Choosing Custom Connectors and Pins for Extreme Application Needs

Manufacturers and engineers work behind the scenes to create devices that make the world run more safely and efficiently. These designers are constantly solving problems and looking for ways to meet growing demands for:

  • The fastest signal speeds for uplink and data exchange
  • The smallest and most adaptable footprint as possible
  • The reliability of best performance at the most critical moment

The interconnect components are the most critical parts of designing these devices, as they determine the size, speed, weight, reliability, and power of the application. Without the right interconnects, you may be risking end-user satisfaction and even safety – and miss out on innovation down the road. 

This post will give you tips for choosing interconnects you can rely on for your industry and where to get started.

 

Custom Components vs. Off the Shelf

Pins and connectors come off the shelf or custom-made. Many manufacturers believe the cheapest, easiest answer is to go for the catalog and choose the “smallest” pin or connector they can find. It all depends on your standards, timeline, and design requirements. You should know the risk of catalog connectors and why going custom can benefit you and your customer base long-term.

Off-the-Shelf Pins and Connectors:

  • Should have shorter lead times, but supply depends on part popularity
  • Can be cheap at first, but more expensive over time
  • Limit the use of custom logos or markings 
  • Come with major risk of mixed production lots
  • Are sometimes sub-contracted and come from multiple supply chains
  • Rarely offer ingress protection, increasing vulnerability 
  • Require adjustments and bulkier components later on

Custom Pins and Connectors:

  • Have less lead time once tooling has been fabricated
  • Save money long-term by getting it right up-front
  • Allow for all custom design specifications
  • Can be designed with any required ingress protection rating
  • Reduce the need for bulky components or additions 

With finer custom pin-to-pin pitches, equivalent or better power-per-pin than competing solutions, and superior overall performance, you can design the product you intended rather than compromising your design around catalog connector dimensions that don’t quite fit.

 

Choose the Best Interconnects for Blind Mating – Size, Speed, and Temperature

The right connector pins and inter-board connectors should help you meet the following extreme application demands.  

Extremely Small Geometry

small-medical-sensorIn the quest for designers to meet demanding requirements for thinner applications, extreme amounts of onboard electronics have to be stacked together in new and creative ways. Multiple stackups of onboard circuit board assemblies must meet functionality requirements for items such as wearables, medical sensors, and other high-performance applications. 

Custom pins (such as our patented T033 H-Pin) and connectors (such as high-performance flex-to-board or board-to-board connectors) can be fabricated to particular, very small specifications. These custom interconnects can reduce the size of the application and/or increase connectivity within the limited dimensions.

Plastronics can provide individual pin solutions for connectors that engineers design themselves, OR fully customized connector assemblies we design in-house to meet their needs. 

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Extremely High Signal Speeds

telecommunication-satellite Technologies can only work when the signal integrity within their smallest components is reliable. Are you compromising on signal performance for the sake of cost or size? Your small, complex electronics should still meet modern demands for speed and reliability. 

The H-Pin provides superior signal performance thanks to the simplicity of its design and the quality of its manufacturing. Secured by a stainless steel wound spring, the H-Pin’s two beryllium copper stampings provide a reliable single beam conductor for superior signal integrity, yielding flat resistance curves and a gas-tight conductivity.  

 

 

Download the H-Pin Guide

Resistance to Extremely Hot Temperatures

automotive-engineFor products in automotive, oil and gas, aerospace, and military, the objective is to survive extreme temperatures and environmental stresses to ensure it remains durable and dependable under a variety of circumstances.

Our custom circuit board connectors are tested and proven to survive these extreme conditions before your electronics kits are even assembled. Increasing temperature in a calculated manner allows for the same stress effects in less time. When you have more time, it leads to greater efficiencies and healthier margins.

From extreme temperatures to the smallest sizes, our pins can increase the functionality of your application. Back to the H-Pin: it has a working range up to 0.70 mm with a flat spring rate and can be utilized up to 15GHz with -1.0dB loss, carry up to 4 amps of current and withstand temperatures up to 200°C.

 

Extremely Reliable Blind Mating

Applications like fully integrated wearables with contained power and datalink capability require easy and reliable flex-circuit-to-board connectors that provide highly dense stable power and signal performance pin outs. Wearable sensors with separate power charge and datalink require easy and reliable blind mating, and durable mate and un-mate operations.

At Plastronics, we create compression mounted connectors with specifically designed pin dimensions, ensuring accurate and reliable blind mating. Our patented spring probe design provides predictable mating as well as disengaging forces. No mating connector half means shorter stack height, one less component, and elimination for mismatch.

 

Consider the Manufacturing and Turnaround 

When working with a custom pin and connector manufacturer, ask about their processes in the following areas.

Manufacturing Process

Our automated H-Pin manufacturing process ensures that the first pin is identical to the last. Our unique approach to custom pin design, manufacturing, packaging, delivery, and price gives you a high-performance contact pin, cost-effectively. The pin and connector manufacturer you work with should have a process that keeps components reliable and consistent.

Quick Turn Development Services

Plastronics offers “skunk works” support, pre-production manufacturing, and iterative prototype support. Our streamlined processes allow us to deliver your custom parts in around 3-4 weeks so that you can get it into your designs. We go through this process as many times as needed in your design process. Need to test 10 concepts? We’ll do ten prototypes so you can test, iterate, and slowly make changes to get to that perfect final product.

 

The H-Pin: Custom Variations that Meet Modern Application Demands

h-pin-sizes-diagram

There will always be a balancing act between achieving maximum performance and offering high performance in the smallest possible form factor. But designers shouldn’t have to sacrifice on either without understanding all possible solutions for the interconnects within the assembly. 

With the H-Pin and all its variations, you no longer have to choose between cost and performance. Now there’s a high-performance, compliant contact made to serve high volume applications requiring reliable electrical, mechanical and thermal performance – all for a project-enabling cost. 

Ready to talk through your application needs? Schedule a quick consultation. Nothing is too extreme for us. What you thought was small and fast can be smaller, faster, better.

 

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