I'm looking for not expensive DC barrel female connector that can handle 8A of current. I found only barrel jack 5.5x2.1mm which can handle 3A, I couldn't find anything similar. But same type of connector(but male) can handle 10A of current. Why? Why female jack can't handle 10A but male can?

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Asking for product recommendations is off-topic for this site. \$\endgroup\$
    – Hearth
    Feb 11, 2019 at 16:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ Edited question \$\endgroup\$
    – Pararera
    Feb 11, 2019 at 16:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ "looking for not expensive..." shopping then. And this was asked earlier or are there two people needing 8A "barrel" connectors... \$\endgroup\$
    – Solar Mike
    Feb 11, 2019 at 16:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ I couldn't find anything about this topic \$\endgroup\$
    – Pararera
    Feb 11, 2019 at 18:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ Does it have to be a barrel connector, or would something like an XT60 connector be good? \$\endgroup\$ Feb 11, 2019 at 20:59

3 Answers 3


High-current barrel connectors are tricky. Generally the current capacity is determined by contact area between two mating surfaces. More area means more current.

Cheap barrel receptacle (jacks) have only one spring, like I marked in red here:

enter image description here

A mating plug usually has a simple cylindrical geometry, with no springs or splits. When plugged in, the bottom spring contact pushes the whole plug to one side (up in this case). As one can see, the contact bewteen outer jacket and spring is made only in one point. At the same time the center pin of the barrel jack gets in contact with hollow center connector of the plug, so again it touches it either in one point or one line, the red dot marks the spot. In essence the contact is made by pinching between one-sided spring and the center pin, which makes this kind of connectors relatively tolerant to diameters of pins and barrel sizes. However, the contact surface is not that big, contact resistance is high, power loss leads to contact overheating, which sets the limit for ampacity.

In more powerful connectors the number of springs that make the contact is bigger. In this Tensility model it is 8:

enter image description here

However, there appear one important caveat to consider. If the outer barrel has symmetrical springs around, this will center the entire plug symmetrically. If you are not using the mating plug from (preferably) the same manufacturer, the inner pin might end up with no contact at all. So the mating plug should have a special design as well to make a good contact. Either the inner hole in the plug should have springs (or fork-like design instead of just round hole), or the center pin in the barrel jack should have a split springy body, so it get squeezed when mates with the hole in plug. This construction requires better tolerance to part's dimensions, and is usually more expensive to make. But it does have better ampacity.

ADDITION: The following video from Tensility is a good illustration of differences between various contract designs.

  • \$\begingroup\$ So if they are tricky, is there any other type of male - female jack with high current rating? \$\endgroup\$
    – Pararera
    Feb 11, 2019 at 18:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SilvioCro, actually, the center pin in the Tensility barrel is not just a round solid pin, it does have a set of springs as well, see those "bulges" on the drawings. So it is less dramatically tricky as I outlined. The other types are not of "barrel" type, but 2 or 4-pins "Power-DIN" connectors, digikey.com/product-detail/en/cui-inc/PD-30S/CP-7230-ND/2119376 \$\endgroup\$ Feb 11, 2019 at 18:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ Could you provide a link or citation for your images, please? \$\endgroup\$ Feb 11, 2019 at 19:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ElliotAlderson, 1-st image is from here, adam-tech.com/downloader.php?p=ADC-H-010-X.pdf , the second image is from here, tensility.com/pdffiles/50-00025.pdf \$\endgroup\$ Feb 11, 2019 at 20:16

The female connector includes a spring, which puts pressure on the contacts. The higher the pressure, the higher the current the connector can be rated for. The spring used in the females you've seen so far limits the current to 3A, even when mated with an ideal male connector.

The male connector is simply a solid cylindrical contact which, when mated with an ideal high pressure or multi-contact female, could take 10A.

  • \$\begingroup\$ the higher current sockets are of a different design - making contact around the entire circumference of the barrel. \$\endgroup\$
    – james
    Feb 11, 2019 at 16:20

Female connectors can. Here are a couple I found at Digikey.com as examples


  • \$\begingroup\$ When I click this link I see exactly one plug and one socket, from different manufacturers, and they are different sizes (2.00mm ID vs. 2.50mm ID). The plug has just one eyelet for soldering so it's not clear to me how you would assemble it at the end of cable. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 11, 2019 at 18:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hmm, yes, they do appear incomplete. \$\endgroup\$
    – CrossRoads
    Feb 11, 2019 at 19:44

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