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Connector selection and installation FAQ

Date:2019-07-13    source:admin

Connectors are a component that our electronic engineering technicians often come into contact with. Its role is very simple: to bridge the communication between the blocked or isolated circuits in the circuit, so that the current flows, so that the circuit achieves the intended function. Connectors are an indispensable part of an electronic device. You will always find one or more connectors along the path through which the current flows. The form and structure of the connector are ever-changing. There are various types of connectors depending on the application object, frequency, power, and application environment.


Connectors are common parts in almost any electronic project. Knowing the available connectors and the specs to remember are important in the design process. You don't want to find that you need to add content and adjust the project to accommodate this change as the project draws to a close, which can result in increased time and cost.


If you choose a connector for your project, you need to consider some considerations when specifying connector requirements. Some common issues include:


How many contacts do the connectors need?

How do you want or need to install each connector?

What is the installation method and what is required for the installation?

What termination method do you need or want for your application?

Does the connector used require intrusion protection?

How much voltage and current do you expect the connection to withstand?


In many cases, the number of contacts required for the connector is known. However, sometimes other needs of the overall application and the availability of each connector will ultimately affect the specifications of the selected connector.


In addition, there is a need to further consider the power supply that the connector needs to handle, as this will affect the selected connector. As the power capacity of the connector continues to increase, you will find that the total number of contacts in any package/case size will decrease. This is because more wires and/or higher voltages require more space.


Some manufacturers have attempted to increase the rated voltage by adding more isolation between the contacts and increasing the total "distance" of the arc from one contact to the other.


In addition, some connectors have ground contacts built into the remaining contacts. These contacts are longer than the other contacts in the connector to reduce/eliminate the arc between the two engaged/non-engaged connectors.


In addition, the following points should be kept in mind when considering connectors:


How many connectors and contacts do you need or willing to use to power the input/output housing?

General contact combination type of connector

Power contact only

Signal only contact

Power and signal contacts

Signal + ground contact

For projects where only one connector is available, a slightly larger connector may be required to incorporate all contacts.

If the signal and power contacts are separate, the required installation space will increase. However, this may be the general layout requirement of the application, or the function of the application is to separate the two contacts.


The project also needs to consider how you want to install each connector. The following are examples of several installation types and provide sample links.


PCB Pin Through Hole - The terminating pin of the connector is used to mount/fix the connector to the board through holes in the board.

Circular connector

D-Sub connector

Rectangular connector – needle holder, male pin

Rectangular connector – header, female socket

PCB Surface Mount - The terminating pins of the connector are used to mount/fix the connector to the board and the pins are placed on the contact pads on the surface of the board.

Circular connector

D-Sub connector

Rectangular connector – needle holder, male pin

Rectangular connector – header, female socket

Panel Mounting - There are reserved holes in the surface or panel, and the connectors are placed through the holes or against the holes. Since the connector is mounted on the circuit board behind the panel, the mounting can be done with threads and nuts or directly in place.

Rectangular connector – free suspension, panel mount

Circular connector

Circular connector – housing

Free suspension / cable installation - Connector mounted / mounted to its terminated cable.

Circular connector

Circular connector – housing

Rectangular connector – housing

Board/Card Edge/Reserved Hole Mounting - For card edges, the termination is close to the edge of the board and in many cases the connector is modified for use at the edge. For a reserved hole on the board, the situation is similar because it is close to the edge of the board. However, a portion of the board has holes reserved so that the connector has a flat profile. Both types of installation are designed to achieve a flatter overall board appearance. In addition, these types of connections can be used when there is no available space on the board or for other design needs.

USB, DVI, HDMI connector

Coaxial connector (RF)

Through-Board Installation - Similar to a reserved hole installation, but the difference is that such connectors are not common near the edge of the board. They are also similar to panel mount connectors because they are mounted through reserved holes on the board. Some terminate the through holes in the board and solder them to the same side of the connector engagement, while others are surface mounted to the side of the board on which they are mounted (opposite sides of the connector engagement side). An example of such a connector type is as follows:

Terminal – Wire-to-Board Connector

Solid state lighting connector

Rectangular connector – onboard, direct wire to board


The terms "installation" and "termination" are often used interchangeably, but it is important to remember that they are not always interchangeable and there is a difference between the two. Installation refers to how the entire project and connector are connected/fixed/attached as a whole. Termination refers to how to make an electrical connection. Through-hole mounting and surface mounting refer in most cases to connectors that can be mounted and terminated in a specific manner (see “Termination Methods” below). The following are possible examples of mounting, mating, and termination combinations:


Connector 1

Panel mounted

Use a right-angle surface mount contact to terminate the board

Connector 2 of the mating connector 1 is

Free hanging connector

Threaded termination


What termination method is required for each end or connection? If there are no specific types of requirements specified in advance, the termination method can be based on personal preference. However, some applications may require a specific type of termination.


Solder Termination - For terminations, this termination method is suitable for a wide range of applications. However, if it is a high temperature area application, more mechanical termination methods may need to be considered. Soldering can be used for wire termination and board termination connections. Therefore, this type of termination includes a variety of connector soldering methods. Through-hole soldering and surface mounting as described above, describes a type of mounting and termination.


waterproof connector.jpg

Through Hole Soldering - Pins are left on the connector termination side for pre-perforation through the board, and copper pads are typically placed on the opposite side of the board on the access side of the via connector. Once placed in place, the weld will be fixed.

waterproof connector plug.jpg

Surface Mount Termination - The connector pins and mounting pads are on the same side of the PCB. The connectors can be placed and soldered in place or soldered in place by reflow and wave soldering. Note that some board/card edge connectors are also available in a surface mount type.

waterproof connector power plug.jpg

Crimp - This type of termination is very robust and can be used to terminate wires. However, this depends on the quality of the crimp and the correct installation in the contact housing.


In order to achieve high quality crimping and integral connections, it is necessary to ensure that the correct contacts and the correct crimping tools are used for the housing. Tool selection is an important step for these contacts.

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