How do members approach their connections/wiring?

I've completed a few projects now and some common themes seem to be emerging;

  • I often use Nano or Mini Pro Arduinos

  • I often put components in plastic boxes (processor, power supply, relay, LCD etc)

  • I invariably seem to end up with a birds nest of wiring.

I usually use pre-made 10cm cables with connectors on the ends to connect to header pins at one end whilst the other end ends up going to either a peripheral or a ground/VCC bus. And I usually construct the bus out of header pins with the short end bent over and soldered together.

Electrically these techniques work great, but from a space management perspective they end up looking like the electrical equivalent of "a bad hair day from hell".

Just wondering if anyone can give me any hints and tips as to what they use to keep wiring "neat" and "economical"?

eg what kind of wire do you use? (I prefer connectors because I'm finding multistrand difficult to tin - but am considering tinned solid conductor). Do you use header pins or solder wire directly to the board? how do you create buses when for example you need to join 6 or so conductors together (eg ground)?

I'm just looking for techniques to get the wiring under control; once assembled there won't be any need for disassembly - so connections can be permanent.

Many thanks,

Cheers,

Colin

Work out a route for the wires, or preferably 2 (or more) routes, one route for power wires and the other for signals. Make each wire the correct length so it can follow the route from one place to the other with no spare, or if you want spare make it always the same amount, say 10mm, and have a place in your route to put it. Put cable ties around the finished wiring.

For wires on a proto board I use AWG30.

For connectors I use 2.8mm Molex or 2.54mm JST-XH connectors.

As per previous comments and ....
Stranded copper will solder fine and is less likely to fracture than solid core . Twist the bared ends with your fingers and use a multi core solder ( on the wire not your fingers ).

Wire up with home made custom length cables , and cover the soldered joints with heat shrink .
Use cable ties to tidy it all up .

Some of the breakout boards are cheap and help make things tidy .
Have a look at using strip board too

Thanks folks - all very "logical" stuff (excuse the pun!).

In a "previous life" I spent 7 years working in the Avionics trade with our national Air Force - including learning soldering to NASA's High Reliability Hand Soldering standards (we literally could see our reflections in the solder pads) - so I don't think it's my soldering ability that I'm struggling with; there's just something about the wire that I've been using; it seems to have something under the insulation that resists proper tinning (or in-fact any tinning). I've tried scraping it and reapplying the solder but I've ended up with dry joints galore hence a lot of the time I've ended up cutting the housing off of the connectors on the wire and just soldering the connector directly onto the pin (insulated and protected by some heatshrink) - which ends up being fine electrically, but bulky & unweildly otherwise.

I don't want to harp on about that - it sounds like the solution is as simple as just getting the right type of multistrand copper wire (or that would at least be a good start) - and probably looking at some different connectors as well (I've worked a lot with high performance radio controlled helicopters so working with the types of headers used on the arduinos is second nature to me).

What techniques are you using to form buses?

Data buses, not really needed them, so far. Just lines from a CPU to a device. Power buss and ground buss, I use a star configuration.

I am using 30AWG solid core wire for my projects, wire wrap wire. Small enough to slip in next to the pin and the pad.

I use 22g multi-stranded wire for connecting multi boards together.

If you can't tin the wire then it's not copper. Probably aluminium or steel rubbish.

Hi,

Can you post some pictures of the wire?
A stripped piece and a stripped scraped piece please.

We may be able to see the problem.

Thanks.. Tom... :grinning: :+1: :coffee: :australia:

Thanks folks.

Thinking about it, it probably was aluminium; there was a time when that would have been obvious ... but at 60 when my eyesight isn't what it used to be it's probably not so obvious anymore.

I won't bother trying to post a photo of it; I think our time is probably better spent moving forward rather than backwards. To that end, I've ordered some 1m lengths of 30 awg silicone wire in a variety of colours - will see how that goes. I've worked with silicone wire in the past; I like the way it's possible to separate the insulation from the wire without risking damage to the wire - and from previous experience working with much heavier varients it should tin OK. I really like it's flexability too ... and if I can finally get some consistency in colour coding then that'll be a major bonus too.

Many thanks again for your help everyone.

Is this some cheap stuff from China?

Yes - I got a bunch of 10cm wires with connectors on the end.

Some seemed to solder ok when I cut them - others no such luck. With some the connectors seemed to fit snugly - others were very loose (despite being the same orientation).

My best option to complete the project seemed to be to remove the plastic housing from the connector - insert the connector - then apply some fine solder - and insulate it with heat shrink.

Unfortunately, the relative inflexibility of the wire combined with connector and heat shrink sticking out made for something that was pretty messy; especially considering I couldn't trim the length.

I tried using some ribbon cable tonight to connect to a switch that I damaged when it absorbed too much heat following my failed soldering attempts and it tinned and soldered just fine. I could probably get by just using that, but it seems a little delicate - I'd be concerned about it breaking at the connection if I couldn't remove all the strain (it'll be on my motorbike controlling the grip heaters). I think the silicon 30 awg wire I've ordered will be the best of both worlds.

On a side note, do you (or anyone else) know of any solid state relays that can handle a 14v DC load at about 4A (that's reasonably compact)? I'm currently using on of those cheap as chips electromechanical blue ones, but with a total of about 300 activations per riding hour, I'm concerned that they may not last long. I've used solid state relays for mains AC stuff and they're great, but they only handle 2A and (I think) are AC only - just wondering if anyone has any ideas for switching a 14v 4A DC circuit?

How about a logic level mosfet?

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Ah yes, those. :astonished:

That's the trick. The aluminium rubbish will work with crimped connectors (though connecting dissimilar metals is not really a good idea) but you simply cannot solder it. You can only use those jumpers "as is".

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Thanks for that - looks promising if I can find the right one.

Potential problem with heat dissipation (not much room in a small plastic box), but I can probably work around that by mounting power & switching circuits in one place on the bike - and control + display in the existing box on the handle bars.

They were a step up for breadboard work, but it seems that that advantage didn't translate through to the finished item.

All part of the learning process; I'm a big believer in "taking the first step" and then figuring out a better route once I've made the journey a few times.

Appreciate the help!

See this PDF

I usually use stranded 26-24 silicone insulated wire. very fine strands gives flexibility.

24AWG has 40 strands !

s-l400

My search found one at Adafruit that would laugh at your puny power requirements :wink:

That makes me confident that there are plenty that could suit your needs without too much cooling required.

Thanks for that.

I live in New Zealand and although we're not completely isolated from the rest of the developing world (the horse and cart delivering supplies makes it up and down the country once a month) we often have to "dig a bit" to get the right stuff in a timely manner.

  • AliExpress is cheap - but we typically wait 4 to 6 weeks for delivery and quality is questionable/variable.

  • Some online suppliers can ship overnight, but often it's just sourced from AliExpress anyway - so same quality lottery.

  • Often we can source from quality overseas suppliers - but many have extremely limited shipping options - at the extreme we could well face situations where FEDEX is the only option (costing over $100) for a $2 item.

  • There are some quality niche suppliers with overnight shipping, but the trick is to find them.

"Sorting the wheat from the chaf" comes to mind.

Suggest you bite the bullet and get 30+ meters each of all 9 colors of 24 AWG wire (as I did :wink: ).

s-l400

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Cheers for that. I'll checkout the 1m samples that are on their way and if they work well I'll definitely get some greater quantities.