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While recently debugging a device that had a 7-pin male XLR plug, I was trying to connect to two of the pins in the plug, without touching any of the others, and I wondered if there are test leads that can be used for such debugging: essentially just slim metal cylinders that can be slipped over each pin, without touching surrounding pins, and wired to a lead. The same question arose when I was testing a 10-way header on a PCB: how to connect to, say, pins 3 and 7 only, without touching any of the others. In that case I had a 10-way socket, which I used for debugging, but it would have been very useful to have had two, slim cylindrical test leads, to slip over the two pins in question. [Before anyone says so, I have looked on electronics supplier sites (we use oneCall, and I also checked RS): the trouble there is knowing how to phrase the online query correctly... so far I've drawn a blank.]

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    \$\begingroup\$ I normally use crimp-pins/sockets that mate with the header in question. \$\endgroup\$ – Tut Nov 21 '13 at 14:40
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For experimental purposes, bare crimp type contacts for comparable diameter posts can be used individually, covered in heat shrink tubing rather than inserted into their usual housings, provided that they are the style where the contact surrounds the post sufficiently to grab it, rather than needing the plastic housing to hold the post against a single sided contact.

There are now import/discount suppliers selling ribbon cable terminated in plastic molded single male or female .100" spacing .025" post contacts, with the idea that you can manually separate the ribbon as desired, however quality/reliability seems variable, so you'll want to test any setup with those for integrity before assuming your problem is more complicated than a failed connection.

In a situation where failure or accidental shorts would not have lasting consequences, I've also been able to crudely break out an XLR using small alligator clip leads in order to take some quick measurements.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Quality is HIGHLY variable on those molded cables. I prefer the original method of crimping single contacts to wire leads. It is more expensive, but I haven't had a failure with it yet. If you don't have a crimping tool, most contacts are available with solder cup termination. \$\endgroup\$ – lyndon Nov 21 '13 at 16:26
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For this purpose i soldered my own jumperwire. it's pretty straight forward. This is what you need:

  • 22 to 23 gauge wire (male connectors for breadboards or similar)
  • something similar to an IDE socket (tear apart for female connectors)
  • heat shrink tubing (i used 1mm diameter shrinked)
  • flexible wire for soldering

Depending on the type of jumperwires you need just solder everything together. put heat shrink tubing on the solder and debug with them. used them for a bit now and didn't have problems yet

Here is the original article that describes the process. it's in german though

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While there might be a connector specific method, the simplest way is make you own. Get a 7 pin XLR female cable, cut it in half, and add some alligator clips to it.

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