The idea is the following: I have a Raspberry PI connected to a breadboard. To this breadboard, I would like to connect (digital and analog) sensors and actuators while the PI is running. Or remove them.

As far as I know, even with the grounding connected first, this is not a great idea which might work for x-times and then cause severe damage. I am not sure what are the heuristics for removing though.

My main issue is that I cannot tell what kind of sensors/actuators I have to deal with, so I would like to have a general solution. In best case it would be some piece of hardware which connected, stabilizes the Voltage.

  • Possible duplicate of Hot plugging the GPIO cable
    – Brick
    Jun 17, 2019 at 13:03
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  • 1
    Same answer as last time you asked this question, there is no good way to deal with every possible type, are the sensors 3.3V, 5V,12V,24V? Need a separate supply? The pi doesn't have analog I/O so you would need to have some converter for that. Is it analog voltage being read? 4-20mA current loop? Actuators are going to need to have some sort of hardware driver to take the 3.3v output from the pi and probably increase voltage/current as well as protect the pi from feedback. It is not feasible to build the hardware/code for every possible option.
    – Chad G
    Jun 17, 2019 at 16:22

1 Answer 1



  1. Rpi connected breadboard

  2. Breadboard connection to digital and analog sensors.

  3. Breadboard connected to actuators, eg motors and solenoids.

  4. Might work for many times and then cause severe damage.

  5. A general solution for all kinds of sensors and actuators



In the last couple of years, I have been playing with over 50 sensors and actuators. Usually I start with a bread board, and a adjustable/band select 3V3/5V/12V/24V/30V PSU from 1A to 25A (for 7V servos and 12V solenoids)

Breadboard is only for prototyping. When I make sure my testing circuit work, I would move to protoboads, of size 4x4 cm, 5x7, 7x10 (most commonly used), 10 x15, ups to 20x30 cm(A4 size), with 2/3mm fibre glass and 3/4/5 mm acyrlic base. Below are two types of protoboards:

project towers

I usually use separate boards for ADCs and sensors, and usually one ADC or one sensor for one board, sometimes 4 ADC and 6 sensors on one board.

I think you begin to see the complexity of structuring the protoboards. All my big and small proto boards are stackable, and I usually stack up to 4 or 5 board to make a tower, and some or my projects consists of 6 or 8 towers each up to 30 cm high, with power and data cables all mingled.

I usually us DuPont connectors for signals, and Tanika connectors for power. The Rpi almost always has it own PSU, so that I can hot plug the signal cables of senors and actuators with or without connecting the power.

Because there are many kinds of signal cables: UART, SPI, I2C, GPIO, 3V3 and 5V0, so I need to colour code the cables. And often each group of actuators and sensor have their own dedicated power supply, so I can separately power off/on one group of devices, ...

So you see it is not practical to do what you wish to do. And this is my answer. :)

Perhaps I should later show you some of my breadboards and protoboards and protoboard towers. I used to have industrial grade 19" rack mounts to hold the low profile towers, but I found them not flexible. So for now I only use racks without walls and covers (except for 200VAC mains components), for easy maintenance.

Update 2019jun19hkt1512

This GPS sensor modules have 15 meters DB9 serial cable, 3 metr active annetna, therefore not practical to secure to a breadboard. :)

gps module setup. / to continue, ...

Update 2019jun19hkt1734

Though I don't have a big, universal piece of hardware, as the OP says for all things, but I do have smaller pieces of smaller pieces of hardware, in the form of protoboards, each for a small group of ADC/senor/actuator below is an example, it is a sort of semi hot plugable, reusable, protoboard for generic SPI/I2C/UART devices. The routing cables has buffer/temporary/easily replacable middleman type short cables, which when worn out after a big number of plugging/unplugging, can be easily replaced, without any necessity to replace the permanent long cables. The temporary cables also are cable tied to the brass spacing post to do strain relief. These things are what I have been doing these years, and should satisfy part of the OP's requirements! :)

ad8933 protoboard_2019jun1901


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