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I got a kit in the mail with some PCBs and components to solder to it, but the headers that it came with don't seem to quite fit in the PCB holes they're meant to go in.

The header pins are square, and the holes are round. I can push the pins far enough through so that their tips are just poking through the other side, but they won't go any further.

Can I just solder the pins in if they are just barely poking through? Are there any methods to persuade the pins to fit in the holes that won't impact the connection, or would the solution be to just get new headers that fit the holes?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Square headers usually go into round holes. Square holes are harder to make. If there is metal on metal action you can solder it that way and it'll work. \$\endgroup\$ – Samuel Jun 8 '15 at 20:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ What does the kit supplier say? \$\endgroup\$ – Leon Heller Jun 8 '15 at 20:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ It sounds like you can just solder the pins. Really up to you whether the components sticking off the surface is an issue or not. \$\endgroup\$ – I. Wolfe Jun 8 '15 at 20:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ If the headers are long then separating them is smaller groups (eg 4 or five pins) may help placing them easier. \$\endgroup\$ – alexan_e Jun 8 '15 at 21:44
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I don't know how hard you are pushing them, but if you put the header on a table and push the board down onto it you can get enough pressure to potentially damage the board.

Sounds like they made the holes a bit on the small size. Most pins for 0.1" pitch headers are 0.025" square with slightly rounded corners. You may or may not find that an alternate supplier has ones that fit a bit better, since you're down to the tolerance.

Usually the header manufacturers recommend 1mm (55.7 mils) vs. 35 mils for the pin diagonal. I think 0.9mm is a bit better for hand assembly- it's theoretically size-on but the rounding of the corners makes it a snug fit usually.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the helpful information! I think you're right that the holes are just a little small. I think the headers were hastily included with the kit and weren't ever supposed to fit. \$\endgroup\$ – edbedbe Jun 8 '15 at 22:24

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