What are pin headers?

By Amy Goetzman | October 31, 2023

Meet the Connector: Pin Headers

Pin headers are a type of electrical connector that consists of one or more rows of metal pins or contacts molded into a plastic base. They serve as a bridge between various elements in an electronic device, enabling the distribution of power, data, and signal throughout a device. They can connect printed circuit boards (PCBs) to each other or connect a PCB to a breadboard or other prototyping device.Pin headers are available in a variety of sizes and configurations, including straight or right-angle, with the most common pitch being 2.54 mm (0.1 inches). Pin headers are typically soldered to the PCB, but they can also be press-fit into connectors that are designed for that purpose.

Mill-Max precision-machined pin headers

Mill-Max precision-machined pin headers are available in a wide variety of options to accommodate everything from space-saving, fine-pitch requirements, to larger, more robust applications in which products are subjected to harsh environments including significant shock and vibration.

These versatile, economical, and easy to use interconnects serve a wide variety of applications, including consumer electronics, industrial automation, automotive, aerospace and defense, medical devices, and IoT devices. Pin headers are a solid choice for simple connections, such as a microcontroller board to a breadboard; a sensor to a PCB; a PCB to a backplane; a display to a PCB; or a motor to a PCB.

Pin headers are one of the connector types that engineers are likely to encounter early on as they develop interest in the field. Pin headers are featured in development boards such as Arduino and Raspberry Pi as the connector used to attach peripheral units such as displays, sensors, and expansion modules. They are also in prototyping and custom electronics.

Preci-Dip’s male pin headers

Preci-Dip’s male pin headers are typically plated gold for high conductivity and corrosion resistance or RoHS compliant tin for excellent solderability.

Design Notes

Pitch: The 2.54 mm (0.1-inch) pitch is the most common pin header. However, other pitches, such as 1.27 mm (0.05 inches) and 2.00 mm (0.079 inches), also exist for specialized applications.

Number of Rows: Pin headers can have single or double rows of pins. Single-row headers are common for simpler connections, while double-row headers provide more connections in a smaller space.

Pin Length: Standardized pin lengths ensure that pin headers are compatible with different PCB thicknesses. Common lengths include 4.5 mm, 5 mm, and 6 mm.

Metz Connect offers a variety of pin headers

Metz Connect offers a variety of pin headers, including the silver-plated THR solderable PR033xxVBHC Type 224 connector.

Pin Diameter: Pin headers typically have standardized pin diameters to ensure a secure and reliable connection.

Mounting Options: Pin headers can be available in various mounting options, including through-hole (for PCBs) and surface mount (SMT) versions, allowing for flexibility in design.

Ept connectors’ Varpol line of pin headers and sockets

Ept connectors’ Varpol line of pin headers and sockets flexibly connect circuit boards together or connect a cable to a circuit board. The company provides them in 1-to-2 rows with a large variety of customizable lengths (no upper pole/contact limit, as the connectors can be arranged next to one another without the loss of a pitch) to the automotive sector.

 Markets, Sectors, and Applications

Automotive, Medical, Military and Aerospace, Industrial, Consumer

Suppliers

ICC (Interstate Connecting, Components), AirBornBulgin Components, ept USA, Greenconn, HARTINGHarwinHirose ElectricITT CannonJAEKYOCERA AVXMETZ CONNECTMill-Max Mfg. Corp., MolexNicomaticNorCompOmnetics Connector Corporation, PEI GenesisPhoenix ContactPositronicPreci-DipRadiallSamtec Inc., TE ConnectivityWeidmüller, and Würth Electronik.

Related products:

  • Berg connectors
  • Terminal blocks
  • Wire-to-board connectors
  • Board-to-board connectors
  • JST connectors

Like this article? Check out our other Meet the Connector, our Automotive Market Page, and our 2023 Article Archive

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Amy Goetzman
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