I have a board that is vertical to the ground, I need to provide a USB interface to the external world, due to the orientation, this needs to be vertical to the board. (i.e. think of my board standing up and USB connector protruding from the board). I looked around and it seems there are no micro B connectors that would stick out from a board, which made me think that probably the best practice is something else.

I am assuming best practice is to make a tiny board, assemble the connector to this board and connect USB via cable to the mother board. I like to get opinions from the crowd:

  • How did you deal with this problem?

  • When I am carrying USB signals from my board to a connector elsewhere, any precaution I need to take?


3 Answers 3


Using a right angle board may be a good idea from a mechanical strength point of view, depending on how much force you need the vertical connector to take. eg the horizontal connector here my be more reliable than a true vertical connector.

enter image description here Ultra-small, almost 60% smaller than a Mini USB Receptacle - uses less space. Bottom, mid and reverse mount SMT types and vertical DIP type available for different design configurations. 5 pin right angle type, full compliant to USB2.0 (backward compatible to USB1.0 & 1.1). 30µ" gold plated contacts for low contact resistance (<30mOhm). Mid Mount requires a PCB cutout which allows height saving for space critical designs. PCB shell stakes and plastic peg options allow extra physical strength and solder process PCB retention. Improved durability for a guaranteed life of 10,000 mating / unmating cycles. Metal shielding minimizes EMI interference to other components. Wide flat top surface with tape & reel packing suitable for easy pick & place mounting.


Micro USB B and AB connectors vertical.

SMP Technology Inc, Scotts Valley, CA.

Part Number: USB3130 Product Status: active.
Micro USB 2.0 Receptacle - B type - - Through hole - Vertical - 5 pins - Without peg - Outer shell stake - With mating entry lips

enter image description here enter image description here

Thru hole Receptacle in straight orientation allows alternative design configurations.
Ultra-small, almost 60% smaller than a Mini USB Receptacle - uses less space.
5 pin vertical type, full compliant to USB2.0 (backward compatible to USB1.0 & 1.1).
30µ" gold plated contacts for low contact resistance (<30mOhm).
Metal shell stakes provide strength and shell grounding.
Improved durability for a guaranteed life of 10,000 mating / unmating cycles.
Metal shielding minimizes EMI interference to other components.

Spec sheet here which suggests that actual source may be Global Connector Technology in MA and / or HK.

Let the fun begin:

Various (same as above)

enter image description here

Steam Driven / Mini / Micro B USB connector ?:

If I had a choice in a device that needed a long and rugged lifetime I would "go for" the large 'Olde Steam driven' USB B connector as my first choice of the 3 - possibly a custom produced one that walked like a duck and talked like a duck but which had "improvements" which added to lifetime while keeping the interface standard. This in fact was my recommendation in a project that may happen but hasn't yet. The requirement there was for something which got several insert remove cycles every day and would be nice to have a 10 year + lifetime in a developing country environment (Temperature, water, dirt, ...().
Say 4 per day x 365 days x 10 years = 15,000.
So a connector rated at 10,000 cycles (as Micro USB is) would be around its design limit depending on what value 4 assumed :-).

Question 1 - how many faulty full-size USB B connectors have you encountered when plugging in USB printers and similar which used them - and some still do. I have never ever seen a faulty one that I recall. I am perfectly willing to believe that some people have encountered some faulty ones or even that some people find them diabolically unreliable, but I have found them superb.

Question2: How many MINI USB connectors (A or B unspecified) have you found unreliable?
My answer is - essentially all of them sooner or later, with later not seeming to be very late in most cases.

Question 3: How will the Micro USB connector fare?
A: Stay tuned.

Vertical versus horizontal socket:

If I was doing this and wanted longest lifetime and cost was important but not crucial I'd set up the vertical socket version and examine carefully how forces were going to be applied in practice.

If there was any doubt about twist or leverage or off angle forces I'd tend to go for the vertical PCB version.

The assumption is, that may not be valid, that a quality socket is liable to better resist out of alignment forces when mounted in an alignment that allows the connector-manufacturer to place mounting points anywhere they wish.
Whether they do so is something to check.
If you want 1,000 - 10,000 insertion range you want a known good product and not just something the product manufacturer buys on any occasion.

  • \$\begingroup\$ great info. The question is do you recommend vertical thru hole option? I hate to go back and change this board because the USB is getting killed after 1000 plug in and outs. \$\endgroup\$
    – Frank
    Dec 7, 2011 at 7:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'd expect it to depend on the forces placed on the connector and I'd expect, possibly incorrectly, that the flat on board version would be potentially more reliable in the face of mechanical sideforces. For direct in-line insert-remove action I'd expect no real difference with brand/quality/manufacturer-experience being the main factor. | There will be many more "flat on board" connectors to choose from and you can easily add extra guiding etc if you wish. | I consider the MINI USB connector an abomination. The MICRO connector is meant to be better and should be but TBD. \$\endgroup\$
    – Russell McMahon
    Dec 7, 2011 at 8:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ Vertical versus horizontal - see answer addition. \$\endgroup\$
    – Russell McMahon
    Dec 7, 2011 at 8:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ I have had the opposite experience to you. I don think I have a single micro usb that hasn't had issues, and I have not had a single mini-USB connector ever fail on me. (And I have something like 5 external mini-usb hard drives). \$\endgroup\$ Dec 8, 2011 at 6:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ @stevenvh - Presumably your aim is to further discourage me from providing quality answers to questions by nit-picking over items which are a harmless at worst and liable to be a useful part of the answer. In about 60 lines of answer with relevant diagrams and references and thanks from the questioner 4+ months ago you feel the need to take out 4 words that did not cause any aggro with others. You may succeed. \$\endgroup\$
    – Russell McMahon
    Apr 11, 2012 at 8:35

What are your space constraints?

I think the best solution here would be a vertical-mount USB-B connector. Assuming you have the board-space, it will work fine.
enter image description here
I've always found the micro-usb to be mechanically horrible anyways. The full-size A and B connectors are far more reliable (IMHO).

As an aside, here is a vertical mini-B connector form digikey, that is in stock.

enter image description here

I couldn't find any micro-b vertical connectors. Mind you , they're certainly made, just not in stock at digikey.
Here is one from Hirose.

enter image description here
Digikey says the minimum order quantity is 1, so you could go with this connector, and just wait a little longer for stocking.

With regard to routing the USB lines, just make sure you maintain the proper impedance (90\$\Omega\$). A short stretch (<0.50") of signal lines that are not impedance controlled seems to work fine, in my experience. USB is pretty resilient. There are (possibly apocryphal) stories of people extending USB1.1 50+ feet using CAT-5 cable, and having it still work fine.

Personally, I have used USB 2.0 over ~20' of cable without any serious problems, without any repeaters. Most USB PHY implementations seem pretty tolerant of cabling that is significantly out of spec. If this is a one-off hobby project, you may be able to get away with a lot of shortcuts.

Of course, if you are planning on producing whatever project you are working on, you should make every effort to maintain conformance to the USB SPEC.

The USB IF website has a nice FAQ.

  • \$\begingroup\$ USB b is not option. That connector is old and implies the device connecting to is also old. Marketing would not go for it. Actually, they won't even go for mini b. This has to be micro b. \$\endgroup\$
    – Frank
    Dec 7, 2011 at 7:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ Re USB B large connectors versus the rest - see addition to my answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – Russell McMahon
    Dec 7, 2011 at 8:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Frank - There is nothing old about the full-size B connector. Where did you get that idea? Go buy a current printer, scanner, or any large USB device, and it will almost certainly have a full-size B connector. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 8, 2011 at 6:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ The full-size B is orders of magnitude more reliable then either the mini or micro connector. If marketing still has some issues with it, tell them that it will save thousands in RMA costs over the product lifetime. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 8, 2011 at 6:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ @FakeName this is a portable device.. Marketing will not go for it.. \$\endgroup\$
    – Frank
    Dec 8, 2011 at 9:19

Frank, Al Patterson here, I'm the Sales Manager at Global Connector Technology (GCT), our US office is at Medway MA, Tel:+1 508-570-2438, www.gct.co

I wanted to pitch in that the product shown above USB3130-30-A is a GCT product and not the other company name mentioned above. See link http://www.gct.co/connector/?series=USB3130, there is a 3d model available for download too.

I think this vertical micro B USB2.0 type might be what you are looking for, you can also purchase it from Newark, see link here: http://www.newark.com/global-connector-technology/usb3130-30-a/micro-usb-2-0-b-connector-5pos/dp/73T7896

If I may be so bold, some of the contact above are way off the mark, the Micro types are rated at 10,000 mating cycles, while full size USB is normally 1,500 cycles, that's because in the Micro USB design the wear is placed on the cable side, it's one of the key design changes from full size USB to Micro Type.

Hope that helps and this information is not too late, all the best, Alan

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ The information about Micro vs. Full-size B is helpful, but please be more careful about your self-promotion. See our FAQ for the rules. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 10, 2012 at 15:34

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