What Are PCB Connectors? Basic Types and Functions

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The use of connectors for printed circuit boards allows you to design electronic products that have increased requirements for modifiability, recovery time and scalability. The use of these connectors allows you to speed up the compilation of any product from ready-made modules based on printed circuit boards.

In addition, the manufacture of connectors can be carried out with additional details:

Coding elements designed to eliminate SMD mounting errors in the presence of several identical connectors in the device.

Fixing blocks for additional fastening of the connector to the printed circuit board and to prevent spontaneous opening of the connector.

Cases and cable clamps installed on the cable part of the connector for easy splicing and tying cables and wires included in the connector.

Light tubes for signaling the presence of voltage on the contact at the end of the module.

What is the function of pcb connectors?

The catalog of strip and installation connectors allows you to find the right solution for any application requiring a reliable and safe connection of cables of any construction in building installations, patch cabinets as well as industrial and power switchboards.

The second strong pillar of the company is the modular automation system with a number of controllers, network interfaces and an extensive range of input and output modules enabling the implementation of various applications in industrial, process, building and power automation.

 The offer in this area is supplemented with its own power supply system, also guaranteed, and with a rich family of relays and isolation converters.

PCB connectors and multi-plugs - various variants and applications

However, WAGO's largest product portfolio is in the field of electronic wiring connectors. It offers a complete range of PCB and multi-plug connectors for a wide variety of applications.

Connectors for printed circuit boards

PCB terminal blocks are prepared in many variants: from single terminal blocks through terminal strips (multi-level) to power terminals with the possibility of bridging or with internal bridging. The offer includes all metric screens for standard applications from 2.5 up to 20 mm, which are also equivalent in inch screens.

There are products with various angles of cable approach to the PCB plane (0o, 30o, 40o, 45o and 90o), with a wide range of connected conductor cross-sections, from the thinnest 0.08 mm2 to solutions for power electronic circuits with conductors with cross-sections 16 or even 25 mm2. There is also full freedom of choice in terms of cable assembly in connectors: lever, button,

Connection technology for lighting fixtures

A special subgroup of PCB connectors are products designed with lighting technology in mind. The small-size connectors with the possibility of surface or through-hole mounting have been designed to allow easy connection of the power supply while minimizing interference in the propagation of the luminous flux generated by the lighting fixture.

The available variants and louvres are used in solutions powered by various voltages, both in single sources and for lighting lines.

Selected products are specifically designed to lead the wiring out of the device enclosure. In this case, the use of couplings with a button for assembling the wires significantly simplifies the wiring process, and the spring clamp technique guarantees a reliable and repeatable connection of the wires with the device (photo 2).

Multiple Plug System (MCS)

For solutions requiring connecting modules or creating structured cabling, WAGO offers a full range of multi-plugs. Wire-to-wire, wire-to-PCB or board-to-board connections - all combinations are available in several product families.

Depending on the size of the cables and the density of the components, the multi-plugs of the MICRO, MINI and MIDI series are available. For applications operating with high currents, there is a specially developed MCS MAXI family of multi-plugs, which allows you to connect the systems with conductors with cross-sections up to 25 mm2, with load currents up to 76 A.

A wide range of additional accessories allows you to protect the plugs against accidental disconnection, to fix individual elements to supporting structures devices, bundle and unload individual wires connected to sockets and plugs.

Multi-plugs with connection coding

The full offer of connectors and multi-plugs for electronics together with a compendium of knowledge, an online catalog and the possibility of downloading publications is available at www.wago.pl.

Electrical connectors are an inseparable element of every electronic and electrical system and device. It is difficult to imagine a system that would be devoid of any connections between its individual elements, and for the implementation of these connections it is necessary to use connectors.

It is therefore worth refreshing the basic information on this type of components, including basis of their construction and classification.


Electrical connectors - basic types and construction

The electronic system is a set of interconnected elements, with a defined hierarchy, enabling mutual communication between them. This communication may include not only the exchange of information, but also energy, for example for the purposes of the power subsystem.

Electrical connectors must be used to make the connection. They can be divided into three main categories, depending on the type of elements connected with each other:

  • board-to-board connecting two or more printed circuit boards together,
  • board-to-wire type connecting the printed board with the electric wire,
  • Wire-to-wire for interconnecting wires.

Depending on the type of elements and their position in the system hierarchy, there are six levels of connections:

  • Level 0 includes the connection between the integrated circuit (silicon wafer) and the pins of its housing.
  • level 1 is the connection between the housing of the electronic component and the surface of the printed circuit board,
  • level 2 is a connection between two or more printed circuits, e.g. in the mother-board-daughterboard formula,
  • level 3 includes connections between components within one system,
  • level 4 is the connection between the components and the I / O ports of the entire system,
  • Level 5 is the connection between different systems, e.g. between a computer and a printer.

Board-to-board connectors

Connectors of this type are used to connect printed circuit boards with each other without the need for wires. This type of solution saves space and eliminates connection cables, contributing to a reduction in the size and weight of the entire system. The plates can be connected in a parallel or perpendicular configuration.

Connectors that allow parallel connection of PCBs are called "mezzanine" - for stacking one above the other, but this term is also sometimes used in the description of connectors that allow perpendicular joining, which may cause some inaccuracies.

When selecting the appropriate mezzanine element, in order to connect two PCBs in parallel, it is necessary to take into account mechanical aspects such as the height of the joint, the tolerance of its dimensions, as well as the type of assembly for which the component is intended.

System Requirements in PCB Connectors

Much also depends on the system requirements - questions must be answered about whether the connection element is to be capable of reconnecting and reconnecting and how many disconnect / reconnect cycles are expected during the lifetime of the device. Environmental conditions such as temperature range and humidity should also be taken into account. Parameters of this type of connector are described in the EIA 700AAAB standard.

Backplane solutions are also common in board-to-board connections. This is a configuration in which a set of connectors are connected in parallel to form a bus. Each pin of any connector is therefore connected to the corresponding pin of all other connectors within one configuration.

Solutions of this type are commonly used in telecommunications due to their reliability and flexibility as well as the possibility of mounting various expansion cards.

In the case of high data transfer rates, the backplane may introduce excessive signal attenuation, reducing signal quality and connection performance. Therefore, the impedance matching of these components to the rest of the system is extremely important, as well as proper shielding of the signals.

Cable connections - wire-to-wire

Cable connections, as their name suggests, allow two electrical conductors to be connected directly to each other. One of the ends of the connector is usually permanently connected with the cable, while the other one forms an interface that allows for setting up and disconnecting the connection.

A rigid connection to the conductor is usually achieved by crimping or using IDC (Insulation Displacement Contact) technology. In the IDC method, an insulated wire is inserted into a properly shaped socket, equipped with sharp metal elements.

These elements cut through the insulation, thus creating a direct connection between the connector and the conductor. IDC versions are usually used for connecting cables formed into tapes. Crimp assembly is the most common choice for single conductors.

Board-to-wire connections

Board-to-cable connectors are used to connect the wire to the printed circuit board. The part of the connector that connects to the wire is usually similar to wire-to-wire solutions, and the element that connects to the board is usually a push-in or solderable connector.


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