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PCB Connector Stacking

Profile Above PCB

A good starting point when calculating PCB connector stacking is to calcualte the board to board connector height. This is measured from the printed circuit board face to its highest insulator point above the PCB is known as its profile. See some examples below:

pcb stacking profile examples

Parallel PCB Mating - Elevated Headers

When an exact distance is required between PCB's it is common to use a stacking pin header and female socket arrangement.

For example, if a PCB separation distance of 20mm is required a 5.00mm profile socket and 15mm stacking height elevated pin header could be used. This is only an example as in the GCT board to board connector range we have connectors with a variety of insulator profiles, depending on connector pitch.

pcb stacking parallel elevated header examples

Parallel PCB Mating - Elevated Sockets

An alternative to stacking headers.

Why customers choose stacking sockets:

  • Isolation - contacts encased in shroud.
  • Stacking solution required - design of PCB header is out of customers control. e.g. Off the shelf wireless module PCB.
  • Superior strength vs stacking header.
  • If two stackers are used then one elevated header and socket will polarise.
pcb stacking parallel elevated socket examples

Parallel PCB Mating - Bottom Entry Sockets

Also known as pass through, allows mating with a pin header from the underside of the PCB rather than the top side.

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

Example of a bottom entry, SMT socket PCB layout:

smt-pad SMT Pads
header pins pcb drill hole Drilled holes to allow header pins to pass through
locating peg pcb drill hole Drilled holes for locating pegs
parallel bottom entry socket example

Customers choose bottom entry sockets to reduce distance between stacked PCB's, or to allow use of a single sided PCB.

In order to select the correct header mating pin length customers must provide PCB thickness (for example 1.6mm/.062"), the PCB thickness must be taken into account to calculate the total distance to the mating point. GCT receptacle drawings show the mating points.

parallel bottom entry socket example