How does the material and plating of the connector pins impact the performance and longevity of board-to-board connectors?

Board-to-board connectors are vital components in the world of electronics, providing reliable and efficient electrical connections between different printed circuit boards (PCBs). The material and plating of the connector pins play a crucial role in determining the performance and longevity of these connectors. In this article, we delve deep into how these factors influence connector functionality and durability, ensuring you make an informed decision when selecting board-to-board connectors for your applications.

Material of Connector Pins

Common Materials Used

Copper is widely recognized for its excellent electrical conductivity, making it a popular choice for connector pins. However, its softness can be a drawback in terms of mechanical strength. Brass, an alloy of copper and zinc, offers a balanced combination of conductivity and durability at a more economical price point. Beryllium copper, boasting both high conductivity and strength, is often reserved for high-performance applications but comes with a higher cost.

Impact on Performance

The choice of material directly influences the electrical properties of the connector. Copper’s high conductivity ensures minimal signal loss, which is crucial for maintaining signal integrity in PCB connectors. Brass, while not as conductive as copper, still provides reliable performance for a wide range of applications. Beryllium copper stands out in environments that demand both high electrical performance and mechanical strength, making it an excellent choice for rugged and high-frequency applications.

Impact on Longevity

Corrosion resistance is a critical factor in the longevity of connector pins. Copper is susceptible to oxidation, which can degrade its performance over time. Brass, with its zinc content, offers enhanced corrosion resistance. Beryllium copper provides superior durability and resistance to mechanical stress, ensuring a long service life even in challenging conditions. Selecting the right material is crucial for ensuring the long-term reliability of your PCB interconnects.

Plating of Connector Pins

Common Plating Materials

Gold plating is renowned for its exceptional corrosion resistance and conductivity, ensuring reliable performance in harsh environments. Tin plating is a cost-effective alternative, providing good solderability and protection against oxidation. Nickel, often used as an underplate for gold, adds hardness and wear resistance to the connector pins.

Impact on Performance

The plating material plays a significant role in enhancing the connector’s electrical and mechanical properties. Gold plating ensures optimal performance, maintaining signal integrity and providing excellent corrosion resistance. Tin offers good performance at a lower cost, although it may be prone to fretting corrosion in high-vibration environments. Nickel adds durability to the connector, protecting the underlying material from wear and environmental factors.

Impact on Longevity

The durability of the connector pins is greatly influenced by the choice of plating material. Gold plating provides long-lasting protection against corrosion, ensuring the connector maintains its performance over time. Tin, while economical, may require more frequent maintenance to prevent issues related to fretting corrosion. Nickel’s hardness protects the pin from wear, contributing to the connector’s overall longevity.

Best Practices in Material and Plating Selection

When selecting materials and plating for board-to-board connectors, it is crucial to consider the application’s specific requirements. Factors such as electrical performance, mechanical strength, environmental conditions, and cost must be balanced to make an informed decision. Optimal combinations of material and plating can significantly enhance the connector’s performance and extend its service life.

Case Studies

Real-world examples underscore the importance of material and plating choices in board-to-board connectors. Connectors used in aerospace applications, for instance, often require beryllium copper with gold plating to meet the stringent performance and durability requirements. In consumer electronics, brass pins with tin plating may be deemed sufficient, providing a cost-effective solution without compromising reliability.


The material and plating of connector pins are critical factors that determine the performance and longevity of board-to-board connectors. Understanding the impact of these choices helps in selecting the most suitable connectors for your applications, ensuring reliable electrical connections and extended service life.

At LXW Connector, we are committed to providing top-notch board-to-board connectors, tailored to meet the diverse needs of our clients. Our extensive range of products, coupled with our expertise in material and plating selection, ensures that you receive connectors that deliver exceptional performance and durability. We encourage you to reach out and explore our solutions, and for any inquiries or further discussion, feel free to contact us via email at [email protected]. Let us assist you in achieving reliable and long-lasting electrical connections for your applications.