Some computer and home-entertainment systems require extensive wiring between components. Cables vary in size from a single conductor to several to perform the various functions required. Connectors at the ends of the cables vary extensively in size and type, but almost all connectors classify as "male," "female," or a combination of the two.
A male connector always has a pin or probe that plugs into a female socket or connector at the end of a cable. A typical extension cord for electrical appliances has both, one on each end. The male connector plugs into a wall socket and the female connector receives a male connector from the cord on an appliance.
Female connectors, sometimes called "sockets" or "jacks," receive male connectors. For safety purposes, signals carrying higher voltage, or dangerous signals, will appear on female connectors to prevent accidental contact. In home electrical wiring, for example, wall plugs are always female.
More complex cables for computer systems may have a combination of both in the connector. But you can always identify them as male if they have a pin or probe, and female if they receive a pin or a probe.
The term "gender" refers to male and female cables. When ordering specialized connectors for a project, you must identify the correct gender to make the proper connection.
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