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Often I want to connect components that operate at less than 5v (I mention this as it may have a bearing on the gauge of the wire?) But have an easy way to disconnect.

Screw terminals are nice but they can be slow when there are multiple wires.

Breadboards are too fragile for field testing.

I was thinking of using RCA audio video jacks and plugs, but they seem so big... Is there something similar but smaller?

I'm looking to connect things like sensors and breakout boards.

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I like screwless terminals:

Wago 2060 series:

Wago 2060 series

Wago 233 series:

Wago 233 series

These just require a simple push down of a screwdriver to insert or remove cable.

For easy-to-make cable, IDC ribbon connectors are nice, as you don't have to strip the cable, just insert it into the connector and compress gently with a vice.

IDC ribbon connector

Alternatively if you don't mind screwing the terminals in once, but then want easy disconnect / reconnect, try pluggable terminal blocks:

Pluggable terminal blocks

These are also available in screwless types.

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I use multi-position dupont headers to connect/disconnect multiple pins at once on a PCB or breadboard.

Multi-position dupont headers

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  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Just be careful you don't plug in the wire the wrong way around. Keyed connectors would prevent this. \$\endgroup\$ – Gerben Aug 11 '15 at 15:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ If it's four pins there are keyed connectors of this type from the RC (Radio Controlled) world. They're usually called Futaba connectors because they are primarily used by Futaba equipment. RC enthusiasts often cut off the keying from Futaba equipment when using them with equipment from other manufacturers. \$\endgroup\$ – slebetman Aug 12 '15 at 3:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ These pins look vicious !! \$\endgroup\$ – K. Rmth Aug 12 '15 at 7:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ Eh, they're fairly blunt so you'd have to use an indecent amount of force in order to pierce skin. \$\endgroup\$ – Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Aug 12 '15 at 7:52
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I tend to use standard machine-pin socket strips like those used for IC sockets. They are inexpensive, small, very reliable.

My connection wire is standard 24 AWG solid copper wire. The wire I use is from multi-pair telephone cable (25 pair all the way up to 1000 pair) that I get from some of the Telco guys that I know. But solid-conductor CAT-5 cable is exactly the same wire and works just as well.

The advantages of using those machine-pin sockets is that they come in strips that match the spacing of the Veroboard (Stripboard) that I often use for making little doodads. These might be LED displays, or DIP switches (with pull-up resistors) or whatever.

These are available from eBay, Amazon, many other suppliers. The search string that I used just now in eBay was "machine pin (socket, strip, breakable)" and one of the items that showed up was 10pc SIP Socket 1x40 40p Pitch=2.54mm Female Screw machine round hole/pin RoHS for US $5.80.

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