Where are wire-to-board connectors used?

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Wire-to-board connectors are used to connect a discrete wire or group of wires to a printed circuit board (PCB). These connectors provide an efficient and cost effective method of supplying power and signals to PCBs in automotive, industrial, lighting and communication products. Commercial electronic equipment and home appliances often use wire-to-board connectors as well.

wire-to-board connectors shutterstock_2075457535The needs of the application will dictate the style of connector chosen, as there is no “standard” wire-to-board connector design. Depending on the manufacturer, some feature a low profile coupling for tight spaces and various locking mechanisms such as friction lock, full lock or quick disconnect. Others feature a locking bar or a snap-on type of connection to ensure the wire stays securely in its socket. While many connectors are surface mount on the board, others have pins that pass through the board and are soldered on the other side.

Wire-to-board connectors are specified by properties such as case size, materials, number of contacts, stack height (height of connector measured from the circuit board), length of contacts and the number of contact rows. They are also specified in terms of pin pitch, which is the distance measured between the centers of two conductors. Wire termination also differs depending on wire size and number of contacts. For example, connectors that handle significant power often have crimped contacts that are secured with some sort of tool. Other styles, such as ground termination connectors that contain 20 or more wires, may be designed for use in automated welding systems.

Another recent development is a new generation of ultra-compact connectors with sub-1.5mm profiles that are compatible with automated surface mount assembly in high-volume manufacturing. To ensure reliability, these tiny connectors often feature gold-plated contacts and strain relief capabilities. With so many sizes and styles available among today’s wire-to-board connectors, design engineers have more options than ever to select the right power and signal transmission system for their end products. .


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