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I have to attach some 14-pin DIP headers (looks like these) to a 14-connector ribbon cable. I have the headers and the cable, but realize I don't know how to crimp them on correctly. I'm sure there's a tool for this, but most ribbon cable crimp tools seem to be IDC connector plier style that isn't designed to fit a DIP header in the clamp.

I'm sure there is something obvious that I'm not searching correctly for. How do I attach these things correctly? Thanks!

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Isn't that an IDC connector? One that small you can probably attach with just pliers, if not by hand. \$\endgroup\$
    – Hearth
    Commented Sep 2, 2021 at 23:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ I would use a small vise - but you'll have to make a jig to protect/support the pins, or sacrifice an IC socket to support the connector while crimping. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 2, 2021 at 23:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ @PeterBennett that looks like an answer \$\endgroup\$
    – jsotola
    Commented Sep 3, 2021 at 1:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ I’ve used a few layers of dot board or strip board to crimp these connectors along with a vice or multigrips at a pinch. edit dot board aka perfboard. Strip board aka veroboard. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kartman
    Commented Sep 3, 2021 at 1:54
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    \$\begingroup\$ Socket as sacrificial anvil for pins. . Flat board or similar on top. Press/vice/clamp/.... to compress. \$\endgroup\$
    – Russell McMahon
    Commented Sep 3, 2021 at 11:41

3 Answers 3

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As others correctly point out, you can use pliers or a small vice. I have used a heavy book and just push hard on it, but there is always the risk of breaking the connector or getting hurt (have done both).

However, the "proper" tool for such connectors is a table press, and like most professional crimping tools they get expensive fast. They look like this:

enter image description here

Depending on the model, they have adaptors that can press DIP sockets without hurting the pins.

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Thanks to the folks here for terminology and leads. @Yiannis' answer is indeed the professional tool. I want to leave here that I've also stumbled across a version of the IDC hand tool that is occasionally sold with a DIP block die, like so:

enter image description here

(Source)

It's much cheaper than a Panavise setup though the reviews are not stellar.

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Those expensive press tools that Yiannis shows are the "official" way to attach ribbon cables to those IDC connectors. They're not strictly necessary, though. All you really need is the ability to press straight down on the connector at a 90 degree angle.

Channellock pliers work better on IDC connectors than normal pliers since their fulcrum is farther away and their jaws are longer. Normal pliers tend to only press on one side or the other, and the pins in the middle don't always get connected as well.

An important note with these DIP IDC connectors is that the pins aren't attached to the plastic part very securely. It's easy to push a pin completely out of the socket, or to end up with pins that are no longer the same length. Pliers tend to move or bend the pins, so I've found it best to put the socket in a breadboard first. The breadboard will hold the pins straight and prevent them from moving too much. I usually place a piece of scrap cardboard on top of the ribbon and use that to press the cable down. Once it's attached, I make another pass using the edge of my fingernail or a flat-headed jeweler's screwdriver to make sure each conductor is wedged all the way down between the spikes. Before you put the cap part on, remove the socket from the breadboard and set it on a flat surface to verify that all the pins are still the same length. If one shifted slightly, you can gently adjust it with needlenose pliers.

If you already have a PanaVise, they make a base plate specifically designed to accommodate the pins of DIP components.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for this. Great additional context and ideas. \$\endgroup\$
    – BZo
    Commented Sep 3, 2021 at 17:26

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