Manufacturing / Production Technology, Hardware & Services


Successful solder processing of high-density connector arrays

26 February 2021 Manufacturing / Production Technology, Hardware & Services

Processing a component onto a printed circuit board (PCB) used to be fairly straightforward. Through-hole products, or a single- or double-row surface mount component with a larger centreline, rarely offer unique challenges when it comes to obtaining a proper solder joint.

However, as electronics continue to get smaller and connectors become more dense, there is a need to ensure that the inner rows of the connectors solder properly and obtain a strong solder joint. Connector manufacturers have addressed this in many ways, and one of the ways to ensure a proper solder joint is by the use of a solder charge. This pin design is used in the Samtec SEARAY high-density open-pin field arrays.

What is a solder charge?

A solder charge is similar to the ball grid array (BGA) connectors of the past, in that they add more solder to the solder joint by means of attaching solder directly to the pin. Where the solder charge differs is how the solder attaches to the pin, and the extra space between rows. Referring to Figure 1, one can see the slot in the pin. This allows solder to flow through to the other side of the pin, and increases board retention in the solder joint.

The SEAF8/SEAM8 is afforded extra space per row, and a larger pitch, due to the alternating solder charges. This gives designers more options for additional trace routing for high I/O-count connectors.


Figure 1. Connector pins with slots to allow solder to flow through to the other side.

A solder charge will lead to a better solder joint without the need to increase solder paste by using a thicker stencil. Having the additional solder will ensure a higher success rate for proper solder joints, with less time spent reworking.

What about oven profiles?

Having a proper oven profile for solder reflow is more important today than ever before. In fact, Samtec has a team of engineers to help customers with processing its connectors.

Proper reflow is important, and this is why properly profiling a populated board is crucial. The typical recommendation is to drill two holes in the PCB and place a thermocouple in the centre of the part and one on the outside edge. By doing this, you can test your oven profile and determine if it needs to be adjusted to hit the proper reflow temperature for the paste.

The reflow process for a solder charge can be seen in action by following the short URL www.dataweek.co.za/*mar21-samtec


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