But what about adding your own headers to these boards? Or even to to breadboards? Adding your own headers can make prototyping a lot easier – and some companies even provide PCB sections specifically for this purpose.
If you’ve ever wondered why you might want a ‘Stacking header‘ or a ‘40-pin strip‘, read on…
The only problem with adding more headers is that it can be quite expensive to buy individual pieces every time you undertake a new project. Luckily 4Tronix have put together a handy grab bag of mixed headers for you to get creative with, and should cover you for every situation.
The grab bag comes with the following headers:
- 3 x GPIO 26-way female headers
- 3 x 40-way male headers (standard)
- 3 x 40-way male headers (extra long for stacking)
- 3 x 40-way female headers
- 6 x 6-way female headers
- 6 x 8-way female headers
Whilst the grab bag comes with a lot of specific size headers, the larger 40-pin strips are intended to be cut down, giving you the flexibility to create your own custom size headers. There are 2 types of these in the bag:
Female 40-pin Headers
These can be easily cut down to size to meet your requirements:
Male 40-pin Headers
Examples of Using Extra Headers
The Humble Pi from Ciseco is a great breakout board, offering handy ‘lanes’ of 0.1″ connections for prototyping, as well as breaking out the GPIO. There are loads of options here:
The ProtoLab from AlienSpec is one of the few boards that offers the user the option to add additional header connectors of their choice – giving specific breakout lanes of 0.1″ PCB holes to add them.
Cutting down one of the 40-pin female headers allowed me to really improve this board:
3. Add Pins to an LCD Module
I’ve used LCD modules in the past (with my PiRadio) and getting the wires in the right place can be challenging – I had to re-solder wires a number of times.
Adding a header to the module makes things a lot easier as you can use jumper wires instead of soldering, or you can push it straight into a breadboard:
4. Pin-out a Pi Crust
The Pi Crust from Pi-Supply is a great little breakout board, thanks mostly to it’s low-profile header. If you’ve run out of male jumper wires, you can add male headers to convert it:
5. Boost a Breadboard
Breakout boards are fine, but almost all of us will initially start our projects on a breadboard. Once again, this little trick can be handy if you’re running low on female jumper wires:
Over to you
Hopefully that’s given you some inspiration for your next project, whether you’re using a breakout board or just a regular breadboard. I’ve certainly found it makes things a lot clearer, especially with chips in a breadboard when jumper wires can get a bit confusing.