Multi-pin connector for panel quick disconnect system

Hi guys.

I’m not hugely versed on electronic doodads and connectors so I thought I’d turn here for help. I’m looking to make my perfect stick somewhere down the line, but to do this I need a way to disconnect the wiring from the top panel to the PCB in a quick an easy fashion. What I thought of was a multi-pin port glued to the metal top-plate and the the recieving section stuck to the inside of the body of stick allowing for the entire top panel to be easily removed and replaced (with a lefty panel, different layout, hitbox etc).

I’m looking for a suitable connector for this kind of thing. Originally I thought of something like an IDE connector but I’m wondering if anyone else has any ideas.

Around 30 pins (5 joystick, 9 button+ground, 11 LED, 4 joystick LED) for plenty of expandability.
Tool-less function, must disconnect when panel is lifted.
Easy to crimp wires into for modding.
Should not hold the connection in by friction/tightness. The connection will be held together by the panel bolts.

DB/DE connectors would work.
VGA cables use a 15 pin DE connector and printer cables use 25 pins (DB25)

It is not a DB connector but If you can find it a Centronics connector uses 36 pins
it is used in some older Printer cables

Those did cross my mind but I’d like something more PCB mountable if possible (forgot to add that) so that I can add screw/push terminals… Hopefully by the end of this I’ll have something that you can easily put in a TE/TE2 to make the top panel completely detachable.

That pretty much relegates you to pogo pins. I don’t think it’s a good idea, but if those are your requirements, look into pogo pins.

How it should be done, IMHO: single ribbon cable, IDE style. PCB attached to the top panel with the IDE style connector on it and places to solder the wires for the all of the panel stuff. Ribbon cable plugs into a matching connector in the case. Tool-less, secure friction connection, easy to undo and swap, and the PCB on the top would even allow to to make the panel wiring as clean as possible.

You’re right, that would be the best way to do it, it would also be the simplest. While it doesn’t meet my idea of being completely tool-less (you have to pull the ribbon cable out yourself) it is probably the only practical way to do it. This would also limit it so only one PCB would have to be designed.

[S]Does anyone happen to know what the proper term for the 40-pin connector is as I may as well use a readily available cable for this.[/S] Nevermind I got it. IDC

I usually see them referred to as IDC (insulation displacement connector) because of how the teeth bite into the plastic insulation to make contact.
If you want to get lost on Digikey finding them, check the Connectors, Interconnects -> Rectangular - Free Hanging, Panel Mount
and select 2.54mm pitch, 2.54mm row spacing, 2 row, receptacle Connector Type, ‘feed through; polarity; strain relief’ for features, and the ‘in stock’ box. That should give you 4 pages of options to browse through.Make sure to check the ‘mates with’ section of the one you decide to help you find the shrouded header to match easily.

Thanks thats a great help. Trying to search through components when you don’t know the jargon is a nightmare. I’m more looking for the header rather than the plug though as I plan to just use ready made IDE cables.

Something like this has been done previously: Tutorial: How to wire TE to DB 15 for Swappable Custom Panels

Was done in a TE, but you could really do it with any arcade stick.

Thats neat, though its a bit messy for my liking. After hunting around for parts a lot Im going with a 14-pin ribbon cable and screw terminals. the PCBs should only be about 25mmx25mm too. Since the qanba I have doesn’t have a nice terminal like the TE its a pain to take apart, always scared Im gonna snap a QD or something.

Heres something for all you guys who’ve made stuff. Wheres a good place to get some simple PCBs made. Theres a lot of sites out there but they all look somewhat dodgy. Looking for about a run of 10 PCBs

haven’t used them myself, but a friend told me about

I was goin to say seedstudio only because it is more user friendly, can do small batches, and will pick n place SMD if thats what you want. There is also dorkbot, batchpcb, expresspcb, pcbcart, futurelec just to name a few. If your not exporting gerber files than you may be stuck with one vendor. Most projects with all 2.54 hole spacing can be done on perf board without the custom pcb.

How about edge connectors, pretty much like how PC expansion cards are installed (think video/sound card). You can probably salvage an old mobo and get the slot connector. Or better yet, make it NES style, that way if it doesn’t work, you can blow on it, just because you can :).

That’s how the Exar stick did it, but it had that locking slide out system. For most sticks, you’d have to secure both pieces vertically. Sounds more difficult and expensive.

Ok so how old are these edge connector standards? ISA, JAMMA, NES… old is old. PCB real estate is at a premium. Go up, not sideways.

I’m attempting to do something similar and currently planning to use a ribbon cable to connect the panels and case. MC Cthulhu seems to be set up for a pin header along the 1-9 and A-H holes opposite the USB connector. Since VCC line is exposed on this header, I can also use it on the joystick panel to connect a Spark/Flash/LED controller/whatever independently from the stickless panel.

try these. price is totally legit. shipping is like $1.

the female would be if you decide to skip the IDC/IDE cable and opt for a 2 PCB system. then you can use standoffs to mount both PCB’s at exactly the right height and your panel is detachable. but its really a bad design because you would most likely bend pins when removing the panel a few times. don’t worry about the 2x40 thing. you cut it with a razor to get 2x20 = 40 pin IDE cable.