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Cheap, high density connector for prototyping?

  1. Mar 13, 2014 #1

    can anyone recommend a connector i can use, to say connect and discconect low current items such as temperature probes, LCDs, for all the prototyping circuits i make.

    Circular connectors are high density but they are way too expensive, i dont need it to be rugged. Right now i find stuff laying around similar to that sparkfun link^ that already has pigtails and just solder and heat shrink unto it.

    but now im running out of those. computer/molex connectors just dont have the density im looking for.

    any suggestions, greatly appreciated.

  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 13, 2014 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    If you get a crimper, you can use RJ-45 connectors. The females have a slight difficulty in that their pin pitch for the PCB end is not a nice clean 0.1" on center, but you can probably find versions that work for prototype boards...
  4. Mar 13, 2014 #3
    Thats interesting, i definitely have rj-45 crimp tools. i dont like dealing with that small of a wire, but this is definitely a cheap solution.
  5. Mar 13, 2014 #4
    anyone else have any ideas?
  6. Mar 13, 2014 #5


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    Gold Member

    Well with higher density comes less pin area to make the connection, so that will likely drive more expensive plating thickness - gold, etc, to provide the same impedance (AC and DC). Also, even if your application is particularly low current and low frequency (if so, what's the point?), there remains a similar mechanical stress per pin experienced during make/break that then must be distributed over less pin, again driving better materials and more precise manufacturing.

    In other words, I would not expect the same price per pin in a high density connector that you would see in an 8 pin RJ-45. So then, once the pins are forced to be more expensive, given a more expensive product to start with the industry starts throwing in other features like air-tight seals with O rings, metal shells and strain relief. Voila, you have the expensive circular connectors you are seeing.

    The above being the case, a couple alternatives have sprung up:
    o Printed circuit board and flex cable (down to 0.5 mm pitch). But then you'll have to pay the overhead for the PCB, contain and mount the PCB if there are environmental issues, etc.
    o Redesign your many connections into a high speed serial bus. Many are available with just your kind of problem in mind, and with chip sets to help out.
  7. Mar 14, 2014 #6
    Are male headers too big for your purposes? They make them all different sizes. They're cheap and easy to work with too. All you have to do is find a female ribbon cable to go with it.

    Digikey has a large selection of headers.
  8. Mar 14, 2014 #7
  9. Mar 14, 2014 #8


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    Staff: Mentor

    Nice find! I searched for a bit and didn't find anything, but that is perfect! :smile:
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