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Author Topic: Using IDE hard drive cable to connect LCD display  (Read 1471 times)
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Apparently I'm not the first person to think that an old IDE hard drive cable may be used to connect an LCD to an arduino board without having to use all those jumper wires or else. If you search the forum, a couple people have used these cables for LCD. IDE cables are nice and compact, compared with a bunch of separate wires, especially when you try to tuck them all in a project box. It's recycling too. I just want to point out one thing I found out (could be convenient if you know it or problem if you dont). Several of the pins on the IDE cable are connected (possibly inside the connectors). They're all ground pins, all on the bottom row. Wiki IDE and you will find a nice article about which are grounds and which wire is not connected. Just make sure you don't use the bottom row of pins to connect your LCD, use the top row. If you use the ground pins as your ground bus, you may save some wires. You can also solder several pins together on the bottom row as 5V bus to save some more connections. I'll try to get a good picture to what I did and post here. smiley
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Are you sure you are talking about IDE hard drive cables and not maybe a parallel printer ribbon connector cable, or other cable type? I ask because I recently bought this 40 pin IDE hard drive ribbon cable from all electronics:

http://www.allelectronics.com/make-a-store/item/CBL-48/IDE-CABLE/1.html

It's all 40 pin straight through, with no wiring changes or common grounds. The only thing different is one pin cannot be used as one of the female holes on each connector end is filled in, such that you can't plug it in unless the pin 19 male connector pin is missing. I just cut the cable with sharp sissors so that I have just a one foot cable with female connector at both ends. I'm using it to wire my 5X5X5 LED cube to a shift register/driver board I'm building.

Lefty
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I use one for my glcd, and as long as it is not cable select, yea its straight through, you can use either set of holes on cables that are not filled in, as long as your using the same set on the other end (ie top row and top row)

if your sneaky you can pop off the connectors, make the cable any size you want, and re attach the connectors with a pair of pliers or a bench vice, razor blade the excess when your done
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Quote
you can use either set of holes on cables that are not filled in, as long as your using the same set on the other end (ie top row and top row)

Other then the one pin that is filled in, why couldn't one use all 39 other pins rather then just top or bottom row? I'm using 30 pins in my project. One just has to establish which pin is #1 on both ends, there is usually a red stripe on the ribbon.

Lefty
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Thanks everybody. I should really be careful then. I was keeping the IDE connector on (no snipping) so I can just plug my lcd on one end and use some short wires on the other. I tested the pins that are supposed to be ground and yes they are all connected. Yes, there are 80 wires (I just counted. If you run a pencil across the cable you can hear 80 clicks:). I guess if you have older cables, you don't have to worry. I remember older cables have no notch and key on the socket and connector and no filled holds. They're probably the best for us to use, bad when you tried to hook a hard drive in 199x though LOL Feel sorry about tossing those old cables when I moved 3 years ago.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2010, 11:09:16 pm by liuzengqiang » Logged


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