Board-to-board connectors play a crucial role in interconnecting printed circuit boards (PCBs) in a stackable manner, providing designers with the flexibility and reliability they need in various applications. Whether it's in automotive powertrain, automotive lighting, high-speed trains, industrial controls, data center storage systems, or patient monitoring technology, board-to-board connectors offer high-speed data transmission and protection in harsh environments.
Amphenol provides the board-to-board connector receptacle and board-to-board connector plugs for a diverse range of board-to-board connectors, including floating board-to-board connectors, signal and power hybrid board-to-board connectors, board-to-board box header connectors, low profile board-to-board connectors, fine pitch board-to-board connectors, high-speed board-to-board connectors, and micro board-to-board connectors. These connectors are designed to meet the electrical and mechanical requirements of different applications. Here are some key features and advantages of board-to-board connectors.
Pin Headers (PH or Male headers): Pin headers consist of rows of metal pins molded into a plastic base. They offer a cost-effective solution for connecting PCBs. With their simplicity and reliability, pin headers are widely used in various industries.
Receptacles: Also known as female headers, these are sockets that accommodate male pin headers. These connectors complete the connection design, allowing easy mating and replacement if necessary. They provide a secure and reliable connection between PCBs.
Box Headers: Box headers feature a plastic shroud around the header, guiding the connectors during the mating process to prevent errors. This design ensures accurate alignment and connection between PCBs.
Floating board-to-board connectors, by Amphenol, are specialized components that facilitate the connection between circuit boards, allowing for a certain degree of movement or misalignment. What sets these connectors apart is their unique ability to "float" within a specified range, both horizontally and vertically, accommodating slight shifts that may occur due to factors like vibration or handling during assembly.
Amphenol's FloatCombo™ 0.50mm Floating Board-to-Board Connectors with Power Pin present a high-performance solution for applications demanding both substantial current capabilities and efficient use of space. With an independent power pin supporting up to 5A per pin (4 power pins in total), they ensure reliable power transmission. Additionally, these connectors boast impressive high-speed data transmission rates of up to 10Gb/s or 16Gb/s, making them ideal for modern applications.
The single-piece, small footprint Compression Type Surface Mount Connectors by Amphenol enable seamless connection between PCB modules or between a PCB and an electrical module. The 0.40mm Fine Pitch 3.0mm Stacked Height Board-to-Board connectors by Amphenol are also engineered with a space-saving design.
Micro pitch board-to-board connectors
BergStak® board-to-board connector range includes micro pitch from 0.4mm to 0.8mm, stack height flexibility from 3mm to 20mm, and from 10 to 200 connector positions. These micro board-to-board connectors are designed specifically for high-density applications, are incredibly low-profile, and are well-suited for applications that demand both compactness and robust performance.
In industrial applications that require high-speed transmission, Amphenol's high-speed connectors are designed to deliver reliable performance. These connectors have robust terminals, high-temperature-resistant plastic, and a unique contact structure that minimizes noise and signal loss, enabling secure data transmission. Amphenol's shielded high-speed Minitek™ MicroSpeed board-to-board connector supports high speeds of up to 25Gb/s.
Amphenol's power board-to-board connectors provide a cost-effective system for DC power output from embedded AC/DC power supplies or for power distribution between boards within an enclosure. These connectors feature a narrow body design, which helps maximize airflow for improved cooling. They are well-suited for applications in 1U rack-mount servers or on power distribution boards inside 1U redundant power supply assemblies. Amphenol's power connectors ensure efficient and reliable power delivery, contributing to the overall performance and functionality of the system.
Board-to-board connectors are available in straight, right-angle, and U-shaped designs to accommodate various PCB orientations, including parallel, perpendicular, and horizontal configurations. For example, A 90-degree board-to-board connector is a right-angle connector with pins bent over at 90 degrees. These connectors can be stacked to elevate them on circuit boards that have taller components. Board to board connector's right angle can also be cut to the required size. This flexibility allows designers to optimize their PCB layouts and meet space and mechanical constraints. For example, modern cars equipped with various infotainment features utilize automotive right-angle board-to-board connectors to stack PCBs.
Blind mate board-to-board connectors can be joined together without the need for tools, typically through sliding or snapping mechanisms. They possess self-aligning characteristics that ensure they align correctly during mating. This tolerance for slight misalignment makes them user-friendly and efficient. These connectors are engineered with a focus on delivering reliable and top-notch performance consistently.
Stacking PCBs using board-to-board connectors offers several advantages. It allows for modularization, where smaller PCBs can be connected using connectors during assembly, improving design flexibility and facilitating modifications. Stacking PCBs also enhances manufacturability by using smaller PCBs instead of a single large PCB, and it can improve the electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) of the design.
Connector pitch refers to the measurement from the center of one contact to the center of the next contact. Smaller pitches allow for more contacts within a given space, making them suitable for applications with space constraints. The pitch size also affects electrical parameters such as current rating and dielectric withstanding voltage. Amphenol offers connectors in various pitches to cater to different design requirements.
There are two primary methods of mounting board-to-board connectors to the PCB: through-hole and surface mount.
Through-hole mounting is where connector pins or sockets are secured to the PCB by inserting them through holes drilled in the PCBs and then soldered in place. While reliable and secure, this method can be time-consuming and labor-intensive.
SMT or Surface mounting termination, on the other hand, is where connectors with solder pads are soldered to the surface of the PCBs using a wave soldering or reflow soldering machine. This method is generally faster and more easily automated although not as reliable as compared to through-hole mounting,
Other mounting options include press-fit and snap-fit mounting:
Press-fit mounting involves using a press-fit connector with a molded plastic housing inserted into a hole in the PCB. The connector is then pressed in, expanding the plastic housing and securing the connector in place.
Snap-fit mounting employs a snap-fit connector with a molded plastic housing that snaps over a tab on the PCB.
Amphenol's board-to-board connectors provide reliable and efficient connectivity solutions for diverse applications. With their versatility, robustness, and wide range of configurations, these connectors enable designers to create dependable connections between PCBs while meeting the demands of modern electronic equipment and devices.