AS9120B, ISO 9001:2015, and FAA AC 0056B ACCREDITED

How to Select a PCB Connector?

A PCB, or a printed circuit board, is an electronic assembly that utilizes copper conductors to establish electrical connections between components. PCBs provide mechanical support for electronic parts so a device may be mounted inside of an enclosure, and their design includes steps that align with their manufacturing process, integrated circuit packaging, and structure of the bare circuit board. A subject of concern for designers is figuring out how to supply devices with signal and power so that they do not interfere with functional goals like portability, wearability, and/or size. There are many options available for connectors that perform these functions, including PCB terminal blocks and headers, which are often utilized in medical device applications. As such, device designers must bring into consideration how a PCB will connect inside a particular device. In markets such as industrial automation, building automation, and medical devices, complex units typically feature multiple circuit boards within their end products.

PCB Orientation Configurations

There exists three possible positions in which PCBs can be oriented: mezzanine, coplanar, and orthogonal. To start, mezzanine refers to PCBs being stacked on top of one another, while coplanar positioning occurs when the PCBs are connected end-to-end. Finally, orthogonal PCBs are also called mother-daughter card configurations. Each of these configurations features a number of potential connectivity products that could be compatible, but for critical applications like controls, communication devices, and patient monitoring devices in medical equipment, it is important to consider three necessary qualifications to ensure safety: their robustness, flexibility, and processing capabilities.

Qualities of Robust PCB Connectors

It is important that the PCB connectors you select are rugged and robust in order to withstand the rigors of industrial and medical use. This means that all contact connection points must be stable, especially in high-vibration environments, and to achieve this, it is suggested that you increase the number of connection points on the contact interface. For additional confidence, invest in a product that features two separate contact points; PCB connectors featuring a robust mating interface can avoid potential damage that could occur if those mating connectors are misaligned. There must also be high-tolerance compensation for mated pairs, and to prevent incompatible connections, it is important to key the mating halves and indicate the first pole on the connectors. Moreover, with gold plating, connectors can go through a large number of mating and unmating cycles without causing damage to the contact interface; a well-made connector will support around 500 mating cycles.

Importance of Flexibility in PCB Connectors

A second trait that is important to have in PCB connectors is flexibility, permitting the three aforementioned PCB configurations to be obtained. Depending on the space constraints of the device, it is useful to have various pin sizes and centerline spacings. Additionally, board-to-board connectors must have an allowance for dimensional variations between circuit boards. A final necessary qualification to consider when selecting a PCB connector is their processing capability. In other words, it is important that the automatic placement of components like connectors is possible, and those connectors should be capable of tolerating extreme temperatures that could become present within the system.


Those in the market for high quality PCB connectors and other parts should look no further than Automated Procurement, where we are committed to our customers. Proudly operating with AS9120B, ISO 9001:2015, and FAA AC 00-56B accreditation, you can count on the caliber of our offerings. With more than 2 billion new, used, obsolete, and hard-to-find parts available for your immediate purchase on our database, we choose to source our products only from top global manufacturers to ensure their quality. With a supply chain network that spans across the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, we can expedite shipping times for domestic and international customers alike. Once you find parts you are interested in, be sure to fill out an online RFQ form with any relevant information regarding your order like target prices and desired part quantities. One of our dedicated account managers will work to supply you with a customized quote for your comparisons within 15 minutes of form submission. 


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