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I know there are some pretty big ones for undersea cables (as seen below and described here), but what else is out there?

The MacArtney 11kV, 400A wet mate connector:

MacArtney 11kV 400A wet mate connector via

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3 Answers 3

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There are also some pretty large busbars. The connection here is done with 14 bolts the size of a man's thumb.

enter image description here

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    \$\begingroup\$ Good one....... I had once monitored a steel/zirc/steel Diffusion welder for nukes. The conduct was solid copper over 12" diameter thru conductive grease bearings to a solid copper flywheel conductors on inside and outside of the 6" tubing. Current was up to 100kA 4V and was water cooled with sparks flying everywhere. The Kelvin shunt was 2 screws on the solid copper arm. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 12, 2020 at 2:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ Picture includes a man's thumb for convenient reference. \$\endgroup\$
    – user253751
    Jul 12, 2020 at 14:34
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electric arc furnace eletrodes - tens of thousands of amps.

there are also ship power plugs now for electric supply : shore power Hamburg

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I wonder how big the plugs for experimental naval railguns are \$\endgroup\$
    – DKNguyen
    Jul 12, 2020 at 21:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ The connector in that video is 2-4 times larger than the one in OP's image! \$\endgroup\$
    – Hot Licks
    Jul 12, 2020 at 22:40
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A message for those not understanding the first part of this answer

A connector, on the face of it, connects electricity to a load but, in the detail of that connection, are EM waves. In simple terms we call it electricity but in reality there is an electromagnetic wave; that is what is being passed from A to B. At the instant the "connection" is made electric fields and magnetic fields travel to the load.

Now, at low frequencies, the electricity appears to "stop" at the end of the unconnected connector and, for many practical reasons, that's all EEs need to worry or care about but, for many types of connector, if the frequency was much increased we would see electric and magnetic fields forming at the end and, being transmitted into space.

This means that virtually any connector (especially larger ones) act like antennas. So, connectors allow the passage of EM waves and they are capable of picking up EM waves and, the bigger they are the more likely that they'll pick up EM waves of lower frequencies.

So, for the down-voters who might suggest that I might be being cynical or "excessively playful", let me remind them that I was the first person to register a close vote and, my reason was that the question attracted opinions AND that it was ill-formed in that it didn't define what was meant by a "connection" (See Solar Mike's accurate comments below this answer).

In short, a connector allows the passage of EM waves and an antenna does the same. The difference is that a connector (and its associated cabling) tries to physically restrict that EM wave to the medium it "inter-connects" whereas, an antenna "connects" an EM wave of one impedance (defined by the feed cable) to an impedance defined by something else.

What is the largest electrical connector in the world?

A connection to an electric field

China's 500 metre diameter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope is the biggest connector that I'm aware of. Here's a link to it: Link

enter image description here

Yes, it connects to EM transmissions from space hence, it is a connector. It receives power hence it's a connector. It receives an electric field and it does so intentionally hence it's a connector.


Electric Trains

Another type of large electrical connector is the overhead wire used to connect electricity to the pantograph of an electric train. The return connection is via the track system and the connection is continuous for many hundreds of miles

enter image description here

The third and fourth rail are other variants. Are these connectors? Sure they are. Are they big? They provide a sliding connection capable of passing megawatts of power to a locomotive for hundreds of miles.

Electric fencing

These are used to prevent wildlife and farm animals crossing a boundary. The earth is the "return" wire and the animal will receive a "jolt" by virtue that they are "earthed" via their feet and they come into contact with the "wire". The longest one I could find was in Australia as reported by the BBC: -

enter image description here

It's 44 km long. Is it a connector? Sure it is.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Similar question: What is the largest inductance value ever attained (in Henry's)? \$\endgroup\$
    – Andy aka
    Jul 11, 2020 at 23:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ In the broadest possible sense you may be correct, but how do you draw the line between this apparatus and something using VLBI, like the event horizon telescope with has an effective aperture of ~Earth's diameter. \$\endgroup\$
    – alessandro
    Jul 12, 2020 at 0:32
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    \$\begingroup\$ @alessandro your question needs to define the limits of what you mean by connection. \$\endgroup\$
    – Solar Mike
    Jul 12, 2020 at 7:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ @alessandro then you should have been more precise with your question. \$\endgroup\$
    – Solar Mike
    Jul 12, 2020 at 7:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ So a connection between two points, not limited to a metal connction so an infra-red connection or microwave connection is valid. Good answers come from good questions... \$\endgroup\$
    – Solar Mike
    Jul 12, 2020 at 7:43

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