Selecting Connectors For Mobile Medical Devices

August 13, 2012
By Anonymous
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Like many types of electronics, medical diagnostic devices are appearing in ever-smaller form factors and increasingly relying on wireless communications. From sophisticated instruments for the medical community to personal health monitors for consumers, these medical devices are becoming a lot more like our phones. And that’s good news if you design medical electronics. You have an opportunity to avoid costly design mistakes and get products to market faster by embracing technologies that have a proven track record in mobile phones applications. Fine-pitch connectors are one such technology. You might believe that all fine-pitch, low-profile connectors are created equal–but they’re not. Even if they have similar datasheet specifications related to package size and pitch, these connectors differ in subtle ways that can affect their reliability during the assembly process and in use. Here are the key technical factors to consider when looking for a reliable connector for use in mobile or other handheld medical devices:

  • Tolerates mechanical forces. The board-to-board and board-to-FPC connections within mobile medical devices have to withstand substantial forces–from insertion forces during assembly to shock and vibration forces in use. A robust contact geometry is the first line of defense against these forces.
  • Contains the solder. The low-profile connectors used in mobile devices are susceptible to damage from solder rise. The best connectors will provide an integrated nickel barrier to keep the solder in its place.
  • Resists corrosion. Corrosive gases generated during the assembly process can damage connectors, ultimately shortening their life. Look for connectors with an anti-corrosion surface treatment.
  • Stays in alignment. Coplanarity of the connector pins may not be the most obvious product selection factor, but it directly affects insertion force and the connector’s ability to withstand repeated insertions. Look for connectors with the best coplanarity specs.
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We’ve designed our fine-pitch connectors with all these technical factors in mind. Our Tough Contact construction is built around a metal bellows whose spring forces strike a balance between easy insertion and resistance to shock loads. The Tough Contact design also features a notched cross section to ensures a high-force, edge-to-edge contact between connector halves. This v-shaped notch has the side benefit of sealing out contamination from flux or other particulate. Our Tough Contact system also features an integrated nickel solder barrier, a proprietary anti-corrosive treatment and best-of-class coplanarity. Our connector line for mobile devices includes board-to-board and board-to-FPC products starting as small as 2.5-mm wide with a terminal pitch of 0.35 mm and a mated height of 0.6 mm. For help selecting a product for medical device applications, contact one of our application engineers.