Best Way to Connect to a Component's Solder Terminals?

Hi folks,

I'm working on a device that I hope to sell on a small scale. It involves several panel-mount 3.5mm headphone-type jacks. I'm trying to reduce costs, as it costs quite a bit in off-the-shelf parts to construct one.

As someone who has done lots and lots of prototyping with buttons, switches, etc, I've certainly worked with these types of solder terminals before, using either alligator clips or soldering prototyping wire directly to the terminals. These panel mount jacks in the image below are cheap and I'd like to give the a try. But I've always had it in my mind that there must be better way than simply sticking a wire in the terminal and soldering them together. It seems too fragile to put into something that a potential customer must depend on. In my application these jacks would be mounted to the enclosure and wired to a PCB several inches away.

What's the best way to connect these types of terminals permanently and securely to a circuit?

If the switch is mounted in a box then it shouldn't be moving. The PCB should also be secured so it doesn't move relative to the box. So there shouldn't be very much stress on the connection there.

I usually just solder a piece of wire onto the connector. That's the only way I've ever seen it done in anything I've ever taken apart. I like to add a piece of heat shrink over the terminal if I can just to protect the joint a little and to act as an insulator. I don't like bare metal with signals on it if it can be avoided.

The best way is a PCB mounting connector. With those you showed wires are the only way.

Thanks for the fast feedback. I did think that perhaps I was overthinking this and that there's no magic silver bullet I didn't know about. I guess wires it is, and the heat shrink is a nice touch. It'll save a lot of money per unit.

Is there any particular gauge wire that is preferred?

joshbg2k:
Is there any particular gauge wire that is preferred?

Big enough to carry the current. Small enough to fit where you need it.

Multi-stranded.

Test the solderability of the pins. As is, they are made for push-on connectors, see the holes for locking? May be hard to solder.

Paul

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Paul_KD7HB:
Test the solderability of the pins. As is, they are made for push-on connectors, see the holes for locking? May be hard to solder.

Paul

Yeah this is really the heart of my original question. Pins like these look like they were made for a socket of some sort. But I can't seem to find a source for connectors that are clearly made for these kinds of connections.

joshbg2k:
Yeah this is really the heart of my original question. Pins like these look like they were made for a socket of some sort. But I can't seem to find a source for connectors that are clearly made for these kinds of connections.

You can get the push-on connectors almost anywhere. Auto parts store, Lowes, Home Depot, any hardware store. Harbor Freight.

Paul

Paul_KD7HB:
You can get the push-on connectors almost anywhere. Auto parts store, Lowes, Home Depot, any hardware store. Harbor Freight.

Paul

Ah I see, so one connector per pin. There's not a magic 3-pin connector out there that just fits.

Those jacks are not designed for sockets. The pins are irregular lengths, too thin and close together to be suitable for push-on connections. The datasheets for those parts clearly say solder terminations. Stranded wire, solder and optional heat-shrink is the proper termination.

Maybe a PC mount jack is a better solution for you?

https://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/cui-inc/MJ-3502/CP-3502MJ-ND/281321

avr_fred:
Those jacks are not designed for sockets. The pins are irregular lengths, too thin and close together to be suitable for push-on connections. The datasheets for those parts clearly say solder terminations. Stranded wire, solder and optional heat-shrink is the proper termination.

Maybe a PC mount jack is a better solution for you?

https://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/cui-inc/PJ-066A/CP-066A-ND/2627225

Thanks, maybe, but I'm not mounting the jacks directly to the PCB. The jacks are mounted to a panel and then wired to a PCB inside the bottom of the enclosure. I suppose I could create another PCB just for the jacks and wire that to the main board, but it seems like that would create headaches.

But thank you for adding to the growing consensus that stranded wire is the way to go. This is one of those things that always eluded me but never needed to think too much about.