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Author Topic: Making physical connections to the Arduino board  (Read 13163 times)
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Stewart Watkiss
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What does everyone use for connecting circuits to the Arduino? Does anyone have any better suggestions than sticking wires into the sockets on the board?

I've got a circuit that is going to be mounted in a case and I'd like to make a semi-permanent connection to the various in/out pins.  I don't want to solder direct to the Arduino as I want to be able to disconnect it if required, but stuffing wires into the blocks is error prone and likely to come out (I'm going to be using most of the external pins). I'm also using multi-core wire which doesn't go into the pins very well.

I'm connecting to some external boards / devices, but a shield is a bit extravagant for what I'm wanting to do.

I have tried some "2.54mm 0.1in. Pin Strip" - but I am having a problem soldering to it cleanly.  The only other way I can think of is to try using the pin strip and then putting a PCB header socket  but that means having 2 connectors and is likely to be bulky although not such a big problem with this particular project  - has anyone tried that?


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Stewart Watkiss
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I made a bunch ( a whole lot) of "patch cables"

I bought some of these pin headers

http://mikmo.dk/misc/pins.jpg

They snap apart and then i soldrede hookup wire to one end and reinforced the solderjopint with heat shrink.

If you want to use them with a bread board you can solder a pin header to both ends of the wire.

After i made all my patchcables i saw seeedstudio has these:

http://www.seeedstudio.com/depot/breadborad-jumper-wire-70pcs-pack-p-234.html?cPath=34

If i had seen them first, i would have spend the 5$ + shipping to save the time i spend making my own :-)
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When I have done something like you are talking about I have made a shield out of protoboard (sorry no pictures) but you have to be ingenious with connecting up the oddly spaced digital pins (I bent the header pins I was using).

Or I have soldered to 2.54mm (.1") headers with heatshrink on each wire but as you say, it can be a bit fiddly. If you haven't already then I would suggest investing in a 'third hard' which are a great help for soldering fiddly things like that.

Mowcius
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I took some headers and some old IDE cables and made connector cables. Helps keep things looking more professional IMO.
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For quick proto set-ups I've been using: http://www.seeedstudio.com/depot/electronic-brick-shield-v4-p-458.html?cPath=48_49

That allows standard .1" spaced female plugs and there are lots of extra ground and +5vdc pins avalible. Nice sale price right now.

Lefty

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I made these for using with my bread board. I have two eight pin, and two six pin cables. Just right for the Arduino. I scavenged the ribbon cable from an old 40 wire IDE disc drive cable. Then I used the same header material for my sixteen pin LCD.

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These are nice.  I bought several of the V1.0 boards when they were closed out at $2 apiece.  The V2.0 is not quite as good a bargain,  but still okay.  You can solder permanent connections to the board,  and (un)plug them easily without scrambling connections.  Think of them as "Arduino plugs"  smiley-wink
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Thanks for all the suggestions.

MikMo - those pins are the same as I was trying to explain, I wasn't able to link to a photo as this is my first post to the forum as this is my first Arduino project (in fact first time with a soldering iron for a few years - although I have created quite a few electronic projects it's been a long time).

The problem is getting the wires soldered on, even with a helping-hand holding the wires the gap between the solder joints is very close and joint does not feel secure. Also the gap between the pins on the Arduino is very annoying meaning I have to bend pins or have a 6 and a 2.

The patch cables are great for connecting to a breadboard, but I was hoping to have it as a single connection to make it less likely to plug a wire to the wrong pin.

mowcius I did think about making my own shield, but as you say fiddly. I'm wanting to connect to several different "modules" (circuits) and I want to be able to connect them up separately. Which I could do by adding connectors to the home made shield.

retrolefty - that looks really useful. I may need to look for a supplier in the UK though to keep shipping cost low - definitely worth considering though.


Thanks everyone for all your suggestions - some great ideas here to get me thinking....

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The problem is getting the wires soldered on, even with a helping-hand holding the wires the gap between the solder joints is very close and joint does not feel secure.
The gap only feels small because you're out of practice,  but your instincts about the connections not being very secure is right.  That kind of connection is really bad for "real-world" use,  where you need strain relief and the ability to grip the connector,  not the wire.

But,  for building a project where the connection will be more-or-less permanent,  and the parts are mechanically connected so there's no great strain on the wires,  they're fine.  Similarly,  for hobby uses where you won't be doing a lot of (dis)connecting,  there's a reasonable trade-off between the much lower cost and needing to take a little extra care.

If you want to improve strength,  you could use small pieces of stripboard or protoboard,  and solder both header pins and the wire to them.  That would give you the equivalent of a "connector shell" to grab,  and the option of adding strain relief by using a larger piece of board and gluing the wires down.

Ran
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To help ensure my connections stay secure i use heat shrink around them. I use 1/2" around the header and inside that i have the next size down going over a biut of the wire and to the top of the plastic piece of the header.
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As my temperature logger is coming together, this topic is very timely. I've collected several Futurlec mini-boards (realtime clock, logic level shifter, SD Card). All have both male and female 0.1 O-C headers.

At the breadboard stage there's a lot of spaghetti to connect these to each other & to the Duemilanove. I'll try ribbon cable from Adafruit protoshield to LCD, but what about all these others? Previous posts are helpful, but wondering if anyone's used any of the following or can recommend similar stuff. Might go w/ Futurlec but ship time is 2-3 weeks.

http://futurlec.com/Connectors/HDCONNS5.shtml
http://www.molex.com/molex/products/group?key=wire_to_board_connectors&channel=PRODUCTS&langPref=english
http://www.bgmicro.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=12868

Thanks!
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For a permenant project I would de-solder the headers off those boards and do it with ribbon cable. It's only LCDs that I hate connecting up with permenant cable.

Mowcius
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Get a screwshield
http://wingshieldindustries.com/products/screwshield/
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Not the cheapest thing but they are a good idea. Not great for permenant projects, more for when you have a complicated wired prototype, and you want to play with your arduino doing something else, but not loose all the wiring.

Mowcius
« Last Edit: February 22, 2010, 11:32:55 am by mowcius » Logged

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Depends on your soldering skills.  If you have good skills, then some of the other ideas are good.  If you don't, then a screwshield is a really excellent way to get a neat, reliable set of connections to an Arduino.

I wouldn't use it for a permanent installation, but I can solder pretty well.  I'd probably pick up another RBBB kit, drop off the pins and solder wires to whatever I needed.

But if the OP has limited soldering skills, then the screwshield is going to make a much neater and reliable way to construct his project.

'course if you get the screwshield as a kit, you have to solder it together, but the skill level is pretty low for that job.

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