What Kind of Connectors Go on Ribbon Cable?

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What Kind of Connectors Go on Ribbon Cable?
Ribbon cable, which is used for computer components such as hard drives, require IDC connectors. (hard drive interior image by Curtis Sorrentino from Fotolia.com)

Ribbon cable refers to a cable comprised of multiple conductive wires that run parallel on a flat plane. Ribbon cable requirements include a specific type of connector.

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Ribbon cables use insulation-displacement connectors (IDCs). Insulation-displacement connectors attach to the insulation wire conductor via a process that forces one or multiple blades through the insulation. This attachment method enables a direct electric connection without the need to remove the insulation from the wires.


Circuit termination, which is necessary for the function of ribbon cables, is typically done at both cable ends. The wiring must be changed between the connectors if a new lead must be made, requiring only one end of the IDC to be terminated.

Connector Types

Various types of connectors with IDC termination include the D-subminiature connector, a connector commonly used in computers containing parallel rows of pins or sockets in a D-shaped configuration. Another IDC termination connector used with ribbon cables is the BT224 connector, a type of connector used with ATA cables which is often referred to as simply an IDC connector.

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