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Clean wiring and connectors

Posted: Sat Mar 06, 2010 12:28 pm
by Stoobiedoo
Hey Jeff and forum members,
As I start doing more projects, I'm generally frustrated with my wiring and connections. There are a lot of times that I want to be able to create cables to easily and securely connect my projects. So far, most of my larger projects and car stereo equipment, I've used terminal strips with spade connectors or the blade style slide in connectors. Those get really bulky for smaller signal wires that I would like to run to and from my Arduino.
Can you do a post on the different types of connectors that are used for smaller connections, what tools and parts are needed and how to do the crimps so they hold? Molex, mini din, d-subs, flex ribbon connectors, etc.
For example, I've got 8 LEDs and power, ground wires for a project I'm working on. Is there a way I could make a single cable to clean up this mess of wires.
Thanks for the help

Re: Clean wiring and connectors

Posted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 3:15 pm
by mightyohm
Hey Stu!

I don't have a ton of experience with small connectors, but I have had good luck with the AMP Universal Mate-N-Lok series of rectangular connectors available from Digikey (and probably elsewhere). They come in a wide variety of sizes and are very sturdy - I am using them for the fuel injection harness in the engine compartment of my 914 and have never had an issue with them.

The important thing is to get the right pins for the size of wire you are using.

More info about crimp tools and some example part numbers for the Mate-N-Loks are in the handout I wrote for the Maker Faire a couple years ago:

If you need smaller connectors, I can recommend the Molex Micro-Fit and Mini-Fit Jr. series, available at Jameco and Digikey, etc. AMP probably has an equivalent but I don't know the name.

Keep in mind that every connector series usually has it's own recommended crimp tool. Jameco sells a tool for every major series and they are very reasonably priced. Sometimes you can get away with using a generic crimp tool (like the one I mention in the handout) but not always (especially for really small or big crimp pins).

Re: Clean wiring and connectors

Posted: Wed Mar 02, 2011 7:57 pm
by mnphysicist
The following from IPC may seem like overkill, but it has saved many a ton of grief. Generic low priced tools may or may not do a good job, as such it is important that you test and verify your process. There is nothing worse than having to deal with crimps randomly failing underneath ones dash.

Re: Clean wiring and connectors

Posted: Mon Mar 14, 2011 1:06 pm
by mightyohm
Too bad IPC standards are not downloadable (for free).