Precision RH&T Probe Using Chilled Mirror

The Aosong Electronic Co. Ltd, with a registered trademark ASAIR, is a leading designer and manufacturer in China of MEMS sensors. They focus on the design of sensor chips, the production of wafers, sensor modules, and system solutions. They have designed a sensor AHTT2820, which is a precision relative humidity and temperature probe.

ASAIR has based the design of AHTT2820 on the principles of a cold optical mirror. It directly measures humidity and temperature. Contrary to other methods of indirect measurements of humidity through resistance and capacitance changes, AHTT2820 uses the principles of a cold optical mirror. It can directly measure the surrounding humidity. It is an accurate, intuitive, and reliable sensor.

ASAIR uses a unique semiconductor process to treat the mirror surface of this high-precision humidity and temperature sensor. It uses platinum resistance to measure the temperature by sensing the change in the resistance due to a change in temperature. This gives the high-precision humidity and temperature sensor long-term stability, reliability, and high accuracy of measurement. The sensor features a fast response speed, a short warm-up time, and an automatic balance system.

Users can connect the sensor to their computer through a standard Modbus RTU communication system. It can record data, display the data, and chart curves. The precision RH&T probe provides direct measurement of temperature and dew point. Powered by USB, the split probe is suitable for various scenarios.

The AHTT2820 is a chilled mirror dew point meter that directly measures the dew point according to the definition of dew point. Various industries widely use it. They include food and medicine production industries, the measurement and testing industry, universities, the power electronics industry, scientific research institutes, the meteorological environment, and many others.

The probe uses its optical components to detect the thickness of frost or dew on the mirror surface. It uses the detection information for controlling the temperature of the mirror surface for maintaining a constant thickness of dew or frost. It uses a light-emitting diode to generate an incident beam of constant intensity to illuminate the mirror. On the opposite side, the probe has a photodiode for measuring the reflected intensity of the incident beam from the light-emitting diode.

The probe uses the output of the photodiode for controlling the semiconductor refrigeration stack. Depending on the output of the photodiode, the system either heats up or cools down the semiconductor refrigeration stack. This helps to maintain the condensation thickness of moisture on the surface of the mirror.

As it reaches the equilibrium point, the rate of evaporation from the mirror surface equals the rate of condensation. At this time, the platinum resistance thermometer embedded in the mirror measures the temperature of the mirror, and this represents the dew point.

Under standard atmospheric pressure, it is possible to obtain the related values of absolute humidity, relative humidity, water activity, and humid air enthalpy through calculation after measuring the ambient temperature.

The probe can measure temperatures from -40 to +80 °C, with an accuracy of ±0.1 °C. It measures humidity from 4.5 to 100%RH at 20 °C, with an accuracy of ±1%RH at <90%RH.

A Wheel-to-Leg Transformable Robot

With the general audience preferring to engage in the search for anthropomorphization, the popularity of biped and quadruped robots has been growing. At the Worcester Polytechnic Institute, researchers have innovated a robotic system that they call the OmniWheg—a robotic system that adapts its configuration based on the surrounding environment that it is navigating. They introduced this robot in a paper in the IEEE IROS 2022, and pre-published it on arVix. OmniWheg has its origins in an updated version of whegs, which was a mechanism with a design to transform the wings or wheels of a robot into legs.

Although the researchers would have liked to make the robot capable of going everywhere they go, they found the cost of legs to be very high. While evolution has provided humans and animals with legs, the researchers found that a robot with legs would be highly energy inefficient. While legs could make the robot more human or animal-like, they would not be able to complete tasks quickly and efficiently. Therefore, rather than develop a robot with a single mechanism for locomotion, the team proceeded to create a system that switched between various mechanisms.

The team found that about 95% of the environments at homes and workplaces are flat, while the rest are uneven terrains that require transitioning. Therefore, they went on to develop a robot that performs with a high-efficiency wheel-like arrangement for 95% of the cases, specifically transforming to the lower-efficiency mechanism for the remaining 5%.

The researchers, therefore, created a wheel that changed its configuration for climbing stairs or for circumventing small obstacles. For this, they utilized the concept of whegs,  wing-legs, or wheel-legs, which is popular in the field of robotics.

In the past few years, the team developed and tested several wheel-leg systems. However, most of them were not successful, as the left and right sides of the wheel-leg system would not coordinate well or align properly when the robot tried climbing stairs.

Finally, the team could solve the coordination issues by using an omnidirectional wheel. This enabled the robot to align on-the-fly, but without rotating its body. Therefore, the robot can move forward, backward, and sideways at high efficiency, and remain in a stable position without expending any energy. At the same time, the robot can also climb stairs swiftly, when necessary.

For correct operation, the wheg system that the team developed requires a servo motor to be added to each wheel and operated with a simple algorithm. As the design is straightforward and basic, any other team can easily replicate it.

According to the researchers, the system has abundant advantages with very few drawbacks. The team feels it can pose a threat to the legged robots, and any robotic application can adopt this design.

The team has evaluated their OmniWheg robot system on a multitude of real-world indoor scenarios. This includes climbing steps of various heights, circumventing obstacles, and moving/turning omnidirectionally. They found the results to be highly promising, and the wheel-leg robot could successfully navigate the common obstacles quite flexibly and efficiently.

Micro 3D Printing for Miniaturization

Engineers have been using additive manufacturing for prototyping for about 30 years now and are also using it for production. However, the biggest value addition from additive manufacturing comes from producing parts that other traditional manufacturing methods find difficult.

Fabricators use additive manufacturing as a valuable and important solution for producing parts such as those including complex design features like internal geometries and cavities that are impossible to achieve by regular machining. Additive manufacturing is helpful in producing structural elements that are too cumbersome or difficult to generate effectively by conventional means.

At present, engineers use 3D printers for printing large parts quickly. These parts may have resolutions around 50 µm and tolerances around 100 µm. However, sometimes, they also need to produce parts with sub-micron resolutions that are smaller than 5 um. Therefore, they needed a system for printing micro-sized parts at a reasonably high print speed.

Smaller parts require a more precise production process. For instance, cell phones and tablets, microfluidic devices for medical pumps, cardiovascular stents, MEMS, industrial sensors, and edge technology components require connectors with high resolution and accuracy. Most standard additive manufacturing machines cannot provide the resolution necessary for micro-sized parts.

BMF or Boston Micro Fabrication designs and manufactures the PµSL or Projection Micro Stereolithography technology-based printers. Using PµSL printers, it is possible to create 3D printed parts with 2 µm resolution at ±10 um scales. These 3D printers incorporate the benefits of both the SLA or stereolithography technologies and the DLP or digital light processing technologies.

Using a flash of ultraviolet light at microscale resolutions, these PµSL printers cause a rapid photopolymerization of an entire layer of resin. This takes place at ultra-high precision, accuracy, and resolution, not possible to achieve with other technologies.

For faster processing, the PµSL technology supports continuous exposure. Other design elements allow additional benefits to the user. For instance, in printers using the standard SLA technology, the bottom-up build method requires a support structure to hold the part to the base, while also supporting the overhanging structures. Conventional SLA systems can typically achieve resolutions of 50 µm, an overall tolerance of ±100 µm, and a minimum feature size of 150 µm. Similarly, standard DLP systems using a similar bottom-up build structure offer 25-50 µm resolution, an overall tolerance of ±75 µm, and a minimum feature size of 50-100 µm.

On the other hand, the PµSL uses a top-down build, thereby minimizing the need for a support structure. It also provides a way to reduce damage while removing bubbles with a transparent membrane. Comparatively, PµSL systems offer resolution down to 2 µm, dimensional tolerances as high as ±10 µm, and minimum feature sizes of 10 µm.

BMF provides this type of quality by properly employing every system component. This includes the resolution of the optics, controlling the exposure and resulting curing, the precision of mechanical components, and the interaction between parts and required support structures. It also depends on the ability to control tolerances across the build and the overall size of the part. Moreover, working with such diverse micro parts requires choosing the right material characteristics.

Standard Connectors for EV Charging

With EVs or electric vehicles becoming a trend for both individuals and commercial operations, more people are opting for them for commuting to work, school, and moving around the town. While there are tax benefits to using EVs, they also reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. Moreover, with the maturing of battery technologies, EV performance is comparable to those of vehicles with traditional internal combustion engines.

With the increasing number of EVs in use, their fundamental and foremost requirement is charging the battery. This aspect has led to a spurt in the growth of electric vehicle charging stations. Manufacturers of electric vehicles produce a range of vehicles that they base on their specific design specifications. However, charging devices need a uniform design so that any make or model of an electric vehicle can hook up for charging. At present, there are two categories of electric vehicle chargers—Level 1 and Level 2.

Level 1 chargers are available with the vehicle. They have adapters that the user can plug into a standard mains 120-Volt outlet. Manufacturers make these chargers common for use in home charging outlets.

Level 2 chargers are standalone types and separate from electric vehicles. They have adapters to plug into a 240-Volt outlet. These chargers are typically available in offices, parking garages, grocery stations, and other such locations. Homeowners may also purchase Level 2 chargers separately.

To allow any model or make of EV to connect to any Level 2 chargers, it is necessary for both the EV and the charger to use a standard connector. At present, the standard charger connector for Level 2 chargers is the SAR J1772. All the latest electric vehicles using plug-in charging use the standard SAE J1772 plug, while the charger connectors use the standard SAE J1772 adapters. These are also known as J plugs. J1772_201710 is the most current revision for the J plug specifications.

While SAE was originally an acronym for the Society of Automobile Engineers, presently they are known as SAE International. They often come up with recommended practices that the entire automobile industry accepts as standards. With the use of the standard SAE J1772 plugs, a customer purchasing an electric vehicle from any manufacturer can charge it using the same charging connector. Public electric charging stations also use the SAE J1772 chargers, and these are compatible with plugs in most vehicles from different manufacturers.

Each SAE J1772 charger has a standard coupler control system consisting of AC and DC residual current detectors, an off-board AC to DC high power stage, an auxiliary power stage, an isolation monitor unit, a two-way communication system over a single wire, contactors, relays, service and user interface, and an energy metering unit. Charging stations with J1772 connectors use a cable for charging the electric vehicle, and the rating of this cable is EVJE for 300 Volts or EVE for 600 Volts.

The EVJE/EVE cable consists of a thermoplastic elastomer jacket and insulation around a center conductor made of copper. The cable usually has two conductors of 18 AWG wire, one conductor of 10 AWG, and another conductor of 16 AWG.

Using Ferrites in Wire Assemblies

The phenomenon of magnetism is prevalent all over the world, along with related concepts like the magnetic field, electromagnetism, and electromotive force. Although these are complex subjects at a higher level, they are easy to understand. However, these are principles on which electric motors operate, the earth’s magnetosphere shields life, and refrigerator doors remain closed.

The wonderful properties of magnetism also help products and applications like cable assemblies. There are well-known magnets like those made of neodymium, and these are permanent magnets with inherent magnetic properties. They comprise elements of Neodymium, Boron, and Iron. Neodymium magnets are among the most powerful permanent magnet types available. In comparison, there are non-permanent magnets also. Typically known as electromagnets, they derive their properties from the passage of an electrical current.

Other types of permanent magnets are also available. The most popular of these is the ferrite magnets, and industries use them for a lesser-known reason. Used in various forms like chokes, cores, and beads, these inexpensive devices greatly help filter electrical noise and get products to comply with EMI/EMC regulations. Countless design applications use them in different form factors and are available from numerous manufacturers. Ferrite magnets comprise a mixture of iron oxide and ceramic magnets. In doughnut-like shapes, they keep control over signal integrity within bundles of wire. For instance, a data cable carrying high-frequency data transmission,  when routed through the magnetic field of a ferrite, can eliminate unwanted electrical noise, as the ferrite acts as a passive EMI filter.

For a ferrite to be effective, the cable must pass through the center of the ferrite and its magnetic field. Looping and routing the wire multiple times through the ferrite helps incrementally improve the signal integrity. While a majority of cables have their wires passing through the ferrites only once, some designs require them to make as many as three loops to meet design objectives. Typically, there are two types of ferrites available that are suitable for cable assemblies—snap-on ferrites and doughnut ferrites.

Snap-on ferrites are the easiest to assemble. These are passive suppression devices with two halves. A plastic clamshell case holds the two halves as it snaps close around the wire. Available in a wide variety of sizes for different cable diameters and performance types, these are excellent devices that can mix and match various types of ferrite to help pass an aggressive test requirement. However, snap-on ferrites can be expensive and require accurate sizing to match the wire’s outer diameter to create an interference fit. As their design is like a clamshell, it is easy to remove snap-on ferrites.

Doughnut ferrites are simpler, being in the shape of a ring or a doughnut. The cable must pass through the center of the continuous circle of the ferrite before the wires terminate into a connector. The doughnut ferrite is therefore a permanent fixture, unlike the snap-on ferrite that the user can remove at any time. Overmolding the ferrite helps to fix its position on the cable while protecting the brittle ferrite magnet from damage.

Switches & Latches Based on Hall Effect

Switches and latches based on the Hall effect compare magnetic fields. More correctly, they compare the B-field, or the magnetic flux density with a pre-specified threshold, giving out the comparison result as a single-bit digital value. It is possible to have four categories of digital or on/off Hall sensors—unipolar switches, omnipolar switches, bipolar switches, and latches.

Each of the above switches/latches has a unique transfer function. However, this depends on an important concept—the polarity of the magnetic flux density. The polarity of the B-field makes the Hall effect devices directional. Moreover, it is sensitive only to that component of the magnetic flux density that happens to be along its sensitivity axis.

When a component of the magnetic field applied to a device is in the direction of its sensitivity axis, the magnetic flux density is positive. However, if the component is in the opposite direction of the sensitivity axis, the polarity of the -field is negative at the sensor.

Hall sensor manufacturers follow another convention for the B-field polarity. They consider the magnetic field from the south pole of a magnet as positive, while that from the north pole, as negative. They base their assumption on the branded face of the sensor facing the magnet. The branded face of the Hall sensor is the front surface bearing the device part number.

Therefore, for a sensor with a SOT23 package, the sensitivity axis is perpendicular to the PCB. Whereas for a sensor with a TO-92 package, the sensitivity axis will be parallel to the PCB, provided the sensor is upright after soldering.

A unipolar switch has its thresholds in the positive region of the B-field axis. Its output state changes only when the south pole of a magnet comes near it. Bringing the north pole or a negative field close to the sensor produces no effect, hence the name unipolar.

When the sensor is off, its output is logic high. Gradually bringing a south-pole closer to the sensor causes the device to switch to a logic low as the magnetic field crosses its threshold. The opposite happens when the south pole gradually moves away from the sensor. However, as the threshold of switching for a decreasing magnetic field is different from the threshold of switching for an increasing magnetic field, the device shows a hysteresis effect. Manufacturers create this hysteresis deliberately to allow the sensor to avoid jitter.

An omnipolar switch responds to both—a strong positive field and a strong negative field. As soon as the magnitude of the magnetic field crosses the sensor’s threshold, it changes state. With omnipolar switches, the magnitude of the operating point is the same irrespective of the polarity of the B-field. However, the magnitude of the release point is different from the operating point, but the same for both polarities. Hence, the omnipolar switch also has a hysteresis effect.

A latch device turns on by an adequately large positive field but turns off only by an adequately large negative field. A bipolar switch behaves as a latch device, but its exact threshold values may change from device to device.

RNC Sensors for Automobiles

With changing vehicle technology, the expectations of drivers and passengers are also undergoing a sea change. They expect a quieter in-cabin atmosphere and an escape from the noise and pollution from the road. Road Noise Cancellation or RNC sensors from Molex offer a new experience for both automotive manufacturers and users. These sensors are lightweight, inexpensive, and use an innovative compact technique of combating road noise.

With growing environmental concerns, electric and hybrid vehicles are causing a greater impact on the automotive market. As these vehicles are quieter than their counterparts with combustion engines, their occupants indicate they perceive a higher level of road noise. The road surface transmits a low-frequency broadband sound that creates a hypnotic humming road noise, through the tires, the suspension, and various body components, into the vehicle. The absence of a combustion engine makes the road noise more perceptible in electric vehicles.

Reducing this noise using sound-dampening materials can be expensive and add to the vehicle’s weight. Early attempts to cancel the road noise actively used complex wire harnesses, while the material they used was less efficient and not as economical as users desire. Moreover, sensors and sound-dampening systems in automotive applications are vulnerable to several harsh environmental factors, including dust, rocks, and water, which can easily damage them.

RNC sensors from Molex are pioneering a newer trend in the luxury category of electric vehicles. The sensing element utilizes the A2B technology that captures sound waves. The system reduces noise from the road that a combustion engine would typically mask.

The A2B audio bus technology minimizes the time the sensors take between receiving the excitation vibrations and generating the processing signal. That means noise cancellation is more efficient. In addition, the sensors can measure the road noise at a slower speed, which allows placing them farther away from the source of the sound. The technology also provides more network data channels.

RNC sensors typically capture sound waves from the vibrations of the vehicle chassis. After detecting the sound waves, it transfers them to the processing unit. This generates a cancellation wave and transmits it to the inside of the vehicle as it travels on the road. The sensors use the A2B audio bus technology by Analog Devices and are daisy-chained to each other. This has the advantage of eliminating the home-run wire harnessing or star-pattern wiring and the use of sound-dampening materials that earlier systems used.

Moles has designed the casings for the sensors to anticipate the dust and water of the harsh automotive environment, for which they carry an IP6K9K rating for the enclosure for protecting the system. Molex also offers their space-saving sealed Mini50 Connector interface. They also offer various mechanical housing configurations for orienting the sensing element to mount them perpendicular to or parallel to the ground. This allows the use of a variety of terminal sizes and connector orientations.

RNC sensors are a low-cost technology for capturing vibration energy from vehicle suspension for optimal cancellation, compared to other noise-cancellation systems. It is possible to configure them in groups of 4 to 8 sensors, depending on the need.

Interactive Touchscreens

The interactive touchscreen, being an outstandingly adaptable technology, is a common feature in almost all settings. This includes manufacturing, healthcare, restaurants, movie theaters, shops, railway stations, and even in outer space. People use interactive touchscreens universally for the simple reason that they make life easier. In any industry, interactive touchscreens allow people to do their job better and more quickly.

In the age of digital transformation, the above features are essential. The trend in industries all over is to optimize workflows with technology. More stakeholders value convenience and speed now. Although touchscreens find universal applications, system integrators and their vendors of integrated software uphold their versatility by finding newer uses for them. That means a bright future lies ahead for interactive touchscreens. Moreover, manufacturers are integrating them with future technologies like artificial intelligence, voice recognition, and computer vision.

With a change in customer preference, businesses can respond by using touchscreens. For instance, theaters that have been in business for a long time, are now adapting to new customer expectations of greater convenience. Customers decide on remaining at a site and purchasing, depending on whether the ordering process is convenient for them.

At times, when customers are facing a busy night, or they are running late, they may decide to forego buying candy and popcorn. This represents a substantial loss for the theater since they make huge profits from concessions.

Therefore, theaters are setting up self-service concession and ticketing kiosks based on interactive touchscreens. Any moviegoer can now buy their tickets and concessions as soon as they enter the theater, as many kiosks are available at the entrance in the lobby. Each kiosk has the capability to serve up to 350 customers every day.

This has resulted in a substantial improvement across the board. Customers are more satisfied now that waiting time has come down, and concession sales are booming.

Touchscreens are available in diverse types. For instance, they may be huge 65-inch large-format displays or tiny handheld models the size of a smartphone. Manufacturers are offering additional features to make them more versatile and attractive.

For instance, touchscreens are available with peripherals that the user can customize. They have a choice of peripherals ranging from biometric scanners, status lights, RFID and NFC readers, to webcams, barcode scanners, and so many more. Manufacturers often enhance the basic modularity of touchscreens with computing devices for control over complex situations. For instance, the integrated software in a touchscreen offers a point-of-sale application supporting a number of different peripherals with custom configurations.

Interactive touchscreens are evolving fast. Stand-alone touchscreens are transforming self-service applications. Identification of products using computer vision is speeding up the customer’s intentions of purchase by speeding up at self-checkouts. This integration of technologies is benefitting both, the businesses and the customers. While customers prefer to make their own choices, they receive help from the combination of computer vision, voice recognition, touch facility, and artificial intelligence. All this allows the user to drive the interaction.

By putting the control back where it belongs—in the customer’s hands—the future of interactive touchscreen is moving towards fulfilling its original purpose.

What is Soldering?

Although soldering electronic components in place is a complex activity, most people involved with the soldering process do not realize it. Complicated chemical and thermal processes occur within a very small space when soldering. To make a good solder joint, it is necessary to follow a few basic rules.

Apart from just making good electrical contacts, solder joints should also be mechanically strong and must not oxidize. Additionally, there should not be chemical residues in the joint. Usually, chemical residues come from flux, which can corrode plastic and metallic surfaces both.

Manufacturers offer solder in three categories—consumer, industrial, and high-end. The automotive and health industry makes use of the third category. Consumer and industrial grades are more common for manual, automated, and other construction purposes.

For several years, the standard was the leaded solder. With a relatively low melting point of around 183 °C, leaded solder has good flow and wetting characteristics. For proper melting and formation of a good solder joint, the recommended temperature at the tip of a soldering iron is 120 °C above the alloy’s melting temperature. This corresponds to a tip temperature of about 300 °C.

Manufacturers provide flux inside the hollow of the solder wire. The flux helps to dissolve oxides of the metals at the solder joint. General purpose leaded solder is typically an alloy of tin and lead in the ratio 63:37. Typically, the tin in the alloy amalgamates with the metal (typically copper), producing an alloy of the two metals, as an intermetallic diffusion zone. This helps to form a good solder joint, well-formed, mechanically strong, and durable.

However, an ideal solder joint does not happen in all cases. Sometimes, the solder forms a cold solder joint. Reasons for the formation of a cold solder joint are the presence of highly oxidized metals and dirt, inadequate heating, or fast cooling after the melting process. Inadequate wetting is common in cold solder joints, leading to easy detachment of components.

It is easy to recognize a cold solder joint with leaded solder. The joint has a dull matte surface against a shiny, glossy surface of a good solder joint. With lead-free solder, this is no longer the case. Newer alloys of lead-free solders usually form a matte surface. However, this depends on the specific composition, and it remains matte whether the solder is establishing a good or a cold joint.

New lead-free solders are RoHS compliant, meaning they do not contain certain hazardous substances, as specified by the EU Directive and the Restriction of Hazardous Substances.

The lead content in lead-free solder cannot cross a 0.1% limit. The intention is to prevent the operators from inhaling toxic vapors. Earlier, the use of suitable extraction systems prevented the risk of such inhalation, provided they were in actual use.

The absence of lead in lead-free solders has resulted in an increase in their melting point. The presence of about 95% tin raises the melting point of the alloy from ~217 °C to ~227 °C. This also changes the flow characteristics. Higher temperatures mean the actual soldering time must be small to prevent damage to the components.

What are Spring-Loaded Connectors

Selecting the right spring-loaded connectors saves not only expenses in the long-term, but reputations as well. In most key applications, reliably machined pin contacts can significantly reduce the total cost of ownership.

Industrial applications are cost-sensitive. Hence, designers tend to specify solutions that cost the lowest. However, while ensuring the price of their solution is competitive, designers must also ensure their company remains profitable. This is because a low-cost, low-quality connector solution can easily lead to premature failure and considerable re-work costs, while possibly damaging reputations.

This is where machined pin spring-loaded connectors come in. There are numerous ways in which these precision-made interconnects can provide better solutions while improving efficiency, and lowering overall costs.

In a spring-loaded connector, the main components are the spring-loaded pins—also known as pogo pins, spring probes, or spring pins. They provide highly reliable interconnecting solutions for a wide variety of demanding applications. In typical spring-loaded connectors, manufacturers provide precision-machined contacts to ensure low resistance, high quality, and compliance.

Spring-loaded contacts typically comprise three or more separate machined components, assembled with an internal spring. Manufacturers precision-machine these components from brass and electroplate them with gold for ensuring excellent electrical conductivity, corrosion resistance, and durability. They assemble these contacts into high-temperature insulators to produce spring-loaded connectors in various configurations. In the market, these connectors are available in SMT, through-hole, and wire termination styles. They are also available in horizontal or vertical orientations.

At working travel, contact resistance is typically less than 20 milliohms, while the current capacity can range from 2-9 A continuous. Most manufacturers offer connectors they rate for 100,000 to 1 million cycles, with an operating temperature range covering -55 °C to +125 °C—depending on application variables like exposure time.

Precision machining is the most reliable and flexible method of making pins for connectors. The process delivers not only high quality but is also repeatable while offering material flexibility and versatile design. The process creates high-precision pins with cylindrical geometry, which are also known as turned pins. Precision machining is highly accurate and remarkably consistent. It can hold critical feature tolerances to +/- 0.0005”(0.0127 mm) or better.

Designers often have an incorrect perception that machined spring-loaded pins are high-cost solutions, beyond their budgets. The basis of their perception is the high-quality processes and materials manufacturers employ in the connectors. While there is justification for higher piece-part costs, the overall price of the connector is lower because of the several benefits and features the spring-loaded pins provide.

For instance, a spring-loaded pin may be simply contacting a pad on a mating PCB. The diameter of the mating pad provides the amount of positional tolerance that the spring-loaded pin can tolerate. Consequently, the spring-loaded pin solution offers tolerances in the x, y, and z directions. This ensures not only better overall functionality, but also reduces assembly time. Moreover, the Bill of Materials has only one part number instead of two.

Many designs today feature a packed occurrence with a lack of visibility in the connection area, typically known as blind mating. Here again, positional tolerances offer an advantage to the spring-loaded pins and connectors.