Wiring final touches: making it look professional

When wiring stuff up, I would like to make it look all purty. For instance, I have the ultrasonic sensor HC-SRO4. It's got 4 standard pins at the standard distance apart. I think it would look cool if I had a four-pin whatchamacallit that I could put on it and then run the wires back to the arduino. Or maybe I will need to install some of those pins for other projects. What are those pins/connectors, in general, called so I can search for them? Like the ICSP header. If I wanted to find a connector to go on that, how would I search for it? Are male and female connectors like that available that I can crimp onto wires to make my own wires? Are there kits of wires of various lengths premade with those connectors on them? Are the connectors (male and female) available for soldering onto a PCB as needed?

I certainly share your desire to make my projects look real spanky like. I've even, admittedly, choose particular wire nuts based on pretty colors.

Anywho, when it comes to connectors, there's no shortage of options. The ones you're referring to, like the ICSP header, sound like ribbon crimp connectors: https://www.sparkfun.com/products/10651

As far as the male side, you can go with breakway headers: https://www.sparkfun.com/products/116

These allow you to break-off as many as you need. There's also two row versions. The only thing I would say about the break aways is that, at least when I do it, tend to leave a rough edge at the break-off point. So, I tend to get a bunch of equal size, and matching ribbons cables. On a lot of my projects, I don't utilize all the pins, but it saves me some time and looks all pro like. My fav pair is the shrouded 2x5's:

Male Header - https://www.sparkfun.com/products/8506 Female to Female 6" cable - https://www.sparkfun.com/products/8535

For connectors that are external, I'm a big fan of the 6-pin chassis connectors: https://www.sparkfun.com/products/11475

They screw in, so you're sure to have a real swell connection.

For more power hungry projects, I tend to use molex connectors: https://www.sparkfun.com/products/11297

Oh, and these spring terminals, albiet slightly off-topic, are a god sent: https://www.sparkfun.com/products/8077

When it comes to interfacing with the Arduino, I typically make my own shield to put on top of the arduino so I can route the IO pins to a nice pretty header. This also allows me to swap out my arduino, if needed by just pulling off the shield and plopping it on another arduino. Here's the blank shield I use:


Well, I could, obviously, speak at great lengths about making projects pretty, but hopefully I answered your question. I have a bunch of fun tips on labeling as well, if you're interested ^_^

Thanks! That was very helpful.

I collected a lot of different cables over time from taking apart computers and other electronics.most fit the male breakaway header pins. Be on the lookout for old electronics. You can find a lot of useful stuff in them!

Great point about recycling connectors! Old computers are a goldmine for parts! Where else can you get a 80-pin 2-foot ribbon cable for nothing? Also a good source for molex connectors (power cables), DB-9s, and not to mention a free 12v/5v/3.3v 8amp regulated power supply!

I keep all my old electronics and broken, never throw it away. My basement is a graveyard to this stuff. Anyone want a 286/20 motherboard?

Only if it comes with a math coprocessor. :)

Only if it comes with a math coprocessor. :slight_smile:

No, but I did have one for my 386 rig. Look at this beauty. Check out all the LSI/MSI chips on this mother: