PCB Terminal Blocks Introduction

PCB terminals, also known as printed circuit board terminals or PCB connectors, are components used to connect electrical wires or cables to a printed circuit board (PCB). They provide a secure and reliable connection between the PCB and external components or devices.

The terminal block is a much better solution for making a connection with PCB to any system during installation. It’s a convenient way to connect the wires. Terminal block provides more flexibility to design. It provides an ease in modification in wiring. Wires can be added or removed more quickly. 

PCB terminals are designed to be mounted directly onto the PCB, typically through soldering or mechanical attachment methods. They come in various forms, each suited for different applications and requirements.

PCB Terminal

PCB Terminal Blocks

 

Advantages

PCB terminals offer several advantages and find a wide range of uses in electronic systems. Here are some of their key uses and advantages:

Secure Electrical Connections

PCB terminals provide a secure and reliable method for establishing electrical connections between the PCB and external components or devices. They ensure that the electrical signals and power are transferred accurately and consistently, reducing the risk of intermittent connections or signal loss.

Easy Assembly and Maintenance

PCB terminals simplify the assembly and maintenance processes of electronic systems. They enable efficient and convenient wire insertion and removal, making it easier to replace components, troubleshoot issues, or perform repairs.

Versatility and Flexibility

PCB terminals come in various types and configurations, allowing for flexibility in design and application. Different terminal types can accommodate diverse wire sizes, current and voltage ratings, and connection methods. This versatility makes it possible to tailor the PCB terminals to specific requirements and adapt to different system designs.

High Current and Voltage Handling

Certain types of PCB terminals, such as screw terminals, are capable of handling high currents and voltages. This makes them suitable for power electronics applications, where robust connections are essential to carry significant power levels.

Space-Efficient Design

PCB terminals are designed to be mounted directly onto the PCB, eliminating the need for additional connectors or wiring components. This helps conserve space on the board and ensures a compact and efficient layout, especially in applications with size limitations or high-density PCB designs.

Durability and Reliability

PCB terminals are engineered to withstand mechanical stress, vibrations, and temperature variations, ensuring long-term durability and reliable performance. They are often constructed with high-quality materials that offer excellent electrical conductivity, corrosion resistance, and mechanical strength.

Modular and Interchangeable Connections

PCB terminals, such as pin headers and socket headers, facilitate modular and interchangeable connections. This allows for easy swapping of components, expansion of the system, or customization according to specific needs, without requiring complex soldering or wiring changes.

Cost-Effective Solution

PCB terminals offer a cost-effective solution for establishing electrical connections on a PCB. They eliminate the need for specialized connectors or custom wiring, reducing material costs and simplifying the overall assembly process.

In summary, PCB terminals provide secure connections, easy assembly, versatility, high current/voltage handling, space efficiency, durability, and cost-effectiveness. Their uses span a wide range of electronic systems, including consumer electronics, industrial equipment, automotive applications, telecommunications, and more.

Classification

They can be classified into Termination type, centerline (Pitch), number of rows, orientation and wire size.

Centerline (Pitch)

It is the distance between the center holes of two contacts. The common PCB pitch ranges from 3.5mm, 5 mm, and up to 10.16 mm.

Wire size

Terminal blocks are designed to accept the range of wire size. Normally, expressed as AWG (American Wire Gauge), a standard representation for non-ferrous wires. The higher the AWG the smaller the wire and vice versa.

Orientation

The most common orientations available are 45°,90°, and 180°. They can be of vertical and horizontal type mounting. Their selection is often based on mechanical or design constraints and electrical wiring paths. 

PCB Terminal Blocks

PCB Terminal Blocks

Termination types

There are several termination options to make use of terminal blocks

1.  Screw Type terminal blocks

 use a screw to tighten or loosen the electrical wire to make a connection. It’s the most common type of termination used in industry. The screw type terminal made it easy during maintenance and operation. One of the advantages is the through-hole mounting, by which it can withstand environmental vibrations. They are popular for their robustness and ability to handle high currents and voltages. Screw terminals are often used in industrial and power electronics applications.

Screw terminals offer a secure and reliable connection by using a screw to clamp down on the wire. This mechanism ensures that the wire is tightly held in place, creating a solid electrical contact. The screw can be tightened or loosened as needed to establish or release the connection.

Screw type terminal blocks are capable of handling high currents and voltages, making them suitable for applications that require the transmission of significant power levels. The screw mechanism provides a reliable and sturdy connection that can withstand the demands of high-power electronics.

Screw terminals are versatile and can accommodate a wide range of wire sizes, from small gauge to larger conductors. They can accept solid or stranded wires, allowing flexibility in wire selection. This compatibility makes screw terminals applicable to various applications, from low-power signal connections to high-power applications.

Screw terminals are relatively easy to install and maintain. The wire is inserted into the terminal block, and the screw is then tightened to secure the wire in place. This process can be easily repeated for adding or removing wires when necessary. It also allows for straightforward troubleshooting and maintenance since the connections can be easily accessed and modified.

Screw type terminal blocks provide mechanical stability to the connected wires. The clamping force exerted by the screw helps to keep the wire in position, reducing the risk of accidental disconnects due to vibrations, movements, or mechanical stress.

Screw terminals are known for their reliability and long-term durability. The secure clamping mechanism ensures consistent electrical contact over time, minimizing the chances of loose connections or intermittent signals. Additionally, screw terminals are typically constructed with high-quality materials that offer good electrical conductivity and resistance to environmental factors such as temperature, moisture, and corrosion.

When using screw type terminal blocks, it is important to properly tighten the screws to ensure a reliable connection and to adhere to the recommended torque specifications provided by the manufacturer. This helps to maintain the integrity of the electrical connection and ensures optimal performance.

  1. Current support up to 200A
  2. Voltages up to 1000V
  3. Conductor cross sections 0.14mm2 ~ 95mm2
  4. Pitch 2.5~20mm

Screw Type terminal blocks

 

2.  Lever Actuated terminal blocks 

are optimized termination uses lever actuation supported by push in spring cage connection. Lever actuated terminal blocks, also known as lever-operated terminal blocks or push-in lever terminals, are a type of PCB terminal block that uses a lever mechanism to secure wires or conductors in place. They offer a convenient and efficient method for connecting and disconnecting wires without the need for any additional tools.

Lever actuated terminal blocks allow for easy and fast wire insertion. The lever is typically located on top of the terminal block, and when lifted, it opens the clamping mechanism. This makes it simple to insert the wire into the terminal block without the need for stripping the insulation or using a screwdriver.

Once the wire is inserted into the terminal block, releasing the lever causes the clamping mechanism to close securely around the wire, ensuring a reliable electrical connection. The clamping force applied by the lever ensures proper contact and reduces the risk of loose or intermittent connections.

Lever actuated terminal blocks eliminate the need for additional tools such as screwdrivers or crimping tools. This saves time and simplifies the wiring process, making them suitable for applications that require frequent wiring changes or where time efficiency is crucial. They can connect the wires up to 25mm2.                                   

  1. Current support up to 76A
  2. Voltages up to 1000V
  3. Conductor cross sections 0.75mm2 ~ 25mm2
  4. Pitch 10~15mm
  5. 1~8 positions
  6. 30° connection direction

Lever Actuated terminal blocks

 

3. IDC (Insulation Displacement Connector) 

connectors are commonly used for connecting flat ribbon cables to PC`Bs. They offer a reliable and efficient method for making multiple wire connections simultaneously. IDC connectors provide insulation displacement technology, which eliminates the need to strip or solder individual wires, saving time and reducing the risk of errors.

IDC connectors are designed specifically for flat ribbon cables. These cables consist of multiple parallel conductors arranged in a flat configuration, typically with an insulation layer between each conductor. IDC connectors are specifically designed to accommodate the spacing and dimensions of ribbon cables, allowing for precise and reliable connections.

The main advantage of IDC connectors is their insulation displacement technology. The connector features sharp, V-shaped metal contacts or blades that penetrate the insulation of the ribbon cable when the connector is properly clamped down. This displacement of insulation creates a secure electrical connection with the conductors, ensuring reliable signal transmission.

IDC connectors allow for high connection density on the PCB. Multiple conductors of the ribbon cable can be connected simultaneously using a single IDC connector, making it an efficient solution for applications with a large number of connections.

IDC connectors simplify the installation process. The ribbon cable is inserted into the connector, aligning the conductors with the corresponding contact points. Then, the connector is typically pressed or clamped down using a tool or actuating mechanism. The sharp contacts pierce through the insulation and establish a reliable electrical connection without the need for individual wire stripping or soldering.

IDC connectors provide a cost-effective solution for making multiple wire connections. Since they can accommodate multiple conductors simultaneously, it eliminates the need for separate connectors or terminals for each wire. This helps to reduce component costs and simplify the overall assembly process.

IDC connectors allow for easy disconnection and reusability. If changes or repairs are required, the connector can be released and the ribbon cable can be removed without damage. This feature facilitates maintenance, upgrades, or modifications without the need for complete rewiring.

IDC connectors are known for their reliable and durable performance. The insulation displacement technology ensures a gas-tight and low-resistance connection, minimizing the risk of signal degradation or intermittent contacts. Additionally, IDC connectors are often constructed with materials that offer good electrical conductivity, corrosion resistance, and mechanical strength.

IDC (Insulation Displacement Connector)

 

IDC connectors are commonly used in various applications, including computers, telecommunications equipment, industrial control systems, and consumer electronics. They provide a practical and efficient solution for connecting ribbon cables to PCBs, enabling streamlined assembly processes and reliable electrical connections. 

  1. Current support up to 2A
  2. Voltages up to 500V
  3. Pitch 1.27~2.54mm
  4. Ribbon cables 8 way, 16 way, 20 way
  5. Horizontal or vertical type

Insulation Displacement Connector

Conclusion

The selection of PCB connectors is a critical aspect of electronic system design. Choosing the right connector type is essential to ensure proper signal transmission, power distribution, and overall system functionality. By considering various factors during the selection process, such as electrical considerations (current rating, voltage requirements, signal integrity), mechanical aspects (size, mounting options, durability), environmental factors (temperature, humidity, chemical resistance), and cost considerations, designers and engineers can make informed decisions.

The diverse types of PCB connectors available, such as board-to-board connectors, wire-to-board connectors, board-to-wire connectors, RF connectors, and power connectors, offer specific functionalities to meet the requirements of different applications. Each connector type has its own advantages, use cases, and considerations. Understanding the nuances of these connector families empowers designers to choose the most suitable option for their specific application.

By selecting connectors that match the electrical, mechanical, and environmental needs of the system, engineers can ensure reliable and robust connections. Proper connector selection promotes system integrity, signal integrity, and overall performance. Moreover, considering cost and availability factors ensures that the chosen connectors fit within the project budget and meet the desired production timelines.

In conclusion, the selection of PCB connectors requires careful consideration of multiple factors. By analyzing electrical requirements, mechanical aspects, environmental conditions, and cost factors, designers can make informed decisions to integrate the appropriate connectors into their electronic systems. A well-chosen connector solution facilitates efficient power distribution, signal transmission, and system interconnectivity, leading to reliable and high-performing electronic devices.

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