I'd like to know some general approaches to creating DIY connectors for a custom PCB or card. Mainly I'd like to know how to connect some flat SMD pads to standard jumpers that would connect to a breadboard or arduino header.

For example, here's the internals of a genuine PSX memory card:

PSX Memory Card

It's worth noting that each pad is separated by 2.54mm (standard DIP header), although in 3 (non-standard spaced) distinct sections.

I've considered the following:

  1. Probes (Some of the pads are too far from the edge of the PCB for this to work)
  2. Hot glue DIP headers to the pads (Messy and unreliable connection)
  3. Solder some cables to the pads (I don't want to leave any solder residue as I want the device to remain in original condition)
  4. Alligator clips (too large)
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    \$\begingroup\$ For testing you would use pogo pins. If currents are very low you could use zebra strips and a compression jig. \$\endgroup\$ – KalleMP Mar 8 at 20:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KalleMP you've misunderstood the question. There is no 'secret' card. I literally wanted to know a general approach. The PSX card is the example at hand. \$\endgroup\$ – Naxin Mar 9 at 0:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ Well for the general approach the answer has been offered, for contact on the edge use an edge connector and for contacts within the board use compression pins. More specific information cannot be offered as you have only supplied a single example. There are also (vintage Siemens I think) edge connectors that have a crude metal forked insert that you could remove from the housing manually place at any location on the edge of a PCB. You could also take the offered edge connector and cut sections that are one or three contacts wide and position as required. Various spacings are made. \$\endgroup\$ – KalleMP Mar 9 at 9:59

Those rectangular pads are not SMD pads. Instead those are fingers for an edge card connector.

I made the following picture derived from yours to evaluate the contact spacing differences from the left side to other parts of the overall edge finger layout. It is disappointing that the spacing is not uniform. However it is not that far off and it is likely there is some distortion from the photo itself.

enter image description here

It may be possible for you to acquire a 10-pin edge card connector such as shown below and just insert the card into the connector. It is possible that contacts of the board will line up good enough in the edge card connector. You could then just solder wires onto the pin tails on the connector.

enter image description here

enter image description here

Picture Source / Data Sheet

Distributor Page

If the card is too thin for the standard connector designed to accept an ~1.6mm thick card then you can cut a small piece of pressboard (cardboard) and use it as a spacer in the connector.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you for educating me in regards to the terminology. That is very useful for the case of the PSX card. May I ask, what would you do if an edge card connector was not available? For example - original game-boy cartridges use 1.45mm pitch x 32 pins (from my measurements). I cannot find an edge card connector for this. \$\endgroup\$ – Naxin Mar 8 at 13:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Naxin - Can you find a surplus or trashed Game Boy unit and extract the cartridge connector from it? \$\endgroup\$ – Michael Karas Mar 8 at 13:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, in fact I have one. But specifically pushing this out to jumpers is the challenge. The pins on the connector are meant to be soldered to pads. So without a custom PCB that converts that to a header for use with jumpers... \$\endgroup\$ – Naxin Mar 8 at 13:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Naxin There were clone GameBoy cartridge sockets out there in the past, available cheap from China in 50+ quantity. \$\endgroup\$ – KalleMP Mar 8 at 20:06

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