Crimping your own wire connectors

In times where soldering may not be ideal, I would like to share a little of my experience using crimping tools. It won’t solve much if your problem is connecting to parts that don’t fit a breadboard, but in all other cases it can be a good solution.

Before I got this kit, I was told that it was super hard to use, and not reliable wires. To be honest, I don’t know what they were talking about. I used this tool to make a wearable instrument which gets a lot more stress than these tiny wires should take, and they are specially resilient. Here is my head piece hanging by the wire, no strain relief — which is really just stupid, I should just zip tie it to the structure and that would really help it last a little longer.

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photo: Duda Dalzoto in Corpo Sonoro II

Crimping your own wires lets you to make momentary connections, such as any jumper, but controlling the size and quality of both the wire itself and the connection. Dupont connectors, the ones of any square jumpers, fit great into header pins, so if your parts have those, they’ll give you a pretty reliable connection. The connectors come in different models and hold multiple wires, allowing you to run them super tidy.

For the wearable above, the wire that connects the head piece to the chest piece is a good example of what you can do with it. There is a female JST-XH four-wire connector holding the wires in the head piece, and an Arduino Nano 33 IoT in the other side. I soldered 90° header pins to it, and set it on an acrylic circle, so that I could plug the Dupont connectors without any headers sticking out in any direction. This cable, then, had to have a four-wire (4×1) male JST-XH connector on one side, and all Dupont on the other. Since I knew that power and ground and the two data pins could be connected side by side, I used two two-wire (2X1) Dupont connectors.

In the Intentional Clock project, I also crimped my wires to fit tidily the tiny space that I had between the button at the top and the breadboard.

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So, how do you do this thing?! I found the manual in the kit more useful than any tutorials, because it’s so tiny, but this video shows the gist of it, if you’re considering buying it:

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