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…

  • \$\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


Consider Nano-D*

ITT Cannon pdf spec sheet.

  • My site.
  • \$\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

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.