A patch cable, patch cord or patch lead is an electrical or optical cable used to connect (“patch in”) one electronic or optical device such as a miniature spectrometer to another for signal routing. Devices of different types (e.g., a switch connected to a computer, or a switch to a router) are connected with patch cords.
Patch cords are usually produced in many different colors so as to be easily distinguishable, and are relatively short, perhaps no longer than ten meters. Types of patch cords include microphone cables, fiber optic spectroscopy cables, headphone extension cables, XLR connector, Tiny Telephone (TT) connector, RCA connector and ¼” TRS phone connector cables (as well as modular Ethernet cables), and thicker, hose-like cords (snake cable) used to carry video or amplified signals. However, patch cords typically refer only to short cords used with patch panels.