Getting Started with Raspberry Pi and GPIO

This is not a tutorial, this is a record…

I’m interested in having my Android phone communicate with hardware in my home for automation purposes. My first steps are to prepare a development set-up so that I can develop appropriate circuits. The set-up is just a ribbon cable connector and a bit of perfboard with pin headers soldered in.

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This is the ribbon cable. The electronics store had a Raspberry Pi GPIO connectivity kit for $12.99, but I knew I had most of the stuff and could probably do it for cheaper. I bought 50-conductor cable, since the store didn’t have 26-conductor. You can just peel away the extra conductors if you don’t mind the price difference. I also bought some IDC (Insulation-Displacement Connector) 26-pin dealies. The first attempt to compress the connector onto the wires worked great, the second attempt at the other end of the cable wasn’t so great: I didn’t use enough care and broke the connector, and had to go back to the store to get more connectors.

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The perfboard is from a pack of 10 that I bought from dealextreme.ca ages ago. The pin headers were also in my parts bin. I used 28-gauge wire and wove it through the perfboard to connect the pins. After soldering the wire in place, I cut the extra connections. I think this might be my own style. It isn’t the neatest but it works and is a lot quicker and less tricky than cutting and manipulating a bunch of tiny link wires. I thoroughly checked it with a multimeter and a 5x magnifying loupe to ensure that it is correct.

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I also had to do a minor modification to the Pibow case so that the strain relief would fit with the lid tightened down. I did this with a dremel, and as you can see, I did not take the time to make it look perfect. Do not follow my example. Or do, whatever!

Anyways, if you only count the things I bought today, the cable cost me about $9. Not much of a savings over the $12 kit the store had, and certainly not as fancy-looking, but I like doing things myself if I can. This is my hobby, after all.

Next up I will do something with this development set-up.

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