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I am wanting to connect 2 boards together with a cable. I want the connectors on the boards to be surface mount and have clips to hold the cable onto it. I need about 8 - 10 pins. I don't want to have to crimp wires or solder them, I would prefer something like a ribbon cable.

I have been searching all morning and cannot find anything really to fit the bill. I checked at mouser and digikey. I really don't know what all the keywords mean e.g.

Interconnects 
  • Attenuators (146) 
  • Audio / Video Connectors (5,867) 
  • Automotive Connector Accessories (410) 
  • Automotive Connectors (5,458) 
  • Circular Connectors (66,507) 
  • D-Subminiature Connectors (20,969) 
  • DC Power Connectors (597) 
  • Fiber Optic Connectors (2,042) 
  • I/O Connectors (4,135) 
  • IC & Component Sockets (9,755) 
  • Lighting Connectors (320) 
  • Memory Card Connectors (1,610) 
  • Photovoltaic (Solar) Connectors (139) 
  • Power Entry Modules (2,273) 
  • Power Line Filters (3,257) 
  • Rectangular Connectors (146,383) 
  • RF Connectors (8,466) 
  • Telecom & Ethernet Connectors (6,423) 
  • Terminal Blocks (46,818) 
  • Terminals (12,834) 
  • Test Connectors, Probes & Testleads (2,002) 
  • Test Points (124) 
  • Unspecified Connectors (84) 
  • USB & Firewire Connectors (1,130) 

Some of them I can figure out. Any help would be appreciated. I can find really anything but cables.

Thanks in advance.

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    \$\begingroup\$ How often will the cable need to be unplugged and plugged back in? What maximum voltages are involved? What frequency range? Will the cable need to flex? Is a fraction of an ohm contact resistance acceptable? Is this a one-off project, a prototype for dozens or hundreds of units, or eventually for big-time mass production? These are just some starter questions. \$\endgroup\$ – DarenW Dec 6 '10 at 16:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ Mouser categories are nauseatingly bad in my opinion. If you looked on Digi-Key, they have a "Board to Board" group of subcategories under Connectors, though they aren't ribbon-type things, usually rigid connections. \$\endgroup\$ – Nick T Dec 6 '10 at 16:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ DarenW - 3.3V Max, 4 Mhz max freq, once plugged should stay in unless repairing, haven't considered resistance (doubt its too much of an issue unless something out of the ballpark), 10 or so made (will probably use them on other projects), could be mass production eventually. \$\endgroup\$ – Jimmie Clark Dec 6 '10 at 17:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ Nick T - Those are very nice connectors. Never considered that kind, not that I could have found them myself anyway. I was looking at this one (search.digikey.com/scripts/DkSearch/…) its pitch is 1mm and 10 position. I can't seem to find the spool of ribbon for it (At least at digikey). Just wanted to make sure pitch is what I think it is. Ive always used it to denote the pin spacing. \$\endgroup\$ – Jimmie Clark Dec 6 '10 at 17:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ That connector in the FFC/FPC (flexible printed cicuit) domain. It calls itself FPC, so it would be intended to connect to one, either custom or (e.g.) part of an LCD panel--there aren't any "FPC spools". You could use FFC, the only real difference is the thicknesses they desire, though they overlap. If you cut your own cables, you will need to add some sort of a rigid backer where it enters the connector (not sure what exactly), and strip it somehow--not really worth it for low-volume, IMHO. \$\endgroup\$ – Nick T Dec 6 '10 at 18:08
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For SMT if you want something reasonably small you could use flat flexible cables (FFC).

Example: 8-pin FFC

They mate with, surprise, FFC connectors, like these:

Tyco FFC

You can get them in zero-insertion force (ZIF) with a locking clasp, or LIF without, right-angle, vertical, etc. Mind that "pin 1" to the same connector will be backwards if the cable is stripped on the same side--you can get "upside down" connectors however.

They are very compact and easy to use, but their major downfall (especially for prototype use) is their low cycle life. If you have to disconnect/reconnect it a dozen plus times, they aren't a solution

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Looking for the actual FFCs on Mouser was irritating; the cables are grouped under Mouser » Interconnects » Rectangular Connectors » FFC / FPC Connectors \$\endgroup\$ – Nick T Dec 6 '10 at 17:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ Nick T - Those are very nice connectors. Never considered that kind, not that I could have found them myself anyway. I was looking at this one (search.digikey.com/scripts/DkSearch/…) its pitch is 1mm and 10 position. I can't seem to find the spool of ribbon for it (At least at digikey). Just wanted to make sure pitch is what I think it is. Ive always used it to denote the pin spacing \$\endgroup\$ – Jimmie Clark Dec 6 '10 at 17:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, forgot, sorry.search.digikey.com/scripts/DkSearch/… \$\endgroup\$ – Jimmie Clark Dec 6 '10 at 17:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ Found the cables, just not spool of it. search.digikey.com/scripts/DkSearch/… \$\endgroup\$ – Jimmie Clark Dec 7 '10 at 13:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Jim, I had a link to that category in the question, hope you didn't spend much time finding it :P \$\endgroup\$ – Nick T Dec 7 '10 at 14:32
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DigiKey has a product category called Rectangular Cable Assemblies. Under that select socket to socket. They have pre-made ribbon cable assemblies from 2" to 6'. Also many other connector options, such as DIP plugs on each end. Here is a link to 10-pin assemblies.

https://www.digikey.com/products/en/cable-assemblies/rectangular-cable-assemblies/450?k=&pkeyword=&pv28=1602&FV=ffe001c2%2C160000a%2C1f140000&mnonly=0&ColumnSort=0&page=1&stock=1&quantity=0&ptm=0&fid=0&pageSize=500

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