What are Wire-to-Board Connectors?

By AJ Born | August 23, 2022

Meet the Connector: Wire-to-Board Connectors

Wire-to-board connectors bring power and signal to a printed circuit board (PCB) by connecting a group of discrete wires to the board. There are no standard wire-to-board connectors; the various types are specific to the manufacturers who produce them.

Wire-to-board connectors can be specified based on several features. These include housing size and material, stacking height (the height of the connector from the circuit board), and pin pitch (the distance between the centers of two conductors – often two pins next to each other.) The number of contacts, the length of the contacts, and the number of contact rows can be specified as well.

Phoenix Contact’s LPT and LPC series

Phoenix Contact’s LPT and LPC series combine the optimized usability of lever actuation with the reliability of the push-in spring-cage connection. Connecting conductors with cross sections of up to 25 mm² is significantly faster and more intuitive.

A locking mechanism, such as a friction lock, full lock, or quick disconnect, is incorporated into the connector. Applications that require greater security may use a locking bar or snap-fit connection to ensure that the wire stays securely in the socket.

Wire-to-board connectors can be surface mounted to the PCB or have pins that go through the board and are soldered to the other side.

The wire termination method used inside the connector depends on the wire size and number of contacts. Connectors that handle significant power have crimped-on contacts for good mating between the wire and contact and no heating. Mass termination connectors that hold 20 or more wires can be designed for automated soldering.

Like many electronic connectors, wire-to-board connectors are getting smaller as space on PCBs becomes less available. This has led to the popularity of ultra-compact connectors with profiles under 1.5 mm that are compatible with automated surface mount assembly in high-volume manufacturing. Gold-plated contacts and strain relief capabilities add to the reliability of these tiny connectors.

Wire-to-board connectors are efficient and cost-effective. They are used in a variety of applications including automotive, industrial, telecommunications, lighting and displays, commercial electronic equipment, and household appliances.

GreenConn Wire-to-Board connectors

Wire-to-board connectors come in a wide range of pitch and pin count options along with features to provide effective locking mechanisms for a variety of applications, such as these solutions from Greenconn.

Design Notes

Types of wire-to-board connectors: Wafer connectors, ejector headers, wire and cable, headers and sockets, power PCB, FPC/FCC, IDC, RAST, terminal blocks

Color coding: Housings can be color-coded for accurate installation.

NXS-wtb

Smith’s Interconnect NXS Series Ultra-High Density, Space Qualified Interconnect Equipped with the Hypertac hyperboloid contact technology the NXS system can withstand data rate application up to 50Gbps per bay requirements, including extreme levels of vibration, shock and climatic testing above 2100 G. The NXS Series is designed in a robust construction with 4 or 12 high speed quadrax (dual-twinax) modules.

Suppliers

Amphenol Communications Solutions, Greenconn, Hirose Electric, I-PEX, JAE, Lumberg, Molex, Nicomatic, NorComp, Smiths InterconnectTE Connectivity

Like this article? Check out our other Meet the Connector and wire-to-board articles, our Transportation Industry Page, and our 2022 Article Archive

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