Computing stuff tied to the physical world

Utility Plug pack

In Hardware on Sep 5, 2010 at 00:01

The recently announced Utility Plugs have room on board to add some resistors, diodes, transistors, LEDs, etc. but that’s not always needed. Sometimes, you just want a way to bring a cable out with a decent connector.

The way to do that is to solder these 4 jumpers to connect everything straight through:

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Now, all you need is a cable. But beware – this one isn’t what it seems:

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It only has the middle two wires connected:

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Not much we can do with those: they are +3V and GND on the Utility Plug!

The way to spot them before cutting the wire, is to look carefully at the connector:

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As you can see: 4 gold-plated pins on the outside (i.e. RJ-11), but only 2 wires have acually been pushed into the connector. Here’s one I made myself, using modular plugs and flat telephone cable from a local DIY shop:

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Now I get DIO and AIO as well (possibly altered by the circuits added to the Utility Plug):

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To better support wired-through scenarios, I’ve added a “Pack of 4” variant of the Utility Plug to the shop:

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It omits the extra components, so you just need to close those 4 solder jumpers. Note that there was no room on these boards for mounting holes – best way is probably to hot-glue them to a stable base plate of some kind.

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