Resources and components for the physical infrastructure part of a project

I've been playing around with the Arduino for a while, and I love it. The problem that I am running into is how to build the infrastructure for a project. For example, how to connect components, how to run power, what to mount the components on, etc. An example might be best.

I have built the logic for a greenhouse sensor system (it's for veggie starts before you ask...). I've used the breadboard for the prototype, but I want to move to the actual system. This is where I am stuck. I need to have wires running to the sensors/etc for power and logic, but how do I put it together? I've tried using molex connections from hard drives, but I don't have a lot of them and I am not sure how to use them properly (my attempts are always loose). What connectors are good to use in what situation? What surface should I mount everything to? What is a good way to attach the long run wires? I don't want to use a PCB for the electronic components (they are fairly simple), so what else can I use?

I know there are a lot of questions. Answers for each would be awesome, as would a resource that covers this part of projects.

Thanks! Erick


I would go with a protoshield ( : see the last picture) to solder the peripherals and connectors. As far as connectors go, I'd use screw connectors ( those offer more flexibility than Molex (I remember we had a specific tool to crimp the molex thingies).

You can also pick up a vero board ( and solder pins, and whatever your project needs, the problem is the spacing on the side of the Arduino that won't fit that row.

You might also consider RJ11 / RJ45 (phone/ ethernet / modular) plugs and sockets. Female/female couplers are reusable and under a dollar each if you put male plugs on both your sensors and head ends, but of course you could use female jacks as well.

The 24 gauge wires in ethernet cables are rated about 500ma each.

Can also get pre-bent headers for the D8-D13 header.

Thanks for the suggestions. I have a bunch of spare Ethernet cable that I am planning to use. Everything I am planning to do should fall under 500mA.

For molex connectors, what is the best way to insert/set the pins?

Does anyone have any websites/projects that have good physical infrastructure? That is one thing that I really like about instructables - it has good detail on the boring, but important, parts. :)

Thanks, Erick