Menu Close

How to Make and Repair Pin Header Cables

Instead of direct soldering, we use standard pin headers extensively to make wiring up easy and clean. In many cases, you may want to make your own cables or repair damaged cables. Here are two quick tutorials on making and repairing pin header cables.

Making Pin Header Cables

For this tutorial, we will focus on one use-case: Making a cable suitable for the Nu Capsule, but the same instructions can apply to other uses. The cable has two 2-pin connectors suitable for the Nu Capsule’s 2mm Pin Headers using a 28-30 AWG shielded cable with this pinout:

Red Power (V+)
Black Ground (GND)
White Signal (Out)

The Final Assembly

Tools and Materials

  • Wire Stripper
  • Crimping Tool
  • Shileded Wire (28-30 AWG Core)
  • 2mm Dupont Crimp Housing
  • 2mm Dupont Crimp Terminals
  • 3/64″ or 1/16″ Heat-Shrink Tube
  • 1/8″ Heat-Shrink Tube

Information on where to buy these tools and materials is provided at the bottom of this page.

If you do not have a crimping tool, it is possible, with some basic skills, to use small needle-nose pliers. See the video at the right on how this is done.

Procedure

Using the wire stripper, strip the wire to the correct length. Hold the unstripped wire close to the crimp terminal to see how much wire needs to be stripped. Notice that the crimp terminal has two tabs. One should wrap around the bare wire, and the other should wrap around the jacket, for additional strength.

We’ll split the ground wire into two. Each will go to one of two pairs of connectors, as seen in the final assembly above. Split the stranded shield wire into two before twisting the strands together.

Before Splitting
After Splitting

Insert a 3/64″ or 1/16″ heat-shrink tube into the twisted shield wires, while leaving enough bare wire for the crimp terminals. Heat the tubes to shrink, wrapping the wires tightly.

Crimp the terminals and the tip of the wires together. Use the 1/4″ cavity size for the 2 mm crimp terminals. The Crimping tool will crimp the tabs that wrap around the jacket and the bare wire.

After crimping, insert the crimp contacts into the crimp housing making sure that they snap together, locking the terminals properly. You will hear a click when the crimp contact is properly secured in its place. Make sure you insert all GND wires (black) into position 1, indicated by a small molded triangle in the crimp housing, as shown in the image below-right. Also, for additional stability, insert and heat to shrink a 1/8″ heat-shrink tube into the main cable jacket, slightly protruding into the wires.

After this, the cable is now ready for solder-free connection to your Nu Capsule.

Repairing Pin Header Cables

Here’s a quick tutorial on how to fix broken pin header connectors.

Remove the broken crimp contact inside the crimp housing. Use tweezers to slightly bend the plastic crimp lock outward. Be careful not to bend it too much or it will break off the housing.

Push the crimp contact in the housing outward using tweezers until it can be fully extracted and removed.

Gently return the crimp lock to its original position by pushing it lightly inwards towards the housing.

Extend the length of the broken wire

Do this only if necessary —when the wire is too short to reach the crimp housing for a suitable connection. Skip this step if the wire is still long enough for crimping.

Strip the end of the broken wire. Get another wire, 26-28AWG (preferably with the same color as the broken wire), and strip one end. Twist the stripped ends of the two wires and solder the twisted ends.

Clean up the soldered part and cover the exposed wires with heat-shrink tube. Cut the wire to the correct length. Hold the unstripped wire close to the crimp terminal to see how much wire needs to be cut and stripped. Notice that the crimp terminal has two tabs. One should wrap around the bare wire, and the other should wrap around the jacket, for additional strength. Using the wire stripper, strip the end ready for crimping.

Crimping

Use a 2mm crimp contact. Crimp the terminals and the tip of the wires together using the 1/4″ cavity size for the 2 mm crimp terminals. The Crimping tool will crimp the tabs that wrap around the jacket and the bare wire.

If you do not have a crimping tool, it is possible, with some basic skills, to use small needle-nose pliers. See the video at the right on how this is done.

After crimping, insert the crimp contact into the housing, making sure that they snap together, locking the terminal properly. You will hear a click when the crimp contact is properly secured in its place.

Where to Buy

Follow the links below to where you can buy the items needed in this tutorial. The tools and materials are fairly common. These are not the only sources.

  1. 1×2 2mm Crimp Housing: Mouser
  2. 2mm Crimp Terminals: Mouser
  3. Crimp Tool: Amazon
  4. Cable (2 cores + shield): Aliexpress