Solderless Connector Technologies for a Trillion Node Engine Open IoT Platform


IoT module with new connect technologies: The dimensions are generally 2 x 2 cm. The module consists of sensor foil pcb, microcontroller foil pcb, bluetooth foil pcb, and battery foil pcb (CR2032). Credit: Toshiba Corporation

Toshiba Electronic Devices & Storage Corporation has developed two connector technologies that allow easy and seamless assembly of IoT nodes, considered essential for the realization of the Trillion-Node Engine, the open source IoT platform. The connector tests resulted in positive evaluations. Toshiba will continue to develop them and use them in a demonstration unit for Toshiba motor control drivers.

The future of the Internet of Things (IoT) should be driven not only by expert engineers developing IoT devices for industry, but also by non-engineers creating IoT devices to handle all kinds of tasks. Achieving this will require an IoT development platform that allows individuals to quickly and easily embody their ideas and build IoT prototypes, and that supports the development of small, low-power IoT sensor nodes that can be customized to handle. various functions and applications. Toshiba and the University of Tokyo are currently evaluating the Trillion-Node Engine as an open IoT platform and found it to offer advantages in terms of ease of use.

A notable challenge to overcome is the increased miniaturization of IoT nodes, especially their connectors. They are relatively large and require precise soldering by a professional. If an IoT system connects printed circuit boards (PCBs) and motors, a wire harness is needed between the PCBs and the motors. The connection between the wire harness and the circuit boards will result in an 8mm high terminal block, which is too big for an IoT platform.

Solderless Connector Technologies for the Trillion Node Engine ioT Open Platform

Rubber connector components. Credit: Toshiba Corporation

Toshiba has developed Bare Wire Connection Mechanism (BWCM) which uses two connector technologies. The first is an original U-shaped structure of plastic brackets to align the wires to the PCBs. The wires are attached to the pads with a second technology of rubber pads and plastic covers; the current lids are made of metal. BWCM makes a small wire connection without any soldering, with a height on the PCB of 2mm, smaller than conventional terminal blocks. Toshiba’s investigation of wire and PCB retention strength confirmed tensile strength of over 3N, stable enough for practical use.

Toshiba has tested Leaf PCBs, the PCB developed for the Trillion-Node Engine, and samples of IoT systems to assess the resistance of rubber connectors on Leaf PCBs. Reliability tests, including high temperature and high humidity tests, have confirmed the reliability and stability of the rubber connectors.

Both connection technologies were achieved through Toshiba’s packaging technology for semiconductors and hard drives, LSI system signal connection technology and IoT systems design technology, as well as research from the ‘University of Tokyo in electronics and design technology for low power IoT systems.

Solderless Connector Technologies for the Trillion Node Engine ioT Open Platform

An example of a wire connector between motor control PCBs and motors. Credit: Toshiba Corporation

Details of the technologies were reported at the 71st IEEE 2021 Electronic Components and Technology Conference (ECTC 2021), an international conference on packaging technology, components and microelectronic systems held online.

In its technology assessment, Toshiba used research results from a project funded by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization.

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Provided by Toshiba Corporation

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