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I'm working on a hobby project, a handwired ultra-low-profile computer keyboard with a 3D-printed case. The USB-C connector on my dev board is only 3mm tall, so it fits within the 4.5~5.0mm of available headroom. However, I need to add a second connector to link the two keyboard halves together, and this is the problem: I can't find a suitable connector that fits inside this volume.

Key requirements:

  • 4+ contacts, all low power (5V, <500mA)
  • Max 5mm height (width up to ~20mm is fine)
  • Panel-mount (not PCB-mount)
  • Supports some form of strain relief on the plug/free side

Circular connectors don't get this small—including the locking nuts, the smallest I've seen tend to be around 8~10mm dia. Even 2.5mm barrel jacks won't cut it. I also checked out Molex and JST, but the panel-mount options I could find were still around 8mm height minimum. Strain relief is also a concern for these header-style connectors. USB-C actually fits, but I would be using the connector out of spec, and it can't be panel-mounted (the main one only works because of my dev board's mid-mount setup).

Any suggestions? I really didn't expect this to be such a sticking point…

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  • \$\begingroup\$ magnetic connectors \$\endgroup\$
    – jsotola
    Jan 23, 2022 at 20:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ @jsotola Thanks for this recommendation! I found some enticing options on Aliexpress, but the parts come without housings (or dimensions). I would have to design my own, I guess. I found only one or two domestic options, all prohibitively expensive. It's looking like I'll have to tear up my 3D model and start again with a larger volume for the MCU—I don't like it, but I'm coming to terms with it. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 24, 2022 at 3:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ you could also use SATA connectors \$\endgroup\$
    – jsotola
    Jan 24, 2022 at 3:49

1 Answer 1

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Consider Nano-D*

ITT Cannon pdf spec sheet.

  • My site.
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  • \$\begingroup\$ I had heard of micro-DSUB before, but never nano. These look fit for purpose, except they cost around $100 each! My fault for not adding a budget to the initial post, but this is out of my price range. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 24, 2022 at 3:18

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