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2x36 pin header IDC

2.54 mm (0.1") Pitch Male Connector 36 pin Header

thumbnail: 3 position female connector with 2.54mm pitch

3 position female connector with 2.54mm pitch

White prototyping breadboard with 30 tie strips and two power rails on each side.

White Prototyping Breadboard (2x30 columns of tie strips and 2x2 rows of power strips)

Clear Semi Transparent Breadboard

Clear Prototyping Breadboard (2x30 columns of tie strips and 2x2 rows of power strips)

Thumbnail: A bundle of 65 jumper wires of various length and color. Bound together with the male connectors shown in the foreground.

Bundle of 65 Male to Male Flexible Jumper Wires

A single mini breadboard 17X10. Black color.
Single White 17X10 mini breadboard
Single Blue 17x10 Mini Breadboard
A single 17x10 mini breadboard (Red)
Single Green Mini Breadboard
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Making Convenient Connectors for Prototyping - Using Standard Headers

Using convenient connectors during the prototyping stage is key to getting dependable and predictable results very quickly. In the videos for this tutorial, I will show you how to make Do-It-Yourself connectors that are strong and very professional in appearance. I will use standard male headers to provide for the connection to the breadboard, and standard female headers consisting of a female housing and crimp pins. Making the female headers is not quite as "DIY" as is the construction of the male headers, but I use a standard needle nose pliers to do the crimping so there is a hint of DIY in the process.

Making a good male connector sturdy and functional:

The key to a sturdy connector male connector is to provide both a mechanical and a soldered connection. Yes, mechanics do come into play--even in the fine details of electronics. Simply put, the mechanical connection provides more surface area available to be soldered to the header pin. Since the short side of the header pin has very little protrusion, it is crucial to use a mechanical crimp to maximize the quality of the connection. To make this mechanical connection, we start by just stripping the insulation off a very small gauge wire (I'm using a flat cable in this case), somewhere around 24 or 26 gauge (or smaller). Now take the bare portion of the wire and wrap it around the lead, and this becomes the mechanical connection. Solder the wire and header pin together, and the connection is relatively permanent. In fact I dare you to separate the wire and lead! It's tough... If you are wondering what a non-mechanical connection would look like, just imagine the wire placed alongside the lead and the two soldered together. It might be prettier, but I promise that you will just about tear out your hair trying to get those two wires together!

Finally, it is advisable to cover the finished wire connections with shrink-tube to provide insulation from adjacent pins. This will be illustrated in the first of two videos that accompany this tutorial.

Making the Female Connector:

This is actually not much of a mystery, since we are using the standard method (except for the tool used). The parts involved are a small crimp pin (female), and a female connector housing of 2.54 mm (0.1 inch) pitch. Pitch is the distance from one pin to another, measured from the center of the pins. A needle-nose pliers is used for the crimping, as shown in the second video. I prefer to use the professional crimper, but they are expensive and the typical hobbyist might not have one laying around.