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Hardware for stacked PCBs
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Music Tech DIY  
Author Hardware for stacked PCBs
fuzzbass
There are lots of great projects using sandwiched PCBs, board mounted pots and jacks, etc. It's motherfucking bacon yo The mechanical assembly and bridging of signals between the PCBs seems to involve a lot of different parts, different sources and sometimes not so precise tolerances. A recent project I built from full kit included some poor part choices and instructions to float the headers off the board.

I found an all Mouser combination of parts that works well to stack PCBs. Get these:

855-R30-1001102
M3x11mm F-F hex spacer

517-929974-01-36-RK
Female 2.54mm headers, 36 count

517-834-01-36
Male 2.54mm headers, 36 count


When you mate these headers, they are exactly 11mm tall. The headers listed are copper with tin plate. You can also select gold plating in same product lines, or buy them in other common lengths.

The headers are called "breakaway" but using nippers to cut them causes damage. The material is glass filled epoxy and is brittle. I recommend a low cost hobby saw for cutting the header strips to size. In time, the glass will dull your saw. Don't use a valuable saw.

You will also need M3x~6mm machine screws, but these are a common item and can be sourced for lower cost than Mouser.

Hope this helps.
daverj
For people in the US, a 7/16" standoff is virtually the same size as 11mm (0.4375" vs 0.433").

Pretty much all standard 0.1" spacing single and double row male/female headers add up to that same thickness and will work with 7/16" or 11mm spacers.
Piedwagtail
Quote:
The headers are called "breakaway"


Yes you breakaway Mr. Green not nipaway or saway.

Hold the last header of the length you want firmly in long nose pliers from a perpendicular 90 degree angle and snap the rest off towards you for a clean break.

Bit like breaking open an egg, takes a little confidence (and practice).

Robert
AlanP
I find 16mm nylon bolts are just the right length for the Tayda pin headers and sockets. (I use the M3 ones.) You do have to be careful not to overtighten, though.
pre55ure
Piedwagtail wrote:
Quote:
The headers are called "breakaway"


Yes you breakaway Mr. Green not nipaway or saway.

Hold the last header of the length you want firmly in long nose pliers from a perpendicular 90 degree angle and snap the rest off towards you for a clean break.

Bit like breaking open an egg, takes a little confidence (and practice).

Robert


Speaking of this, does anyone make actual "breakaway" female headers. That can be actually "broken away". The male ones no probs, but I have never been able to find female ones that break cleanly/where you want.
Piedwagtail
Quote:
Speaking of this


Yes, true.
I've been using 2,3,4 groupings(manufactured as) then combined them for different size blocks. 4s being more resistant to side forces than 2s.

Robert
diablojoy
Quote:
I've been using 2,3,4 groupings(manufactured as) then combined them for different size blocks

hmm with the female headers I have been hitting a snag trying that, the end walls exceed the 2.54mm pin spacing. So I cant get multiples to sit nicely.
I tend to cut down a larger one to suit instead
maybe you are getting different ones to me ?
daverj
The males break away fine in single rows. The males in double rows cut OK, though don't break easily with just pliers.

The females however never break away. And the females also have extra plastic on the ends, so two females don't butt against each other at 0.1" spacing. To get them to butt you have to file or shave off some of the plastic.

The males cut easily with a pruning shear. The females I cut through one of the connections (first pulling those pins out of the body). And then grind them down so they are flat ends.
Piedwagtail
I think the deal is if you need, say, a block of 16.
Then 2x8 or 10&6 won't play. It runs into the spacing problem you both mention.

But if you combine small numbers of 2,3,4 the slight bending required is possible, as you're soldering less pins.There's a slight uneveness but nothing untoward.


Dave might have experience of very long term use issues but in sdiy how many times are we yanking the boards apart?

Robert
diablojoy
Quote:
The females I cut through one of the connections (first pulling those pins out of the body). And then grind them down so they are flat ends.


yes this is what I have been resorting to
daverj
Piedwagtail wrote:
I think the deal is if you need, say, a block of 16.
Then 2x8 or 10&6 won't play. It runs into the spacing problem you both mention.

But if you combine small numbers of 2,3,4 the slight bending required is possible, as you're soldering less pins.There's a slight uneveness but nothing untoward.


Dave might have experience of very long term use issues but in sdiy how many times are we yanking the boards apart?

Robert


The spacing issue is when butting up pre-molded females end to end. Some brands have the plastic extending past the multiple of 0.1" for the pins. But some brands don't. On those that don't you can file the plastic smooth after cutting and then fit multiple short ones with no bending.

And of course there is no bending if you use a female the right size for the full length of pins (ie: don't put two separate pin connectors right next to each other) If you place two rows of pins next to each other, even if they are separate connectors in the schematic, treat them as a single connector during assembly and cut the strips that one length.

The reason some brands of female header strips have the extra plastic on the ends is that some brands mount the pins inside lengthwise and some mount them perpendicular. The pins lengthwise requires extra room next to the pins, so extends the plastic of the body.
Piedwagtail
Ok, I haven't seen these lengthwise internal style headers.

I've found that small groups of low number pre-molded females of the type below will butt together without problem to form larger blocks.

http://www.rapidonline.com/cables-connectors/single-row-pcb-sockets-2- 54mm-pitch-180585

I've found it easier to mass order 2,3,4,5s and butt them together rather than get specific about ordering per application what combination I might be asked for when mating sdiy available pcbs to custom panel pcbs or veroboard.

Robert
daverj
Here's an example. These have the pins lengthwise, so the body sticks out an extra 0.010 on each side. So two butting against each other means an extra 0.020" in the way.
Piedwagtail
http://www.rapidonline.com/pdf/19-0081.pdf

identical 2.54*N+0.5
the tolerances in both are +/- 0.01" or so.


I'm not convinced one needs to file every time but that it should be appraised on a case to case basis.

Mr. Green


Robert
corex
This kind mounts the "tuning forks" sideways so they are easier to cut:
3M 929974-01-36-RK
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