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I've got an amplifier board that has a 2x10 keyed box header with a pitch of 2.54mm (black connector in photo below). It's designed to take the IDC type connector. I want to connect a few channels of my balanced audio source to this box header.

Amplifier board with black box header in question

I think the design of the amplifier board is expecting me to make up a daughter board with another 2x10 keyed box header which is connected by a standard ribbon cable. I don't want to make a PCB up for this, and instead would rather take the balanced audio sources and connect it directly to the box header with some crimped connections that work well with a gauge wire that is larger than typically found in the fragile IDC ribbons. I know I can do this using what is commonly referred to as 'dupont' connectors (like the Harwin M20 series), but the ones I can find aren't keyed (they don't have the little notch that stops the cable being inserted the wrong way).

Is there another connector series that is compatible with this box header (including the key for the notch), that I can use to neatly crimp individual wires?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Photos of the connector would go a long way. The most important part of your post is buried in there and uses the unofficial generic name of Dupont connectors (many don't know what that means and others call them Molex connectors which is just as bad. \$\endgroup\$
    – DKNguyen
    Mar 15, 2021 at 20:58

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The actual name for those connectors is not Dupont, Molex, or some other company name that makes thousands of other connectors. What they are called is is 0.100"pitch, 0.063" square headers and receptacles. They are loosely specified group of connectors and the only thing they have in common are the traits I just listed.

So there's your answer I guess. Look for that amongst connector manufacturers. If you search Digikey or Mouser which are more user friendly you should find lots. You can then go to the connector manufacturer's website which isn't so user friendly to find the range of possible options and then go specifically looking for them.

I recommend those from Molex since they seem to have the most variations. They are various combinations of keyed/unkeyed, latching/unlatched, crimped/IDC, single/double row, etc.

Tyco Electronics also makes them too but is rather an unfriendly website to search. 3M probably also makes them. I don't why know they are called Dupont connectors since I have never run into a connector manufacturer named Dupont. But you could obviously go look at them as well.

Being loosely specified, they exist under multiple Molex product lines which are the KK and C-grid series (some of which come in pitches other than 0.100" so be aware).

Since they are loosely specified, there is no guarantee that features like latches and keys will work between manufacturers so it might be a lost cause trying to fit the keys if you have no idea who made the original connectors. Literally the only thing that is guaranteed to be compatible are the square posts and pitch.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the steer. I search Digikey using these filters: digikey.co.uk/products/en/connectors-interconnects/… and found this: digikey.co.uk/product-detail/en/te-connectivity-amp-connectors/… which should do the trick. \$\endgroup\$
    – Theozaurus
    Mar 16, 2021 at 17:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Theozaurus Yeah, that's definitely not the variant I had in mind from your text description. \$\endgroup\$
    – DKNguyen
    Mar 16, 2021 at 18:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ I've added a picture of the board and connector in question \$\endgroup\$
    – Theozaurus
    Mar 16, 2021 at 22:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Theozaurus That is what I thought you wanted to connect to, but the one you picked wasn't the one I would have chosen. Lemme find it. \$\endgroup\$
    – DKNguyen
    Mar 16, 2021 at 23:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Theozaurus samtec.com/products/smsd. The Samtec ISDM housing and CC83L crimp contacts to go with it. They support 24-26AWG. Available on both Mouser and Digikey. Housing is ISDM-10-K and crimp terminals are CC83L-2426-L or CC83L2426F for 10u Au or Flash Au, respectively. In the datasheet, it says the key is .150" x .05" Make sure to measure what your connector key slot is. You can always file it down as well. \$\endgroup\$
    – DKNguyen
    Mar 16, 2021 at 23:45

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