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Molex Product News

Press Release
For Immediate Release

Micro Coax Connector System Provides Flexible High Performance Routing Channels for Mobile Applications

Lisle, Ill. – May 2, 2006 – A new series of 0.40mm (.016”) pitch Micro Coax connectors from Molex® Inc. offer increased space savings and improved signal integrity for mobile device applications. Initially designed to run signaling through the hinge area of new swivel-type cellphones with rotating LCDs, the Micro Coax connector system is now finding use in applications such as notebook PCs that require flexible circuit routing, shielding, higher speeds and additional space savings.

The new Micro Coax connector system features an Insulation Displacement Technology (IDT) method used to terminate the center conductor of the ultra-thin 42 AWG coaxial cable. Some 0.40mm pitch coaxial connector systems use traditional hand-soldering termination, which is less precise and reliable, and therefore diminishes the uniformity in process and performance compared to the automated IDT termination. Others use unshielded discrete wire, which does not address the need for noise protection and high speed in a number of handheld applications.

The Micro Coax connector system offers a patented “double-clamp” wire grounding method for the outer conductor and cable jacket. Unlike traditional hand soldering methods that lay a solid ground bar across all wires, this method places a grounding/retention feature between each tiny coaxial wire. A second retention feature clamps into the cable insulation for firm mechanical wire retention. This method also offers several key benefits over solder-bar types, including avoidance of hardened wires and wire pull out; up to 30 percent diameter space savings; consistent grounding between circuits and the shell; increased signal skew prevention; and up to 60 percent fewer transmission (dB) loss at frequencies between 1-3MHz.

“In earlier generation cell phones, FPC cable was used to connect the LCD half of the phone to the main keypad half; however, with new rotating LCDs, the FPC cable could not withstand the bending and twisting needed to route signaling through the LCD hinge,” said Goji Tanabe, associate product manager. “The tightly-bundled coax cable proved a perfect way to route signaling through hinges, while also providing shielding for high-speed requirements.”

Tanabe added that the Micro Coax system is also a suitable replacement for board-to-board connectors in certain applications due to its high signal carrying capabilities. “A 40-pin Micro Coax connector is well suited for these applications because it can replace a 100-pin board-to-board version, saving up to about 30 percent of space, while using 60 percent less signals and tracing lines” Tanabe added.”

In addition to the IDT termination technology, the Micro Coax connector system features shielded top-entry and right angle SMT PCB receptacles. These compact connectors include grounding springs and a very short grounding path. Combined with the system’s double-clamp grounding method, these additional shielding features provide consistent impedance control and high-frequency characteristics, resulting in superior signal integrity compared to competitive designs. The PCB receptacles include gold-plated leaf-style contacts for reliable repeat cycling, long wipe length for good electrical contact, as well as friction locks for secure mating retention. Additionally, the right-angle version offers a low-profile height of 1.50mm (.059”), while the top-entry version has a mated depth of just 3.94mm (.155”).

The system is rated at 0.2 amps and 30 volts. Connectors are available in embossed tape packaging, while cable harnesses are customized and manufactured in-house for each application. These cable assemblies provide up to 65 percent higher cable harness output compared to hand-soldering termination assembly. Insertion and extraction tools are also available to assist in assembly.

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