Let's Make Robots!

Making Your Own Jumpers

I recently wired up my Vader Service Droid, but I'm not happy with the resulting rats nest of jumper wires. The mess is partially due to the pre-fabed jumper wires. I'm stuck with jumpers that are tool long in a lot of cases and too short in others.  I managed to cluge it all together using some header pins and with solid wire, but the result feels...less than optimum.

Has anyone had success in building their own F-F and M-F jumpers to custom lengths? 

I also saw that you can buy crimp-on connectors, various housings and a crimping tool. I found them here: http://www.pololu.com/search?query=crimp+tool&x=0&y=0  with a video tutorial here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=K7Qb3DzIX3s

Has anyone tried these?

Beyond that I'm curious about methods people have used to reduce  the rats nest syndrome when having to wire together multiple boards, sensors, servos, etc.

I thought of bundling or twisting some wire groups together  that route to similar areas and/or  using D-shell connectors to make 'production breaks' so that the stack of boards can be taken apart if needed without having to completely start over wire-by-wire to put it back together.

Thanks for the feedback.


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Lots of good comments about the jumpers. Custom lengths would help,  but maybe that's not enough.  What if jumpers could come with 90 degree ends?  If you could lay the wires down it might be easier to bundle them,  easier to access unused locations and stack boards that are jumpered. Ever seen pre-built jumpers like that? The plastic end holding the crimped wire would need to be molded with a 90 bend. 


you can get header pins in 90 degree in both male and female.  then if using the crimp housings I just make my cables and plug them in.  

you can even get the housings in 2 and 3 row configurations as well as the header pins which seems very convenient.

It's easy enough to make M-M jumpers with 90° bends. Just get the 90° male headers, solder the wires to them and then put a small piece of heatshrink over the solder joint.

90° Female headers would need to be done a similar way otherwise a 2 piece mold would be needed and they are too small for that.

I like the jumpers that have hard plastic housings, male and female.   Maybe if a 90 degree header pin were soldered into a female jumper end before it's inserted into the housing.  On the female type maybe the housing could be in two pieces that snap together.  Ya think? 

they also have male/female "connectors" things like little parts that go around the connection to hold them together.  I think it really only works between 2 housings though.

I have a love/hate relationship with these.  I love how easy the are to work with and being able to make custom lengths and how you can buy different sizes (numbers of pins) but I HATE having to actually make the wires.  the crimper I have will sometimes let the connectors shift before I crimp them and they get ruined, and it takes forever.  making custom wiring can easily end up being the most time consuming part of a build for me.

recently I used a ribbon cable and cut the length I needed then managed to crimp male header pins to it.  that seemed to work well.  I also like getting a spool of 3 wire servo cable for making wires.  I think the spool was $12usd on amazon and I have been using the same spool for 2+ years now...

That's a good point. If the point of jumpers is keeping things modular to save the time it would take to solder permanent boards, if you take more time to crimp a dozen and a half wires at a particular length than you would to solder the board and connectors, haven't you beaten yourself?

The problem with soldering wires to the boards is that if you want to repair, replace or upgrade something you will probably have to cut or unsolder the wires.

personally, I don't do the header pin cables for time savings, for me its about being able to take stuff apart for maintenance etc.  when I build stuff Iike to do it all in a non-permanent way.  everything can come apart.  with machine screws and nuts and nothing glued or soldered that doesn't need to be.  so I can always take it apart, upgrade, maintain etc.  it takes way longer that way, but its just my preference.

Sorry. Posting from Exercycle.