I hope this question is not too broad. I am checking for quite some time for cables and connectors to be used on my (future) project.

I checked RS232, 4-pin, molex, etc. but I think they do not fit quite well for what I'm looking for.

What I want is a communication:

  • Between 1 and around max 5 Arduino's
  • One is the controller
  • Others are slave
  • All messages are between controller and slave (and vice versa)
  • Communication needs to be fast (small packages, like 4-10 bytes, less than 1 ms, preferably less).

What I want are connectors that

  • Can pass I2C
  • Can pass +5 and GND (max 12 V / 1 A, probably less than 1A), so I can power several Arduinos with one cable per Arduino (from one Arduino to another), with just one power adapter (12V/1A)
  • Can be built (easily) in a panel/mount/DIY/enclosure box
  • Cheap if possible

And accompanying cables that: - are short (I want to stack the Arduino's on top of each other but each in a separate enclosure), so 5-10 cm is enough. - are cheap if possible

If there is another solution it would even be better.

If there is a better way instead of I2C for such short distances to send messages back and forth between Arduinos I'm also interested to know.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Based on your description, I2C sounds like a good fit. Crimp-on connectors on ribbon cable would be a good way to create the physical bus among the stacked boxes. With a little care, it could even be made to be "hot-pluggable". \$\endgroup\$
    – Dave Tweed
    May 24, 2017 at 14:31
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I'm referring to IDC connectors like these. A miniature bench vise can be used to squeeze them together squarely. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dave Tweed
    May 24, 2017 at 16:10
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ In that case, look at DE-9 connectors. You can still use ribbon cable to create the "bus". \$\endgroup\$
    – Dave Tweed
    May 24, 2017 at 16:59
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I agree with Dave Tweed. DE-9 connectors are easy to solder, very robust (can be plugged and unplugged many times), and can be easily panel-mounted. \$\endgroup\$ May 24, 2017 at 17:12
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ It's the same thing. A lot of people get the name wrong. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dave Tweed
    May 24, 2017 at 19:19

1 Answer 1


Any jumper wire or "Dupont" connector can be used for this. 4 pin cables are easy to get, but depending on your wiring or where each pin is, ones with individual connectors may be better.

I2c is ideal for this, as you only need 50 cm max between the boards and they can be chained without needing extra pins/wire. Spi would need an extra wire for each one and a uart is really point to point, not a bus like i2c.

You may want to split power on it's own cable though. 4 amps would be too much for a single 24 awg cable. If it's 1 amp between the 5 arduinos, then you don't need to separate them.

That said, why does each arduino need to be separate? At 20 inches total distance, it seems a bit unneeded. Use a better microcontroller or combine them in one box.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the answer, I only made an edit and made a new question, since I need more distance than 50 cm (like 2 meters). Also I think having each their own power is better (I can use simple usb cable/power, 5V, 1A). The reason I want them to be split, is one way to learn more about splitting two devices, but also that one one of them I want to add RFs which may need a different position than the other (which needs to be more statically located on one of my music synthesizer). \$\endgroup\$ Aug 14, 2017 at 7:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ new question (but related): electronics.stackexchange.com/questions/323852/… \$\endgroup\$ Aug 14, 2017 at 7:55

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