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PCB Interconnects and Socket Technology

PCB Interconnects and Socket Technology

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What are target pins?

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Junior Member level 3
Junior Member level 3
Aug 11, 2016
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To achieve a good electrical connection, compression spring pins require a hard gold-plated contact surface. A gold-plated printed circuit pad is ideal, however, gold plating a printed circuit board is expensive. What if the desired wiring connection is located off the surface? like a front panel. Target pins offer viable solutions.

CNC machined brass target pins provide a hard-gold plated surface for mating to spring pins. CNC precision machining creates pin body features giving it valuable functions like pin retention in insulators. Gold plating is not only durable but provides excellent conductivity and corrosion resistance.

Target pins are used as single-position or multi-pin molded connectors. assemblies.

Target pins feature various forms of termination: solder tail for plated through holes, stub tails for pin-in-paste SMT assembly, SMT, solderless press-fit, and solderless compression (floating).

Target pins typically have a flat surface, however, making the surface concave, promotes 360-degree contact with the spring pin.

The target pin diameter can be as large as the spring pin base beneath it.

The flat base of a socket receptacle can function as a mating target surface for a spring pin.

If there is an extended distance between printed circuit boards, then modifying the height of the target pin is much more cost-effective than modifying a spring pin.

Target pins can be designed to perform multiple functions inside an assembly. A target pin not only provides a mating surface but functions as a standoff between two printed circuit boards.

Do not tin plate target pins, this creates a galvanic reaction over time when in contact with gold-plated spring pins.

If sequenced pin mating contact is required then staggered height target pins are the solution. Customizing target pins are much more cost-effective than modifying spring pins. This approach allows you to utilize off the shelf spring pin connectors.

An example of a hybrid target connector has inner row surface mount target pins and outer corner stub tail alignment target pins. This would give the connector not only precision alignment on the surface pads but also mechanical strength against side-loading force.

When gold-plated printed circuit board pads are not available nor desirable, a target connector is a viable solution. Easy and economical to CNC-machine, in their simplest form are nothing more than a series of diameters. The spring pin contact surface must be faced and cut-off dimple free.

Target pins are typically machined from brass and are gold-plated. Target pins can have solder tail, SMT, press-fit, or compression mate termination.

Comments and suggestions are welcome.

The function of target pins

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