What Are Breakout Boxes

A breakout box is a specific type of electrical test equipment device, commonly used for integration testing, maintenance endeavors, and various troubleshooting processes. As a device that can test at the system, subsystem, and component level alike, breakout boxes can simplify the means in which the testing of signals is conducted. In this blog, we will discuss the breakout box more in detail, allowing you to better understand the applications and uses that they serve.

Depending on one’s needs, there are a few types of breakout boxes and functionalities that may be used. While some devices are relied on for breaking out every signal connection that enters a unit, some may be more centered on testing or troubleshooting through the monitoring of select signals only. Furthermore, the makeup of such equipment may vary well as with some using electrical connectors while others take advantage of robust optical fiber connectors.

In order for a breakout box to be used for its various intended applications, it will often be placed between two electronic devices and attached with the use of electrical connector components. Once assembled, the breakout box then may be used to determine and troubleshoot various connection problems, those of which may arise from manufacturing errors, defective interconnect components, broken wiring, and more. Additionally, they can also be relied on for detecting active signals and power interconnects as well, allowing them to serve as a type of status monitor.

The breakout box name came about from the mechanical housing that serves to separate aggregate connections of a connector, “breaking out” connections into individual signal or current carrying connections. Typically, if only a small amount of connections are provided, one may use a breakout or octopus cable. Based on one’s needs and application, there are also a number of breakout box types that one may use, each of which provides varying designs and capabilities that may benefit certain requirements or operations.

When utilizing breakout boxes for post-production studio editing suites, such equipment is commonly employed for the means of patching audio/video output signals from more than one source so that they may be routed to other devices with ease. For simplistic breakout devices for such applications, the box may come in the form of a 96 audio in/out analog interconnect. Meanwhile, robust equipment types may feature the capability of handling HDMI, composite video, S-Video, digital signaling, and RS422 control.

Industrial I/O breakout boxes are another type, allowing an individual to diagnose various issues regarding computer communications over a serial port. Situated between two equipment pieces, the breakout box will often have LEDs for status indication and DIP switches for the means of connecting and disconnecting various signals for testing. With available connector pins on the device, users may also short pins together with electrical jumpers or use an oscilloscope for accessing signal lines with ease.

The RS-232 breakout box is useful for achieving complete management over RS-232 interface, test, rewire, and open signal lines, often coming in the form of a small, pocket-sized device. This compact construction allows them to be used for circuit testing and monitoring, and they feature LEDs for indications. With an RS-232 breakout box, a user may monitor TD, RTS, RD, CTS, DSR, RC, CD, and DRE (E) TC signals with ease.

Beyond such types, one may also take advantage of personal computer sound cards, docking stations, and electronic control units which all feature similar uses and operations. If you are in need of various electrical connector components, DIP switches, or other electronic test equipment parts, look no further than Aerospace Store. Aerospace Store is a trusted distributor of aircraft parts and electronic equipment, providing customers with an unparalleled inventory of top-quality items. As you take the time to peruse our vast offerings, we invite you to fill out and submit an Instant RFQ form for the items that you are interested in in order to receive a personalized quote for your comparisons. Our industry experts are readily available for customers 24/7x365, so give us a call or email today and see how we can help you.


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