bisco industries Blog

What is a Binding Post?

Binding Post Description

Initially invented by the General Radio Corporation of Cambridge, MA, binding posts are commonly used in test fixtures for wire termination. A typical single post binding post consists of a cylindrical threaded stem with a drilled hole for accepting the conductor, one or more molded nuts, and an insulated cap. During installation the conductor (usually stripped copper wire) is inserted through a hole in the threaded stem of the post and tightened into place by using a molded nut. Binding post caps are used to insulate the binding post and come in 3 primary colors: red indicates an active (positive) terminal, black indicates an inactive (negative) terminal, and green indicates the ground terminal.

Binding Post Designs

One common design for binding posts is called a universal or five-way style. This style allows for the joining of multiple types of connectors such as banana plugs, pin connectors, uninsulated wire, and more. Other types of binding posts include insulated binding posts, dual binding posts, knob type binding posts, metal binding posts, miniature binding posts and spring loaded binding posts.

Binding Post Applications

  • Special Effects Equipment
  • Analytical Instruments
  • Test Equipment
  • Loudspeakers
  • Audio Amplifiers
  • And More

Binding Post Manufacturers

bisco carries several industry leading brands for binding posts including:

  • Abbatron
  • Cinch Connectivity
  • Keystone Electronics
  • Mueller Electric
  • Pomona / Fluke

In fact, bisco is currently the exclusive supplier of Abbatron’s newest binding post – the 1834 series top loading binding post! These binding posts provide quick and secure wire connections for wires up to #15 AWG. The body is nickel-brass plated while the insulated shell is UV and fire resistant and made of Valox. View the Abbatron 1834 spec here.

Learn More About Binding Posts

For those looking to learn more about binding posts or spec in products check out these helpful catalogs from Keystone Electronics and Mueller Electric. If you’d like personal assistance from one our 300+ product specialists visit our contact page.

What is a Standoff?

Standoff Fastener Description

Standoffs are fasteners used to create space between printed circuit board (PCB) assemblies and are the standard fastener for mounting PCBs to prevent electrical shorts. Standoffs are similar to spacers but differ in that they are threaded.

Standoff Fastener Styles  

Standoffs may be cylindrical, square or hexagonal in shape and come in male, female, male-male, or male-female styles. Standoffs are fabricated from various materials such as aluminum, brass, stainless steel and nylon. In addition, standoffs are often plated to meet application specific requirements.

Standoff Fastener Application Example

One application example for standoffs is the fastening of a motherboard (PCB) to a metal enclosure. In a typical scenario, male-female standoffs are fastened into pre-drilled metal ringed screw holes in the motherboard while the opposite end of the standoff is fastened to the enclosure wall. Mounting the motherboard in this manner prevents it from short circuiting.

Standoff Fastener Manufacturers

  • Accurate Screw Machine (ASM)
  • Amatom
  • Bivar
  • Concord Electronics
  • ITW Fastex
  • Keystone Electronics
  • Lyn-Tron
  • RAF Electronic Hardware

Configuring Standoff Fasteners

Since standoffs come in so many styles, sizes, and materials configuring the correct standoff for your application can be challenging. To aid you in configuring standoffs and other electronic hardware bisco has recently updated it’s RAF product catalog. Users can now browse and filter standoffs by style, material, diameter, length, thread size, and finish. Visit bisco’s online RAF product selector to learn more.

What is a Banana Plug?

Banana Plug Description

Banana plugs are one conductor (aka: single wire) electrical connectors that are traditionally used to connect wires to equipment with DC and low frequency signals. Banana plugs are male connectors that feature a tubular construction with a flared center to separate the wire post from the main connector body.

Since standard banana plugs are normally not insulated, they are only recommended for applications less than 33 volts. However, insulated banana plugs are available for use in higher current applications. One of the many benefits of using banana plugs is their safety and simplicity. Banana plugs also provide secure connections for lead wires.

Banana Plug Applications

Banana plugs’ basic design make them a connector of choice for many applications. In fact, technicians and engineers often use banana plugs in during prototyping to test circuits and connections. Common applications include medical equipment, personal computers, and aircraft navigation systems.

Top Banana Plug Manufacturers

  • Abbatron (HH Smith)
  • Cinch Connectivity
  • Keystone Electronics
  • Mueller Electric
  • Pomona Electronics (Fluke)
  • TE Connectivity

Learn More About Banana Plugs

To learn more about banana plugs and to configure products for your application check out these helpful resources from Abbatron and Pomona Electronics. bisco industries product specialists are also standing by to assist you. Contact a bisco representative now!

What is a Thumb Screw?

Thumb Screw Description

Thumb screws are threaded fasteners with textured heads that allow them to be fastened and unfastened by hand. Thumb screws are typically used on low stress applications that require easy access. For example, thumb screws are often used to secure the side panel of desktop computer enclosures.  Thumb screws are manufactured in many different lengths, diameters, thread sizes, and materials. Thumb screw materials include aluminum, brass, nylon, steel, and stainless steel.

Leading Thumb Screw Manufacturers:

  • RAF Electronic Hardware
  • Accurate Screw Machine (ASM)
  • Essentra
  • Unicorp
  • Lyn-Tron
  • Keystone Electronics

Learn More About Thumb Screws

Helpful resources for configuring thumb screws include RAF’s thumb screw catalog and Lyn-Tron’s online thumb screw configurator.  For personal assistance finding thumb screws contact bisco industries’ product support team.

What is a PCB Card Guide?

Printed circuit board (PCB) card guides, also called PCB retainers, are short narrow strips of material formed into shallow tapered troughs. PC boards are inserted into the top of the trough while the bottom is secured to an enclosure wall. Most card guides secure the PCB in place through the use of pressure but some card guides utilize levers or screws to lock the PCB in place. Card guides are fabricated from a variety of materials including nylon, aluminum, beryllium copper, and stainless steel. By securing circuit boards in place, card guides prevent damage to PCBs caused by vibration and movement.

The Top Names in Card Guides

For many years Pentair, under their Schroff, Birtcher, and Calmark brands, has been the leading manufacturer of PCB card guides. In fact, many of their branded products such as Wedge Tainers, Lok Tainers, PCB Tainers, and Card Loks have become synonymous with PCB card guides.  Other top card guide manufacturers include Bivar, Essentra (formerly Richco), and Keystone Electronics.

Learn More About PCB Card Guides

Check out these helpful catalogs from Calmark, Birtcher, and Keystone to learn more about PCB card guides.  As always, bisco representatives are standing by to assist you in configuring products, locating crosses, and finding price and availability information.

What is a Spacer?

Spacers are unthreaded cylindrical fasteners fabricated from a variety of materials including brass, stainless steel, and nylon. Similar to standoffs, spacers differ in that they are unthreaded. Spacers fall under the broader categories of electronic hardware and printed circuit board (PCB) hardware as spacers are primarily used to separate (space) PCBs.  Spacers protect PCBs from heat damage by creating space for cooling air flow while also allowing PCBs to be stacked.

How Are Spacers Manufactured?

Spacers are typically fabricated using computer numerical control (CNC) machining or automatic lathe machining. CNC machining utilizes computer programs to control the machining process while automatic lathe machining automates the machining process through mechanical means. In either method the raw material is inserted into the machine and then rotated at varying speeds while cutting tools remove excess material until the final product is produced.

Leading Spacer Manufacturers

Only Have a Product Description?

RAF and Lyn-Tron both offer convenient product configurators to help you find a manufacturer item number. Once you’ve located the item number or if you already have it, be sure to visit to get pricing and availability information.

Keystone Electronics – Helping Keep Your Lawn Green

Optimizing Water Usage

What keeps your front lawn that beautiful green during long, hot summer months? Water! Water, that more often than not travels through sprinkler systems to reach its final destination.  Sprinkler systems not only help keep lawns green but also provide much needed water to flower gardens and food crops. Typical sprinkler designs include a hosepipe that supplies water to a metal arm; this metal arm is placed on a rotating base enabling water to be thinly spread over a large area. Today’s sprinklers are often used in conjunction with electronic systems, such as digital timers and controllers, weather sensors, and even remote controls.  These electronic systems help to conserve water by optimizing the timing of irrigation and shutting off water flow when irrigation is complete.

Electronic sprinkler systems depend on a variety of components from Keystone Electronics including mounting brackets, fuse clips, fuse holders, and screws and panel hardware. With the support of Keystone agriculturalists, homeowners, and gardening enthusiasts can keep their plants and lawns healthy and green while still conserving water.

Your Local Keystone Distributor

bisco industries is a proud to be an authorized Keystone distributor. Whether you’re an engineer looking to design in components or a buyer looking to get parts on order, bisco is here to make your life easier. We offer a complete catalog of Keystone products on our website as well as online pricing and ordering. bisco also has 46 facilities throughout North America staffed with knowledgeable sales people ready to serve you. Visit or contact our customer service team today!

New Vertical PCB Card Guides from Keystone Electronics

A new assortment of durable nylon card guides for vertical mount circuit boards are among the latest PCB hardware available from Keystone Electronics Corp.

Engineered to stack and secure printed circuit boards (PCB’s), these new vertical guides install directly into an adjacent board with no need for chassis mounting. All Keystone vertical card guides employ the same footprint to enable bracket height change without need for redesign. In addition, no-tool installation and removal of the card guides and boards streamline the produc­tion process. In addition, these new vertical card guides are supplied with locking pins for secure PCB hold.

A major manufacturer of interconnect components and electronic hardware, Keystone also maintains an application engineering group supported by expert stamping, machining and as­sembly functions.

bisco industries is your local authorized Keystone distributor. Our website,, offers a complete searchable selection of Keystone products. not only offers Keystone product specifications but online pricing and ordering as well. Visit today to find right PCB card guide for your application.

Keystone Electronics: It’s What’s on the Inside that Counts

Keystone Electronics is a premier manufacturer of electronic connectors and hardware. Keystone offers components such as battery clips, fuse holders, panel screws, terminals, spacers, standoffs, plugs, and test points. Not only does Keystone offer a wide selection of standard products but they also provide customer manufacturing capabilities. That means Keystone components are found in all types of applications from TVs to barometers. In addition, Keystone has invested heavily in top of the line precision machining and precision stamping equipment to keep quality high and costs low.

Your Local Keystone Distributor

bisco industries is a proud to be an authorized Keystone distributor. Whether you’re an engineer looking to design in components or a buyer looking to get parts on order bisco is here to make your life easier. We offer a complete catalog of Keystone products on our website as well as online pricing and ordering. bisco also has 46 facilities throughout North America staffed with knowledgeable sales people ready to serve you. Visit or contact our customer service team today!

The Technology Behind Your Daily Weather Forecast

The weather affects people significantly and in many instances, different weather conditions have a bearing on our day-to-day plans. Weather can impact people’s moods and even their overall health. Millions of people depend on daily weather reports and adjust their daily routines accordingly.

One of the main instruments used by meteorologists to forecast the weather is the barometer. Barometers’ measure the continually changing pressure in our atmosphere and helps us predict upcoming weather conditions.

History of the Barometer

The aneroid barometer patented in 1843 by French scientist, Lucien Vidie, utilizes a sealed flexible container to measure pressure. This tool, which was similar to an accordion, expanded or contracted depending on ambient pressures.

The barometer grew in popularity among meteorologists as they noted the correlation between atmospheric pressure and the weather. When used with a thermometer, barometers assist in creating weather predictions based on following patterns of high and low pressure systems. Barometric readings can indicate clear skies, high winds, snow, rainstorms, or sunny weather. Meteorologists compare the relative pressure changes in different areas, and make predictions using that information.

Modern Barometers

Today meteorologists rely on digital barometers. The concept is similar to that of earlier models, but digital barometers have electronic sensors to measure both pressure and altitude. These devices contain analog-to-digital converters, and their findings are shown on a digital display. Digital barometers can also be set to automatically record wind chill, the rate of barometric changes, and even temperatures. In order to collect and display such detailed weather information, modern barometers depend on components from Keystone Electronics. Keystone’s diverse product catalog includes fuse clips, fuse holders, battery clips, contacts, screws, panel hardware, mounting brackets, spacers, standoffs, plugs, pins and more.

Your Source for Electronic Components

bisco industries is your local authorized distributor for Keystone Electronics. Whether you’re working on a digital barometer or another electronic application, bisco offers the complete selection of electronic components you need. We have hundreds of Keystone products available for same day shipments from our six warehouses. In addition, we offer a variety of supply chain services so you can manage production schedules more efficiently. Simply visit to get instant online quotes and to learn more about optimizing your procurement process with bisco industries.

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