Gold Fingers PCB is gold-plated terminal of a card-edge connector, usually, Fingers are fabriacate by flash gold (hard gold) and the gold thickness is requested to be from 3u“ to 50u“ because fingers are mainly used for pluging for many times.
When PCBs will be repeatedly installed and removed electroplated gold is used for edge-connector contacts or as they are more commonly known: Gold fingers
Gold fingers are edge connector contacts and are used to electroplate pads onto the board. The idea behind a gold finger is to help protect the printed circuit board prototypes from wear and tear. If applied correctly, with the right thickness, they are expected to last upwards of 1,000 cycles before there is any need of repair.
Gold Fingers PCB Board
The gold finger bevel default value: 45 angle, As following figure. The default plating for gold finger does not support the hard gold.
PCB Edge Connector 2 Layer PCB Finger Connector
Gold Finger PCB Circuit Board Fingers
These little fingers are quite versatile, and they have many different uses depending on their intended purpose. Some of these uses include:
Provides connections for network transfer data.
Attaches specialty adaptors.
Connects different devices to the board.
Can be used as audio adaptors.
Here is several design rules are required for gold finger PCB / PCB edge connectors.
1. No plated through holes are allowed in the plated area
2. No solder mask or silkscreening can be present in the plated area
3. For panelization, always place gold fingers facing outward from the panel center
4. Connect all gold fingers with a 0.008” conductor trace at the edge to allow for manufacturing
5. Features can be placed on one or both sides to a depth of 25mm from the outside edge
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Have you heard or learned about gold finger PCB being a great option for electronics which are plugged frequently. If you’ve heard, have you asked why? Gold helps in protecting those “fingers” from any wear & tear.
In this guide, we’ll teach you what you need to learn about gold finger PCB. First, we will talk about what this is all about, and then explain further, some critical aspects you must look into when choosing one.
Gold Finger PCB: What does this mean?
To explain what gold finger PCB is, let us consider the hard disk of a laptop. Taking a close look at it, you’ll see something that looks like “fingers”. Why this is so is because of their narrow and long look. Gold finger PCB is a Printed Circuit Board that has a terminal or connector plated with gold. This can easily be found at the PCB’s edge.
Using a particular gold to get the best results for you is necessary. You may be wondering what use gold finger PCB can offer you. In the electronics and electrical field, transmission of signals plays a vital role. This is why having a device, which easily transfers signals without loss is very important. This also works for power transmission.
Take note that scratches, as a result of wear & tear could cause significant loss of power or data. This is why gold finger PCBs can be found in systems that are computerized like flash drives and hard disks. In summary, gold finger PCB ensures flawless transmission or transfer of power and data.
Now, let’s consider areas where gold finger PCB can be used.
Applications of the Gold Finger PCB
Gold finger PCBs are ideal for use in several applications. Since these PCBs can tolerate wear & tear, they are a great option for high-performance applications.
The use of Gold finger PCB is relevant in telecommunication. It provides connections between several boards and enables connections for the transfer of network data. With this PCB, mobile phones can function well.
This PCB is used in industrial machines. In most industries, mechanized equipment features various internal cards. Gold finger PCBs help to link the internal cards to the major source of power. For example, robot arms generate power via gold finger PCB cards.
These cards are responsible for different movements. Gold fingers help to connect various devices to their boards.
When you talk of the automobile industry, control systems and USB contacts make use of gold finger PCB. This printed board circuit is used for connecting some devices.
Computer application system
Gold finger PCBs are used in graphics cards, laptop memory cards, etc. Due to the features these PCBs offer, they play a significant role in the computer industry.
Gold Finger PCB: Functions
Gold fingers PCBs have multipurpose functions. Gold fingers are designed with the use of flash gold which has a thickness within 3u” and 50u.” Flash gold is considered one of the thickest gold and it is used due to its high level of thickness.
Since these PCBs are very thick, they are majorly used in plug-out and plug-in applications. The gold finger PCBs does the following;
Connect an electronic device to the board
This printed board circuit helps you to connect several devices. For example, ISA, PCI, and AGP can be connected by simply inserting a gold finger PCB. In addition, this PCB offers a great infrastructure of data transfer. With this PCB, it is possible to connect any device.
Gold finger PCBs are the best board for any computer system, be it remote or stationary.
Audio adaptors connection
A gold finger PCB is needed to achieve improved data and signal transmission. It also guarantees high-quality sounds and graphics irrespective of what it is being used for.
Gold Fingers Specifications
Understanding the specifications of this printed circuit board is vital to choosing the right PCB that suits your requirement.
Base material: There are several base materials for this PCB. The base material used depends on the intended application. The rule doesn’t change when we talk about gold finger PCB, the fabrication requires the use of gold. A flash gold that has a thickness within the range of 3u” – 50u” has to be used. This will enable the PCB gold finger to tolerate almost 1,000 plug-out and plug-in cycles.
Number of layers: Gold finger PCBs can either be single-layer or multi-layer PCB. The application requirement will determine the number of layers.
Finishing: Gold is used for the finishing of this PCB. Since gold features improved conductivity and better strength it is easy to remove and insert the PCB without causing any damage.
Board thickness: Gold finger PCB’ plating thickness should be between 2 – 50 microinches. When it comes to size, the thickness standards are 0.125 in, 0.062 in, 0.031 in, and 0.093 in. Boards having higher thickness are often utilized along the edges.
Beveling: Gold fingers beveling differs. This depends on the standard a manufacturer adopts. However, the best beveling is 30 degrees.
Design Rules for Gold Finger PCB
For the proper functioning of the fingers, some rules must be adhered to during the plating process of a gold finger PCB. Certain aspects must be taken into consideration when design any gold finger PCB. The following are the design rules for gold finger PCB;
- The internal layers must be copper-free at the PCBs’ edges otherwise the copper can be exposed during beveling. Exposure during beveling is not ideal. Therefore, avoid using copper materials in the internal layers of the PCB.
- All PCBs feature plated through holes and you must position these holes carefully. The PTH of a printed circuit board shouldn’t be placed within 1 mm of the gold fingers.
- It is important to note that no solder mask or screen printing should be close to the gold fingers.
- Gold fingers must undergo visual tests, which are carried out with a magnifying lens. Ensure that all edges remain smooth and clean.
- Gold fingers should never face the PCB center. This is very important while creating a PCB design.
- Gold plating has to be between 5 and 10% cobalt to ensure high rigidity along the PCB contacts’ edges.
- There must not be any connection between the gold fingers and board outline. It is important to keep a space of 0.5mm between the board outline and the gold fingers.
- Plated pads must be on the edge of the PCB. It is important to ensure there is an electrical connection between production panel frames and plated pads.
Gold Finger PCB Beveling
The beveling of gold finger PCB helps to turn square edges into slopes. Most times, the edges of gold finger PCBs are always in slope forms. The beveling process of gold fingers begins after the disposition of solder masks. This process is very important as it makes insertion easier and quicker. Without beveling, insertions will be slower and more difficult.
You must know the angle you need to bevel. Most times, the beveling of gold finger PCBs takes place at angles of 45 or 30 degrees. However, PCB engineers bevel gold finger PCBs according to the demands of the clients. The size of a PCB also determines the angle of gold fingers to bevel.
Possible Causes of Damage to Gold Finger PCB
Some of the main causes of damage to gold finger PCB include:
Contamination majorly with solder
Avoid bringing solder masks near the gold finger present in printed circuit boards. The heat coming from any of these devices could contaminate the gold finger, thereby leading to damage as time goes on. In summary, the solder could reduce the gold finger PCB’s lifespan.
Surfaces that are scratched
A gold finger having a scratched surface can affect the functioning of your printed circuit board. Scratches are usually caused by wear & tear. This is why for gold finger PCBs, little scratches will keep deepening. Later on, this can cause permanent damage to your gold finger PCB.
Repair Process of the Gold Finger PCB
Whenever damage comes to a gold finger PCB, there’s a need to repair it. However, some cases may arise where a complete replacement is required. Below is an easy way of repairing a gold finger PCB
Clean and inspect the PCB’s gold fingers
First, inspect the gold finger PCB and identify those areas having problems. Then make use of the right detergent to ensure the fingers coated in gold are properly cleaned.
Remove the plated gold or fingers
Next, you ensure the damaged parts are tapped off.
Note: If you’ve been making use of gold finger PCB for long, then it is best to install a new one.
From what we have seen, gold finger PCB forms a very vital part of most electronics. By now, you will have learned all the important aspects and functions of the gold finger printed circuit board. With all these, you have no problem making the best decision when choosing a gold finger PCB.