Connector PCB Miracle
There are many off-the-shelf connectors available to meet various needs. Often, a custom design is also possible, but this will have longer lead times and some Non-Recurring Engineering (NRE) charges.
Connectors generate a great deal of mating and unmating forces that can induce bending stresses in PCBs. It is important to have a system-level tolerance study performed to determine the misalignment requirements.
Designing for Connectors
Connectors are what keep the electricity flowing through your PCB, whether for a short board-to-board connection or driving signals over long cables. There are many different connector options available in both thru-hole and surface mount technology (SMT) versions.
Connecter design for PCBs involves a number of considerations to ensure the proper fit, mechanical stability and signal quality. The first thing to consider is the type of connector you need; are you looking for a pin-to-pin connection or something that will provide power, ground and signals through a standardized interface? For example, Ethernet and USB connectors have a specific pinout that must be implemented when routing them on the circuit board.
Thru-hole pin configurations offer a much more robust physical connection, which is important for connectors that will be plugged in and unplugged over the life of the circuit board. Depending on the case, you may also need to consider a specific mounting method, such as male or female headers that are configured with straight or bent pins.
Some connectors are built for special manufacturing or operating environments, such as hermetically sealed and/or resistant to chemicals. They might also be equipped with filters to block electromagnetic interference (EMI). If you’re planning on using a special connector, you need to make sure your PCB design tool supports the features that are required.
Designing for Noise
Noise is one of the major issues in a PCB, and while it can’t be completely eliminated, there are techniques that will reduce its presence to an acceptable level. Noise is caused by current spikes that occur on some electrical signals, and if they are excessive, they can cause interference with other circuitry. This can lead to a variety of problems, including poor performance and even the failure of a PCB entirely.
To help reduce the risk of excessive noise, it’s a good idea to use only the Connector PCB Miracle necessary components and to keep the inductance of conductors low by using shortest and widest possible traces. Also, the ground plane should be designed to ensure that there’s a well-defined return path for high-frequency signals, without any interruptions or split planes.
Another major source of noise in a PCB is crosstalk, which is the unintentional electromagnetic coupling between two transmission lines. It can occur when traces are too close to each other, either horizontally (side by side) or vertically on another layer. It’s important to control this type of crosstalk, especially in the connector pin out, because it can result in interference that can disrupt signal transmissions.
A good way to minimize noise is to choose an EMC-optimized board. Inner layer 1 should be solid GND, and the DC/DC circuit and filter components should be located on opposite sides of the board. Lastly, a cut around the DC/DC block on the top of the board keeps all high-frequency current within this area and away from the connectors.
Designing for Flexibility
Using flexible PCBs saves space, weight and cost. They also increase routing repeatability and reduce the number of service calls due to assembly errors or faulty parts. These circuits are often made from a dielectric material like polyimide to cover their conductors. They can withstand vibrations and harsh environments. This is important for high-speed applications.
Flex circuits are more versatile than traditional Rigid Printed Circuit Boards and eliminate the need for ribbon connectors or wire harnesses. This makes them a good choice for use in tight spaces or extreme conditions. They can also be used to connect multiple boards or devices, which is important for a backplane system.
These circuits can be bent and twisted without breaking and are suitable for a wide range of applications. They can even take on a three-dimensional shape. Moreover, they are also much smaller than ribbon cables and have higher conductor density.
Another advantage of this type of connector is that it can be soldered to different materials, allowing for easy maintenance and upgrades. These connectors are very common among devices such as cell phones, calculators and printers, LCD televisions and cameras. They are also widely used in medical and aerospace devices. However, the disadvantage of these connectors is that they can generate unwanted noise and may interfere with signals. To minimize this noise, designers can include noise-canceling technologies in the design.
Designing for Space
The world’s electronic systems depend on physical electro-mechanical connectors between equipment and printed circuit assemblies. Protocols for input and output like USB, RS-485, Ethernet and MIDI all require these connectors. These connectors need to perform under demanding conditions that include high temperature, vibration and even partial vacuum.
Fortunately, these demands can be met with today’s high-reliability connectors. Look for high-voltage ratings, high-temperature performance and additional testing to address shock and vibration. These Connector PCB Miracle Supplier extra tests are not necessary in all cases, however. For example, the CubeSat industry is a prime market where space and weight are at a premium – every gram saved on a connector saves a gram of expensive rocket fuel. So, don’t over-specify where it’s not needed.
Another consideration is the size of the pins versus pad dimensions. A larger pin pitch enables faster routing, but a smaller pitch supports denser assemblies. Pad sizes can also be necked down to accommodate the annular ring, a requirement for some applications.
Altium Designer provides a robust toolset for connector modeling and placement. Component libraries include the latest in connector styles, footprints and 3D models. The unified environment imports and exports.STEP files, facilitating collaboration with mechanical engineers. This streamlined design process promotes elegant designs for IO connections that meet both ECAD and MCAD requirements. It’s a great way to ensure Right-First-Time assembly of your printed circuit board.