what I have as a big issue is the following layout with two connectors. The problem is that the connector K201 (in right bottom) is very close to the frame. This frame will the attached to a device so there is a maximum 10 mm height of metal and insulator. If I put it the connector so close to the frame then it is impossible to plug any cable in. Then the question is - is there a way to lift the connector up on a fixed and defined during the design height?

I exclude the use of another small PCB, which is not very rational and cheap.


The connectors are for side-montage, meaning that the cable plugs in parallels to the PCB area. A solution with perpendicular connectors is already known, but not preferable. Thru-hole is not an option, because the upper layer must be perfectly flat.


enter image description here

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Think about it, it's a surface mount device. That means it's designed to mount on the surface of a PCB. Ideally you would use another PCB, or perhaps some SMD veroboard. The other option would be to solder "legs" to the pads of the device and turn it into a thru-hole one, but that is not very "rational and cheap" either. \$\endgroup\$
    – DerStrom8
    Commented Jul 23, 2015 at 12:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ Raising the PCB make no sense, because the metal and insulation is on top of the frame. Also for all others thru-hole is not an option, because the top layer should be perfectly flat. \$\endgroup\$
    – judoka_acl
    Commented Jul 23, 2015 at 15:08
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ In the future, do avoid designing yourself into a corner like this, and check the mechanical design before too long. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 23, 2015 at 16:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NickAlexeev it's not that I didn't check the mechanical design or designing myself into corner like this. This corner is part of the requirements. This is not an amateur radio project, where you can place everything wherever you want. There are requirements for the position of the connectors and the pour ground area in which they must be placed. \$\endgroup\$
    – judoka_acl
    Commented Jul 24, 2015 at 8:00

2 Answers 2


Some connectors have versions that are higher, and occasionally you can find a through hole mount connector where you can use a spacer underneath to place it slightly higher.

If you are manufacturing many of these, talk to the connector manufacturer and see what they suggest. They can use the same connector with different pins that act like stilts and place the connector higher, or they can custom mold a connector for you - but the quantity has to be fairly high for the cost to be similar to the off the shelf connector.

Beyond that, your only option really is to use another PCB with a specific thickness. This would probably be less expensive than a custom connector if the quantity is small, and more expensive than a custom connector if the quantity is large.

For the connector-on-pcb mounting, use a PCB with castellations for heights under 3mm:

enter image description here

When you have a PCB made, you can tell the fabrication company how thick you want the PCB to be. They have a range of FR4 stock with varying thicknesses that can be laminated to provide a range of thicknesses. First, mount the connector on the PCB, then you can put the PCBs with connectors into a tray and have them machine placed.

For heights greater than 3mm, using headers would work well.

Honestly, though, I think you need to reconsider the problem. If you are trying to get a connector to line up with the outside of the case, you should be moving the PCB, or the case hole, or separating the two and using a panel mount connector.

The problem with raising the connector is that when it's connected and disconnected, greater forces are placed on the connector and PCB, and the mount may not be strong enough to deal with those forces, particularly if it's frequently done.

If the connector needs to be raised, you should use a different connector that is meant to be further off the PCB. Trying to use a surface mount, fine pitch connector on a riser is just asking for trouble.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Second finding another connector with different stand-off. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dave
    Commented Jul 23, 2015 at 15:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ The drawback which I want to avoid is to engage on a specific fixed height. I want to be able very easily to change the height in design time, without any worries. You mentioned in your answer another PCB with a specific thickness. What do you mean by that? In my view the additional PCB connect to the base PCB with male/female headers and probably additional screws. \$\endgroup\$
    – judoka_acl
    Commented Jul 23, 2015 at 15:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ So at the end of the day a the horizontal connector was replaced with a vertical and if there is a need an additional PCB will be designed to serve as an adapter between the horizontal and vertical connectors. I'm going to accept your answer as correct thou other answers suggested also the usage of extra PCB, but still your analyse was more thorough and complete. Thank you! \$\endgroup\$
    – judoka_acl
    Commented Jul 24, 2015 at 8:23

If you stick with the surface mount connector and want to keep it's location then another small PCB is really your only option. The board could resemble a breakout board with 0.1in headers (or the like) on either side allowing the height of the board to change.

Your only other real solution without spending extra money is to move the connector. Turn the connector 90 degrees. Push the connector back.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I can't turn the connector 90 degrees, because there is not enough vertical space, or it should be very close to the left frame which is also covered with insulator and metal - going in circle. Also the connectors are for side-montage, meaning that cable plugs in parallels to the PCB area. \$\endgroup\$
    – judoka_acl
    Commented Jul 23, 2015 at 15:32
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ To get variable height and save cost make a "break out" like board with your connector sitting on top and 3 wide 0.1in through hole headers on either side. Place the same board layout for the 0.1in header on the main PCB. Then by selecting the proper header length and by controlling how far into the main PCB the pins are inserted before soldering you can get excellent height control and use the fewest amount of parts possible. \$\endgroup\$
    – vini_i
    Commented Jul 23, 2015 at 17:20

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