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Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by John Devereux, May 31, 2013.

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  1. Hi all,

    Anyone know if "picoflex" IDT connectors can reasonably be assembled
    without using the hand tool? For prototyping, maybe low volume


    Also interested in any other similar products any of you may have used,
    need low profile connectors for standard 0.05" ribbon cable, less than
    8mm mated height.
  2. Guest

    I usually use a small vise to assemble idt connectors, can't really
    if that would work for picoflex maybe if you mate it with a connector
    without pins for support

  3. Nemo

    Nemo Guest

    I'm using the Micromatch ones too, I find them reliable and generally
    excellent. One of the best features is that the range covers both male
    and female types on board, and on ribbon cable (ever been stumped by the
    fact that you needed a female on a ribbon so it was back-compatible with
    something but only males were available?) But assembling them is a
    nightmare. Using a vise, you have difficulties keeping the ribbon at
    exactly 90 degrees to the connector - just 5 degrees off and you'll get
    shorts between pins; and the vise often results in pins being crushed.

    So I had a colleague knock a jig together with a milling machine,
    started with 2 plates of scrap metal but one has recesses for the IDC
    connectors at exactly the right distance apart for the cable assemblies
    we want. Converts a vise to a precision tool. Having tried the plain
    vise technique, which tends to crush these expensive connectors, the
    assemblers love the jig. But you do need a skilled craftsman to create it.
  4. Yes, there are also even versions for individual wires (with crimped
    They are what we are using now, and I like them. But the mated height is
    just a bit too much for this application. For prototyping needs I have a
    female half soldered on to a bit of FR4. The male half is plugged into
    this during the squashing on of the ribbon, so the pins don't get
    crushed. Not noticed problems with ribbon angle but perhaps I have just
    been lucky so far.
  5. Guest

    I guess you could put two pins or something like that on the pcb a
    little away from the connector so that the when ribbon fits between it
    is aligned

  6. Guest

    Guest Guest

    We have been using the Picoflex series for several years, a sub-assembly
    we buy in has the IDC part fitted to a ribbon cable.

    We had to re-work a few hundred of them due to an assembly error, we
    tried doing it manually using a vice but it's very easy to mash the
    contacts. In the end we bought the crimp tool you linked to, works OK
    but as you say, a bit expensive for a small run.

    If you only want a few prototypes assembling I may be able to do them
    for you using our tool - IIRC you're based somewhere nearby? PM me if
    interested - the address in the headers works.

    One other thing to watch out for with the Picoflex series - the SMT PCB
    part doesn't seem to like the reflow process our PCB stuffers use. The
    contact pins come out all tarnished. They couldn't figure it out so
    ended up hand soldering that part. Very strange, we use lots of other
    Molex parts and they don't have this issue.

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