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registration diagram
Substrate Alignment

One major benefit of elastomeric connectors is the fact that the connector itself does not require alignment to the PCB or the mating component. The connector consists of multiple conductors that are parallel to one another and create multiple contacts per each pad that is being mated. The connector simply mates whatever contacts each end of the conductors. Therefore, the mating substrates must be aligned to one another to maximize the possible number of conductors making the contact and to eliminate any possibility of shorting.

Alignment may be achieved either through mechanical means such as alignment pins or through an optical method.

alignment tolerances diagram
Alignment Tolerances

Regardless of your alignment technique, certain factors will still affect the registration of the mating contact pads, and therefore affect the performance of the elastomeric connector in your system. As a result, the tolerances for each of the features shown below should be held as tightly as possible.

Recommendation: undersize the diameter of one set of alignment pins to allow for tolerances in the alignment hole location, alignment hole diameter and the alignment pin diameter to ensure that the pin will in fact mate with the thru hole.

Contact Pads

Regardless of your choice of substrate or contact pad metallurgy, please be sure that all contact surfaces are flat, clean and free of contaminants. If cleaning of the substrates is required, isopropyl alcohol may be used, but all surfaces must be completely dry prior to assembly.

solder mask diagram
Solder Mask

Problem:
When designing an elastomeric connector into your system, be careful to keep the contact area clear of solder mask. The contact area includes between contact pads and anywhere around the perimeter of the pads that could interfere with the connector housing seating properly.

Possible Solution:
If your PC Board has already been designed and solder mask is present and is higher than the level of the contacts, Z-Axis is still able to overcome this problem. As seen to the right, Z-Axis can create a stepped connector that is capable of making reliable contact even under these conditions.

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