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Circuit Board Hardware - The Design Engineer's Guide

clock 6 minutes | 04 Mar 2020

Circuit board hardware design engineer's guide

If you are a design engineer and PCBs are an integral part of your projects, we’ve put together this guide to help you choose your PCB spacers, PCB supports, PCB card guides, PCB LED mounting hardware, and more.

Whatever the requirements for your printed circuit board design, our extensive range of PCB hardware can help.

Whether it’s high conductivity or resistance to corrosion, our high-quality solutions are available in a range of materials and mounting types. We can also help with free samples and free CADs to make your selection process even easier.

Choosing the right spacers and supports

Your printed circuit board layout design will dictate the spacers, standoffs and supports you need. Here’s an overview of what you need to consider.

1. Know your application

PCB substrate – Fibreglass PCBs deliver strength and flexibility, so it’s best to use a snap in or snap fit component, such as a spacer. Paperboard PCBs are more rigid and can fracture. Use a push spacer to give support without penetrating the PCB, even when there is no mounting point.

You can learn more about PCB substrate materials here.

Space limitations – If stacking multiple PCBs, then use a support with a wing or arrowhead connector, particularly when using boards with lower weight tolerances.

2. Fastener materials: Plastics versus Metal

Material Examples Key benefits
Plastics Nylon, PVC, PEEK, PPS and Acetal Resistance to corrosive substances
Cost effective for high-volume manufacturing
Lightweight
Non-conductive
Metal Brass, and Steel with Brass High tensile strength
Impact resistance



3. How to mount PCB in enclosure?

  • Threaded – held in position with the use of a nut to give a very secure fixing
  • Snap Lock – snaps and locks into a panel or chassis hole, giving a secure but easily releasable fix
  • Push Fit – quickly pushes into a panel or chassis hole
  • Press Fit – fins hold securely to a range of binding holes with a pointed style
  • Adhesive Base – an adhesive PCB spacer provides a secure hold – use when you can’t puncture the PCB or have a hole
Different types of PCB Hardware Mounting

PCB in application

Learn about the different types of PCB hardware solutions most commonly used in certain applications and industries.

Consumer Electronics

Televisions • Computers • Mobile Phones

Whether insulation or conductivity is required, you can enhance functionality and protect your design with our solutions.

Ensure design quality with:

Hex Spacer

Hex Spacer

  • Made of stainless steel to protect against corrosion
  • Robust and secure, they are ideal for electronics regularly moved around

Wide range of options and dimensions available.

Examples of hex spacer dimensions:

Thread Length Compatible Thread Sizes Spacer Length
6.0 mm M3 8.0 mm
8.0 mm M4 10.0 mm
5.0 mm M2.5 8.0 mm
8.0 mm M5 40.0 mm
14.0 mm M8 35.0 mm
LED Mount

LED Mount

  • Panel mount LED – holds a T-1 3/4 LED to a panel
  • Easily snaps into standard panel holes by hand
  • Locks into place when inserted from the rear of the panel
  • Provides a secure and attractive display
  • Nylon 6/6
  • Rated UL94 V-2
  • Operating temperature range: -40˚C to 85˚C (-40˚F to 185˚F)

Wide range of options and dimensions available.

Examples of LED mount dimensions:

Material Compatible LED type Panel Thickness
Polycarbonate T-1 3/4,5.0 mm 4.5 mm
Nylon 6/6 T-1,3.0 mm 0.8 mm
Nylon 6/6 T-1 3/4,5.0 mm 1.1 mm
Nylon 6/6 T-1 3/4,5.0 mm 1.5 mm
Polycarbonate; Neoprene Rubber T-1 3/4,5.0 mm 3.0 mm
Heat Stabilized Nylon 6/6 T-1 3/4,5.0 mm 1.6 mm
PCB Support Pillars - Reverse Locking/Snap-Fit

PCB Support Pillars - Reverse Locking/Snap-Fit

Example of one specification; different sizes available

  • Reverse mount provides support from underside of chassis
  • Thin button head for minimal protrusion under the chassis
  • Snap-fit design for fast, easy removal
  • Nylon 6/6 PCB support pillars
  • Rated UL94 V-2
  • Operating temperature range: -40˚C to 85˚C (-40˚F to 185˚F)

Wide range of options and dimensions available.

Examples of PCB support pillar dimensions:

Maximum Panel Thickness Spacer Length
2 mm 15.9 mm
2 mm 12.7 mm
1.6 mm 14.3 mm
1.6 mm 12.7 mm
2 mm 4.7 mm

Electrical Cabinets

Data Cabinet • Telecom Equipment Cabinet • Rack Enclosure Cabinets

For applications that use a cable junction box or electric cable enclosures, these versatile solutions are essential for limited space and accessibility.

Build functional products with:

PCB Support Pillars - Dual-Locking/Snap-Lock/Snap-Lock Natural Nylon

PCB Support Pillars - Dual-Locking/Snap-Lock/Snap-Lock Natural Nylon

Example of one specification; different sizes available

  • Unique snap locking for a secure fix

- Locking Bayonet for panel hole on one side
- Locking Arrowhead in a panel on the opposite side

  • Nylon 6/6 PCB locking support
  • Available in ratings UL94 V-2 or UL94 V-0
  • Operating temperature range: -40˚C to 85˚C (-40˚F to 185˚F)
PCB Card Guides - Horizontal/Snap-In/Multi Panel

PCB Card Guides - Horizontal/Snap-In/Multi Panel

Example below; available in different sizes

  • PCB card guides with push-fit mounting method
  • Tension wings provide firm retention of PCB board assembly
  • Accepts panel board thickness of .079 inch
  • Nylon 6/6
  • Rated UL94 V-0
  • Available in operating temperature ranges of -40˚C to 110˚C (-40˚F to 230˚F)

Wide range of options and dimensions available.

Examples of PCB card guide dimensions:

Overall Length Distance Between Fixing Holes
215.9 mm 165.1 mm
63.5 mm 38.1 mm
114.3 mm 76.2 mm
164.1 mm 127.0 mm
76.2 mm 50.8 mm
PCB Spacer - Non-Threaded/Round/Acetal

PCB Spacer - Non-Threaded/Round/Acetal

  • Acetal Non threaded spacer: maximum operating temperature: Up to 85˚C (203˚F), UL94 HB
  • No assembly equipment required – apply by hand
  • Absorbs shock and vibration
  • PCB plastic spacers are cost effective alternative to metal
  • Round spacers also available in:
Material Operating temperature range
Nylon 6/6 -40˚C to 85˚C (-40˚F to 185˚F), UL94 V-2
Heat Stabilised Nylon -40˚C to 125˚C (-40˚F to 257˚F), UL94 V-2
Impact Modified Nylon -40˚C to 65˚C (-40˚F to 149˚F), UL94 V-2
PVC 0˚C to 50˚C (32˚F to 122˚F), UL94 V-0
Polystyrene Up to 75˚C (167˚F), UL94 HB
Polyethylene Up to 65˚C (149˚F)
Polyoxymethylene Up to 85˚C (185˚F)

Wide range of options and dimensions available.

Examples of PCB unthreaded spacer dimensions:

Inside Diameter Outside Diameter Spacer Length
4.3 mm 6.4 mm 14.3 mm
3.1 mm 5.0 mm 20.0 mm
2.6 mm 4.0 mm 20.0 mm
2.2 mm 4.0 mm 18.0 mm
2.2 mm 4.0 mm 20.0 mm

White Goods

Washing Machines • Fridges • Ovens

A wide range of solutions designed to meet your specific requirements for performance and heat stability.

Enhance the life of your design with:

Touch control spacer

Touch control spacer

  • Spring provides constant contact force between PCB mounted infrared sensors and the touch panel cover
PCB Support Pillars - Fir Tree Mount Snap-Lock/Fire Tree Mount Snap-Lock

PCB Support Pillars - Fir Tree Mount Snap-Lock/Fire Tree Mount Snap-Lock

  • PCB support pillars with flexible blind hole mount – locks into round, threaded, punched or drilled blind holes
  • Fir tree fasteners on both ends, providing secure PCB locking support
  • Nylon 6/6
  • Ratings UL94 V-2
  • Operating temperature range: -40˚C to 85˚C (-40˚F to 185˚F)

Wide range of options and dimensions available.

Examples of PCB support pillar dimensions:

Hole Diameter Spacer Length
7.9 mm 14.0 mm
7.9 mm 18.0 mm
7.9 mm 3.0 mm
7.9 mm 4.0 mm
7.9 mm 8.0 mm
PCB Standoffs - Round/Metric Threaded/Insulator/Nylon & Brass

PCB Standoffs - Round/Metric Threaded/Insulator/Nylon & Brass

  • Female to female threaded round standoffs
  • No assembly equipment required – apply by hand
  • Ideal for when high mechanical strength is required
  • Provides sturdy, insulated spacing for high-power electronic applications
  • Metric nylon standoffs with brass inserts
  • Ratings UL94 V-2
  • Operating temperature range: (-40˚C to 85˚C (-40˚F to 185˚F)

Wide range of options and dimensions available.

Examples of round PCB standoff dimensions:

Internal Thread Length Spacer Length
6.0 mm 12.0 mm
10.0 mm 30.0 mm
10.0 mm 45.0 mm
12.7 mm 55.0 mm
6.0 mm 30.0 mm

Office Machinery

Printers • Laptops • Projectors

Prevent malfunctions in applications that are in constant use with a wide range of industrial strength solutions

Ensure consistent performance with:

PCB Standoffs - Hexagonal/Threaded/Self-Tapping

PCB Standoffs - Hexagonal/Threaded/Self-Tapping

Different sizes available

  • PVC female through standoffs
  • Self-tapping standoff – screw threads the plastic for a strong hold
  • Hexagonal body
  • Rated UL94 V-0
  • Operating temperature range: 0˚C to 50˚C (32˚F to 122˚F)

Wide range of options and dimensions available.

Examples of hexagonal PCB standoff dimensions:

Compatible Thread Sizes Spacer Length
M6 11.1 mm
M2 17.5 mm
M4 18 mm
M4 20 mm
M6 6.4 mm
LED Spacers - Round, Metric Spacers

LED Spacers - Round, Metric Spacers

Available in a range of heights; LED mounts and holders also available

  • Three different styles to accommodate both T-1 and T-1 3/4 LEDs
  • Provides height control
  • Lead wire retention and stability
  • PVC
  • Rated UL94 V-0
  • Operating temperature range: 0˚C to 50˚C (32˚F to 122˚F)

Wide range of options and dimensions available.

Examples of round LED spacer dimensions:

Compatible LED Type Overall Diameter Overall Height
T-1 3/4,5.0 mm 5.1 mm 14.0 mm
T-1,3.0 mm 4.8 mm 23.0 mm
T-1 3/4,5.0 mm 6.5 mm 2.0 mm
T-1,3.0 mm 4.8 mm 11.0 mm
T-1 3/4,5.0 mm 5.1 mm 21.0 mm
PCB Standoffs - Hexagonal/Plastic

PCB Standoffs - Hexagonal/Plastic

Available in different thread sizes and lengths

  • Hexagon standoff
  • Male/male
  • Install by hand – no assembly equipment required
  • Easy assembly
  • Plastic PCB standoffs – Nylon
  • Rated UL94 V-2
  • Operating temperature range: -40˚C to 85˚C (-40˚F to 185˚F)

Wide range of options and dimensions available.

Examples of PCB standoff dimensions:

Compatible Thread Size Spacer Length
M3 5.0 mm
M2.5 10.0 mm
M4 8.0 mm
M5 35.0 mm
#6-32 25.4 mm

To learn more about specifications, materials and applications view our Buyer’s Guide to PCB Hardware and Ultimate Guide to PCB hardware.

Download free CADs and try before you buy

Free CADs are available for most solutions, which you can download for free. You can also request free samples to ensure the solutions you’ve chosen are exactly what you need. If you’re not quite sure which product will work best for your application, our experts are always happy to advise you.

Request your free samples or download free CADs now.

Questions?

Email us at sales@essentracomponents.co.uk or speak to one of our experts for further information on the ideal solution for your application 0345 528 0474.

Circuit Board Hardware Design Engineer's Guide PDF Download
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