(Topic ID: 131980)

Looking for a better solution to IDC connectors on WPC pins

By Chico

5 years ago

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  • 35 posts
  • 20 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 2 years ago by Mk1Mod0
  • Topic is favorited by 12 Pinsiders


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    #1 5 years ago

    Howdy all,
    I'm working on a WPC pin that has the connector at J101 burned up. Its one of those crazy loop around connectors that really can't be replaced like factory even if you wanted to. So after much research, I came to the conclusion that I don't really like the IDC connectors even though they are fairly quick to install with the proper tools. So after even more research, I've come to the conclusion that I would like to replace my IDC plugs with something better. I just thought I would seek the sage wisdom of the community as to what I've come up with.

    I'd like to swap over my connectors, headers, and crimp pins. And after a lot more research, this is what I've come up with.
    Connectors: Series 41695 plugs (capable of using stadard, Trifurcon, and the MarKK pins)
    Crimp Pins: Series 45570 (aka MarKK rated at 13Amps)
    Headers: Series 41671, or 41791 (both are polarized, rated 7 amp@250V, and have a UL 94 V-0 heat resistance rating.

    Exact specs can be found at mouser by searching for molex and the series numbers above.

    The headers are the missing link. I believe the 41791 has just a slightly larger footprint than the TE/AMP headers. Although, it appears as to be the better of the two. The 41671 headers are a little smaller than the factory headers, built a little lighter and are "Breakaway" headers in case you need to cut them down. Although they are a lighter design, they look more like they might be interchangeable with the TE/Amp connectors. Since the crimp pins require, a square header pin, and the Molex KK system is all designed to work together, more or less, my thought was that I would need to swap the headers out as well....which is a good idea since they probably got hot as well.

    The drawback of changing the headers out is that the board would no longer be interchangeable, unless of course, the IDC connector plugs would work with one of these headers types. I hope someone will know if that might be the case. I've also heard that IDC headers will accept certain molex plugs without any problems. Although, I would again need to check the drawing specs to see if the pins are the same size and both square. Third, its a lot of work and most people will tell you, don't reinvent the wheel.

    SO my question is,
    1. Does anyone know the mouser part number for the exact header pins WPC used for J101 so I can check the engineering drawing for compatibility.
    2. Anyone out there ran into this before and just happens to know the answer.
    3. Any thoughts as to how useful this would be in general. I know I'm not the only one who doesn't particularly care for IDC plugs. Any words of wisdom would be appreciated.

    I'm not looking to swap out all my IDC plugs on all my pins. I'm just looking for a system that I can keep hand to take care of all future WPC plug and wiring problems as they inevitably pop up.

    FWIW, I also know you can use the series 41661 headers and the above connector (and presumably those MarKK crimp pins) to fix the GI at J120 and J121. Although the headers are not polarized, it doesn't really need to be for the GI since they are all tied together.

    #2 5 years ago

    I think you are over thinking this.
    Scroll down to 3. Burned Connectors.
    That article is for GI headers, but substitute the right size for J101, and off you go.

    Parts can be acquired easily here: www.greatplainselectronics.com
    I like the 24-pin break to length headers Ed sells there.

    Of course, you'll need to crimp two wires into a single crimp pin to recreate the "loop through".
    Chris Hibler - CARGPB #31
    http://www.PinWiki.com - The Place to go for Pinball Repair Info

    #4 5 years ago

    Chris Hibler got it right.

    #5 5 years ago

    I'm actually drifting back to IDC. Now that I have a pneumatic IDC tool I can make up a cable in seconds. I was all wanting to get what I thought were better results with trifurcon crimps etc, but really, the assembly is a complete ball ache (yes, using proper crimp dies and all) and I'm over it. I actually haven't had a new IDC fail yet so I'm going that way pretty much all the time. Power leads probably the exception. Good solid crimp and housing there probably still a good idea.

    #6 5 years ago

    Getting comfy for the religious war ...


    #7 5 years ago
    Quoted from ChrisHibler:

    I think you are over thinking this.


    The weak link in these connections is the crimp on connectors and the amount of surface area they each have in contact with the header pin. If you think about it, the header pin is a solid piece of metal. It can handle a lot of current. The limit of the current carrying capacity of the connection is the amount of current the crimp connector can take from the pin which is based on the type of metal the crimp connector is made from and the surface area in contact with the pin.

    GPE part numbers:
    MarKK Crimp Connector Part Number: 45570-3050 rated at 13 amps
    Housing part numbers are in the range 09-50-8xx1 (replace XX with the number of positions you need) - NOTE the 13 amp crimp MarKK pins require Molex 41695 housings that are different from the lower amperage crimp pins.
    Break to Length locking header pins Part Number: 26-48-1245
    Keying plug Part Number: 15-04-0297

    I actually like to get my header pins from Mouser as they have the original looking white plastics as opposed to the black GPE carries.

    #8 5 years ago

    Thanks for the tip Schaggs,
    It appears that the 24 position break away header connectors are much cheaper at GPE. And checking the number, its in the 41671 series I mentioned above. His 41695 series plugs seem to be the same as the ones I was looking at at mouser. Although, GPE's plugs have a solid ramp and the mouser plugs have 3 shorter ramps to polarize them. Either way, if you buy at least 10, it looks as though mouser is cheaper. Ordering less than 10, GPE is cheaper. As for the 45570 crimp pins, I would buy these: 538-45570-3000-CT from mouser. Its about 10 cents per pin, instead of 15 from GPE. But you will have to snip them off a strip and buy 100 at a time. Pretty sure they're the same connector though.

    To ChrisHibler,
    Thanks for the link to pinwiki. But in my defence, I had already been looking up plugs for a while. It was only before I posted that I researched pinside and found the pinwiki guide. I was pleased to find out that they had come to the same conclusions I had.

    One of the other points of reference I had come across was this youtube guide on connectors from some guy Ray.

    It's fairly informative although I did have 1 problem with something he said about black connectors being higher quality over white ones. And according to the data sheets, that doesn't seem to be the case with the connectors above. You can view that part at 14 min in on the vid.

    As for which one is better IDC or Molex, they both seem good, and it might be better just to go back with the factory plugs. And if I had a nice crimper for the IDC plugs, I might go that route, but the molex seems the better option overall.

    And while I appreciate the advice and links, I still haven't gotten an answer to my initial questions:
    What is the mouser number or manufacturing number for the actual header used at J101 ( or any of the larger IDC headers on a WPC) so I can look at the engineering drawing to see if either of the molex headers series above will be compatible the original IDC plugs, or if the 41695 connectors are compatible with the original IDC headers.) And second, has anyone used molex headers on a WPC power board, and then swapped it to another machine to know whether the two were compatible. Specifically, the 41671 and 41691 series headers.

    Like I said initially, I'd like to upgrade bad plugs to more reliable ones, but it would be nice to keep compatibility with other WPC machines.

    Either way, thanks for the replies thus far. Looks like I'll have to get an order up with GPE soon.

    #9 5 years ago

    IDC (insulation displacement) connectors were designed for quick manufacturing. They just aren't really good for much other than quick manufacturing. to use that design *again* is silly. It's making the same mistake, yet you're hoping for a different result (definition of insanity?) why would anyone do that??

    Crimp style connectors are the only way to go. And to that end, the "box" style pins that GPE sells are certainly the best. The part listed below solves the problem pretty effectively. Note that the male pins are identical. But the plastic housings that holds the female pins are different.

    Part Number: 45570-3050
    Crimp Contact, 0.156", High Current, 18-20AWGCrimp Contact, 0.156", High Current, 18-20AWG
    (handles 13 amps.)

    If you want to read more about this, check out

    #10 5 years ago

    Clay has a point. I always replace connectors with Molex.

    #11 5 years ago

    It's a 1 beer job to swap an IDC to a crimp (on the loop through I also solder them in the crimp) once you have the parts and well worth it in the long run.

    #12 5 years ago

    On the video that Ray did. I like like his videos but he is not always correct. The only difference between the white housing male pins and the black housing male pins is the actual plastic itself. The black plastic is more heat resistant than the white plastic (The white plastic can actually catch fire where the black will not do that). That is the only difference. The pins conduct the same amount of current in either case. I really wish his videos were more correct in these minor aspects. But his general points are quite good.

    #13 5 years ago

    My problem with the Black vrs White statement was that the Data sheets for both the 41671 and 41791 both list them with a UL 94 V-0 heat resistance rating. I actually bought some 3069 series black molex crimp housings since I thought they were more heat resistant(supposedly up to about 800 degrees) . But I found that they actually had a UL 94 V-2 rating. And best I can figure, that's the weakest of the UL ratings. Plus, they only accepted the standard crimp pins. So by molex's data sheets, the 41695 series seems to be the best plugs they make in terms heat resistance and the ability to use any crimp pin they make. But the Black vrs. White is still fairly confusing. I know the black ones probably have carbon black added, but assumed that since the heat ratings were the same, white was as good as black. You would think that if black really was superior to white, they would sell 41695 plugs made out of black plastic. And they don't. Very confusing.

    #14 5 years ago
    Quoted from cfh:

    The only difference between the white housing male pins and the black housing male pins is the actual plastic itself.

    Are you sure about this? The black connectors always seem to be much harder to remove and install on the header pins. I would think this means the pins had a stronger connection (more pressure) to the header pin. This is just anecdotal data, I really don't know for sure either way...

    #15 5 years ago
    Quoted from Schwaggs:

    Are you sure about this? The black connectors always seem to be much harder to remove and install on the header pins.

    I think that's because of the different plastic allowing a different amount of give in the friction lock.

    #16 5 years ago

    Most of the molex KK connectors for the 3.96mm pitch should all use the same standard crimp pins. So I would think it would be just the same friction to remove as the white plugs assuming the same number of pins per connector. But as the previous poster stated, the plastic itself could be stiffer.....or the design could be slightly different. The 3069 series that I mentioned earlier seems like a beefier connector than some of the cheaper molex connectors. So I don't know. Only real thing I had to go on is the data sheets...and the video Ray did which may or may not be 100% accurate. But when I looked up what the UL ratings meant, it seemed pretty scientific...After al, they are the Underwriters Laboratory. And if I understood what I read, UL 94V-0 is greater than UL 94V-1 is greater than UL 94 V-2 .

    #17 5 years ago

    Also realize that williams used Pancon (spelling?) connectors, not molex brand. so the specs might be different than molex's version of those connectors.

    to me the temperature thing is a non issue. The whole point of this is to make sure there is *no* temperature at the connectors. that's what you're trying to do... get the right pins so they don't become resistors (and create heat, and ultimately fail.) so frankly white or black is a non issue. Also the *plastic* does not connect current. so frankly who cares if it's white or black?

    #18 5 years ago
    Quoted from cfh:

    to me the temperature thing is a non issue. The whole point of this is to make sure there is *no* temperature at the connectors. that's what you're trying to do... get the right pins so they don't become resistors (and create heat, and ultimately fail.)

    So very true.... who cares if the plastic can handle 800 degrees. If it ever got to that point, you would have burned insulation on the wires and a smoking circuit board....

    #19 5 years ago

    If you repin them now, and do it correctly, in home use, you will never, ever have an issue with connectors.

    We buy games that were on route, and had thousands of hours of run time on them, always on, building up heat, etc.


    #20 5 years ago
    Quoted from cfh:

    Also realize that williams used Panit (spelling?) connectors, not molex brand. so the specs might be different than molex's version of those connectors.

    Pancon -- www.panconcorp.com
    Pretty much the same as Molex but they do have a so-called higher current version of IDC plug. The higher current rating drops off like a rock as ambient temp rises.

    Best I found for 156 connectors is the Molex 41695 series plugs along with their high current 45570-3050. These supposedly don't fit the cheaper nylon plugs... not sure as I haven't tried it. But, these box contacts are rated at up to 13 amps and don't suffer from wire pullout like the IDC's.

    As a side note - many of the existing IDC plugs lasted for 20 or more years in a commercial environment. Doesn't mean to replace them with same thing... just that many of them did last that long.

    #21 5 years ago

    Well, I'd have to say I agree with the last 3 posters for the most part. The thought had crossed my mind, why treat the symptom when you can treat the disease. Then the thought crossed mind, "well, crap happens....why not treat both". But like I said before. It appears its a one or the other case since the 3069 series doesn't fit the 45570 pins. And like the poster who said who cares whether its white or black. If the black was truly better rated as Ray stated in his video, that would be the color to choose. Either way, its a moot point since the breakaway header (41671 series) pins are fairly cheap from GPE, and they happen to be black. And the 24 position ones work with pretty much everything. So win, win. As for the Pancon, I think I heard they were rated for 13 amp as well if its the one Ray mentioned on the video. So I might have to look into it further.

    So thus far, it looks like:
    Crimp Connectors 41695 series
    Crimp Pins 45570 series
    and header pins 41671 series

    and I guess, If I need to swap it to another machine, I'll just have to break out the crimpers and solder iron if it doesn't fit.

    #22 5 years ago

    Not to make Ray look bad, but i think he talks off the top of his head in those videos, and his facts just aren't always (usually?) correct. just keep that in mind. those videos don't seem well planned, just turn the camera on and go, type of thing. which is fine, but details are often wrong because they didn't do proper planning and fact check. So bottom line, don't rely on what Ray says as being true. Do a little research to verify what he says.

    #23 5 years ago


    Quoted from cfh:IDC (insulation displacement) connectors were designed for quick manufacturing. They just aren't really good for much other than quick manufacturing. to use that design *again* is silly. It's making the same mistake, yet you're hoping for a different result (definition of insanity?) why would anyone do that??

    I don't know about that. The issue is constant current connectors, right? I can imagine the cost benefit for using IDCs, and installation time, over all molex style. 90% of the connectors are not constant current, and usually never have a connection issue with IDC. As for replacing with IDC for home use, it doesn't surprise me that few if any ever report another issue, as the burnt up GI and problematic power connectors were a result of years of routed machines being left on for 12+ hours daily. That just isn't going to happen in home use.

    I believe any constant current connectors should be replaced, when it's time comes due (I'm lazy, and there's a long list) with only trifurcon pins in a molex housing, and leave the headers if they appear fine, and check if they need a reflow.

    That's my 2 cents on it. I agree with Chris, I think the op is really over thinking this. That are MUCH more fun ways to be spending your time with a pinball machine above researching connector types and reinventing the current accepted best method

    #24 5 years ago

    The only time I ALWAYS replace IDC, without thinking twice, is on all GI connections. There is no reason to replace other IDC connectors unless they have failed or become flakey.

    My advice for the OP; look at the pins on the boards too. Quite often, some of them are charred and need to be replaced as well. Especially GI pins.

    #25 5 years ago

    IDC replacement is fine for home use. And I think easier. Just my opinion. I also hate crimping those tedious little suckers.

    #26 5 years ago

    One major problem with crimping is also that it's very hard to make a "thru" connection (either looping cables or just a plain trough connection). You have to cut the wire and somehow try to put it in one crimp. With IDC you just use the thru version of the connector, works like a charm and only takes a few seconds.

    Didn't read through the posts, so sorry if this was already mentioned.

    #27 5 years ago

    Although, a lot of times it is not the IDC that become intermittent, but the broken strands of wire through it. Replacing the IDC does not fix the underlying issue.

    To do a loop crimp I leave the loop, use an X-Ecto blade to clean the insulation off where the original IDC cut, then bend the bare stranded wire tight (use needle nose if you have to) and slide that into the crimp. Crimp/solder/insert into connector. One beer per 9 pin connector, so pace yourself.

    #29 5 years ago

    I HATE crimping those tiny molex pins on cables. Its the most frustrating thing I had ever encountered in pinball. Almost all my machines are LED, they dont draw as much current, therefore there is less heat. No issues so far.

    #30 5 years ago

    For the guys having problems crimping, buy a decent crimper and it'll go smoother. There's still a bit of pain but that goes away after you get into a groove.

    #31 5 years ago

    Once I learned to crimp Molex pins I have had very little trouble. Sometimes the pins get bent and will not snap into the receiver slots. The key is to be sure you double crimp the pin onto the wire by crimping the contact point as well as the trailing insulation.

    #32 5 years ago

    I have the crimper that does both insulation and wire at the same time, $30. It couldn't be easier.

    1 year later
    #33 4 years ago

    Just bumping this thread because it was pretty helpful, especially this link on good methods for dealing with the wire loops when switching from IDC to Molex.

    1 year later
    #34 2 years ago

    Great thread, worth bumping I think. I'm repairing my BOP connector as noted above and I am using stranded copper wire of the same gauge for the loops. But I noticed that the existing wires don't look copper (they look silver), is this because the previous owner soldered the wire to the crimp pin (flux all over the place too)? Just want to double check that there isn't some other kind of wire I should be using for the loops before I burn the house up.


    #35 2 years ago

    The silver wire is copper that has been tinned. The correct wire is stranded and tinned. This ensures it is flexible and easy to solder.


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