Molex connectors are pin and socket types of connectors that are found in a multitude of products. Their name stems from the Molex Products Company, the business that originally designed and helped standardize the type of connection in the 1950s and 1960s. Although they were originally designed for use in appliances, they are currently a standard in computer and automobile electronics.
The Molex connectors of today are designed very simply. One piece of the two piece pin and socket design consists of metal pins while the other piece consists of metal sockets. The pins and the sockets on the ends of a Molex connector are held in place by nylon shells and aligned in a sort of rectangular matrix depending on the application. These shells can be arranged to support anywhere from two to fifteen circuits.
Possibly the most common use of Molex connectors today is the desktop computer. Power supplies, the part of a computer that provides power to the rest of the computer's electronic parts, are equipped with a multitude of different Molex connectors.
The largest of the Molex connectors on a computer power supply is known as the ATX connector, or the Mini-Fit Jr. This connector can feature twenty or twenty four different pins, depending on the age of the power supply and the motherboard it will connect to. As computer technology has advanced, so too has the Molex Mini-Fit Jr. connector's shape and size.
Inside of any computer, there are a number of Molex four pin connectors, also known as disk drive connectors or Mate-N-Lok. These connectors consist of four pins, which supplies twelve volts, one which supplies five volts, and two which are used for grounding purposes. In order to prevent incorrect orientation, the nylon housings on the male and female sides of the Molex connector are chamfered for a one orientation fit. The female side provides the power from the power supply in all modern computers.