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I know there are certain SMD components which can receive a Dupont male connector. I know there are ways to solder male and female connectors to a board directly.

As part of a manufacturing technique, I'm wondering if there is any way on the market to connect wires to a board, without soldering of any kind.

So you might crimp some steel piece to a wire, then that steel piece would go into a through hole in the PCB, where it is ergonomically crimped a second time.

Is there any sort of system in place for connecting wires to boards without soldering? I am looking to build a machine that can do this.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Why not use connectors like JST? They are dirt cheap out of China. \$\endgroup\$ – MadHatter Nov 22 '19 at 5:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ steel does not solder very well ... it also rusts \$\endgroup\$ – jsotola Nov 22 '19 at 5:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ google pogo pins and bed of nails tester \$\endgroup\$ – jsotola Nov 22 '19 at 5:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ You can look at swaged hardware, which is pushed through a hole in the board and then deformed on an anvil so it is locked into the hole. But I don't know of any swaged part that is crimped on to a wire. \$\endgroup\$ – The Photon Nov 22 '19 at 5:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ With the exception of certain flex materials you can't crimp to PCB boards, the substrate crushes rather than experiences the flowing deformation needed for a reliable crimp. \$\endgroup\$ – Chris Stratton Nov 22 '19 at 6:39
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You did not provide any requirements, and it does not look like you've done any research.

Nevertheless, there are several options available. For example for low power you can use so called "card edge" connectors, like EdgeMate series from Molex. For high currents there are Han-Fast Lock terminals from HARTING.

But really, if you consider the cost of connectors, crimping tools and contact reliability, your best option will probably be a simple and dirt-cheap ring terminal either bolted or riveted to large circular pad on PCB.

Note, that this is not the best option in general, I would still go for good ol' screw terminal. A bit of soldering, but beats the rest in convenience and peace of mind.

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press-fit connectors connect to plated circuit board holes without solder. Bolts, or machine screws, are another alternative.

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If you can work with thin flexible cable you could use conductive adhesives (like the edge connections used in commercial LCD video screens).

You could also look into what is called "Zebra Strips". These are small flexible parts with rows of conductive layers sandwiched vertically along its length. You place a fine PCB pattern at the location, then place the strip over the pattern, then a flex circuit lays over the strip. A clamp holds the whole assembly together. The vertical layers in strip makes the connections. (Once popular with watches with small LCDs.)

There are more bulky conductive epoxies (often containing silver or carbon particles) that might better hold thicker wires to a PCB pad or hole.

Lastly, there are many versions of "Swage Pins" that might work. You insert the pin into a plated PCB hole (and possibly the wire too) then deform the pin with a press, (similar to using a rivet). With many types available there are likely some that would work with the wire type you are using.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Good options, but a note for others finding this: unless they have changed in the past 5 years since I saw them used for LCDs, zebra strips are strictly a low-current solution. They use carbon-embedded rubber to form the conductors, which are hundreds-to-thousands of ohms. \$\endgroup\$ – spuck Nov 22 '19 at 19:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ @spuck - Agreed on the Zebra strip limitations. Even the LCD conductive adhesives are limited to low current connections, (signals). The bulk conductive epoxies would be better for use with moderate level current connections, and the swaged metal pins obviously being the best for high currents. \$\endgroup\$ – Nedd Nov 23 '19 at 2:55

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