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HomeTips & GuidesRibbon cable connector: An Ideal Solution for Cable-to-board Connections

Ribbon cable connector: An Ideal Solution for Cable-to-board Connections

About Ribbon cable connector: Many industrial, medical, telecommunication, and automotive devices use ribbon cables for signal transmission. Ribbon cables are flat and rectangular cables with many conductors lying on a plane. Due to their flexible nature, ribbon cables can hold many connectors at the same time, allowing large data transmission. Further, their compact nature makes them a perfect choice for applications with space constraints.

Due to their unique design, you need special connectors for these cables when setting cable-to-board connections. In this article, we will explore more about ribbon cable connectors.

Ribbon cable connector understanding:

The ribbon cables help in the termination of connectors with IDC termination. These connectors have multiple rows of sharp and forked contacts.

When the ribbon cable enters into the connectors, these contacts pierce through the insulation and set contact with the terminals.

Normally, a ribbon cable has IDC termination at both ends; however, in some cases, you may need such termination at only one end.

For instance, when you want to make a lead to allow wiring changes between the two connectors. Here, only one end is IDC terminated, while the other has a regular solder or crimp connection.

Generally, it is impossible to use IDC connectors once again after termination; in some cases, you can dismantle and re-use them.

Ribbon cable connector types

Some popular connectors with IDC termination appropriate for ribbon cables include:

  • BT224 connectors: Often, you may know them by the common IDC connectors. Used on ATA cables, some standards such as DIN 41652, BS9525 and MIL-C-83503 define them. For mating purposes, these connectors need a specially designed plug or a double-row grid of pins with 0.1-inch spacing.
  • D-subminiature: Suitable for printer ports and serial ports but IDC D connectors are not as common as its solder/crimp types.
  • Micro ribbon connectors: Suitable for printer ports with 36 pins and SCSI ports with 50 pins.
  • PCB transition headers: These headers have a double row of pins with equal spacing, like BT244 connectors. You can solder these headers directly onto a PCB.
  • DIL headers: These headers have the same pin spacing as that in standard DIL ICs. Generally, you can use them to replace ICs connected to any external device, such as in in-circuit emulators. Further, you can also use them on stripboards as a PCB transition header because fitting a regular header requires cutting the tracks between holes instead of a hole.

When an electronic hobbyist works on his digital keyboard or computer, he may need ribbon cables to modify them. If he wants to solder the ribbon cables, the task becomes challenging without training.

For this, they may use a fine razor to strip off the insulation and then use individual wire for soldering. In other cases, they may also use sandpaper to remove the insulation from the wires.

Now, when you touch the tinned soldering iron on the bare wires, the solder flows easily into the tracks.

10-pin, 2.54mm IDC connector for ribbon cable

10-pin, 2.54mm IDC connector for ribbon cable

IDC Ribbon Cable Assembly at Cloom

At Cloom, we have an in-house team of designers and engineers who can create custom cable assemblies using their years of experience. Each of our ribbon cable assemblies passes through thousands of steps from design to mass production, ensuring that only the perfect product reaches our customers.

IDC connector system options

Abbreviated for Insulation Displacement Connectors, IDCs are a perfect choice for electronic device manufacturers who want to connect two or more PCBs across longer distances. They work as an ideal and reliable solution through ribbon cables where mother/daughter card arrangements do not work.

At Cloom, you can find a wide range of IDC connector systems for ribbon cables designed for cable-to-board applications throughout various sectors, either for use within the devices or for establishing connections between the devices.

Also, we tailor each IDC connector to your custom requirements, along with the appropriate cable type, to simplify your installation and warehousing.

How Cloom manufactures custom ribbon/flat cable assemblies:

Here are a few steps that our project managers follow to keep everything on track.

Design phase:

First, our design engineers will discuss our clients’ specifications in detail. We try to invest as much time as needed during this step to design a product that perfectly fits your project instead of making something off-the-rack and then trying to forcefully fit it into the project.

For designing, our team uses hi-tech CAD software to set a perfect combination of wires, terminations, connectors and other parts on the digital surface before making a physical piece. Once we have a final design in the digital space, we move on to the prototype step.

Prototyping phase:

In the prototyping step, our engineers check different combinations of the components and the processes that will be needed in a specific ribbon cable assembly.

Our team tests every unit for safety, stability, integrity and utility and checks how all the components of the unit work together.

During prototyping only, we test for various sourcing means. As a result, we find the best and the most efficient means of production among the different variations of the ribbon cable assembly.

Mass production of ribbon cabling solutions

Once we finalize the best iteration regarding structure and function, we move on to the best step: volume production of assemblies with project specifications.

Over time, our virtual library has become big enough to provide over 5,000 equipment, terminations, connectors, and other materials used during production.

We employ advanced manufacturing techniques to ensure efficient production processing and timely delivery of the products.

Simulate actual conditions in the testing labs:

Whatever cable assembly we manufacture in protected environments has to endure different harsh environmental conditions.

Our engineers test the ribbon cables in our testing labs to ensure that our cable assemblies will survive in these conditions.

In these labs, our engineers subject these cable assemblies to extreme temperatures, flexing, abrasion, saltwater, and more.

Further, if our flat cables are meant formedical devices, we ensure they pass our rigorous quality standards.

3 pin idc female fan connector

3 pin idc female fan connector


All the phases defined above have many sub-steps to ensure that when we reach from idea to final assembly, we make a product that our customer can directly implement into his existing system.

Our project managers leave no stone unturned to manage all the processes between these phases to stick to the project’s time and budget.

By now, you must be well acquainted with Cloom’s cable manufacturing capabilities. If you want ribbon/flat cable assemblies for your existing or new projects, we are here to help.

Hi I am Christa, sales manager of Cloom.

I have extensive expertise and experience in wiring harnesses and I believe I can help you.

And we have a very professional technical team who can clearly understand the customer’s needs and give professional suggestions and solutions after receiving the drawings.

If you also have wiring harness needs, please send me the drawing so that we can give you our quote and start our business.

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