ELASTOMERIC CONNECTORS

Elastomeric Connectors

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Overview

Elastomeric connectors (a.k.a. ZEBRA connectors, the popular trademarked name by Fujipoly1) are electrical connectors made from alternating regions of conductive and insulating rubber or elastomer2 (e.g. carbon-filled and normal silicone rubber3).

Photo of the ZEBRA branded elastomeric connector from Fujipoly[^bib-fujipoly-zebra-elastomeric-conn].

Photo of the ZEBRA branded elastomeric connector from Fujipoly4.

One popular use for these connectors was (and still is) to connect small liquid crystal displays (LCDs) to the controlling circuit board. LCDs only require small currents and thus suitable for use with elastomeric connectors.

Pitch Considerations

There are two common ways of using elastomeric connectors:

  1. Pitch of elastomeric connector is the same as the PCB/components, and pads on components are aligned with the connector (1 to 1).

  2. Pitch of elastomeric connector is much smaller (at least twice as small, but ideally even finer), and no precise alignment is required. This method relies on there being at least one conductive part of the connector touching each pad on the component. This idea is very similar to anisotropic conductive film.

    Drawing from Fujipoly showing how a fine-pitch elastomeric connector can connect larger pitched components without precise alignment[^bib-fujipoly-zebra-elastomeric-conn].

    Drawing from Fujipoly showing how a fine-pitch elastomeric connector can connect larger pitched components without precise alignment4.

References


  1. Fujipoly. Connectors: Design Guidelines for Connectors. Retrieved 2022-06-06, from https://www.fujipoly.eu/resources/design-guidelines/connectors/↩︎

  2. Wikipedia (2021, Aug 31). Elastomeric connector. Retrieved 2022-06-06, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elastomeric_connector↩︎

  3. Fujipoly. Zebra┬« Connectors Earn Their Stripes. Retrieved 2022-06-06, from https://www.fujipoly.com/usa/news/announcements/zebra%C2%AE-connectors-earn-their-stripes.html↩︎

  4. Fujipoly. ZEBRA┬« Elastomeric Connectors. Retrieved 2022-06-06, from https://www.fujipoly.com/usa/products/zebra-elastomeric-connectors/↩︎ ↩︎


Authors

Geoffrey Hunter

Dude making stuff.

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