A very common question we get is if it is possible to mate pogo pins horizontally, by sliding the female part over the male connector. In this article, we will explore, why pogo pins usually should not be mated horizontally, and which solutions exist to mate Pogo pins horizontally without damaging them.
The general recommendation for pogo pins is to mate them vertically to avoid damaging them.
Vertical Mating (recommended)
When sliding the female connector horizontally towards the pogo pin, the crimping edge of the barrel might get damaged. The plunger will be pushing sidewards, bending the crimping edge outwards. This can result in the plunger dropping out of the barrel.
The short answer is: yes! There are several solutions that can avoid damage on the pogo pin. Below are 3 possible options that customers may choose from when designing their device. Please be aware, that a horizontal mating will increase the wear on the plating of the pin and the mating pad. Therefore, the total sliding distance should be kept as small as possible. An increased plating thickness might also be mandatory to meet higher life cycle requirements.
Generally, pogo pins should not be mated at an angle that exceeds 5°. The general rule of thumb is, that the great the angle is, the lower the life cycle of the pogo pin becomes. The maximum mating angle is about 18°. Please note, that at this angle, the expected life cycle is significantly reduced. The friction between the plunger and the inner wall of the barrel increases at a constant rate when mating the pin. This leads to the abrasion of the plating inside of the pogo pin. The result may be corrosion and more importantly an increased electrical resistance.
If you want to mate a pogo pin at a greater angle than 18° you may consider one of the 3 options below:
The thick barrel design increases the thickness of the outer wall to avoid damaging the crimping edge when the pogo pin is mated horizontally. This design option is usually chosen for very short strokes. The manufacturing process stays largely the same which makes this a low cost solution. Since this design simply counters the mechanical shear stress on the crimping edges by increasing the wall thickness it does not offer a solution to the higher abbreviation on the plating of the plunger and the inner side of the barrel. The side force increases the pressure of the plunger to the barrel wall, thus increasing the compression force. This design is also suitable for insert molding and water proof applications.
The floating pogo design only loosely fixes the pogo pin in its housing allowing it to move up and down. The design is very robust but requires a highly accurate housing mold which can increase the tooling costs. Since part of the pressure is transferred onto the housing a quality plastic material is necessary to improve the lifetime. This design can not be used in water proof applications.
The ball point pin design uses a precision machine ball on the tip of the pin similar to a ball point pen. The ballpoint connector has a quite complicated structure which increases the cost per pin. It is best suited for applications where there is a high life cycle required or where the contact pad is mated at an angle. It can also be used for water proof connector applications.
Apart from the above presented solutions, there are also other possibilities, that are rarer. In some instances, you might also want to mate the pogo pin at a slight angle. In these cases, we encourage you to get in touch with us. We are happy to help and consult you on how to optimally install the connector.
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