A jumper wire (also known as jump wire, or jumper) is an electrical wire, or group of them in a cable, with a connector or pin at each end (or sometimes without them – simply “tinned”), which is normally used to interconnect the components of a breadboard or other prototype or test circuit, internally or with other equipment or components, without soldering.
Individual jumper wires are fitted by inserting their “end connectors” into the slots provided in a breadboard, the header connector of a circuit board, or a piece of test equipment.
There are different types of jumper wires. Some have the same type of electrical connector at both ends, while others have different connectors. Some common connectors are:
- Solid tips – are used to connect on/with a breadboard or female header connector. The arrangement of the elements and ease of insertion on a breadboard allows increasing the mounting density of both components and jump wires without fear of short-circuits. The jump wires vary in size and colour to distinguish the different working signals.
- Crocodile clips – are used, among other applications, to temporarily bridge sensors, buttons and other elements of prototypes with components or equipment that have arbitrary connectors, wires, screw terminals, etc.
- Banana connectors – are commonly used on test equipment for DC and low-frequency AC signals.
- Registered jack (RJnn) – are commonly used in telephone (RJ11) and computer networking (RJ45).
- RCA connectors – are often used for audio, low-resolution composite video signals, or other low-frequency applications requiring a shielded cable.
- RF connectors – are used to carry radio frequency signals between circuits, test equipment, and antennas.
- RF jumper cables – Jumper cables is a smaller and more bendable corrugated cable which is used to connect antennas and other components to network cabling. Jumpers are also used in base stations to connect antennas to radio units. Usually the most bendable jumper cable diameter is 1/2″.
Jump wires at the end of a multi-colored ribbon cable are used to connect the pin header at the left side of a blue USB2Serial board to a white breadboard below. Another jumper cable ending in a USB micro male connector mates to the right side of the USB2Serial board. Red and black tinned jump wires can be seen on the breadboard.
Breadboard jumper wire kits are sets of electrical jumper wires used to connect the components or equipment on a breadboard.
How do breadboard jumper wire kits work?
Most breadboard jumper wires feature a pin or connector at each end, which is normally used to interconnect breadboard components internally, or with other components or equipment without soldering. Breadboard jumper wires are fitted by inserting their end connectors into grids on a breadboard, a piece of test equipment, or a circuit board’s header connector.
Types of breadboard jumper wire kits
There are several types of breadboard jumper wire kits, to suit a broad range of applications. Many breadboard jumper wire kits will have assortments of jumper wires in different lengths and pre-sorted colours so you can easily find the length and colour of wires you need for your project. Most kits are used for testing and prototyping electrical circuits.
While some jumper wires have the same type of connectors on both ends, others have different types of connectors.
The trick is to wash them in soapy water the moment you unpack them. Then dry them outside in the sun. There is no way that chemical coating isn’t toxic in some way, definitely get it off ASAP. Once that is done, these jumpers are essential. So much easier than cutting your own wire.
Solid Core Wire
Probably the most common breadboarding wire is simple solid core wire. This is typically sold in spools of varying lengths and many different colors. The commonly recommended size for wire associated with bread boarding is 22awg or 0.64 mm.
Many bread boards often come with assortments of pre-cut and bent wires, often with tinned leads. These wires come in a few different colors and sizes. Typically, the color of the wire also denotes the length of it. These assortments come from many different vendors, but often are all very similar.
Male to Male Jumpers
Another flavor of breadboard wire that is gaining traction are wires with header pins attached on both ends. These wires benefit from being substantially more durable than other types.
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