V5 Symbol Library Symbol Connectors Gender


I just went to drop a connector onto a schematic recently and found that both the male and female connectors had a default RefDes as “J?”.

Shouldn’t the male connector have the RefDes as “P?”?


From Wikipedia There are two competing standards it sems. We went with the most movable / least movable distinction.

J Jack (least-movable connector of a connector pair) | Jack connector (connector may have “male” pin contacts and/or “female” socket contacts)

P Plug (most-movable connector of a connector pair) | Plug connector (connector may have “male” pin contacts and/or “female” socket contacts)

Edit: I checked IEEE Std 200-1975 Page 11. This standard only defines the least movable/ most movable view. (No talk about connector gender at all)


My question is not related to the general symbol below:

But is instead to these gender assigned symbols:

If the library is going to assign them a gender, then, in my opinion, it should assign the most common “RefDes”. I was surfing around Digikey and for most “normal” parts they are assigned male/female, pin/socket, and plug/jack.

For general “normal” symbols where male/female is defined, and depicted visually by the symbol graphic, it seems this would be consistent to also attach the appropriate RefDes. Otherwise, to me, it appears to be a mistake in the library.


Read the standard i linked above. There is no mentioning of gender when they talk about connector refdes. They only talk about which one is more or less movable. As both symbols are intended to be used for pcb mounted connectors this means both symbols represent the less movable side. (Meaning both get refdes J)


Indeed, plugs can be female, and jacks male.


Now, you two are just being difficult about the possibilities of gender; not taking into consideration that the gender is already defined by the library symbol.

Even in the document, a P connects to a J.

For most “normal schematics that I have used” P1 would insert into J1 and help the readability of the schematic and troubleshooting the physical parts; although this is not always the case.

Anyways, bottom line is that the symbol library has already assigned a gender to these connectors; and I don’t see two P’s or two J’s connecting to each other.

Alternately, removing the gender assignment from the symbol name would also fix the conflict.


No, history on this forum has consistently shown that is YOU!


Edit: My original comment was a bit out of line. Sorry about that.

Please read the standard and show me where it suggests that gender should influence the reference designator.


Part of the issue is likely related to the fact that the standard is not abiding by it’s own standard.

On Edit: I missed a detail.
The physical mating connectors are still going to have to be a combination of a Plug and a Jack even though the text is is not in the drawing.

The drawing even depicts a “male” Plug and a “female” Jack.


Oh, you changed your reply.

It does not. But the symbol in the library has the gender assigned by name.


Yes i should not have commented like that. (There is no excuse)


Actually, no. the “A7P1” portion of the ref’d “XA7P1” tells you what goes into the “X” connector. That connector on A9 starts with an “X” because of right above that figure.

[edit2] Think of it this way. A7’s “P” numbered “1” connects to A9’s “X” numbered “A7P1”.

[edit] Also, another document I have (PCB Matrix AppNote 10834 for class designation letters) shows “X” for “fuseholder, lampholder, socket”. One board plugging into another board could be thought of plugging into a socket, not a jack. Semantics, I know.


@SembazuruCDE Thank you.

The missing parentheses threw me off.


Back at RACAL, we used to have “Male connector with socket contacts” and vice versa for a D type.


Hopefully emotions have settled a little bit today.

Let me rephrase the question. If like in figure 3 above, I want create a board such as A7, “Where is the schematic symbol with the correct P1-3 RefDes in the current libraries?”


What’s stopping you from changing the “J?” to “P?” before auto annotating the schematic? What’s stopping you from manually annotating by changing “J?” to “P1”?

For a situation like in that example, I’d be manually annotating all my connectors anyway.

Remember, what is in the libraries are just suggestions based on most use cases.


Are you certain about this statement?


It’s my understanding that is the librarians’ intent. They can’t possibly cover every use case, especially edge cases. For example, weirdos like me who insist on pin numbers on all components for documentation reasons. Most people think all the extra pin numbers clutter up a schematic. I think it adds order.

[edit] I should also probably add that they appear to at least attempt to follow best practices of a given set of standards. In the case of this thread it happens to be IEEE Std 200-1975. There may be updates to that standard, but they cost real money ($75USD and up each) to access that many hobbyists (and volunteers) simply can’t justify paying. Those fees add up. There is a standard for reference designators, a standard for symbols, a standard for through hole footprints, a standard for SMT footprints, a standard for… you get the idea.


It does clutter up a schematic to a final user. However, I would agree that it is essential when using KiCad to get the EDA design correct.

From Digikey:

In no way would changing the symbol library RefDes violate the IEEE standard, and the benefit would be that it would also comply with a current industry standard vendor.

ON EDIT: I have NO affiliation with Digi-Key other than as a user/customer.


And I acknowledge that is the majority consensus. It just isn’t mine. I’m not saying that everyone else is wrong. I’m only saying that I’m different. :wink:

Unfortunately, your example is poor for your point. Those banana jacks are either board or panel mount (i.e. least movable) and all the banana plugs are cable mount (i.e. most movable). Also, 3 of the 5 plugs are “stackable” meaning it has both male and female electrical connections.