Technical Dictionary for Electrical Engineers
"A" "B", "C", "D", "E", "F", "G", "H", "I", "J", "K", "L", "M",
"N", "O", "P", "Q", "R", "S", "T", "U", "V", "W", "X", "Y", "Z"

Alligator Clip

Alligator Clip. A type of Spring-Loaded connector; a spring clip. An Alligator clip is normally used as a temporary connection for test applications. Common applications include power clips, test clips and battery clips. In many cases an alligator clip is supplied as an accessory with a Volt-Ohm Meter [VOM].

Alligator Clip / Wire Attachment
A wire is wrapped around the screw for attachment and the metal ears [wire crimping ears] are used to clamp down on the wire insulation to secure the wire. An example of a common size would be 2.19 inches in length [A], and 0.38 inches wide [B].

Wire crimp Alligator Clip
Alligator Clip, Wire Crimp

Alligator Clip / Banana Jack termination
This style Alligator Clip will accept either a Banana Jack or a stripped-wire attached to the screw. The two common styles are shown; a finger grip with no insulation and an insulated finger grip.

Non-Insulated grip

Banana Jack to Alligator Clip adapter
Alligator Clip, Banana Jack Connection

Plastic-Insulated grip [color coded]

Insulated Banana Jack to Alligator Clip adapter
Alligator Clip, Banana Jack, Color Coded

The two electrical clips shown above are basically the same type and size, but the addition of insulated end changes both the over-all width and the length, as a portion of the insulator resides past the end of the clip. The length [A] of a bare metal clip is 2.0 inches, or 2.38 inches with the insulator. The width [B] of the clip is is 0.34 inches, and 0.41 inches including the clip.

Common Insulation colors include; Red, Black, Green, Yellow and White, but there are a number of other possible colors. When produced as a set the most common color is red for one piece and black for the other to show polarity. The types of insulation used include Rubber, or Polyvinyl chloride [PVC].

Definition of Banana Jack Connector.
Manufacturers of Plugs and Jack Connectors.
Manufacturers of Wire and Cables.

No dimensions or sizes are listed for the different types of Alligator Clips, because they could be purchased in any size. Even the banana adapter could come in a variety of sizes, once you consider the jack as just a female receptacle. Of course there are common sizes, but when you consider that any size being used might be considered common, it becomes un-productive to push one particular size over another.

Note that the government document called out below does specify a particular size for each of the different clips referenced in the document. However; because that document is a specification that is intended to procure these items, a physical size is a requirement. That is the government [document] is asking a vendor to produce, manufacture or supply some type of alligator clip. In that regard the government has to define what to supply, as in the size of the item; however, those sizes specified in the document do not stop any manufacturer from producing an alligator clip of any other size to some other consumer. The military document is not definitive.

Military Standard; Commercial Item Description:
A-A-59466; General Specification for Electrical Clips

It's interesting to note that the Department of Defense CID sited above does not use the term Alligator Clip, instead using the term electrical clip as the document title. However it does use the term crocodile clip, in additional to other terms for different clip types to defined some of the particular styles. In other words, some including the government may not see a difference between an alligator clip or crocodile clip. Although there does seem to be a slight difference in the shape of the facing jaw.

Editor note; Other than using an alligator clip to hook up to a power supply or battery, they are really not good for much else.

ESD Wrist Strap diagram showing the attached alligator clip.

PC motherboard

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