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Making a semi-permanent connection to the Arduino

I've been looking for a way to make a semi-permanent connection to the connector on the Arduino micro-controller.

The onboard connectors are female PCB header connectors. These are ideal for prototyping as you can stick solid core wires into the connectors, but these are not so good for connecting to another PCBs or external devices.

There are expansion PCBs available known as shields, but they are expensive and a bit too elaborate for the circuit I'm creating as I need to connect to an external PCB for space and heat reasons. I'd also tried soldering direct to straight PCB male headers, but they are very fiddly and the connection was not very secure.

I posted a question on the Arduino Forum - Making physical connections to the Arduino board which had some good suggestions, but still not quite what I was looking for.

Arduino with right-angle PCB header

I've now found an alternative in the form of right angle headers that can be used in conjunction with standard PCB connectors, which are easy to crimp and solder to stranded wire. These are available in a few different sizes, in the example above I have used a pair of 4-way connectors, but these are also available as 8-way connectors. They also take up a lot of space (not an issue in this project), but the good thing is that they do feel fairly secure.

2.54 mm right-angle PCB header suitable for connecting to the Arduino

After some searching I found these connectors from Rapid Electronics ( I think Maplin sell a similar product up to 4-way, although it's not clear from the photo they sound like the same type of connector.

2.54 Right Angle Header at

0.1 Inch Series Right-Angled PCB Header Plugs at Maplin

I've still got some way to go on the project, but I'm making steady progress.

You can follow the progress on my Arduino based, computer controlled disco / theater light project by following PenguinTutor on Facebook or Twitter.