What Is a Board to Board Connector?

board to board connector

What Is a Board to Board Connector?

A board to board connector (also known as BTB or PCB connector) consists of a housing and a number of terminals. The terminals transfer electrical signals between boards; the housing insulates the connections.

Connectors are available in male and female configurations. Male connectors, also called plugs or receptacles, feature a protrusion that fits into a female connector.


Pins are a common type of fastening hardware used in industrial applications to couple, align, mount, assemble, and penetrate two workpieces. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and styles and can be made from several different materials.

Hitch and linch pins are typically designed to lock components together, such as a trailer’s wheel axle, and cotter pins are often used to hold wires or other parts within an assembly. Spring pins, on the other hand, are often used to penetrate or encircle a component without using a locking mechanism.

Locating pins are used to firmly and precisely position, align, and fix two workpieces together to tight tolerances. They can be made from steel, stainless steel, or other metals.

These pins can be used in many types of fastening applications, from electrical connectors to industrial assembly and metal fabrication. They are available in several different design characteristics and configurations, including head and shank style, and can be manual, pneumatic, hydraulic, or electrically activated.

GCT offers an extensive range of board to board connectors, with options for through hole (TH) and surface mount (SMT). These headers and sockets feature a wide array of features, including locating pegs, shrouding, polarisation, keyed or elevated headers and sockets, and completely bespoke solutions.


Insulators are materials whose atoms have tightly bound electrons that do not let them flow very easily from one atom to another. They are not conductive like conductors such as copper, silver and gold.

These insulators can be made from metals such as copper, silver, aluminum and gold or they can be made from plastic polymers that expand when heated and solidify when cooled. They are used in many applications for their unique properties and a variety of other benefits.

Mill-Max offers a wide range of insulated connectors that include both molded and machined housings. These include pin headers, strip sockets and receptacles.

Some of these insulators can be fabricated from PCT polyester, which is rated for higher temperatures and allows for infra-red, vapor phase or wave soldering operations. These insulators are also available with Edge Rate contacts that provide superior electrical performance.

Others can be manufactured with a bonded-on receptacle that has multiple positions and can be switched between pin, receptacle, or spring pin configurations. These types of receptacles can be used to create a variety of configurations such as a nine-position strip header, a four-position strip socket, or a multi-position array.

These insulated connectors are designed to be mounted on printed circuit boards (PCB). They feature screw-machined terminals and are often plated for added corrosion resistance.

The insulators can also be manufactured from FR-4, which is board to board connector a thermoset material that is heat resistant to high temperature applications. These insulators are used in a variety of high voltage, industrial applications.

Board to board connectors use a large number of insulated insulators in rows to connect the wires to the PCB. The insulators are designed to be compatible with each other, even when there is misalignment between the boards.


Pin-pitch connections connect printed circuit boards together using a series of pins. These connectors can be soldered at a right-angle to the PCB or parallel to it, and they can be made with one, two, three, or four rows of pins. These connectors are commonly used to connect jumper wires on a breadboard and for other projects requiring a quick and easy way to connect multiple boards together.

The most common pitch for these connectors is a standard 0.1″ (2.54mm) spacing, which is compatible with many breadboards and other small-scale circuit boards. However, the connectors are also available in various other values.

There are a variety of different types of board-to-board connectors and each type is designed to fit specific needs. For example, some connectors are designed for high contact reliability (e.g. the Phoenix Contact FINEPITCH 1.27 family).

These connectors are typically available in both through-hole and surface mount configurations. Through-hole connectors offer a much more robust physical connection, while surface mount connectors can be significantly smaller and take up less space on the PCB.

Because of the differences in these mechanical properties, a connector’s pitch must be specified carefully. Pitch affects how much arcing occurs between two conductors in contact, as well as how many pins can be arranged within an area.

Another consideration is the number of insertion cycles the board to board connector connector can handle before it begins to degrade in performance. For example, the Phoenix Contact FINEPITCH 1.27 connector has a contact resistance of less than 20 milliohms and can withstand up to 500 cycles before it starts to show signs of wear and tear.

The best board to board connectors are the ones that work for your product and fit the needs of your customers. This will ensure that your supply chain is as strong as possible, which helps you avoid excess tooling costs and product shortages.


In a PCB layout, a board to board connector is used to connect multiple circuit boards together. These connectors come in a variety of packages, mounting styles, and pin pitches that designers must consider before incorporating them into their layout.

A board to board connector can also be referred to as a header, plug, or receptacle. These are typically shrouded in plastic and feature a single or double row of contact pins. They are available in straight (vertical) or right-angle (horizontal) configurations.

When choosing a header, designers should take into account the height of the circuit board the connector will be connecting. This can help to decide if the connector will need to be stacked to raise it above the PCB, or whether it should be placed on the same level as the circuit board itself.

Another consideration is the current that the connector is going to be conducting. Often, board to board connectors that are used for high current applications have less pins than their lower-current counterparts.

This is because they are designed to support higher signal rates. This is particularly important for industrial applications, which are increasingly being fueled by high speed connectivity needs for applications related to ADAS, autonomous driving, IoT, and cloud networking technologies.

In addition, these types of connectors can be stacked to provide more clearance between the circuit boards they are connected to. This can reduce the amount of space required between the boards and increase the design flexibility of the overall layout.


One of the most important aspects of working with connectors in a PCB layout is their pin-outs. It’s important to ensure that both mating headers have their pin-outs matched to the PCB schematic symbols used for the boards they connect to.

Board to board connectors can come in a variety of shapes and sizes. They can also have different pin pitches, mounting styles, and packages. The type of board-to-board connector you choose for your application will depend on the requirements of your project.

For example, if your design requires a high current board-to-board connection, you’ll want to choose a connector that can handle that current. You’ll also need to consider the length of the wires that are going to be attached to the connector.

Some board-to-board connectors have their contacts plated with metals to improve their electrical connections. These metals can include copper, gold, nickel and silver.

There are also other types of connectors that have contacts that do not have a metal coating. These connectors are usually much cheaper to buy and produce.

However, these connectors are less durable than the others and cannot be used on breadboards. They may also not be compatible with certain circuits.

As a result, some manufacturers have developed specific connectors to meet the needs of particular applications. Some of these special connectors have features like locking mechanisms, filters to block EMI and hermetically sealed contacts.

Some of these connectors have a wider range of pitches and stacking heights than others, depending on the application. For example, some Molex connectors can support a continuous range of 8 to 25 mm.

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