OOT: connector for ribbon cable


Hi, very off off topic, but a quick plea to the electronic gurus here:

I have a 16 wire rainbow flat ribbon cable attached to an LCD that I want to connect to my Arduino. Soldering single leads on the 16 cables sounds tiresome and full of risk of shorts so I would like to attach a header, ideally via press on (or crimp on? not sure what the right term is)

I've searched all the usual subjects (digikey, mauser, etc) but kind find a suitable connector.

I can work with a single row connector or with a double row connector, ideally male but I would take a female single row as well at this point. (the 2-row female ones dont work because they have the wrong wiring - the one that I have on the board is also a female 2-row one so you cant make them work together (I tried all sorts of tricks but it wont work).

So - where can I find either

  1. single row male 16 wire crimp on header to attache to 16 wire flat ribbon cable
  2. single row female 16 wire crimp on header to attach to 16 wire flat ribbon cable
  3. 2-row male 16 wire crimp on header to attach to 16 wire flat ribbon cable

Thanks so much for your kind help and please accept my apologies for the OOT.




IDCs for ribbon cables are dual-row female. You can put the ribbon in from either side and turn it over if you need to. There should be a way that will work.


Thank you guys for the responses, seems it makes sense I was not able to find a male single row 16 wire header, as they dont really exist. Good to know. As for the IDC, Garth if you can help me out, I was not able to make it work.

The internal makeup of the IDC female connectors seems to be as follows:

2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16
1 3 5 7 9 11 13 15

so whichever way you feed in the cable, you always have it going from left to right from 1/2 to 15/16.

the receptor on the board is *ALSO* a IDC female, so it has the same wiring. To make the two work together, I would need a connector that looks exactely the opposite and I dont think you can fashion one from the IDC connectors (I tried it all four ways):

1 3 5 7 9  11 13 15
2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16

You can never have the '1' pin on the 'far' side of the cable.

What am I missing?

Thanks again for your help!




Your first pinout is industry standard. The second one is not, but you can get it if you put the pin header on the oposite side of the board.


I looked at a picture of an arduino and it look like the connectors are the standard 1/10" or 2.5mm spaced connectors in groups of 8, it also appears that the gap between the groups of 8 is wider than 1/10" which would likely mean that you would not be able to use a single 16 pin strip. It would be helpful to know what sort of ribbon cable you have, but the most common type that is used for Insulation Displacement Connectors (IDC) has wires spaced at 1/5" or 1.25mm and is designed for two row IDC with the wires alternating between rows, I have never seen a single row IDC like this, it would likely require a different pitch of ribbon cable.

I will also warn you about separating, stripping and soldering the wires onto a connector, not only is it tedious, the wires are quite fine and when solder they are a bit on the fragile side and if flexed at the solder joint break off easily.

The ideal connector for single rows like this, uses individual wires with a metal connector crimped onto the end and fit into a plastic shell, however special tools are required to crimp on the connectors.


there are various configurations, the header that I have is the standard 1-row 16 header female or a standard IDC 2-row 16 wire headers (they are on a separate PCB which I use to drive an LCD with only one wire from the Arduino instead of the normal 8 needed)



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