souls of frustrated car mechanics, their products would last long enough to get the car into the hands of the customer.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What about the legend that is IEEE-488 (GPIB)?

    That was a man's connector alright. Each one must have weighed 50 or 60 pounds and the connecting cable could have been used to hold up suspension bridges.

    You couldn't have one of those on a modern namby-pamby instrument, oh no. You had to build a proper big heavy bastard with transformers and a chunky steel chassis, just to survive the strain from the connections.

    All this and you had to measure the data transfer rate with a calendar. Those were the days

    1. Nigel 11

      Re: What about the legend that is IEEE-488 (GPIB)?

      You're maligning it. It was faster than USB (USB-1, that is).

      True, the connector did tend to be the tail wagging the dog. The same problem recurs with a SCART connector and cable on a modern Digibox.

  42. Idocrase

    I prefer the line of FINE adapters and connectors marketed by these chaps. Best part is, thanks to the handy photos. they are easy to make yourself!

  43. Shrimpling

    I thought these articles were supposed to have 1 image per page so you maximize the advert views?

    1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      Don't tempt us. We're actually looking at splitting the images in two horizontally and put the halves on separate pages.

  44. Jim 59

    We are commenting on this ? Seriously ?

    1. Admiral Grace Hopper

      I was commenting flippantly, but hey, whatever floats your boat.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lego plugs

    You're missing the Lego 4.5V plugs ... which conveniently will plug directly into the Telefunken plug!!! (2-pin Telefunken widely used on mains cable of cassette-recorders of old.)

  46. JimmyPage Silver badge

    Showing my age ..

    But RS-232, and it's spawn of 25-pin, 9-pin male/female variants, which meant you never had the right pairing ....

    Does anyone still remember Data Circuit Equipment and Data Terminal Equiment ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Showing my age ..

      "Does anyone still remember Data Circuit Equipment and Data Terminal Equiment ?"

      Sure do Jimmy. You had to figure out whether it was using DSR / DTR or RTS / CTS handshaking, or software handshake with XON / XOFF, Then match up the baud rate. Then how many bits and stop bits. And then the parity. Signal ground and protective ground.

      It's a wonder we ever got anything working at all. Young people with their USB cables, don't know they're born.

      1. Nigel 11

        Re: Showing my age ..

        For added points, name the other signals on a full D25 modem cable. For Guru-hood, work out why the full 25-pin modem won't talk to the full 25-pin modem connector on the mainframe.

        1. Fair Dinkum

          Re: Showing my age ..

          And there were crossover cables, too. I feel old

          1. RS232 4 Eva

            Re: Showing my age ..

            I still make a living connecting automated medical analysers to PCs where RS232 is still the connector of choice, even on new equipment. Luckily these days you can get USB to Serial adaptors that actually work, or if you're feeling flush, Serial to Ethernet.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Showing my age ..

        While on 24/7 callout one week, I travelled 180 miles to fix a till printer in a hotel bar at 6:30am (arrival time!). It was a DB9 male to RJ-45 male serial cable. I made a new one on the spot! Piss off Epson!!! I had to Google the pin outs too!

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Missed the BOOTNOTES heading, thinking it looked an interesting article. Should be more careful after so long reading El Reg.

  48. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Boothy

      Ah yes, I remember when the company I worked for (long since defunct) decided to experiment with switching from screw terminal junction boxes, to Krone ones.

      Typically we'd be using these to hook up multiple 2, 4 or 6 pair cables, into a single 20 or 40 pair cable.

      Some of these could take half a day or longer to complete one junction box.

      With the Krone version, we could do the same number of cables in about 20-30 minutes.

    2. Peter Simpson 1

      110 block in the US

      I have a bunch of 66 blocks in may basement, each room has a pair of RJ-45 jacks, one for voice, one for data. Had them put in when the house was built, my only mistake was wiring them with CAT3 instead of CAT5, but it doesn't seem to have made much of a difference.

  49. Pahhh

    Molex Power Connector

    What about the Molex Power Connector, ubiquitous to all PC cases. For every PC , there must be at least 3-6 of them inside and in use for what ? 30-35 years?

    What a cheap but horrid connector.....

    1. Boothy

      Re: Molex Power Connector

      All? In older PCs yes, but not current ones.

      HDs and Optical drives switched to SATA data/power connectors years ago, decent case fans and coolers normally use motherboard headers (so the voltage can be controlled). High end GFX cards which used to use them for extra power, switched to the 4-PIN 12V CPU type connectors many years ago.

      I can't think of anything else, other than legacy items, that might use these in a current PC? Only exception I can think of are the cheaper case fans, that normally run at a fixed speed, but those are rare now (in my experience).

      But I also agree, most definitely a cheap, horrid connector.

    2. Fihart

      Re: Molex Power Connector

      How many times have I grazed my knuckles on cheap tin computer cases trying to insert or remove a Molex connector. Presumably designed for the motor industry to be connected once and forgotten.

  50. Irongut

    mmmmmmm BNC

    That NEMA 5 Socket looks like Mr Stay Puft from Ghostbusters to me. Wtf is it for anyway?

    1. kain preacher

      Re: mmmmmmm BNC

      It's the power receptacle in all new American houses since the 70's-

  51. aregross

    Don't forget the original IBM Token Ring connector! Made a bunch of those cables when they first came out as buying them ready-made from IBM required taking out a loan. The original IBM Type-1 cable spec also included a fibre optic cable inside the sheathing along with the 4 copper wires (if you bought the cable from IBM).

  52. Matt Morgan

    Yes, this is good

    Genius: Lester Haines.

  53. beboyle

    Good start, but..

    Exactly the kind of content I'm looking for, although I found the descriptions a bit verbose. Can we tighten up the text a bit?

    1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      Re: Good start, but..

      Working on it.

  54. Nigel 11

    The ultimate evil connector....

    No-one has yet mentioned the ultimate in evil connectors, which is not only current but hell-bent on conquering the EU housing market.

    GU10 lightbulb connector.

    For which you need a plastic suction cup to manipulate the bulb into place, or risk having glass splinters embedded in your fingertips.


  55. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yes! Belch My Fuzz!

    ...If that is how one is supposed to say it.

    Anyway, More! Encore! Etc!

    Make it a weekly series.

  56. RTNavy


    Mumbai looks like the server room I inherited!

  57. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    But, but, but, plugs?

    "Sacré bleu!"

    Sacré orange, shirly?

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Real crimp connectors

    The picture just shows the weedy little crimps used in car accessories and the like. For real hot connectors you need serious crimps. The biggest I've used were 95 sq mm cross section (someone will perhaps beat this by a big margin) and were carrying 750A peak. The crimp tool weighs over 20kg. The bolted joint to the busbar has to be made rather carefully with clean metal to metal surfaces and with Belleville washers under the nut so that pressure is guaranteed to be maintained. Otherwise, after a bit of vibration, you can get a truly hot connection - arcs, zinc oxide vapour, fused copper.

    I am surprised no "audiophiles" have suggested using 95sq mm cable for making loudspeaker connections, the electrons wouldn't have the slightest risk of all bunching up at a narrow bit and so making the sound tinny (to the perfect ears of the audiophile).

  59. Jonathan Richards 1

    Wha.. what?

    We'll shortly be launching BuzzFelch Lite, without any words at all, for the seriously attention deficient goldfish demographic.

    Sorry, what will you be launching? Who will it be for? Err, what will you be launching, again? Ooo, butterflies!

  60. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

    Wire Nuts

    Twist-on connectors if you must respect trademarks.

    Perhaps more of a USAian thing, as I see screw-type terminal blocks in EU wiring (when I look).

  61. Herby

    Fahnestock connections??

    Look, nothing would be complete without them. Probably pre-date many of the connections mentioned in the comments.

    As for crimp connections, PLEASE note that the color of the plastic sleeve is NOT to be used for color coding, it is to determine the wire size to be used. They typically had ranges: Red-small, Blue-intermediate, Yellow-large.

    For reference:

  62. elaar

    Depending on your job, you rarely use BNC.

    Surely phono and 3.5mm jack should be on there!

  63. Dalen

    I recently saw a Google engineer calling El Reg a tabloid. Of course, Google News is a so much better news source, whose writers subscribe to a much higher level of journalistic integrity.

    1. DiViDeD

      El Reg a TABLOID?

      Sorry, but that is a vicious calumny. I believe The Reg (or 'that old rag' as my SO calls it) has always prided itself as being a prime example of the new breed of gutter press, since I understand that's where most of their hacks end up sleeping after their Friday night drinkies.

      Red Top and proud of it say I!

  64. Donald Becker

    I vote for the article to be "The top 10 linkbait 'Top 10' stories you'll read this year"

    I do think they missed the Edison base lamp connector, and the RJ series telephony connectors. The Edison base lamp (screw-in) is cheap and sturdy. It requires only low-tech stamped brass or tin-plate sheets, and has a huge contact and support area.

    The RJ (e.g. 6p4c and the like) connectors require much higher tech manufacturing, but are cheap, small, light and have remarkably good electrical characteristics. They regularly survive decades exposed to the elements in phone use, and putting Gb Ethernet through a connector designed around audio frequencies is mind blowing. The competing communications connectors cost 20x to 100x as much.

    As far as line power plugs, we would all design something different today. But put yourself in the place of early practitioners. You needed to design a connector that could be made in a few seconds with sheet metal and hand tooling. Flat contacts formed of folded-over sheet brass definitely wins over round pins. Rigid round pins require far more precision in all dimensions, take much longer to make, and often results in inferior contact area.

  65. CaveatVenditor

    In the beginning was the wander plug

    All these shiny new plugs are freaking me out. We only use tag strips, wander plugs or banana plugs here. Somebody told me we should get rid of all our 5A and 15A mains plugs, but we'll wait until the last one makes that funny burning fish smell.

    BTW there was a rumour that mains voltage might be raised from the current 200 volts to 240. Can anyone confirm when this might happen?

  66. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    PP9 rulz!

    My favourite power outlet connector is (are) the funky press-stud connections on a 9V battery, be it PP9 or it's li'l brother PP3. Coupled with the favoured and calibrated method of determining available charge... licking said terminals to see how tangy they are.

    Other contenders:

    Twisted together wires (probably covered by the Mumbai multiway tho).

    Aluminium foil wrapped around a lolly-stick mating with a brass drawing-pin.

    and of course, anything conductive / semi-conductive plus blu-tack.

  67. cortland

    Get it together!

  68. MrZoolook


    I can certainly live without US or EU mains sockets, but wouldn't be too happy without UK ones. Why were those on the list and not UK?

    1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      Re: Curious.

      I have forwarded your query to the BuzzFelch aggregator.

  69. DiViDeD

    Well, if 3.5mm jacks should be on there, surely we have to include the 6mm jack?

    And after several hundred comments, I'm appalled, yes appalled that nobody has yet spoken up for the humble GPO A jack plug.

    I cut my teeth on these little beauties using patch bays in mahogany cabinets, courtesy of the BBC - 3 distinct modes of operation on the same jack - unplugged means a closed (or sometimes open, but usually closed) circuit, linking studio signal to the desk, full push in to break the circuit and direct it elsewhere, partial to 'listen in', allowing you to patch a studio output to another channel without disturbing the original feed.

    And they were BRITISH dammit!

This topic is closed for new posts.