Found on a number of electronic components, a jackscrew is a unique screw that is part of the design for various types of electrical connectors. This type of screw helps to draw the two halves or sections of the connector together, creating a secure seal between the cable and the electrical device. Jackscrews are easy to manage, making them ideal for connecting DVD players to televisions, and use with various types of support components to a computer tower or laptop.
Jackscrews are among the smallest screws manufactured today. One metal jackscrew design calls for the presence of a small head on the screw, while others use a design that features a recessed area at the top instead. In both cases, the body of the screw is round and marked with threads along the length of the shaft. Because of the small size, care must be taken to position the screw properly before attempting to draw the two sides of the connector together.
While used with several different types of connectors, a jackscrew is most commonly utilized with what is known as a multiple contact connector. Connectors of this type are able to accommodate connections to more than one device. Some designs for multiple-contact connectors will make use of a single jackscrew, while others will require two screws. By using a screwdriver that is the right size for the head or recessed section of the screw, it is possible to turn the screw to the right in order to bring the two sections of the connector together. It is equally easy to turn the screw to the left in order to separate the halves and break the connection.
The jackscrew shares many traits with other types of screws. For example, it is possible to damage the threads, rendering the screw useless. It is also possible to damage the head of the screw, making it impossible to tighten and loosen the connector halves when and as needed. For this reason, it is always a good idea to make sure the screw is aligned properly, and that the correct type of screwdriver is used.
Like other types of screws, jackscrews are available in different sizes. Smaller designs are common with household equipment such as computers and ancillary devices on sound systems and television entertainment devices. Larger designs are often used in commercial equipment used in offices or other places of business. While it is possible to purchase replacement screws in some retail outlets such as a hardware store, many people order replacement screws from the manufacturers of the connectors that make use of the jackscrews.