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Do not forget the connector

Phoenix Contact (Blomberg, Germany) : 03 April, 2013  (Technical Article)
Duncan Nicol, Business Development Manager- Device Connections at Phoenix Contact argues that connectors should be considered at the start of a design process and not at the end.
Do not forget the connector

Designing a device is a complex and time consuming process. A design starts with a concept and, all being well, ends with a functional product within budget, that is easy to manufacture and install. There are many design considerations along the way, including the choice of connectors. Device connectors are often considered towards the end of the design, despite forming an integral part of the finished product. Because of this, there are all too often compromises needed to accommodate them within the overall design.

The choice of device connectors can seem endless, making it difficult to settle on the correct solution. There are many technical details to be considered when choosing a connector including: Performance, the amount of PCB space required, the IP rating, the manufacturing process required, how the device is wired to the outside world, etc.

The first rule is to consider the device connectors at the earliest opportunity of the design process.

There are several decisions that could significantly improve the end result and make the product easier and more cost effective to manufacturer and install. For example:

Wave or reflow soldered?

Phoenix Contact offer an extensive range of terminal blocks, circular connectors & headers designed for wave and reflow processes. By choosing the reflow variant, it may be possible to remove the wave soldering process altogether and save on production costs.

Screw or push-in?

The traditional choice would be screw terminal but this could significantly increase the installation time and risk a future field failure due to over tightening the screw terminals. By selecting push-in technology, installation is faster and over tightening is avoided.


Choosing the correct pitch for an application can save space on the PCB. With Z pinning, for example, a smaller pitch can deliver exceptional performance traditionally found on a larger pitch device.

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