Ethernetcable and Dupont Connectors

As I am new to electronicsm I’ve got a few questions about cables.

I am installing an arduino in my garage, and a LCD-screen and some buttons in my house. I need to run six cables from point A to point B, and I’d like the intallation to be as easy as possible, so I thought I might just use a long (20 meter) cat5 og cat6 cable. The cable is 24awg - will this be a problem? As all my jumper wires are 22awg, I mean?

I am also in the process of getting a crimping tool and some dupont connectors off of eBay, to connect (among other things) this project. Now, as I am searching, I’ve found a good supplier of pins, and a crimper that’ll work. But when it comes to the housing for the pins - the small plastic-thingys - the listings say either female or male. Now, this I don’t get. I thought the housings were uni, and the pins are male/female. Am I misunderstanding something here? Do I need to get seperate housings for female and male, or can I use the same housings, but just different pins?

As a general rule (but exceptions always exist), you would have MALE pins on a PCB and Female pins on a cable.

I must misunderstand you since I don’t quite follow your statement; “I thought the housings were uni, and the pins are male/female.” It is true that they will accept either pin style… but male is far less common.

Males sticking out of the connector are just… well, odd. (unless you need them that way, of course)


Ok, let's clear this up. The housings are MALE /FEMALE because they need to MATE. The pins are MALE/FEMALE because they need to MATE. Whether the female pins are in a MALE housing or vice versa is not universal. Quite often the MALE housing has FEMALE pins, but it can be male-male at one end and female-female at the other but I don't recall seeing that combination, not to say it does or does not exist. The criteria for MALE PINS is the cable having male pins goes to the device RECEIVING the power and the cable housing having the FEMALE pins goes to the device SUPPLYING the power, because you don't want pins with POWER on them STICKING OUT (like male pins). You want them RECESSED (like female pins). Look at a molex catalog. The female pins go in the Male housing. I haven't worked with "Ethernet cable" but those connectors are called RJ-45. Telephone plugs are RJ-11 (I think). Anyway, that STYLE is RJ-XX.

I know this post is getting a little old now but I was of the same understanding as the op and am now also getting a crimper etc. I thought it because a male or female connector based on the pin you used and this led to the MATING example, you push a male pin into the housing, it extends from the end and the connector can then be pushed into a female housing and vice versa you put a female pin connector into the housing and it does not extend from the housing and is therefore a female connector and able to be mated to a male connector.

So just to confirm, as well as male/female pin connector terminals there are definitely also male/female housings?

It sounds like you are talking about RJ-11, RJ-12, & RJ-45 Connectors. Those only have male female housings but the pins are integrated into the housing so they don’t come in a separate bag like Molex or CPC or Amp connectors.
Let’s take an older example, The DB-9 SERIAL CABLE.
If you look at the “Male” connector , meaning the one with MALE pins and look at how it plugs ONTO the “Female” DB9, meaning
the one with FEMALE pins , you will see that the FEMALE Connector (as we are defining it for this discussion) is actually a MALE
housing because it plugs INTO the FEMALE housing that has the MALE pins. (sounds confusing but a picture is worth a thousand words) see attached

RJ connectors and housings are integrated and don’t separate so the female pins are the springy looking things that the male pins push against when you plug the LAN cable into the jack. So as far as RJ connectors are concerned , the male pin is part of the male housing and vice versa ,.DB connector pins are usually integrated as well but Molex for example are removable. An RJ male is male housing with male pins and vice versa, unlike the DB connectors. Is everything clear as mud now ?

Hi Thanks for that. No the picture makes complete sense to me however I cannot see why they wouldn't make a single housing that male both male and female pin terminals would click into, if you used long pins they extend out and the connector thus becomes a male, if you use short pin terminals with rounded ends that don't extend out of the housing it therefore becomes a female connector. Seems logical to me but obviously not to dupont.

Thanks for clearing that up, I will make sure for my male to female 40 pin I require I not only buy both male and female pin terminals but that I also buy male and female housings also.

Rasch, you are now guilty of posting pictures whose excessive "resolution" way exceeds their focus.

Now speaking of the "Dupont" connectors of which I have collected a few to use with the jumper wires readily available for use with Arduino modules.

The basic housings are "asexual" . As you say, a female pin inserted will be concealed (isn't it always the way?) while a male pin will lock in and its pin extend from the housing. As a previous poster commented, this is somewhat unusual except that of course, the Arduino has popularised the SIL (single-in-line) 0.1" spacing, stacking connector (I mean, all this stuff is presently advertised as "for Arduino") and if you wish to make cables to match frequently-used configurations, then suitable housings (many variations available) are convenient.

The only things missing are orientation keys and surrounds such as you find on IDE and floppy drive connectors (which are the same pitch and compatible with these "Dupont" fittings). Given that, if you wish to connect lengths of cable and being pulled apart easily is not going to be a problem, then male and female pins in matching housings are quite convenient. Note that if you do this, you can "polarise" the connections by using a combination of male and female on each side. :D

Noting your recent reply, No1Daemon, I think you will find some difficulty getting "male only" Dupont housings!

Paul__B: The basic housings are "asexual" .

Thanks. That just made sense but I thought I read from the previous posts and the answers to the op that that wasn't the case and you needed the correct housing to match the pin

Paul__B: Noting your recent reply, No1Daemon, I think you will find some difficulty getting "male only" Dupont housings!

Again, thanks. Now I know they are asexual that will make it a lot easier and more affordable. Interestingly they seem to even be listed as being either male or female in the ebay listings

I thought the housings were uni, and the pins are male/female." It is true that they will accept either pin style... but male is far less common. Males sticking out of the connector are just... well, odd. (unless you need them that way, of course)

I think your right that the DUPONT housings are ASEXUAL , I can't think of use for male pins on those when working with arduinos but female pins are useful for the NRF24L01s, the RS232 to TTL converters (like the one in the photo with great resulution XD -that's my 8 Mpixel Android cell phone camera) and the ICSP connectors on UNOs.

I have an example.
I have a TFT screen attached to a shield. I wish to extend it by a foot or so.
I need to create a female to male dupont connector as there is a male header on the screen and a female header on the shield.

Don't you already have a cable ? When you say female header on the shield what is the pin layout ? Can you post a photo of the female connector ?

No it doesn’t come with cables to extend to whatever length you wish.
Here are some example photos. The male and female usually connect directly together. I wish the screen to be a distance away from the shield so need to make a custom cable.



I would hardly call that a "custom" cable since there is a zillion of them left over from old PCs. what you need is a female to female cable commonly found in any computer or surplus store (or online) and a male-male IDC header as a gender changer to mate the two female cables. The header is available online. That's an IDC connector (Inline Dual-row Connector), commonly used for hard-drive IDE cables (Intellegent Device Equipment) found in PCs, especially old ones. You should be able to find 40 pin IDC cables at any surplus store. They would probably have the male headers as well.

I don't think so. Those cables usually have 1 square not able to be connected to plus I do need a male to female, not a female to female. Nearly correct

and a male-male IDC header as a gender changer to mate the two female cables. The header is available online.

I don't think you read my post carefully. I am absolutely certain that a male-male IDC header will work as a gender changer to mate two female cables because I have done it a dozen times . Finding a male 40 pin cable is pretty much NOT GOING TO HAPPEN because they are not designed to be be used that way. When an engineer designs equipment that uses IDC cables, he designs male connectors at BOTH ends because the cable was and always is intended to mate two pieces of equipment that BOTH have MALE connectors. That's why your not going to find any such male female unless you get something like a DUPONT connector which is not normally used in computers . I'm sure Dupont makes a 40 pin connector that would allow you to do what you want to do but that WOULD be a custom connector. My point is why use a custom connector when 40 pin female cables are a dime a dozen and all you need is the male-male header (also readily available) to make it work ?

It didn’t seem like a cheaper option to me.
I am in New Zealand and the cheapest I can see for the IDE connector on flea bay is $2.84US plus $4.00US for shipping. Add the $1.99US plus free shipping for the cable you are looking at $8.83US total to me here

I could possibly get one cheaper if I search very hard.
Having already got the crimper it will cost me $4US for 20 40p headers. I already have the cable and connectors here.
Just seems easier plus far less bulky. Don’t really like the idea of piggybacking things when I can just make a connector as easily.

At least we have established through this post now that the housing are universal and hopefully the op didn’t go and purchase multiple housings for his job.

ha ha, that's funny. And here all this time I thought YOU were the OP. XD That's too bad. We have a surplus place here where that stuff is dirt cheap. I know a little computer store where I could probably get the cable and the connector for $3. FYI-

raschemmel: I am absolutely certain that a male-male IDC header will work as a gender changer to mate two female cables because I have done it a dozen times.

Have you just?

There is a nasty trick there, noting that we are talking about double-row connectors. If you use a header to join the cables, you have exchanged the odd numbered pins for the even.

raschemmel: Finding a male 40 pin cable is pretty much NOT GOING TO HAPPEN because they are not designed to be be used that way.

Crimp on male headers (with shroud) most certainly are available; I have used them back in the days of multiple (three or four) floppy drives. Cost may be another matter as you correctly observe they are uncommon.


That’s an IDC connector (Inline Dual-row Connector),

I thought IDC stood for Insulation-Displacement Connector, as in how it makes connection to conductors in an insulated wire or ribbon cable. I wonder if we are both right… (But wikipedia seems to agree with me.) Also, if “inline” and “dual” were part of the name, I would expect the order to follow other components were the quantity is first and the orientation is second. Thus because DIP is Dual-Inline Package, I would expect the connector equivalent to be DIC for Dual-Inline Connector. I haven’t heard either your usage or my postulated DIC usage in my 20+ years in the electronics industry, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have regional usage outside my region…

Also, interesting that I hadn’t heard of a “Dupont” connector before. My father worked his entire career for DuPont (that’s the proper capitalization) but he made raw plastics, not finished products. I’m familiar with many types of connectors, families of connectors, and manufacturer of connectors: D-Sub (along with “proper” DA15, DB25, DC37, DD50, DE9, DE15, etc as originally defined by ITT Canon and universally ignored by everyone else), Molex, MS, Lemo, Reynolds, Berg, BNC, TNC, SHV, Ampehenol, Amp (different from Amphenol, confusingly), Tyco, Pasternack, etc… But, I’m not sure if I’ve ever came across a “Dupont” connector. Odd, since I have worked in southeast Pennsylvania and northern Delaware, the home of Uncle Dupie, in the electronics industry for over 20 years. My loss, I guess.

I do agree. I had never previously seen the use of "Dupont" in this fashion, but search on eBay and you will find such items by the thousand. Why they are called this? Well, that is a mystery. Wikipedia is no help here.

Yes, "IDC" is most correctly Insulation Displacement Connector however as a matter of usage, tends to focus on ribbon cables.

And of course my previous reference to "Crimp on male headers" was in fact, to IDC rather than crimp.