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I have a strange situation where I need to modify a signal through my own PCB board and then output it through a new set of connectors / wires. The problem is i am a self-taught electrical engineer, and I don't know the word for some of these products, so I am having trouble doing research on them.

The PCB I am building is a bit like a DIY / maker product. So the options I choose here can't be one-off (it's not just something for personal use). But they should also be easy enough to assemble in-house. In other words, the products that I choose need to be available in bulk, ideally, and as cheap / quick to assemble as possible. Later I will describe my research on Digikey.

Input signal: My first problem is connecting 4 existing wires to my PCB. I know that I can just solder these wires to my board, but I'm not sure if soldering is the best solution. Solder frequently breaks and it might not be the fastest, easiest, or most reliable solution. I have seen some 3D printer companies use some type of screw system to attach wires to their product. You stick the wire into the housing, screw each wire in, then move on. What are these called, and are they easier than soldering? Are there 4-pin options available for SMT assembly?

Output signal: In the "first problem" I am using existing wires -- I don't have a choice, I basically have to use the raw wires that were given to me. But in the "second" problem, I am creating my own output to new wires. In this situation, I can take advantage of something like a JST connector. But I would really like the smallest, easiest 4-wire connector that can be used on SMT. Is there something else other than a JST connector that can be used here?

I have tried to look up connectors for this on Digikey, but I am only finding board-to-board connectors. I need a female connector that can be soldered to SMT, with with a male connector that has ~four 6 inch wires running from it, and ideally it would be cheap / able to be ordered in bulk like from Digikey.

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    \$\begingroup\$ JSTs can be pretty small, like 1mm pitch. Best bet there is an amazon search to find connectors with pre-crimped wires, pins that small are hard to work with. Try a search with "4-pin JST" and read the details, I had to get some recently for my 3D printer motors, altho I needed 2mm vs 1 or 1.5mm. \$\endgroup\$ – CrossRoads Jun 24 at 15:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ That's a really good idea. In the second situation, I was going to have to trim each output wire to different lengths. But I can just use individual pre-crimped wires instead of varying lengths \$\endgroup\$ – nick carraway Jun 24 at 15:54
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For your first problem, the term is 'screw terminals' or 'terminal blocks'. These should allow you to use a screwdriver to lock a wire lead into the connector housing.

For your second problem, recommending a specific connector is specifically off-topic for this site. See the tour here.

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I think you are looking for "wire to board" "terminal blocks". Here are some examples https://www.digikey.com/products/en/connectors-interconnects/terminal-blocks-wire-to-board/371?k=phoenix&k=&pkeyword=phoenix&sv=0&pv2168=i1&pv1075=5&pv89=216&sf=0&FV=ffe00173&quantity=&ColumnSort=0&page=1&stock=1&pageSize=25

JSTs can be pretty small, down to 1mm pitch. Best bet there is an amazon search to find connectors with pre-crimped wires, pins that small are hard to work with. Try a search with "4-pin JST" and read the details, I had to get some recently for my 3D printer motors, altho I needed 2mm vs 1 or 1.5mm.

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