Frequently Asked Questions

Signal Integrity

Connector Selection

How does one go about selecting a connector that is sufficient for their design?
Items to be considered include connector performance, routing efficiency, and pin density. For more information, contact our Signal Integrity Support.
How do we address the question, "Will this connector work in my design"?
The following information about your application will help determine if a connector system can meet the signal integrity requirements: - System Topology: point-to-point, multi-drop, point-to-many-point, Star, etc - Termination Type: Parallel (one/both ends), Products, Active, RC, none - Clocking/Data Recovery: synchronous, asynchronous, source synchronous, CDR - Signaling Type: Single-Ended or Differential - Data Encoding: Binary, PAM-2, PAM-4, etc - Signal Technology: examples include LVTTL, SSTL-2, Rambus, LVDS, PECL, CMOS, GTL+ - Signal Data Rate: specified in Mbps or Gbps - Signal Edge Rate: specify 10/90 or 20/80 - System Impedance - specified in ohms along with tolerance (e.g., +/- 10%) - Crosstalk Requirements: specified at receiver (in % of voltage swing or dB) - Skew to make educated recommendations. For more information, contact our Signal Integrity Support.
Does the stack height of the connector make a difference in its speed?
Always choose the shortest connector that can do the job. The shorter the connector, the shorter period of time for reflections and crosstalk to act, and the better the signal quality. For more information, contact our Signal Integrity Support.
What is the optimal signal-to-ground ratio?
A signal-to-ground ratio of 1:1 is usually optimal, but for connectors with large pin arrays signal-to-ground rations of less than 1:1 may be required for reliable high speed single-ended operation. For more information, contact our Signal Integrity Support.
Are there any recommendations for the best performance when using high speed differential connectors?
For differential connectors running at 2.5 Gbps and above, ground shielding of the pairs can be very beneficial. For more information, contact our Signal Integrity Support.
Does a connector have one impedance?
No. A connector's impedance profile changes with respect to change in signal-to-ground ratio. The "exposure" of the impedance discontinuities within the connector is dependent on the edge/fall rate of the signal propagating through the connector.
Does a connector's impedance profile change relative to system impedance changes?
No. The impedance discontinuities inherent to the connector's design are independent of the characteristic system impedance.
Can I use your high speed connectors to distribute power?
Yes; here are some guidelines for assigning pins for power distribution:
  • If the connector has ground blades (e.g., Q-products) that are used to distribute power through the connector, and the connector is used for high-speed signaling, then the following should be done: All signals passing through that section of the connector should be referenced to the same power plane being passed through the connector on both sides of the board, OR if referenced to ground, the power plane should be adjacent and close to the ground plane on both PCBs. This recommendation will ensure that the signal return path is unbroken across the connectors, increasing bandwidth and decreasing EMI.
  • If signal pins are used to distribute power through the connector, they should be placed considering the noise which can occur due to signal coupling. Signal pins passing power and ground are as susceptible to noise as any signal pin would be. Sensitive power signals should be well isolated with grounds on either side to reduce crosstalk. And for low noise power, such as a precision voltage reference, it may be necessary to isolate the power pin with multiple grounds on either side, and on the back side of the connector.
Does Samtec have on-line Signal Integrity Resources?
Check out the Samtec Blog for the latest Signal Integrity Resources from the Samtec gEEk blogging team. We're working daily to populate the blog with the kind of great Samtec content you have come to know.
Is there a document specifically for Samtec FireFly™ Micro Flyover System™ optical and copper cable assemblies?
Yes. Check out the FireFly™ Frequently Asked Questions guide. For issues not covered in this document, contact [email protected].

Electromagnetic Modeling

What types of connector model structures does Samtec offer?
Samtec offers single-line and multi-line structures. The models represent MATED connectors (male and female connectors or card edge connector with edge card inserted).
How do single-line models (SLM) differ from multi-line models (MLM)?
The SLM is used to evaluate the effects of a single set of connector pins. A SLM is independent of connector wiring pattern and is an approximation of a well referenced connector. The MLM differs from a SLM in that it accounts for the electrostatic and electromagnetic coupling, as well as the common impedance noise found in a connector. Its structure couples in three dimensions all pins to each other. This results in a complex model that uses product resistance, inductance,coupling capacitance and inductive coupling coefficients so arranged to allow connections at both the input and output. This modeling effectively shows the coupled noise. This is done, though, at the expense of CPU runtime.
What type of analysis can I do with a Single-Line Model?
Single-Line models can be used to analyze - propagation delay, - attenuation, - reflections, - drive power, - timing. A SLM CAN NOT BE USED TO EVALUATE CROSSTALK! (FOR CROSSTALK - A MULTI-LINE MODEL MUST BE USED.)
What type of analysis can I do with a Multi-Line Model?
Multi-Line models can be used to analyze - propagation delay, - attenuation, - reflections, - drive power, - timing - electrostatic coupling - electromagnetic coupling - common mode noise - crosstalk.
What process does Samtec employ for making connector models?
Samtec employs an industry proven ladder lumped element modeling process. The elements are derived using 2D field solver software. Samtec is also investigating other modeling techniques (e.g., full 3-D modeling, measurement-based modeling) which would be better suited for more complex structures (e.g., cable assemblies, flex circuits).
How can I view your connector models?
The models are text files that can be viewed with any text editor.
What are the "boundaries" of your connector models?
Typically, SMT connector boundaries are defined to be from the male connector's SMT tail to the female connector's SMT tail (SMT pads are NOT included). For T/H connectors, the boundaries are defined to be from the PCB surface of the male connector to the PCB surface of the female connector. For all connector models, terminations,driving sources, and parasitic capacitance are NOT included. For card edge connectors, the boundaries are defined to be from the SMT tail (or PCB surface for T/H) of the connector to the route-out side of the edge card pad (edge card pad is included).
Does Samtec validate their connector models?
Samtec's connector model's are classified as one of the following: - Validated: Model created using Samtec's defined modeling techniques. Simulation data from the model correlates with test data from the connector. - Developmental: Model created using Samtec's defined modeling techniques, but has not yet been correlated against test data. These models may be "soft validated", where simulation data from the model is correlated with data obtained from a full wave 3D simulation. - Estimated: Model was created using engineering approximations (e.g., design similarities with another connector that has been modeled).
What CAE vendor formats does Samtec provide connector models for?
Samtec supports the following simulation tools with connector models: Synopsis HSPICE, Cadence PSPICE, Mentor Graphics ICX (MMF format), Cadence SPECCTRAQuest SigXplorer (DML format), HyperLynx LineSim (SLM format), and HyperLynx 7.5 ELDO.
Will Samtec's HSPICE and PSPICE models work with other SPICE-based simulation engines?
Yes, the structure of the SPICE connector model is such that it should run in simulators based on Berkeley SPICE 3F5.
Does Samtec offer IBIS models?
The IBIS Interconnect Modeling Specification (IBIS ICM 1.0) was approved on September 12, 2003 ( Samtec is an active member of the IBIS Open Forum and plans on working towards providing true IBIS models now that the IBIS ICM specification has been approved. To date, Samtec has developed "SLM_general" ICM models. Availability of other ICM model types will be dependent on the simulation software vendors ability of importing IBIS ICM compatible models into their simulation packages.
What if I do not see a connector model available for the connector I am interested in?
Contact our Signal Integrity Support and communicate your need for a model. We will work with you to help assess what is required and then add the request to our model production schedule.

High Speed Characterization Testing

How does Samtec "rate" their connectors for Signal Integrity performance?
The data in Samtec's High Speed Characterization Test Reports reflects performance in 50 ohm single-ended and 100 ohm differential environments. How differently will the connector perform in other characteristic impedance environments (where the entities of the system - drive circuit, traces, and termination schemes - are designed to the same characteristic impedance)?
  1. Impedance profile of the connector will not change, because the impedance discontinuities inherent to the connector's design are independent of the characteristic system impedance.
  2. Propagation delay through the connector will not change because the inductive and capacitive properties inherent to the connector's design are independent of the characteristic system impedance.
  3. Crosstalk (percentage of voltage swing) will not be affected. Crosstalk is a measure of the coupling between circuits, and is due to inductive and capacitive coupling within the connector. The coupling properties inherent to the connector's design are independent of the characteristic system impedance.
  4. Insertion and Return Loss may be affected. As system characteristic impedance changes, the overall impedance mismatch between the system and connector may vary. This causes a change in the reflection coefficient caused by the connector; which would result in a change in return loss and insertion loss.


Samtec connectors meet FCC Class B EMI Requirements?
Federal requirements (FCC 47 CFR Part 15, EN55022, etc.) require EMI compliance testing of active electronic systems such as computers. While passive components can impact the overall system level EMI performance, it is not possible to directly test a connector, cable assembly, resistor, or bolt for EMI compliance.
Shielded connectors and cable assemblies help reduce emissions and improve immunity of electronic products?
Yes they can help, and in some cases dramatically. Signals that have periodic switching such as clock lines are a classic noise source. If energy from this type of source couples to a cable that exits a shielded enclosure, the cable can radiate the coupled noise much like a cell phone antenna radiates (although not as efficiently). Placing a shield over the cable (and terminating the shield properly) can reduce the radiated emissions dramatically. For a board to board connector inside an enclosure, the situation is similar except the radiated emission occurs inside the enclosure so the radiated emission may or may not be visible during an EMI test.
How much shielding does the Q2™ products have compared to Q Series™ products?
Testing showed an improvement of 10-20 dB over the frequency range of 1-4 GHz and 0-10 dB from 4-10 GHz. This was a comparison test where the radiated field of the shielded connector (Q2™) was compared to the radiated field of an unshielded connector (Q Series™). The key to a meaningful test is that all variables in the test setup and on the test board need to the same for both tests. Full wave simulation showed an improvement of approximately 10 dB over the 1-10 GHz frequency range as well.
What are the best practices to reduce EMI when using a board to board (BTB) connector?
There are a few assumptions that need to be stated up front before we get into answering this question:
  • We are addressing open pin field connectors like the Samtec QSE/QTE or SEAM/SEAF products, not a coaxial RF connector configured for BTB applications We are primarily interested in digital applications that span kbps to Gbps data rates. We are not addressing very low frequency analog (audio) type applications. The connectors are part of an overall interconnect system that can include printed circuit boards (PCBs).
It is important to understand the radiation mechanism or dominant EMI antennas in a BTB system. One analogy that works well is to consider the PCB ground planes as elements of a microstrip patch antenna. Any longitudinal voltage potential developed across the connector appears as a voltage source which serves to drive the PCB ground planes, not unlike a feed element driving a microstrip patch antenna. This is a useful low frequency (50 MHz to 100's of MHz) approximation; at higher frequencies the radiating system is more complex but the best practices remain the same.
To minimize the longitudinal voltage potential across a connector, we need to minimize the self-partial inductance of the signal return path. Some brief terminology definitions are needed:
  • Loop inductance is the only inductance that is “real" or can be measured. Self-partial inductance is a useful mathematic construct; it can be calculated but not directly measured. “Self" means we are interested in the magnetic flux developed from only one conductor of the loop. “Partial" means we are looking at only a portion of the path, specifically the portion between the PCBs.
To minimize the self-partial inductance across the connector there are some general principles to follow:
  • A short BTB stack height is better than a taller BTB stack height. Minimize the loop area in the connector by having ground pins integrated into the signal pin field (1:1). Use broad, flat conductors for signal return, dedicated planes are superior to pins for signal return Make the characteristic impedance of the signal and ground pattern as low as possible.
If EMI were the only issue, the BTB connector should have a very low characteristic impedance (< 1Ω). Planar distribution for signal and return currents would have the lowest self partial inductance across the connector and the lowest EMI. Clearly this is not a practical guideline as data transmission requirements dictate a close match to the system impedance (typically 50Ω).
The same physics that applies to EMI reduction in BTB connectors also apply to PCBs. Disruptions in the signal return path such as splits in the ground plane drastically increases the self partial inductance of the return path which can lead to EMI problems.
The best EMI strategy for electronics is to consider multiple areas such as PCB design (stackup and circuit layout), connector selection, signal return management (grounding), power filtering (decoupling/PI design) and logic selection with an emphasis on spread spectrum clocking and edge shaping.

Power Integrity

If I am using a Samtec ECUE-12-XXX-T1-FF-XX-1-XX FireFly™ cable assembly, can I run auxiliary power through the twinax?
Auxiliary power is usually run through the PCB. The objective of a Flyover® cable assembly (such as the FireFly™ products) is to take the data off of the PCB to lessen the losses associated with the PCB and run the low-speed signals and power through the PCB. It is best practice to avoid running power through the twinax cables. If power must be run though the twinax cables, the power circuits must be very well bypassed and filtered at both ends. For more assistance, contact [email protected].
Additional considerations:
  • Even if the power circuit is well bypassed and the current does not exceed the current capacity of the chosen conductor(s), the voltage drop has to be carefully checked. The TTF-36100 micro twinax cable specification says that the center conductor has approximately half an Ohm resistance for each foot length. The shield resistance is approximately three times lower. So for each foot of length and for each ampere of current, the voltage drop is 500 mV along the center conductor and 150 mV along the shield.
  • The relatively high resistance of the shield that comes from the very small size means that the twinax cables lose shielding effectiveness up to higher frequencies (as opposed to bigger coax cables with heavy braid). As such, there is strong interaction among the twinax conductors below about one MHz, so if one carries power, any residual power noise at low frequencies will induce common-mode noise on the high-speed signals.
I am considering using a Samtec UDX6 connector. It has a block of high-speed pins and power blades in the same housing. How should I assign the power blades to different nets, what are the considerations?
In addition to the usual signal-integrity considerations, there are two potential interactions to consider related to the power blades: (1) how the pin and blade assignment impacts the power delivery and (2) signal-to-power crosstalk. For power delivery, the DC resistance (which determines the current carrying capacity) and the loop inductance matter most. The resistance also varies slightly with pin assignment. However, the inductance, which influences the transient response of the power path, will change significantly with blade assignment. When the inductance of the power delivery path matters for the application, we usually want to minimize it. The loop inductance formed by the blades is directly proportional to the size of the loop.
If the goal is to minimize loop inductance, we need to assign the power and power-return (or 'GND') blades in a pattern that forms the smallest possible loop size. This can be achieved by selecting adjacent blades for power and ground.
The crosstalk between power blades and high-speed signal pins also depends on the geometry of interacting power and signal loops. The interaction can be minimized by making the loops smaller, by placing them farther apart, or by forming orthogonal loops so that the magnetic coupling is minimized. If, in addition, we can also create the two loops such that the capacitive coupling also cancels, it will minimize the full electromagnetic coupling.
With multiple signal pins and power blades in the connector, there is no universal way to make use of crosstalk cancellation by orthogonal current loops, so we need to focus on minimizing loop size and placing them as far apart as we can.
In the high-speed block of pins, assigning signal and ground pins adjacent to each other is the accepted norm. In the power-blade section, assigning power and ground to adjacent blades will provide two benefits: as we saw above, it minimizes the power delivery inductance and it minimizes the crosstalk between power blades and signal pins.
And one last detail: the above considerations looked at circuit loops, when the signal, whether it is the high-speed signal or power noise, is considered differentially between the pins or blades. Sometimes common-mode noise is also important to minimize. It can be achieved by placing the pins and blades that are 'quieter' with respect to the ambient ground structure next to each other.
To read more on the subject, including pin and blade assignment illustrations, see Pin and Blade Assignment Considerations in Samtec UDX Connectors. For more assistance, contact [email protected].
Does Samtec have testing procedures for their Power Integrity Products?
Yes, you can find a copy of the Power Testing Standards White Paper by clicking here.
Working Voltage is listed in VAC, but what is it in VDC?
The DC rating is the peak of the sine wave from the AC rating, which is 1.414 times the rated VAC. For more information, click here to review our Power and Voltage Ratings White Paper.
The Current Carrying Capacity is based on what voltage?
The CCC is applicable up to the rated working voltage.
What is the difference between Breakdown Voltage, Working Voltage, and DWV?
Breakdown Voltage is the point of failure of the connector. Working Voltage is the maximum continuous voltage that the connector should be used at. DWV is the test voltage of the connector.
Why is Working Voltage 1/3 of the DWV?
It is rated at 1/3 the DWV to take into account typical surges and spikes so the Working Voltage won't exceed the Breakdown Voltage.
What information do you have on voltage surges and current surges?
These questions need to be answered on a per application basis. Please contact our Engineering Support Group.
Why do some Current Carrying Capacity Curves end at 105 degrees C and others at 125 degrees C?
Tin contact interfaces are rated at 105 degrees C, and gold contact interfaces are rated at 125 degrees C.
How does Samtec measure Current Carrying Capacity?
Samtec measures at the centralized hot spot of the contact or contact grouping with a calibrated thermocouple. Click here to view a photo of our lab set-up.
How much will the number of contacts energized affect the Current Carrying Capacity?
This question needs to be answered on a per application basis. Please contact our Engineering Support Group.
Do Samtec's products meet Creepage and Clearance standards?
Creepage and Clearance requirements vary greatly depending on the actual application and as such must be dealt with on an individual basis. Please contact Samtec's Engineering Support Group (ESG) for further information regarding Creepage and Clearance.
Does Samtec have a specific group to contact for questions related to power connectors and/or their testing?
Contact our Engineering Support Group for these types of questions.

Interconnect Processing

Does Samtec have associates trained specifically to handle Interconnect Processing issues?
Samtec's Interconnect Processing Group (IPG) is an in-house staff of Engineers to field all of your interconnect processing concerns. IPG can assist you in improving the overall processing and manufacturability of your board as well as helping lower its total applied cost. You may contact IPG directly by emailing [email protected].
Does Samtec have online Interconnect Processing Resources?
Visit the Processing Literature page for in-depth information on the following and more.
Does Samtec have information on Paste In Hole (PIH) Processing?
Paste In Hole technology employs the same techniques for through-hole soldering as those used for standard surface mount connectors and components. Samtec provides the recommended stencil aperture and plated through-hole sizes for most connector products capable of being processed using Paste In Hole technology on the connector footprint. To be a candidate for Paste In Hole soldering, a connector must have an insulator body material capable of withstanding lead and/or lead-free reflow temperatures, and vertical and horizontal clearance around leads large enough to allow adequate printed solder paste volume. For more information on Paste In Hole processing and other helpful information, please visit the Processing Literature page under the ‘Paste In Hole Processing' menu.
Does Samtec have any recommendations for processing multiple fine pitch SMT connectors on a single board?
The majority of Samtec's vertical board-to-board connectors are capable of being used in applications where multiple connectors are placed on a single board and mated simultaneously. When using multiple connectors per board, there is a higher potential for misalignment. To prevent this issue, closely follow Samtec's recommended footprint and stencil designs, ensure a good solder print, machine place the components, and hold the drill diameter tolerances for the alignment pin holes to +/- .002" [0.05 mm]. Each connector product has a unique maximum recommended misalignment in the X and Y directions to ensure a good mate. For the maximum X and Y misalignment of a specific product, please contact IPG.
What is Samtec's recommendation for processing the edge mount option (-EM) on the Q Strip® Products?
The processing recommendations for Samtec's Q Strip® Products edge mount connectors can be found on our Processing Literature page under the ‘Edge Mount Connectors' menu.
What types of cleaning processes can be used on Samtec connectors?
Samtec, Inc. has verified that our connectors may be cleaned in accordance with the solvents and conditions designated in the EIA-364-11A standard.
Are the solder joints of Samtec's .050" pitch SEARAY™ connectors capable of satisfying IPC-A-610 Class 3 criteria?
Yes, the solder joints created by these solder charged leads meet IPC-A-610 Class 3 criteria as of revision F.

General Samtec Information

Where is the nearest authorized Samtec Distributor?
Samtec is represented by technical sales organizations and stocking distributors all over the world.
Is there a Samtec facility near me?
Samtec is headquartered in New Albany, Indiana, USA with sales and manufacturing facilities across the globe in essentially every major market.
Currently Samtec has over 20 sales locations worldwide and 7 manufacturing locations spread strategically across the globe. This location diversity is part of the Samtec World Direct shipping program which allows extremely fast lead times and a level of service that is unmatched in the industry. For information on a specific Samtec facility, please see our Worldwide Locations.
Does Samtec have a contact person for internet related issues?
Samtec has available an E-Help Desk to handle any internet related questions or problems. For inquiries, contact our HelpDesk.


Where can I find employment information?
View our employment opportunities in our Careers Section. You can also either fax your resume at 812/948-5047 or e-mail it to eHuman Resources.


Can I get free samples of Samtec connectors?
Samples can be ordered on-line through the My Samtec Free Samples Page. They are processed within 24 hours of request and shipped.
Does Samtec offer Tin-Lead plating?
Samtec has a large offering of products with -LTL (10 μ" of Gold in the contact area with Tin-Lead on the tails) and -STL (30 μ" of Gold in the contact area with Tin-Lead on the tails) plating. Click here to see a list of applicable products.
Is there a way to customize a standard Samtec connector?
Absolutely. Samtec products have a high level of flexibility. Our flexible customization options allow you to modify a standard connector or design a product from the ground up. Visit our Custom Products page for more detail.
Where can I get a print of a specific Samtec product?
Prints are available in the Product Toolbox of every Technical Specifications Page. To find the product you are looking for simply use the search box at the top right of the website. Once you have found your product you can easily find Prints by clicking the "Print" link in the shortcuts or in the Product Toolbox.
Where can I find information on a specific Samtec part?
Samtec has created a revolutionary search tool which is seamlessly integrated its website to allow you to quickly find the information you're looking for. Find the search box at the top right and search by product, part number, features, product line, competitor part number, part description, brand name, industry standard, stack height, and even more. You'll even see instant results as you type. Try your search now by simply typing in the search box at the top right of the website.
Is testing information available for Samtec products?
Samtec products undergo extensive qualification testing by independent laboratories to ensure the highest quality interconnect products. They are also subject to general specifications and standard test procedures.
You can find test reports for any Samtec product on the Technical Specifications page for that product. Simply type your product into the search and click the instant result for your product. You'll find your test reports in the Product Toolbox.
Samtec's Signal Integrity products adhere to our own High Speed Characterization Test procedures. For more information on what is included on these test procedures, Click here.
How can I get updates if my products change?
You can sign up for email product notification changes by checking the box in your profile.


What is Samtec's remit to address?
  • Samtec Inc
  • 3837 Reliable Parkway
  • Chicago, IL 60686-0038
What are Samtec's terms?
Net 30 with a FOB of New Albany, IN
Where can I get pricing information??
Registered users can log in to the My Samtec system to retrieve standard pricing at any time using our Pricing and Delivery tool. If you do not have a My Samtec Account or would like Customer Specific Pricing you may register here for a My Samtec Account.
Can I order parts on-line with Samtec?
Yes. Our My Samtec system allows anyone, including those without a My Samtec account to make a purchase directly from Simply use our website tools to add parts to your cart. Once you are finished, just follow the checkout process and your parts will be on their way.
While you can always check out as a guest, a My Samtec account offers many benefits that guest do not receive. Register here for My Samtec Account today.
Does Samtec have EDI capabilities?
Samtec uses GE Information Services (GEIS) to conduct business transactions via standard EDI document transmission. We trade both ANSI ASC X12 and EDIFACT standards. Current documents traded in the ANSI ASC X12 standard are: 810, 824, 830, 846, 850, 855, 856, 860, 865, 870, and 997. The current EDIFACT documents traded are INVOIC, DELFOR, ORDERS, ORDRSP, ORDCHG, and CONTRL.
If you are interested in conducting EDI transactions with Samtec, please contact Daniel Williams with the documents you require via EDI and the monthly volume of these documents.
  • EDI Admin
  • 800/SAMTEC-9
  • 812-981-7784
Does Samtec accept credit cards?
Yes, Samtec accepts Visa, Mastercard, and American Express


What is Samtec's cage code number?
What is Samtec's SIC number??
What is Samtec's Tax ID number?
What is Samtec's UL number?
Samtec's UL number is E111594-N.
Is testing information available for Samtec products?
Samtec products undergo extensive qualification testing by independent laboratories to ensure the highest quality interconnect products. They are also subject to general specifications and standard test procedures. You may learn more about our testing procedures here.
Is Samtec QS9000 approved?
Yes, Samtec is QS9000 approved at its corporate headquarters in New Albany. Samtec UK in Scotland and Samtec AP in Singapore are both ISO9002 approved.

RoHS and Lead-Free

What are ELV, WEEE, RoHS and Penta/Octa?
ELV - (EU Directive 2000/53/EC) The End of Life Vehicles Directive aims to reduce the amount of environmentally unfriendly waste from ELVs.
WEEE (EU Directive 2002/96/EC) The Directive on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment.
RoHS (EU Directive 2002/95/EC) The Reduction of Certain Hazardous Substances. Lead, Cadmium, Mercury, Hexavalent Chromium, Polybrominated Biphenyls (PBBs) and Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs) are banned from most electronic products offered for sale in Europe effective July 1, 2006.
Penta/Octa (EU Directive 2003/11/EC) This directive bans the use of PentaBDEs and OctaBDEs. This directive is currently in effect in EU. The two banned substances are fire retardant additives (Pentabromo diphenyl ether and Octabromo diphenyl ether).
What is driving the move to RoHS compliant/lead free (Pb-free) products?
In an effort to reduce the amount of electronic waste spreading across European landfills, the European Union (EU) has banned most electronic products containing intentionally added lead and other hazardous chemicals.
Why ban lead?
Lead is only 1 of 6 banned substances. But because it has many different uses lead is the most prominent substance detailed in the RoHS directive for Electronic and electrical equipment manufacturers to be concerned about. Lead is a core component of the solder that goes into the manufacture of printed circuit boards (PCBs). PCBs are increasingly used in everyday household items, from toasters to DVD players and are increasingly finding their way into landfills across the world. The acidity of rainwater washes the solder lead from crushed PCBs. The lead can eventually end up in drinking water supplies. Lead can affect almost any organ and system in the body. The most sensitive is the central nervous system, particularly in children. Lead can also damage the kidneys and reproductive system, and cause anemia.
Is this legislation global?
While the implementation deadlines form part of the EU legislation, the need to comply will evolve globally. It is unlikely that electronics manufacturers will make "lead free" components for Europe and lead-based components for the rest of the world.
Does this affect Samtec products?
Yes, but it depends on the part number. WEEE impacts packaging materials as well as products.
Do Samtec products contain quantities of Cadmium, Hexavalent Chromium, Mercury, Lead, Polybrominated Biphenyls (PBBs), Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs), PentaBDEs or OctaBDEs?
Generally speaking Samtec products do not contain Hexavalent Chromium, Mercury, PBBs, PBDEs, PentaBDEs or OctaBDEs. It is possible unintentionally added, inherent, trace or near trace amounts of Cadmium and Lead may be contained in Samtec products. At this time, Samtec cannot claim that all packaging materials are compliant with the RoHS and/or WEEE Directives.
Do you have a policy statement on the lead-free environmental issue? Is this available on-line?
Yes. You may also download the latest Samtec Environmental Policy documentation here.
Will Samtec provide a formal RoHS CoC (Certificate of Compliance) for their products?
Yes, upon request, Samtec will provide a formal CoC. Please provide Company name and address as well as Company contact and contact information of the person requesting the CoC along with valid Samtec part numbers to our General Technical Support Group.
What lead-free plating is available on Samtec products?
The majority of our plating is lead free and/or RoHS compliant. CLX products or any contact that is pre-plated may not be compliant. Depending on the part number, plating call out and the processing temperatures you may need to choose a Matte Tin finish. Bright Acid Tin will discolor at the elevated processing temperatures of lead-free, reflow soldering and will need to be changed to Matte Tin (TM, LM, FM or SM plating designations). The plating options should be listed in the catalog and/or on the print.
Is Samtec's gold plating always lead-free and RoHS compliant?
Yes, Samtec's gold plating is always lead-free and RoHS compliant (pre-plated or in house plated).
Are there any other technical or product specifications that are likely to be affected?
This depends on the part number. If a part contains intentionally added lead, or if the processing temperatures are increased and the current insulator can't withstand those temperatures, the composition of the part must be altered to accommodate the elevated temperatures and eliminate the intentionally added lead (unless there is an approved Directive exemption as in the case with the brass alignment pins). This would require a part number change.
Are Samtec lead-free parts compatible with the elevated temperatures of lead-free processing?
It depends on the part number. In the left hand margin of the catalog pages under specifications, you will find the processing information. Reflow processing will need a high temp body and matte tin finish. Samtec recommends through hole parts that have a high temp insulator be changed to matte tin as well.
What is the MSL (Moisture Sensitivity Level) classification of your lead-free products? Do your parts comply with J-STD-020C?
J-STD-020C refers to the moisture sensitivity of SMT electrical components. There is no relation or connection to the RoHS Directive. Generally speaking, the MSL is not a concern for Samtec parts. We classify all of our SMT parts as MSL Level 1. J-STD-020C is not applicable for through hole parts.
Will your lead-free parts / packaging be marked lead-free, do you comply with JEDS97?
As of October 2005, Samtec is providing a Directive compliancy label on the lowest level shipping container for the majority of products.
Are you intending to change your part-numbering system to reflect a change to lead-free?
It depends on the part number. If the part contains intentionally added lead or if higher processing temperatures will be used, you will need to ensure the plating finish and the insulator can withstand the elevated temperatures. In those cases yes, a part number change will be required.
Do you have a definitive date when lead-free parts will be introduced?
The majority of Samtec's products are, or always have been, free of intentionally added lead unless specified otherwise by the customer. However, there are several products that are not currently compliant or have exceptions.
IDSD/IDMD/HCXX cable assemblies - not compliant - expected to be compliant by late November 2005. The connector ends (plastic, pins and plating) are compliant.
HDR products with leaded solder not compliant - can be ordered special as lead-free and RoHS compliant.
Any solder ball product is not compliant if the solder balls are included in the part call-out (no current alternate lead-free, RoHS compliant solder ball).
I-O products are not compliant (a few exceptions)....must check each part number to see if we have material information or declaration.
Standard "CLX" products that use pre-plated pins are not compliant (must check part number to confirm status).
Any product containing wire, cable, hardware such as screws, nuts, bolts, metal shields is suspect and should be verified.
Will there be an increase in lead times for lead-free products?
Will there be an increase in the price of lead-free products?
Are there any plans to obsolete any parts due to lead-free?
Are material declarations available for your lead-free products? How do I get to them?
Yes. Currently, material declarations for the majority of Samtec products are available on our website. This accounts for 80% of the top selling products. Lead Free Product Materials Declaration.
Why are you recommending a change to Matte Tin plating?
A plating containing bright acid tin can discolor when exposed to the higher processing temperatures of lead-free, reflow soldering. Therefore it is recommended that the BAT be changed to change to Matte Tin. We are recommending that through hole parts with high temp insulators also be changed to a matte tin finish.
Are your products compatible with Pb assembly procedures (backwards compatible)?
Are your products compatible with Lead Free processing?
This depends on the part number. The composition of the part determines the processing compatibility. You must determine if the part is free of intentionally added lead as well as ensuring that the insulator and plating finish can withstand the elevated processing temperatures.
Are you claiming exemptions for any parts?
Yes. Parts with brass components (such as brass Alignment pins) may contain intentionally added lead. The brass components (a copper alloy) contains a quantity of intentionally added lead within the 4.0 wt. % exemption of the RoHS Directive for copper alloys in electronic components.
Who is your specific contact /Project Manager regarding any technical or other issues?
Dick Bowyer is main contact but please direct all inquiries to the General Technical Support group.

Matte Tin

What is the difference between Matte Tin plating and Bright Tin plating?
The primary differences are:
  • Temperature compatibility - Matte Tin is compatible with the elevated temperatures of lead-free, reflow processing (250-260C). Bright Tin has a tendency to discolor (turn dark) when exposed to the higher lead-free, reflow processing environment.
  • Grain size - Matte Tin has a larger grain size than Bright Tin.
  • Appearance - Matte Tin has a normal whitish "matte" surface appearance whereas Bright Tin has a bright (shiny) surface finish.
I am transitioning to lead-free processing. Why should I choose Matte Tin?
Matte Tin is readily available and has a successful track record of reliability.
Matte Tin is compatible with all existing lead-alloy and Pb-free solders and pastes.
Matte Tin tolerates the higher process temperatures required for lead-free processing.
The larger grain size of Matte Tin (as compared to Bright Tin) creates less stress in the plating. Stress in pure Tin plating may be a root cause of tin whisker formation and growth.
What is the composition of Matte Tin and Bright Tin?
The Matte Tin and Bright Tin platings applied by Samtec are essentially 100% pure Tin. The Matte Tin applied by Samtec contains approximately 0.015% co-deposited organics as opposed to Bright Tin with approximately 0.15% co-deposited organics.
Are Matte Tin and Bright Tin compliant with the European Union RoHS Directive?
The Matte Tin and Bright Tin platings applied by Samtec are compliant with the RoHS Directive (Directive 2002/95/EC).
Is Matte Tin compatible with leaded solder processes?
Matte Tin is backward compatible with leaded solder processing.
Will Matte Tin prevent Tin Whiskers from forming?
No high-Tin plating process can claim to be whisker-free. Copper/copper-alloy lead frames plated on a Nickel diffusion barrier are highly whisker resistant.
Does Samtec use a barrier plating or underplating with Matte Tin?
All finish platings applied by Samtec are preceded by a Nickel diffusion barrier. Generally speaking, the thickness of the Nickel barrier underplating is 50 micro-inch minimum.
What is the thickness of the Matte Tin plating applied by Samtec?
The thickness of the Matte Tin plating is part specific. The majority of products will have a minimum 150 micro-inch to 350 micro-inch plating thickness.
Is there a price penalty for Matte Tin?
Presently, Samtec does not anticipate a price difference between Bright Tin and Matte Tin.
Will specifying Matte Tin impact my lead times?
The lead times for the majority of Samtec products will not be affected by specifying Matte Tin plating.
Can I continue to order product with Bright Tin plating?
It is the intent of Samtec to continue to support customers requesting Bright Tin plating. Bright Tin will remain Samtec's "standard tin plating" until March 1, 2006. After that date, if you prefer to specify Bright Tin plating, contact Samtec Customer Service at [email protected] for instructions.
Can I continue to order product with Tin-lead plating?
Consistent with our past history, it is the intent of Samtec to continue to support customers requesting Tin-lead plating. The Tin-lead plating designators "-TL" (Tin-lead) and "-STL" (Selective Tin-lead) will remain valid plating designators for part call-outs.
Will I receive a mixed shipment containing some Matte Tin plated parts and some Bright Tin plated parts?
No. Product will be shipped bearing the plating specified by the part call-outs in the customer order.