Connectors – especially thru-hole connectors – present opportunities for error in both layout and in assembly. First, it’s not always obvious to the PCB layout specialist which side of the board the connector needs to go on. Then, during assembly, the electronic data often doesn’t specify which side of the board a thru-hole component will go on. We’re left to rely on silk screen or notes in the mechanical assembly drawing.

Case in point: Our layout team recently received a schematic for a board containing a large d-sub connector with over 70 pins. The team spent several hours routing signals and resistors to it, only to find out the client had intended the connector to go on the back side of the board.

The lesson here is if we are doing the layout for you, clearly mark the locations and orientation of any connector on your mechanical drawings. If we’re just assembling the board, make sure the silk screen and assembly drawings clearly specify, on which side of the board to place the connector.

What is clear to you is not necessarily clear to us!


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