Low profile pin header reliability?

I can get a much smaller profile of mated boards using low profile pin headers and sockets. But, the mating contact length is much smaller.

Current isn’t an issue, but does the short contact length degrade reliability?

The boards are held together with threaded stand-offs and screws, so a lower insertion/removal force isn’t an issue for me.

Hi davethomaspilot,

Welcome to the Tech Forum!

I’d say the answer is “it depends”. If you could give an example or two of which specific parts to which you are referring, that might help. However, the specifics of your design, the nature of your application, and the expected environmental conditions would likely have more significant effects on how reliable the resulting solution is.

As a general statement, I would think longer pins would improve reliability, but other factors such as contact materials and platings, as well as diameter of pins, number and nature of mating socket “fingers”, and possibly other factors may play as great, or even greater role in overall reliability. If your stand-offs are dimensioned properly, and positioned in such locations as to minimize the likelihood of board-to-board separation and/or translation, then length of pins may not be the most critical consideration.

Thanks for the reply.

The socket I’m planning on using is Samtec:



The male, pin header side:



The board spacing is set by hex spacers, 6 mm long. Here’s a picture of the mated boards:




Well, looking at the diagram, it appears that the narrowest part of the leaf spring contacts inside the SLW-103-01-T-D socket is approximately 1mm below the surface. This is where the greatest pressure would be applied to the header pin.

The TLW-103-06-T-D header has pin lengths of 3.43mm and 2.64mm, which means that even with the shorter length pin, it will extend about 1.64mm deeper than that maximum pressure point. This seems pretty good to me.

You can improve reliability further by using gold contacts rather than tin. Tin is a bit more susceptible to corrosion over time. The trade-off, of course, is cost. The gold-plated equivalents are:


Thanks for the reply!