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GCT Europe (UK)
+44 (0)1707 321122
GCT Americas (USA)
+1 978 208 1618
GCT Asia-Pacific (HK)
+852 2578 9030

About board to board connectors

A range of high quality and competitively priced board to board connectors, with connector pitches ranging from 0.8mm x 1.2mm, 1.00mm, 1.27mm, 2.00mm to 2.54mm, 4.00mm (0.031" x 0.047", 0.039", 0.050", 0.079", 0.100", 0.157" centerline). Available in single, double, triple or quadruple rows, with vertical or horizontal orientations in surface mount or through-hole lead style.

A large element of customization is possible, read more about the options available below. GCT also offer complete bespoke custom connector solutions.

  • .031" x .047", .039", .05", .079", .100", .157" imperial centerlines
  • 0.8mm x 1.2mm, 1mm, 1.27mm, 2mm and 2.54mm, 4.00mm metric pitches
  • Customer specifiable pin lengths and spacer height
  • Headers, Elevated Headers, Sockets and Elevated Sockets
  • Choice of insulator heights
  • Choice of pin material and plating
  • Packaging options, loose, tubes, or tape and reel for automatic pick and place
  • Suitable for lead free soldering processes
  • RoHS and Reach compliant

Find out more about basic board to board connectors design here.

Connector styles

Board to board connectors are manufactured in the following types:

  • Pin header (also known as male header)
  • Elevated pin header (also known as stacked, stacker, mezzanine and PC104 headers)
  • Shrouded header (also known as box header)
  • Socket (also known as female header or receptacle)
  • Elevated socket (also known as stacked, stacker, mezzanine and PC104 sockets)

Read more about connector styles.

Connector row types

Board to board connectors are available in a choice of row types and can be selected by the customer to best suit their application:

  • Single row (SIL)
  • Double row (DIL)
  • Triple row
  • Quad row

Read more about row types.

Connector pitches

Standard board to board pitches are:

Read more about connector pitches.

Voided Pin

Larger pitches can be created by selective loading (i.e. a .100 (2.54mm) pitch pin header with every 2nd pin omitted = .200 (5.08mm) pitch). Voided pin (also known as selective loading or polarization) can be applied to all types of board to board connector. Example of a voided pin:
Voided Pin Example Connector

Voided Contacts

As above but with reference to sockets (also known as voided contact or polarization)
Example of a voided contact:

Voided Contact Example Connector

PCB Orientation

Dependent on the customer application PCB’s can be oriented in a variety of ways:

PCB orientation Vertical Example
Also known as right angle,
daughter card or vertical
PCB orientation Horizontal Example
Also known as planar,
side by side or butt ended
PCB orientation Parallel stacker example
Also known as mezzanine,
stacked or sandwich
PCB orientation u-shaped example
U –Shaped connectors are an economical alternative for LED connector strips.

Connector Orientation

In order to be able to connect the differing types of PCB orientation board to board connectors have been developed to suit.

In most applications a pin header (male) and socket (female) would be used as a pair to simplify assembly and allow disconnection/reconnection (mating cycle) as required.
To achieve a connection between a pair of right angled PCB’s two part combinations could be used:

  • Straight (also known as vertical) pin header and right angled socket.
  • Right angled (also known as or horizontal) pin header and straight socket.

To achieve a connection between a pair of stacked (mezzanine) PCB’s only one part combination can be used:

  • Straight pin header and straight socket.

To achieve a connection between a pair of horizontal (planar) PCB’s only one part combination can be used:

  • Right angled pin header and right angled socket.

In applications where repeated mating cycles are not required a single pin header could be used and soldered directly to both PCB’s.

Plastic Insulator

All board to board connectors use plastics to insulate the metal conductors.
For pin headers this plastic part is referred to as the insulator, for sockets it is referred to as the insulator or housing.

Read more about plastic insulators.

Lead style

Through hole (TH) or Surface Mount (SMT or SMD) dependent on part selected.

Read more about lead styles.


The board to board connector height from the PCB face to its highest insulator point above the PCB is known as its profile.

profile-height-insulator profile height insulator profile height insulator profile-height-insulator profile height insulator profile height insulator

Read more about connector profiles.

Stacking Height

When an exact distance is required between PCB’s it is common to use a stacking pin header and regular socket arrangement.
For example, if a PCB separation distance of 20 mm is required a 5.00 mm profile socket and 15 mm stacking height elevated pin header could be used:

stacking height header stacking height elevated header

Read more about stacking heights.

Post and tail length

Post length (also known as post height) is the length of pin above the plastic insulator that mates with the socket (only applicable to pin headers):

post length or post height example

Tail length is the length of pin below the insulator that is used to solder to the PCB. Tail length is applicable to pin headers and sockets but only in through hole format:

tail length header tail length socket

Read more about post and tail lengths.

Bottom entry socket

A bottom entry socket (also known as pass through) allows mating with a pin header from the underside rather than the top side.

When bottom entry sockets are used, holes must be made in the PCB to allow the pin header to pass through.

Typical bottom entry PCB layout:

typical bottom entry pcb layout

Bottom entry sockets can be used to reduce distance between stacked PCB's.

top entry socket bottom entry socket

Read more about bottom entry sockets.

Post or pin size (mm²)

Post/pin size is the cross section of the conductor measured in mm².
Each different pitch has a different post size:

  • .039" (1mm pitch) = 0.30mm²/0.012”²
  • .050" (1.27mm pitch) = 0.40mm²/0.016”² or 0.46mm²/0.018”²
  • .079" (2mm pitch) = 0.50mm²/0.020”²
  • .100" (2.54mm pitch) = 0.64mm²/0.025”²
  • Custom connector – GCT design & manufacture board to board connectors to suit customer specific applications

Read more about post or pin sizes.

Locating pegs

Locating pegs (also referred to as locating posts, alignment pins or board locks) are used to assist alignment of connectors to the PCB. Locating pegs are particularly useful when using surface mount components.

Example of locating pegs on a surface mount socket:

locating pegs surface mount socket

Kinked Pins

Kinked pins (also known as locking leads) are used as a method of fastening a through hole pin header or socket to a PCB prior to soldering.
Kinked pins are particularly useful when using tall components and/or wave soldering process that may cause the connector to move out of position before it can be soldered in place.

Example of a kinked PCB header pin:

Kinked Pin Board to Board Connector

Contact Type

GCT manufactures 4 types of contacts for use in sockets:

  • Stamped tuning fork
  • Dual beam spring contact
  • Triple beam spring contact
  • Four sided spring contact

Please see individual datasheets for contact types used in each range.

Contact Plating

All metal components are manufactured using copper alloys (brass or phosphor bronze).
These parts are nickel plated and then re-plated in lead free tin, gold or a combination. Combination plating using tin and gold is called selective or duplex plating.

Please see individual datasheets for plating options in each range.

Read more about contact plating.


All plastic parts are manufactured using UL approved high temperature thermoplastic 94V-0 materials.
Please see individual datasheets for plastics used in each range and suitability for use in lead free IR soldering process.


Board to board connectors are available in a variety of packaging options:

  • Loose in bag
  • Loose in box
  • Tray
  • Tube
  • Tube with pick and place (P+P) cap
  • Tape and reel (T+R) with pick and place (P+P) cap

Please see individual datasheets for packaging option available for each series.

Read more about connector packaging.

Polarization and Keying

GCT offer polarisation and keying options in various configurations. Polarised connectors allow the mating header and socket to plug together in the correct orientation only, this is useful in many designs, especially so where incorrect connection may cause damage to equipment. Polarisation also offers advantages for mated product strength, protecting pin headers from damage and blind mating.

Read more about polarized connectors.