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High reliability ribbon cables

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I have an application that includes interconnects with latching 100mil grid 2x13 PCB-mounted connectors on each end.  The PCBA connectors are gold plated.  The pre-made IDC ribbon cables that were purchased from (a trusted) distributor and manufacturer have proven to be very low reliability.  Out of 1726 in the field for <2 years, 78 have had intermittent connections and were replaced.  The application is not challenging, clean, dry, low vibration, low stress and no movement.  I'm looking for a bullet-proof connector/cable to kill off the problem.  Some failed due to IDC issues and others due to contact issues.  Cost is not a high priority.

Anyone have suggestions on type of connector / brand with proven reliability?  Individual wire connectors are not out of the question if they are any better.

normally going gold plated is the best choice,  but exterior uses has it's limits  even  low stress etc .... 

i add mineral grease in the pins, 

and normally use idc connectors with lock / latchs and add a tie wrap to maintain them closed .... or a dab of sillicon

done that in more stressed out electronics   like leds panels running 24/24   all seasons for at least 5 years now ??

I don't know why I have had such a time with this batch of ribbons.  It seems like a solved problem but maybe a bad run of them or something?  The connectors are gold plated.  What sort of coating did you use specifically?  Again, the application is about as benign as you can imagine.

See https://www.molex.com/en-us/blog/gold-or-tin-vs-gold-and-tin
If the pins in the header are gold plated, the sockets in the IDC connector must be gold plated where they fit over the pin but if the end with the IDC blades that pierce the cable is gold plated, it will be less reliable as the wire strands are usually tin plated.  If they are entirely gold plated, you probably need silver plated wire.

Also, the IDC connector strain relief bars should be properly fitted.

Ribbon cables are used widely, the vast majority likely el-cheapo junk, without problems. Back before SATA, every computer’s hard drives and floppy drives used them. Your failure rate is almost 5%, which is very obviously exceedingly high.

I see a few potential sources for the problem, in no particular order:
- a faulty production run of the connectors themselves
- improper storage of the connectors before assembly
- faulty assembly of the connectors onto the cable
- improper handling of the finished cable assemblies

What I think is less likely, since you said some of the failures are contact failure, is bad cable, or a mismatch between cable type and connector type.

How did the failures manifest, by the way? I.e. what are the symptoms and troubleshooting steps that led to your diagnosis of the two failure modes?


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