Blog  /  PCB Connector Types:Best List of What You Should Kown in 2024

PCB Connector Types:Best List of What You Should Kown in 2024

Almost all electrical appliances that we use today have PCBs. We also call it Printed Circuit Boards, which help link PCB Connector Types between different parts on the board. Some devices require more than one PCB. Such a device will need a series of equipment to establish a connection on the board.

Printed Circuit Boards house the PCB connectors. It helps transfer signals from one PCB to another. Manufacturers also use it to transfer power from one PCB within the unit.

PCB board connectors exist in two broad categories: Wire-to-board and board-to-board.

PCB connector types allow for flexibility in design as manufacturers can build smaller sub-systems. With this, users can connect various parts.

That allows manufacturers to meet design needs and customer requirements. With this, future upgrades or repair will not pose any issue.

Here is a video that shows different types of connectors for PCB.

 

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Classification of Connectors by Application

We have these eight types in this category.

PCB Connectors

These electrical joints connect external electronic components or boards to a PCB.

They include board-to-board, wire-to-board, and edge connectors.

An up-close image of a PCB connector

An up-close image of a PCB connector

Audio and Video Connectors

As the name suggests, these connectors link components like cameras, speakers, and microphones to a PCB.

The typical ones include aux (3.5mm) jacks, HDMI, and RCA.

Data Connectors

These joints transmit data to and from the PCB, and you might have guessed it.

They include USB, serial ports, and ethernet connectors.

Ethernet connections on a switch

Ethernet connections on a switch

Power Connectors

Circuit board components need power to run, and power connectors provide the electrical connection to the power source.

Fiber Optic Connectors

These connectors are variants of data connectors, but they have their own classification because they handle super-fast data transmission using light pulses across long distances.

The common ones are LC, ST, and SC connectors.

RF Connectors

These electrical joints can handle high-frequency signal transmission to and from a transmission cable or antenna.

Think of SMA, TNC, and BNC.

A BNC connector

A BNC connector

Industrial Connectors

Connectors like M8, M12, terminal blocks, and the circular type are suitable for industrial applications, where they connect electronic devices and systems together.

A set of long terminal blocks

A set of long terminal blocks

Automotive Connectors

Automotive connectors encompass audio, sensor, audio, and power joints, just to mention a few.

What Are PCB Connectors and What Is Their Importance in Electronics

Although PCBs are complete circuits, they require external connections to peripheral or external components to send data or expand functionality.

PCB connectors provide secure and reliable connections between these two parts to transmit power or signals.

And that is the important part. Without these connectors, you cannot have reliable and secure joints for signal and power transmission directly or through wires, which would limit performance and functionality.

PCB Connector Types by Connection Method

Screw-in PCB Connector

This connector has pins that plug into the PCB, but the wire connection side has screw terminals, hence the name.

The wire you fit into this terminal must fit, which means you have to factor in the conductor’s gauge.

Also, check the pin count, power rating, and screw terminal spacing.

A screw-in or knob-type connector

A screw-in or knob-type connector

Plug-in PCB Connector

These connectors include female headers and male sockets, which link up by plugging into each other using minimal effort.

Spring PCB Connector

Spring connectors use the potential energy stored by springs to push the electrical contacts together to form a reliable joint.

IDC Connector

IDC is an acronym for Insulation Displacement Connector, a joint that slices the wire insulation to make the electrical connection. It eliminates the need to strip wires.

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PCB Connector Types by Connection Object

Wire-to-wire connectors are not PCB connector types because you must have a board on one side. So, let’s focus on these two.

Wire-to-Board Connector

If the board and periphery device or the other board are far apart, you need a wire in between.

Wire-to-board connectors provide the electrical link from the PCB to the wire.

A 10-pin IDC wire-to-board connector for a ribbon cable

A 10-pin IDC wire-to-board connector for a ribbon cable

Board-to-Board Connector

If the two boards you want to connect are close to each other, you don’t have to use a wire.

Board-to-board Connectors allow manufacturers to connect PCBs without a cable.

This connection allows for a signal connection between two PCBs. It can be a permanent connection that will require a "fit and forget" approach.

Place them above each other with the board-to-board connectors in between.

The device connects two PCBs using pins and receptacles.

PCB Connector Types by Design and Application

We have countless electronics that use PCB board connectors.

As a result, the design must suit the type, size, and function. With this, there are numerous  PCB connector types available.

  • Male PCB Connectors / Pin headers

 

Also known as pin headers, these are simply a row of pins with different spacing. The spacing could be 0.1, 0.2, or 0.197 inches apart.

 

  • Female PCB Connectors:

 

We also call this the socket or header receptacles. It accommodates the male connector tightly, which creates a through-passage for the signal (power or data)

 

  • Backplane Connectors

 

Is a particular type of PCB connector that can connect with other PCBs. It helps increase data rates and reduce signal rise.

The backplane connector is a support structure that allows connection for other PCBs.

It also serves as a plane to enable users to integrate other system components, known as a daughterboard.

 

  • USB PCB Connector

 

It is the most common type of PCB connector today. Is not surprising as the USB connector finds application in many devices we use.

Examples are tablets and keyboards. Smartphones, digital cameras, computer mice, and others

All USB connectors come with at least four contact points. One receives power, and one is the ground. The remaining two transmit and receive the data.

 

PCB Connector Types

 

USB-A: Almost every computer and laptop device today has the female end of the USB type A version.

Besides, the female end is the receptacle, while the male part is present in various devices.

Examples of such accessories are the mouse, keyboards, memory sticks., etc.

USB-B: You will find type B USB in standard electronic devices like music players.

In the USB family, they are tough, strong, and bulky. Type-B USB finds application in a device where size is not an issue.

USB-Micro: this is a new release in the USB family. It is present in modern phones, external hard drives, tablets, digital cameras, etc.

Like other USB types, the male part connects to the female part.

USB-C: Type C USB connector is also one of the latest releases in the USB family.

It stands out with a few advantages over other types. It features an upgraded strength that allows it to transmit data, video, and power simultaneously.

Also, USB Type C stands out as a unique USB type with the absence of polarity.

It makes connections possible in any orientation without having to flip and flop.

 

  • PCB Connector Types-- RCA Connectors

 

RCA connectors have been around for almost a century. Before the new millennium, nearly all types of devices use RCA connectors.

They are robust connectors that transmit stereo audio, composite and component videos, and S/PDIF audio.

Gradually, RCA connectors are becoming extinct, as you will hardly come across a compatible device.

 

  • PCB Connector Types-- Audio Connectors

 

Connectors come in various sizes. As a result, the size determines the application of use. With the invention of Bluetooth technology, however, we see fewer audio connectors.

 

Audio Connectors

We have three types of Audio connectors:

 

  •  ¼” (6.35mm)

 

You will mostly find this in musical instruments like guitars (the electric type) and amplifiers.

 

  •  ⅛” (3.5mm)

 

It is the most common type of audio connector. Headphones inserted into MP3 players, laptops, PCs, and smartphones use the 3.5mm audio connector.

 

  • 2.5mm

 

Finally, we have the 2.5mm audio connector. It allows manufacturers to have both a headphone and a microphone in a single jack.

 

  • PCB Connector Types-- PCB Power Connector

 

The primary responsibility of the power PCB connector is to transmit power, not videos, not audio.

They provide power for all electrical devices, which makes them popular in many devices today.

Also, the power PCB connector comes in multiple varieties:

 

  • PCB Connector Types-- Barrel Connectors

 

While the barrel power connector is old, it's pretty versatile. It makes it find application in many devices we use today.

You can easily identify a barrel connector with the large converter adapter boxes (the AC/DC type).

What makes a barrel conductor stand out is the ability to adapt to a series of power ratings and demands.

Here are three essential things to look for in a barrel connector:

  • The sleeve is the covering, which could be rubber or plastic. Also, the size might either be 3.5mm or 5.5mm.
  • The pin is the metal contact of the connector. Its size is usually a factor of the sleeve. As a result, a 5.55mm sleeve will come with a 2.1mm pin.
  • Barrel conductors have a polarity, which is also a factor of the sleeve and pin. While the sleeve provides the 0V, the tip supplies the positive voltage.

 

  • Molex Connectors

 

Manufacturers use Molex connectors to transmit a high current amount.

So this is why we use them mainly on computers. Here, it powers internal drives along with other devices.

The ability to allow a massive amount of current to pass makes them applicable for use in special electronic devices.

Molex connectors, however, are bulky, and each pin can carry as much as 11 amps.

 

  • IEC Connectors

 

IEC Connector is a transmission system for direct AC power.

Typically, you will find this on older electronics like TVs and desktop computers.

There is, however, no AC/DC converter, as these electronics come with devices that can handle the conversion.

 

  • JST Connectors

 

Finally, we have a JST connector, a product of a Japanese Company called JST.

This is a compact and reliable PCB connector, which we recommend for near-permanent applications.

On connecting, it cannot be easy to dismantle. It is an ideal choice if you need a reliable connection.

 

PCB Connector Types

 

  • Pin Header Connectors

 

Although pin header connectors are not very common in modern laptops, many desktops still use them.

Pin header connectors help transmit video, power, and others.

It explains why they can supply power to the CPU fan, light, hard drive power, etc.

As a result, they appear as small groups of pins pointing upward.

There are, however, various configurations of the pin. The most common type is a single or double row of connectors.

 

  • Prototyping and testing Connectors

 

There are some scenarios in which installing a permanent connector does not make sense.

When you consider the type and effort, it is better to have a temporary connector.

As a result, it will make it easy for users to assemble and disassemble.

Here are some prototyping and testing connectors:

 

  • Screw Terminals:

 

It involves wounding wires (wires stripped of insulation) directly under a screw.

You can hold this with a metal plate or a set of screws inside a metal or plastic screws.

 

  • Banana Connectors

 

Many electronic testing equipment, like voltmeters and multi-meters, do have banana jack connectors.

Users can establish a single power connection using a male banana jack connector plug that fits into a female banana plug.

 

  • Alligator Clips

 

Finally, we have alligator clips for people working on test circuits.

More specifically, it applies to people who need to experiment with different connection types. They are made mainly for temporary use.

 

  • IC Clips

 

IC clip is a good choice for people that need a connector with more rigidity. Users can attach these clips to their tools. They can also use this clip directly on the pins without contacting a neighboring pin in an integrated circuit.

 

  • SMA Connectors

 

It is an old technology that once came in male and female parts.

They feature a screw-type coupling mechanism, which reduces reflection by making sure that the contact is uniform.

As a result, they apply to frequencies up to 18 GHz and could be more.

 

PCB Connector Types

 

  • RF Connector Conventions

 

These are PCB connectors that operate at radio frequencies. They are common in old TV antennas, and they help achieve clear TV signals then.

 

  • RP SMA Connectors

 

RP-SMA is the source of reversed polarized SMA connectors. This connector comes with a female type antenna, which provides the perfect channel for people to use their electronics without ruining it.

 

  • PCB Edge Connector/card Edge Connector

 

With PCB edge connectors, manufacturers can link printed circuit boards to expansion slots.

 

  • RJ Connectors

 

Also known as Registered Jacks, these were common in the early telecommunication industry.

The RJ conductor houses a series of conductors that transmit both power and current.

As a result, they are common in office phones that receive power and data from a single Ethernet cable.

 

PCB Connector Types

 

  • D-Sub Connectors

 

We also call D-Sub Connectors D-subminiature connectors. They are classic connectors that come in various sizes.

It is common in computers and available in different types.

However, this depends on the shell size and the number of the pin. Also, they help transfer power and data between two devices.

 

  • PCB Terminal Block Connectors

 

Terminal block connectors come with two main parts – the wire and the terminal block. Also, it provides an easy way to connect parts temporarily together.

 

 

  • Post Connectors

 

You will find post connectors in audio applications and other test equipment.

The connection and removal of this connector are easy. You can fasten this connector using clamps and screws.

 

  • Plug and Sockets

 

These are very common PCB connectors. They feature male and female parts, as the name suggests.

Also, they apply to a series of connection scenarios like data transmission and power supplies.

Additional Connector Types

  • Solidworks PCB connector
  • Flexible PCB connector/flex PCB connector
  • PCB mount connector
  • High-current PCB connector
  • PCB pin connector
  • PCB jumper connector
  • Right-angle PCB connector
  • Waterproof PCB connector
  • High-voltage PCB connector

 

How To Choose the Right PCB Connector

You have to consider the critical defining factors, such as the number of pins, connector size, current and voltage rating, installation environment, and mating force, to pick the most suitable circuit board connector. Check the specific electronic component you want to connect to on the board, as well.

Conclusion

 

Various PCB types apply to many devices we use today. Measuring devices like voltmeters, computers and laptops, televisions, radios, and many devices today feature varieties of PCB types.

Here is a comprehensive list of the PCB connector types. The availability of various PCB connector types brings about flexibility in manufacturing. With it, designers and engineers can manufacture various appliances to suit multiple design specifications.

While some types of PCB connectors are gradually becoming extinct, we still have many that find application in many appliances today.

 

 

Special Offer: $1 for 5 PCB Assemblies!

One requirement only: Order must be placed using a company account.
Please email [email protected] for details.
Special Offer: $1 for 5 PCB Assemblies!