I have a blinkt pHat that covers the entire GPIO pin array and I'm trying to trigger changes to the LED array after an external prompt. I expected to use a momentary switch connected to the GPIO pins, but the blinkt covers all of the GPIO pins ... is there another set of contacts I can solder some pins to and create an additional spot for a switch, or is there a way to stack headers in such a way that I can "tee" into two pins, or otherwise access two of the GPIO pins?

This is on a pi zero w if it matters.

  • Hi @user3.1415927, Ah, let me see. Yes, there are spacing saving breakout boards they fork all 40 pins to two pairs. And if space is not a problem, you can use a ribbon cable. See my picture: raspberrypi.stackexchange.com/questions/99339/…
    – tlfong01
    Oct 18, 2019 at 2:48
  • You could just buy the accessory Pimoroni sells for the purpose.
    – Milliways
    Oct 18, 2019 at 3:06
  • 1
    I was hoping to not use a ribbon cable, but rather looking for a safe way to tap into a header as it rose up ... another stacking header I suppose. Oct 18, 2019 at 3:24
  • Or you can unplug the male to female duPoint adapter from the HAT, and replace it by any "tappable" or "forkable" breakout stuff you DIY. Seee my answer's Suggestion 4
    – tlfong01
    Oct 18, 2019 at 4:35

1 Answer 1



How to access the GPIO pins blocked by a HAT?


There are many ways to access the GPIO pins blocked by the HAT, each with pros and cons, as summarized below.

(1) Small foot print double breakout, space saving, but rather expensive (Suggestion 1, 3).

(2) Ribbon cable, easy to access GPIO pins, but needs more space (Suggestion 2).

(3) Replace the built in adapter from HAT by DIY one. Easy and flexible, but might have poor contact problem. (Suggestion 4)

(4) Extend the connecting pins between Rpi PCB and HAT, and use DIY 2 wire to one pin wire, or solder / AWG30 wire wrapping. This needs middle level DIY skills (wire wrapping is very reliable, but needs skills and professional tools) (Suggestions 5 to 9).

Suggestion 1

40 pin header breakout

Suggestion 2

ribbon cable

Suggestion 3

header breakout

Suggestion 4

header breakout

Suggestion 5

forked pin

Suggestion 6

header 6

Suggestion 7

stackble header

Suggestion 8

long pin

Suggestion 9

header 8

Suggestion 10 - DIY or AliExpress/Amazon available stackable HAT

enter image description here

Suggestion 11 - Use Mini PCIe Update 2020jan14hkt0924

Mini PCI-e

Suggestion 12 - Hacking a ribbon cable update 2020jan14hkt1936

(1) Aligning and Crimping Ribbon Connectors

(2) Custom Cables & Guide to Crimping Dupont PCB Interconnect Cables

ribbon cable hacking

Suggestion 13 - WaveShare SIM7600 4G HAT

waveshare sim7600 hat

Suggestion 14 - AdaFruit PermaPro HAT

adafruit permapro hat

/ to continue, ...


(1) AliExpress Rpi GPIO stackable extra long 20 pin x 2 header - US$2

(2) AliExpress Ugeek Rpi 20x2 GPIO Header, stackable, double male, right angle male, female header - US$3

(3) AB Electronics Stackable Rpi HATs

(4) I2C Multiple Pin Wiring Discussion

(5) Adafruit Perma-Proto HAT for Rpi (No EEPROM)

(6) Rpi HAT Shopping Tips - Les Pounder 2020jun24

/ to continue, ...


Appendix A - What is the difference between "HAT", "pHAT", and "bonnet" ?

pHAT usually referred to "partial" HAT, a small size HAT for RpiZero/W. Lady Ada calls it a "bonnet".

/ to continue, ...

End of answer

  • 2
    Your pictures are ... interesting, but would be more useful with at least a short description. I've had difficulty finding the split/tappable headers as well, but I'm sure they exist. Thank you for the variety of ideas though, they have been a good starting point for further research. Oct 23, 2019 at 1:16
  • @user3.1415927, Your suggestion is good. So I have updated my answer with an introductory summary of the suggestions. Actually I have a couple more other suggestions, but some are HAT specific, ... In case you are particularly interested in any of the suggestions, I am happy to give more details.
    – tlfong01
    Oct 23, 2019 at 1:58
  • @user3.141592, I have just updated my answer with yet one more suggestion: an example of a stackable HAT. By the way, I did not explicitly mention that Piromori is a good place to find maker friendly pins and headers etc. As you can see in my answer they have the most comprehensive collection of such things. However I hesitate to mention the name Piromori (or AdaFruit), because I am a poor hobbyist, and I NEVER buy expensive toys from AdaFruit, SparkFun, or Piromori. I do recommend them, but almost always at the same time I also show how to buy cheaper versions from AliExpress or TaoBao.
    – tlfong01
    Oct 27, 2019 at 1:48

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.