I just got a raspberry Pi, and I am more familiar with software than hardware. Can I plug my ribbon cable into the GPIO pins if my Pi is on?

  • there's nothing to prevent you to do that, however I would not recommend it. – lenik Aug 2 '14 at 10:18

The simple answer is it depends, partly on what is connected at the other end.

Strictly you should NOT, as you cannot guarantee what order connections would be made. (USB etc devices designed for hot plugging have mechanisms to ensure Ground and Power are connected before data.)

In practice it is unlikely to cause any damage, unless there is a possibility of connecting +5V to GPIO pins.

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  • Well put. I remember when I set up a hot-plug RAID system that the connectors had the power pins extend slightly further out than the data pins because the electronics were happier if they had power before data, even if by only a few ms. – SDsolar May 3 '17 at 16:48

As your questions stands, yes you can plug a ribbon cable into the Pi.

This is the same as manually connecting each GPIO pin to a single piece of wire.

What are you plugging it into?

As with any hardware on the GPIO I would recommend only plugging/unplugging when the power is Pi is off and the power disconnected.

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