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I'm curious how much current it is safe to pass through a 0.1" pitch pin header. I'm sure it will depend on the gauge and stranding of the wire attached to it as well, but assuming that is not the limiting factor how much could be safely passed?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ it's about 0.3mm^2 cross section of copper fusing current is 10s of amps, - assuming both ends are welded to larger conductors. \$\endgroup\$ – Jasen Jan 27 '18 at 20:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ This is a dumb question since it would be answered in the datasheet for the header and the mating connector. The answer will also, or course, vary according to the specific connector. There are many many .1" pitch connectors with different capabilities out there. \$\endgroup\$ – Olin Lathrop Jan 27 '18 at 22:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ @OlinLathrop I don't think it's a dumb question; I've got pin headers from a number of different sources and have never seen a datasheet for one. The exact figure will vary, of course, but a typical or lower-bound answer could be useful. \$\endgroup\$ – Russell Borogove Jan 28 '18 at 0:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ It really would depend on the thermal junction on each end of the pin and how much heat it could source, and a max temperature. Some people would consider 80C on a wire to be too much, some 120C, depends and bad question because its too broad. \$\endgroup\$ – Voltage Spike Jan 28 '18 at 1:45
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Samtecs TSW standard 0.1" header has a variable voltage and current rating based on the matching connector it plugs into. This is due to how much surface area makes contact with the header. That says, it averages 4 to 6 amps per pin.

http://suddendocs.samtec.com/catalog_english/tsw_th.pdf

Based on the common design and material, most headers will have similar properties.

When used for stacking, as in two boards soldered to the same header, the max amperage is 3 amps @ 80 degrees C (I'm assuming per pin). Except for some of their dedicated power strips which have 8+ amp.

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    \$\begingroup\$ 4 to 6A assume a male is mated with a female. Now if you solder the wire (instead of using a solderless connector) or join two PCBs by soldering the pins, then the current may be higher. To stay on the safe side, within norms, I would stick with 4A to 6A, eventualy using two pins if it's not enough. If it's for a personal project you can take some more liberties IMO. \$\endgroup\$ – Fredled Jan 27 '18 at 21:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ Samtec has some board to board headers so I'll add that in later \$\endgroup\$ – Passerby Jan 27 '18 at 21:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ @fredled 3 amps when stacking. Per pin. Hope your power traces are sufficiently wide/ copper poured weight. \$\endgroup\$ – Passerby Jan 27 '18 at 22:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the info. It seems to me very little. I would expect something about 10A because the pin is quite short compared to a wire of the same cross section. How are they coming up with 2x higher values for mating contacts? Doesn't make sens IMO. Of course trace widths and copper weight are more relevant. \$\endgroup\$ – Fredled Jan 27 '18 at 22:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm assuming it's based on surface area that's connected. Solder on a header would have a smaller surface area vs a full connection. Considering Samtec has industrial testing standards and equipment, I'm confident that they are rating it properly. They wouldn't under rate too much compared to their competitors. \$\endgroup\$ – Passerby Jan 27 '18 at 22:38

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