Battery Contact Guide

Battery Contact & Interconnect Probe Fixturing

Battery Contact and/or Interconnect probes are designed to optimize contact performance in high reliability, multiple cycle applications. These probes are very reliable, compact, durable, and provide an extremely high cycle life, even in the harshest environments. Battery Contact and/or Interconnect probes are simply an evolution of the spring contact probes that have been testing printed circuit boards for over 30 years. The probe design has been slightly modified, making this technology suitable for use in consumer and portable electronics. Examples of applications using Battery Contact and/or Interconnect probes include:

  • Board to board interconnect between an electronic device and its programming or docking station
  • The connection between a mobile radio or cellular phone and its battery
  • Interconnect between a camera body and a zoom lens
  • Switching device between the internal and the external antenna of a mobile radio

Since Battery Contact and/or Interconnect probes are typically components of systems and are not necessarily used for testing, they are designed to mount in a columnar format. Most designs integrate a flange on the barrel of the contact. The flange allows consistent mounting heights of the probe while orienting it perpendicular to the printed circuit board or other mounting surface. This flange can vary in location from the top of the barrel allowing a low profile type mounting to the bottom allowing the probe to be inserted upwards into a via, or anywhere in between. Though there are certain instances where limitations on flange dimensions are required, flanges can be any shape or size.

Besides flanged battery contact probes, other designs include barrels with press rings (similar to receptacles), threaded barrels, double-ended battery contact probes, barrels with posts and back-drilled holes. Some battery contact probes even have their own receptacles to make removal of the contact possible. The design possibilities are endless and a battery contact can almost always be provided for any application.

The majority of Battery Contact and/or Interconnect probes are mounted vertically in a columnar position either resting on the flange of the barrel or pushed into a via with the flange providing a stop. The probes can then be secured in place by a variety of processes. Solder pads, solder lined vias and solder preforms are typical of the many designs used to secure the probes in place, usually through a reflow process.  
As most probes have a bleed hole in the barrel to facilitate the plating process, care must be taken to prevent solder flow into the barrel impairing the operation of the probe.

There are many solutions to the bleed hole issue, including a non-plated barrel, plated barrels without holes (limited applications), extended barrels to move the bleed hole away from the solder field, relocation of bleed holes or a controlled solder application. The solder process can be removed altogether through mechanical fastening, press fitting, press rings, or sized to fit a connector, each of which have their own advantages and disadvantages. IDI also has the capability to provide battery contact and/or interconnect probes in header arrays.

Headers, molded or machined out of various plastics, can be supplied to provide retention of an array of probes for fast and easy assembly to a printed circuit board or otherproduct. These headers can be an integral part of the final assembly or be used just for installation and discarded after contacts are secured in place. In addition to headers, solder preforms may be added to supply a complete, tidy package for attaching the probes. Header assemblies can be supplied with mixed technology, a combination of probes and other types of contacts to satisfy multiple requirements. Packaging of battery contacts is usually done in bulk, particularly for low volume applications. Individual or small quantity packaging along with special packaging materials can be supplied upon request. Higher volume applications requiring pick-and-place or tape-and-reel solutions can be provided by IDI for both probes and header assemblies.