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When placing thru-hole components on a PCB, how do you determine what the annular ring width should be?

For example, I'm making a PCB with a thru-hole switch whose contacts are 1.2mm in diameter. To me, an annular ring width of .4mm (so an outer diameter of 2mm and drill diameter of 1.2mm) looks "about right" for this hole size, but is there a general rule of thumb or formula that should be used to determine the width?

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Some manufacturers provide minimum dimensions: Sunstone, for example. –  Nick Alexeev Jun 19 at 18:00

2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Of course the annular ring should be at least as large as the minimum annular ring specified by the PCB house, but generally you'll want to make it much larger, especially on heavy parts or parts (like your switch) that are exposed to force.

At least 10 mils (0.25mm) annular ring is better for manufacturability regardless of any strength considerations, and a bit bigger than that is even better.

If the board has plated-through holes, exceeding a 1mm annular ring is probably not of much benefit for pins up to 1.5mm or so.

If the board is single-sided, the adhesive under the pad has to provide a lot of strength, so you probably want to go as high as 2mm annular ring or more (bigger is better for strength) on a part requiring strength such as a switch, terminal block, coil, etc. If there is not enough room to get appropriate clearances you can use a non-round (oblong or rectangular) pad and still get some of the benefit.

I don't know of a specific formula or rule of thumb.

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I normally go for 12 thou (0.3mm) but have been known to sneak em down to 10 thou (0.25mm). Anything larger is fine. This is for low to medium current (up to 1A) - anything greater requires a progressive increase in the hole diameter and a bit more meat on the annular ring. It also depends on the accuracy of your PCB supplier.

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