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My project has a rectangular 5 x 6 grid, 1mm pitch pin header. Unfortunately, it needs to be cycled by the user over 300 times!

We've looked at pogo pins, because of the high cycle count, but the three moving parts per pin and the tiny size of the precision spring makes pogo pins understandably costly to manufacture!

What are some alternative high-cycle, <= 1mm pitch pin array shapes we can consider? Some ideas:

  • Micro "flat springs" -- like this, but each .6 mm long:

enter image description here

  • Contacts independently seated on a springy / cushiony foam.

  • "Grid of triangles" where each female contact is a set of three soft metal balls forming a triangle whose area is < 1mm sq, and where each male contact is a larget soft metal ball that contacts the center of the triangle -- hopefully touching all three corners of the corresponding female triangle pad.

  • Some kind of liquid or gel conductive medium between pad array connectors, with some way to insulate adjacent lines.

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    \$\begingroup\$ If you don't want to machine pogo pins yourself, you can buy many kinds of pogo pins (including very small ones) from companies like Emulation Technology. \$\endgroup\$ – Nick Alexeev Oct 5 '12 at 0:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks @NickAlexeev, we are indeed buying our pins, but hard-to-machine translates to very expensive! Hence this question. :) \$\endgroup\$ – AlcubierreDrive Oct 5 '12 at 1:20
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Check out this conductive material, it's a silicon layer with tons of tiny wires in it. They use it in scope probes, testers, and other things. I wanted a tiny bit for myself but they wouldn't just sell me a square :)

http://www.shinpoly.com/products/interconnectors/maf01.shtml

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    \$\begingroup\$ Not to nitpick a cool hardware link, but it's made of silicone rubber, not silicon the element. \$\endgroup\$ – HikeOnPast Oct 5 '12 at 4:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ I suppose you could laser-cut it into pretty much any shape you want. Cool. \$\endgroup\$ – drxzcl Oct 5 '12 at 13:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ Variations of this material are referred to as "elastomeric connectors", "zebra strips", and "zebra conductors" - see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elastomeric_connector for a little more info. \$\endgroup\$ – Adam Davis Mar 24 '14 at 15:31
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There are spring loaded single piece connectors and sockets available in such pitch from the usual suppliers (Samtec, AVX, FCI).

https://www.samtec.com/connectors/micro-pitch-board-to-board/compression

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