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Everything Else » Wire connectors

November 15, 2009
by FWSquatch
FWSquatch's Avatar

I'm looking for something to connect 4 wires to 4 other wires in such a way that they can be plugged in and unplugged. I'm really only needing to connect my nerdkit project's enclosure to my PC's USB/Serial cable and Radio Shack's choices left a lot to be desired. I've looked at digikey and a few other sites and I'm absolutely overwhelmed by choices. I have no idea what to choose. Any advice?

November 15, 2009
by mrobbins
(NerdKits Staff)

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Hi FWSquatch,

Something I've done in the past is to use RJ11 connectors, like analog phones use (I imagine that in a few years our younger customers won't know what these are!!!), because you can then use ordinary phone cables to connect things up. (You can also go up to ethernet-style RJ45 if you need 8 conductors.) They even have these jacks at RadioShack if you need them in a hurry, which has screw terminals inside.


  • easily available and fairly inexpensive
  • uses standard, inexpensive cables available in lots of different lengths
  • latching connector


  • can't carry a lot of current
  • unshielded and not necessarily twisted pairs -- may be susceptible to electrical noise and crosstalk over long runs
  • may not be super-elegant or compact to put one of these jacks inside your enclosure


November 16, 2009
by tech20
tech20's Avatar

i have used these before, and for basic data carrying like TLL and sort, it should work fine for quick connection. I'm planning on possibly developing a personal, dev kit for my own use, and will be using this for the uart connection and a RJ45 for the ISP programmer.

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