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Does the Raspberry Pi have its own connectors for the 26 GPIO pins? If not what connectors do Pi users typically use for connecting these pins to peripherals?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

You have a couple of options:

  • Female to male jumper wires (for use with a breadboard),
  • Alternatively you can add a set of female headers to the Pi and use the more common male to male jumper wires,
  • You can use a floppy drive ribbon cable (because the cable has more pins than the Pi it will hang over the edge and prevent it from being used with a case/enclosure),
  • You can make your own ribbon cable,
  • Adafruit (and most other Pi suppliers) has a ribbon cable (also available in white though not linked) specifically made to fit the Pi that works with many of the available cases.
  • They also offer a product called the Pi Cobbler which includes a cable, PCB and headers which make protoyping with a breadboard a breeze (this too is available in two styles)

For a more permanent installation I might use a ribbon cable and etch a custom PCB.

In the end which method you choose comes down to price, convenience, and how much you will be modifying your circuit.

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The pins are standard 0.1 inch spacing pins, so you have a lot of options including

  1. ribbon cable with IDC connectors. Good option if you want to bring all the pins to another board using a single cable. Downside is that the IDC connectors have wide sides which means you must use one that completely covers the header.
  2. single pin crimp sockets. These are commonly found on jumper wires and often used for prototyping. Not a great soloution for final systems though as connecting and disconnecting the Pi is a pain.
  3. crimp pins in larger housings. These are readilly available from large electronics suppliers but the crimp tools can be a bit pricy. You can also sometimes salvage them with wires always attatched from scrap PC cases. These can be a good soloution if you want to connect to a group of pins but not the whole header or if you need wires going off from the header to a variety of places.
  4. various styles of board to board connector including ones with long square pins that allow stacking.

Unfortunately every brand has it's own names for these things, so finding them in supplier catalogues can be a bit tricky.

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