Dirty terminal sample pack


Crimp Terminals for Cables

Crimp terminals lock to the end of a wire and attach to an electrical connection such as a screw or terminal block. There are tons of different styles out there, but we found a handful that every Chinese cable manufacturer stocks. This is important because while reels of crimps are cheap, each crimp uses different tooling and manufacturers only buy tooling for the most common crimps.

In the previous post we covered commonly used JST and Molex compatible parts from the Shenzhen markets. These connectors come in two parts: a metal crimp that attaches to the wire, and a plastic crimp housing that holds all the crimps in place. This post looks at common crimp terminals that don’t use a plastic housing. Get the sample kit here, or build your own custom cables here.

Ring terminals


These super common crimps attach to a bolt or screw terminal block. Four sizes are super common in the market and all fit a corresponding metric bolt size: 3.2mm (M3 bolt), 4.2mm (M4), 5.2mm (M5), 6.2mm (M6). Smaller and bigger sizes are available, but the crimps are rarely stocked so you’ll generally be on the hook for MOQ if you stray from this safe range.

Our manufacturer recommends 18AWG wire for all crimp terminals.

Spade terminals


Spade or fork terminals attach easily to a bolt or screw terminal without fulling removing the screw from the terminal. We only found these in 3.2mm (M3) and 4.2mm (M4) in the market.

These work with common screw terminals and grounding bolts, but we found these really nifty PCB mount connectors (through-hole) with a single screw terminal. The manufacturer has a range with parts numbers from PCB-1 to PCB-14 that vary primarily in the height of the leads. PCB-2 is the most compact and lowest profile version, so we’ve been working with it.

Our manufacturer recommends 18AWG wire for all crimp terminals.

Blade terminals


Male and female blade terminals connect cables to board mount connectors AND cables to other cables. Available in multiple sizes, but 2.8, 4.8 and 6.3 are the common.

There are multiple type of terminal blocks for connecting female blade connectors to PCBs or wiring harnesses. We found single PCB mount connectors (through-hole) for use with female blade crimps. The smallest versions (2.8) use 0.5mm thick metal, while the 4.8 and 6.3 version use thicker 0.8mm metal. The two bigger connectors have offset tabs to provide additional stability.

Our manufacturer recommends 18AWG wire for all crimp terminals.

Other crimp terminals

A lot of available crimp terminals are missing from this list: male and female bullet connectors, right angle blade connectors, etc. A reel of these crimps is not expensive, but most cable manufacturers don’t have the proper tooling work with them in their crimping machines. Crimp tools can range from $100 to $1000s, depending on the machine and if the manufacturer has to customize the tools.

If you’re looking to do low volume cheaply, the it’s always best to use what multiple manufacturers and distributors have available in the market.

Insulated covers

All three types of crimp terminals have compatible insulators in multiple colors. We’re not yet equipped to offer these in the dirty cables creator.

Maximum ratings

Please note that we’re unable to provide maximum ratings at this time. Our cable suppliers don’t have datasheets for the common “duff” stuff they’re using, so you’ll need to do the same due diligence on the final cables that you would if buying directly in China yourself.

We’ll need to find our own crimp terminal manufacturer and supply parts to the cable maker ourselves to get properly rated parts.

Touch it yourself: Dirty Terminals Sample Pack v1.0

Buy the kit. Can’t wrap your head around it without getting your hands on these parts? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. All these crimp terminals and mating connectors are available in the Dirty Terminal sample pack. Grab it in the store for $4.95.

Dirty Cables: Get your own custom cables


Get cheap custom cables for your project, direct from Huaqiangbei. Use the Dirty Cable creator to drag and drop wires and connectors into a cable and price custom cables from quantity 100.

Taking it further

In the coming weeks we’ll cover coaxial power connectors and LED strip sockets.

Dirty Cables price increases and lead times


Its really hard to convince Huaqiangbei market suppliers to cooperate on a project until you can prove value by making a bunch of orders. Our approach is to guestimate a price at DirtyPCBs, send through a few months of orders, and then ask if they’d like to cooperate with us. Generally this will open doors to closer integration like getting full price lists.

After a few months of running Dirty Cables we looked at our overall order history. On 75% of orders we lost anywhere from $5 to $500. This was totally expected and part of convincing suppliers to give us full pricing details.

Our current supplier makes outstanding cables, but getting a quote is still like pulling teeth and takes ages. They also seem completely uninterested in providing a full price list. We’re in the market today shopping for a new supplier, but in the meantime prices on most connectors have been doubled or more based estimates from the first few months of data. It would also be fair to say lead time is currently 10-20 days, more on large or complicated orders.

Since a lot of the loss/expense is in the low volume orders of 100 cables, we need to compensate with bigger discounts on high volume orders. Connector prices are easy to update in the back end, but volume discounts require a site update that will come towards the beginning of next week. If you’re placing a large order and think the price is too high, please contact us for a more accurate quote.

DirtyPCBs.com China export brokerage pay your vendors get your stuffs



Exporting small low value orders from China is a challenge to do cost effectively, however proper export of bulk stuff is comparatively simple. After hearing what hardware people are going through to get stuff from China we had to offer a better way. A Dirty Way.

Having trouble paying a Chinese supplier? Did things start off ok for small orders, but you’re facing dodgy payment options when you scale to volume? Let’s take a look at why this happens, and how we can help ease your China payment and export problems!

CNY is a controlled currency

Chinese Yuan (CNY, RMB, kuai) is a controlled currency: the government has strict rules for how and why it can be exchanged for other currencies.

You can’t send a wire to China in local CNY currency because there’s simply no way for your bank to exchange the money for you. The Chinese government doesn’t sell CNY on an open market like US dollars or Euros.

Your Chinese supplier can’t just convert foreign currency to CNY either. The bank will call to notify them of the wire, then they go to the bank in person to show their export license, a goods invoice, proof of tax payment, and proof of export declaration. If this verification isn’t completed in a few days the wire is returned to you less fees (~$50).

Mom and pop shops that give amazing China prices rarely have an export license, and often have no idea how to receive foreign currency legally. Foreign “China Guys” who spend some time in Shenzhen and now peddle services to hacker/Makers have even less of a clue!

How to pay a supplier in China

There are three legal routes to get money into China for CNY transactions:

  • Payment for goods: Requires invoice, VAT tax receipt proof (fapiao), export declaration proof, import/export permit, banking permit, etc. A portion of VAT may be refundable in the following month if all documents are in order
  • Payment for services: Requires invoice. 6% tax charged on incoming payments. If this method is abused to pay for goods without an export declaration the supplier cannot deduct the cost of the goods from their income leading to very high taxes (25% + loss) in addition to the 6% services tax
  • Payment to individuals: Chinese residents may exchange $50,000 USD equivalent of foreign currency per year for personal use. Abusing this method to pay for goods carries the risk of high personal income taxes on the recipient at the end of the year

While the process of exporting goods isn’t too difficult, most of the permits require months long applications and deposits of serious amounts of capital. It just isn’t worth it for a lot of small/medium Chinese manufacturers and suppliers to deal with foreign customers directly (which is why there’s so many agents on Alibaba!)

Things people (who should know better) do:

  • Smuggle backpacks of cash across the border from Hong Kong (not unsafe, surprisingly, but still illegal)
  • Smuggle components in their pants (cargo shorts are not a logistics network…)
  • Hire elderly Chinese to bring in $50,000USD through their personal allotment without fully understanding the tax consequences
  • Black market exchange banks: warehouses with pallets of cash are busted daily in Guangdong Province

Even people with a decade of experience working with China still do some of these really stupid things to avoid using an export broker.
China has come a long way in the last decade: don’t believe that famous hacker with pants full of chips, these things are not tolerated as they were in the past. At the same time, there really hasn’t been an alternative for open hardware hackers: brokerage firms want a high percent fee and pricing is rarely transparent. Often a brokerage isn’t even willing to handle less than a shipping container in size. We’re trying to change that!

Who needs export brokerage
Does this describe you?

  • Have a Chinese supplier lined up and ready
  • Need to make an order > $500
  • Supplier can’t receive large amounts of foreign currency, has no/crappy shipping options
  • You don’t want to go to China personally and pull money from ATM machines

Don’t mess around; we’ll use our Chinese company and licenses to handle the export on behalf of your supplier.

A better way: Big Company export brokerage for dirty prices!

  1. Give us the details of your already arranged purchase, we’ll get back with freight options (you can ask for a full refund of this service if you’re unhappy with our freight options!)
  2. We create official invoices and arrange shipping between you, your supplier, and us
  3. Wire payment for goods, tax (VAT), and freight in foreign currency to our Chinese company or Hong Kong company
  4. We convert the currency to CNY and make payment to your supplier
  5. Your supplier ships to our warehouse with an official VAT tax receipt (fapiao) attached
  6. We export to you with an official export declaration via air freight or sea freight
  7. Depending on the tariff category, we can apply for a refund of all or part of the VAT paid

That’s it! We have all the permits and experience necessary to handle currency exchange and proper export procedures.
Sit back and wait for your stuffs to arrive without anything dodgy messing up your supply chain! Your backers applaud you for a project delivered on time and without drama!

A few notes

Export is a new feature at DirtyPCBs that we’d like to automate further. We’re looking for a few people to help test this service with schedules that allow for our lawyers and accountants review everything at each step. If you’d like our help exporting from China please get in touch!

DirtyPCBs adds full range of steel and framed stencils



Stencils for solder paste and red glue are now available in a bunch of standard sizes for solder paste/red glue dispensers. You can choose from all the options offered by our favorite stencil maker:

  • Purposes: Solder paste for surface mount component reflow process. Red glue for two-sided or through hole board wave soldering process
  • Alignment: quarter points for automated dispensers, and through hole for hand application
  • Polishing process: hand sanded (for most stuff) or electrolytic (for BGA footprints)
  • Engineering options: your paste layer (untouched), auto (China standard), auto with approval by PDF

We’ve been playing with the Neoden4 pick and place machine in a mini production line and needed a better way to order stencils with advanced options. Give us a shout if we missed any options you need!

DirtyPCBs site update with encrypted https connections



DirtyPCBs.com now supports secure, encrypted access with https://DirtyPCBs.com. We used a free certificate from Let’s Encrypt and the process was almost painless. You’ll need to add the ‘s’ to the address manually to access the secure version of the site.

Https may become the default eventually. It’s trendy to force everyone onto https these days, but China targets https traffic for slowdowns and blocking. The Shenzhen office has a much better experience using the non-encrypted http version so we’ll keep it around.

DIRTY CABLES: Cheap custom cables available now


Dirty Cables is a drag and drop cable builder that gives you access to cheap custom cable services from China. Build a custom cable, get an instant quote, and checkout. Your custom cables should ship in 3 to 7 work days.

Huaqiangbei is full of cheap custom cable vendors with a big pile of samples on their booth. We tried to put the pile online so you can get cheap cables without making a trip to China!


We excavated the cable sample piles to see which connectors are common, cheap and readily available in the Chinese market. We bought bundles of everything and identified 17 common cable-to-cable and cable-to-board connector families to add to Dirty Cables. Read more about the different cable families here.

Cables are probably best understood by touching them yourself, so we put together a Dirty Cables Sample Kit that includes examples of each cable and connector. The kit is available in the store for $9.95.

In the coming weeks we’ll document a few more common and cheap connectors that didn’t quite fit in the first sample kit:

  • Crimp terminals: ring and spade ( M3/3.2mm, M4/4.2mm, M5/5.2mm, M6/6.2mm), two-part blades (2.8mm, 4.8mm, 6.3mm)
  • Coaxial power connectors (5.5×2.1mm, various)
  • LED strip connectors (3528/8mm, 5050/10mm, etc)

Dirty Cables is highly experimental. If pricing seems way off, if you find bugs, or if we’re missing your favorite connectors, please give us a shout in the comments or through the contact form.

DIRTY CABLES: What’s in that sample pile?


Massive sample piles advertise the custom cable manufacturers in Huaqiangbei market. A sketch and a few part numbers is enough to get a quote on the spot. These piles reveal which connectors are standard and readily available in the Chinese manufacturing ecosystem. To avoid sourcing problems and production delays its probably best to stick with one of these common connectors in your projects.

We grabbed a sample of every cable from the piles in the SEG and HQ Mart markets, then verified the actual model against datasheets. In this post we look at the common connector families available from multiple manufacturers. Sometimes market traders call the connectors by an unofficial part number, we’ve included these to help you communicate with Chinese vendors.

Continue below for an overview of the 17 most common cable and connector types from the Chinese market. Try out Dirty Cables to build your own custom cables, and grab the Dirty Cables Sample Kit to explore these connectors with your own hands.

Parts of a cable

Crimp housing


A crimp housing holds the metal crimp contacts and cable wires, and mates with a PCB or cable mount connector. The most recognizable measurement of a crimp housing is pitch, the distance between pins. Common crimp housing pitch ranges from 1mm to 4.2mm.

Crimp contacts


Crimp contacts are the metal bits that mate cable wires to connectors. Crimp materials and coatings vary, which impact the maximum power rating of the cable. Nickel plated crimp contacts are by far the most common default option. A few connectors, mostly IDC, generally have gold plated contacts by default.


Reels of crimp contacts and wire load into a crimping machine. The machine strips the wire, attaches the crimp contact, and cuts the wire to length. Specific tooling is needed to attach and cut each type of crimp. Manufacturers can’t attach a crimp without the right tooling for their crimp machines.



Cable wire is generally multiple strands of copper wire that have been tinned with solder and coated in insulation. Common colors are available: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, pink, brown, white, gray, and black. Wire size effects the maximum voltage and current a cable can carry, common cable wire sizes range from 32AWG to 16AWG (smaller AWG = bigger wire).


Some connectors use flat ribbon cables, generally with gray or rainbow colored insulation. Common sizes:1.27mm, 1mm, and 0.635mm.

PCB mount connectors


A connector mates a cable to a circuit board or another cable. Connectors may be polarized so the cable only fits one direction, or have locking features to keep the cable from coming loose. Cables may attach to the PCB from the top (top entry) or the side (side entry).

Cable to board connectors


Most cables in the market connect to a circuit board (cable to board), some connect two cables (cable to cable). A few will do both. First let’s look at the common cable to board connectors.



Let’s call this the simplest cable in the market. It mates directly with standard 2.54mm (0.1”) pitch pin header. It’s the only connector we found that isn’t polarized, it can attach in any direction.

Frequently called a DuPont connector, even in Chinese, but the current common version seems to be compatible with TC Connectivity’s AMPMODU IV series. We’re going to call it CRimp HOusing (CRHO) because it’s the most bog standard thing in the market. CRHO is borrowed from the amazing and unloved OOMP project.

Pin header PCB mount connectors are available in through hole (PTH) and surface mount (SMD), as well as various colors.

Series Pitch Pins Wire Size Vmax Amax
CRHO 2.54mm 1-40 28-22AWG 250VDC 3A
Mating Connectors Through-hole Surface Mount
Crimp Housing Top Entry Side Entry Top Entry Side Entry
CRHO-xx HDR-2.54-xxX1P HDR-2.54-xxX1P-RA HDR-2.54-xxX1P-SMD HDR-2.54-xxX1P-RA-SMD



KF2510 is basically a keyed CRHO style housing. It mates with 2.54mm (0.1”) pitch keyed board mount connectors. It also fits on 2.54mm (0.1”) pin header, but without the polarity protection of the keyed connector.

The crimp housing and board connectors come in beige and white, which may have different maximums and tolerances so be sure to consult the datasheet.

Series Pitch Pins Wire Size Vmax Amax
KF2510 2.54mm 2-16 30-22AWG 250VDC 3A
Mating Connectors Through-hole Surface Mount
Crimp Housing Top Entry Side Entry Top Entry Side Entry
KF2510-xxY KF2510-xxA KF2510-xxP

SH 1.0mm (JST compatible)


A 1.0mm pitch cable compatible with the JST SH series is the smallest we found in the market. At over 1 RMB per sample it was also among the most expensive cables.

Series Pitch Pins Wire Size Vmax Amax
SH 1.0mm 2-20 32-28AWG 50VDC 1A
Mating Connectors Through-hole Surface Mount
Crimp Housing Top Entry Side Entry Top Entry Side Entry

51021 1.25mm (Molex compatible)


This one is hard to tie down, and it seems to be a widely confused part. Chinese market traders and most of Taobao call this “SH 1.25”, as in a 1.25mm version of the JST SH 1.0mm connector above. We’ve also seen it called A121-xxY/A1251-Hxx, which may be a duff manufacturer part number.

This is actually a Molex 1.25mm “PicoBlade” 51021 compatible part. It’s no wonder Molex parts get nick names. Molex has a knack for making really crappy part numbers, and has even “upgraded” to new numbers that are worse than the old numbers.

Series Pitch Pins Wire Size Vmax Amax
51021 1.25mm 2-15 32-28AWG 125VDC 1A
Mating Connectors Through-hole Surface Mount
Crimp Housing Top Entry Side Entry Top Entry Side Entry
51021-xx00 53047-xx10 53048-xx10 53398-xx71 53261-xx71

ZH 1.5mm (JST compatible)


A 1.5mm pitch cable compatible with the JST ZH series. A vendor said this isn’t a commonly requested cable type, but there isn’t a shortage of suppliers in the market or online.

The through-hole mount connectors come in two versions for different PCB thickness. Use BxxB-ZR-3.4/SxxB-ZR-3.4 for standard 1.6mm thick PCBs, or BxxB-ZR/SxxB-ZR for thinner 0.6-1.2mm thick boards.

Series Pitch Pins Wire Size Vmax Amax
ZH 1.5mm 2-13 32-26AWG 50VDC 1A
Mating Connectors Through-hole Surface Mount
Crimp Housing Top Entry Side Entry Top Entry Side Entry
ZHR-xx BxxB-ZR(-3.4) SxxB-ZR(-3.4) BxxB-ZR-SM4-TF SxxB-ZR-SM4A-TF

PH 2.0mm (JST compatible)


2.0mm pitch cable compatible with JST PH series. 2.0mm saves a bit of space over standard 2.54mm pitch connectors, but is still easy for most people to hand solder.

Series Pitch Pins Wire Size Vmax Amax
PH 2.0mm 2-16 32-24AWG 100VDC 2A
Mating Connectors Through-hole Surface Mount
Crimp Housing Top Entry Side Entry Top Entry Side Entry

XH 2.5mm (JST compatible)


A 2.50mm cable compatible with the JST XH series. 2.50mm != 2.54mm, pitch is actually 2.50mm. Many suppliers incorrectly list this as 2.54mm part. Despite the size difference, the connectors will generally still fit 2.54mm breadboards and pin headers.

An SMD top entry PCB mount connector is not an official part in the JST datasheet, but it’s widely available in the Chinese market. We named this connector BxB-XH-SM4-TB following the JST part numbering system, but note that it is not an official part number.

There are two oddities in this family. An XHP-20 crimp housing and connector exists with 20 pins in a 10x2P configuration. The through-hole side entry PCB mount connector also comes in a short shroud (7.2mm) version (SxB-XH-A-1). These specialty options don’t seem to be available in the Chinese markets.

Series Pitch Pins Wire Size Vmax Amax
XH 2.50mm 1-16 30-22AWG 250VDC 3A
Mating Connectors Through-hole Surface Mount
Crimp Housing Top Entry Side Entry Top Entry Side Entry
XHP-xx BxxB-XH-A SxxB-XH-A(-1) BxxB-XH-SM4-TB SxxB-XH-SM4-TB

CH 3.96mm


A 3.96mm pitch nylon connector that the market vendors call “CH”. Heavy duty crimps and heavy duty connectors make this a good choice for power connections. It has a retention “bump” that helps secure the connection. The retention bump also helps polarize the connection, but nylon is flexible and the connector could be installed backwards with enough force.

This part is not from JST, despite a similar part number. Some duff manufacturers list this as 2139-xxY, similar to a Molex part number, but that isn’t an exact match for the board mount connectors. We use the market vendor name “CH”, short for CHina connector.

There are two versions of the side entry connector. 2139-xAWG has a 4.3mm extended length pin. This version is listed at several Taobao shops, but it was always out of stock and all our orders were eventually canceled.

Series Pitch Pins Wire Size Vmax Amax
CH 3.96mm 2-16 24-18AWG 250VDC 7A
Mating Connectors Through-hole Surface Mount
Crimp Housing Top Entry Side Entry Top Entry Side Entry
2139-xxY 2139-xxA 2139-xxAW(G)

VH 3.96mm (JST compatible)


A 3.96mm pitch locking connector compatible with the JST VH series. This is another connector with heavy duty crimp contacts and connectors that is ideal for power supplies. Keyed to protect polarity, locking to secure in place.

The datasheet lists an -M version with a safety retainer. We could not locate this part in the market.

Series Pitch Pins Wire Size Vmax Amax
VH 3.96mm 2-11 16-22AWG 250VDC 10A
Mating Connectors Through-hole Surface Mount
Crimp Housing Top Entry Side Entry Top Entry Side Entry

Insulation Displacement Connectors


Insulation displacement connectors (IDCs) are a cable to board connection system that doesn’t use crimp contacts. Teeth in the connector cut through the insulation of a ribbon cable and make contact with the wires inside.

These connectors have been around forever, but there doesn’t seem to be a solid part numbering system. Generally the displacement connector part number is FC. The PCB mount connector is DC3 (DC2 and DC4 are variants with locks and wings and such). We created our own part numbering system based on this convention that takes into account newer, smaller 2.0mm and 1.27mm pitch IDC versions.

IDC 2.54mm


Bog standard 2.54mm IDC and mating shrouded header. It has a polarizing key that only fits one way, but there’s no retention mechanism aside from the friction fit. Fits 1.27mm ribbon cable.

Series Pitch Pins Wire Size Vmax Amax
IDC 2.54mm 6-64 1.27mm 100VDC 2A
Mating Connectors Through-hole Surface Mount
IDC connector Top Entry Side Entry Top Entry Side Entry
IDC-FC-2.54-xx IDC-DC3-2.54-xx-PTH IDC-DC3-2.54-xx-RA-PTH IDC-DC3-2.54-xx-SMD

IDC 2.0mm


Smaller. An even metric measure. What’s not to love? 2.0mm IDCs save a bit of board space, but are still easy to hand solder for most people.

Slightly more expensive than common 2.54mm IDCs. Fits 1.0mm ribbon cable, rainbow color may not be available.

Series Pitch Pins Wire Size Vmax Amax
IDC 2.0mm 10-50 1.0mm 50VDC 1.5A
Mating Connectors Through-hole Surface Mount
IDC connector Top Entry Side Entry Top Entry Side Entry
IDC-FC-2.0-xx IDC-DC3-2.0-xx-PTH IDC-DC3-2.0-xx-RA-PTH IDC-DC3-2.0-xx-SMD

IDC 1.27mm


1.27mm pitch IDCs are the smallest available in the market. Fewer manufacturers and suppliers than 2.0mm and 2.54mm IDCs means they’re more expensive and harder to source. The right-angle through-hole connector was only available as a special order of MOQ (200 pieces).

Fits 0.635mm ribbon cable, rainbow color may not be available.

Series Pitch Pins Wire Size Vmax Amax
IDC 1.27mm 8-80 0.635mm 50VDC 1A
Mating Connectors Through-hole Surface Mount
IDC connector Top Entry Side Entry Top Entry Side Entry
IDC-FC-1.27-xx IDC-DC3-1.27-xx-PTH IDC-DC3-1.27-xx-RA-PTH IDC-DC3-1.27-xx-SMD

Cable to cable connectors

Some cables connect to other cables. These are common in hobby R/C batteries and wiring harnesses for panel mount switches, lights, and connectors.

Receptacle housing

If the cable connects to another cable the common terms plug and receptacle seem to be used. Manufacturers use different criteria to distinguish a plug and receptacle. A JST receptacle holds male crimp pins, while the JST plug holds the female crimp sockets (see datasheet excerpt above). Molex, however, calls the male crimp housing (with female crimp sockets) a receptacle and the female crimp housing (with male crimp pins, same as PCB mountable connector) a plug.

RCY 2.5mm (JST compatible)


2.5mm (not 2.54mm) JST RCY series compatible connector. Commonly used as a battery connector and only available in a 2 pin version. Market vendors simply call this “JST 2P”.

Always red. A white version exists in the datasheet but has not been spotted in China.

Series Pitch Pins Wire Size Vmax Amax
RCY 2.50mm 2 28-22AWG 250VDC 3A
Mating Connectors Through-hole Surface Mount
Receptacle Plug Top Entry Side Entry Top Entry Side Entry
SYR-02T SYP-02T-1

SM 2.5mm (JST compatible)


2.5mm (not 2.54mm) JST SM series compatible connector. High pin count cable to cable connector with polarization key and retention lock.

An 18 pin version exists in a 9x2P configuration that is not available in the market.

Series Pitch Pins Wire Size Vmax Amax
SM 2.50mm 2-12 28-22AWG 250VDC 3A
Mating Connectors Through-hole Surface Mount
Receptacle Plug Top Entry Side Entry Top Entry Side Entry

Cable to cable & cable to board

Molex 5557 and 43025 series power connectors have mating cable mount plug connectors and PCB mount connectors.

5557 4.2mm (Molex compatible)


Molex 5557 4.2mm “Mini-Fit” compatible connectors are familiar from ATX power supplies and computer motherboards. The crimp receptacle is 5557-xxR. It mates with cable to cable plug 5559-xxP, and through-hole PCB mount connectors 5566-xxA and 5569-xxA.

The datasheet lists black crimp housings (5557-xxR-BL,5559-xxP-400), but they’re not common in China.

Series Pitch Pins Wire Size Vmax Amax
5557 4.2mm 2-24 16-28AWG 600VDC 9A
Mating Connectors Through-hole Surface Mount
Receptacle Plug Top Entry Side Entry Top Entry Side Entry
5557-xxR 5559-xxP 5566-xxA 5569-xxA

43025 3.0mm (Molex compatible)


3.0mm Molex “Micro-Fit” 43025 series compatible connector. This is a smaller 3mm version of the 5557 series above. In fact, Market and Taobao suppliers call this “5557 3.0”.

The crimp receptacle is 43025-xx00. It mates with cable to cable plug 43020-xx00, and through-hole PCB mount connectors 43045-xx12 and 43045-xx00. Through-hole PCB mount connectors are widely available in the Chinese market. Molex sells a surface mount version too, but we can’t find cheap domestic production so we’re not including it here.

Series Pitch Pins Wire Size Vmax Amax
43025 3.0mm 2-24 20-30AWG 600VDC 5A
Mating Connectors Through-hole Surface Mount
Receptacle Plug Top Entry Side Entry Top Entry Side Entry
43025-xx00 43020-xx00 43045-xx12 43045-xx00

Debug connectors

Temporary connectors like test probes, alligator clips, and pin header fall into this category.

CRHO-M 2.54mm


A male pin crimp contact that fits into the standard CRHO housing, we’re calling it CRimp HOusing Male (CRHO-M) for short. Useful for breadboards and temporary connections to female headers.

In theory these could be made for any number of pins supported by the CRHO cable to board family, but in practice we only found single pins in the market.

Series Pitch Pins Wire Size Vmax Amax
CRHO-M 2.54mm 1 28-22AWG 250VDC 3A
Mating Connectors Through-hole Surface Mount
Crimp Housing Top Entry Side Entry Top Entry Side Entry
CRHO-M-xx FHDR-2.54-xxX1P

Note on cable maximum, tolerances


Most of the connectors we found are compatible with popular designs from Molex and JST, but we assume they’re made by secondary manufacturers (duff manufacturers). In this post we list specs from the original manufacturer’s datasheet where available. Tolerances and rating may not be the same for the duff parts from the market. Be sure to leave wide safety margins for current and voltage when working with no-name Chinese cables, and inspect the final cable to ensure it’s properly suited for the intended load.

Dirty Cables: Get your own custom cables


Get cheap custom cables for your project, direct from Huaqiangbei. Use the Dirty Cable creator to drag and drop wires and connectors into a cable and price custom cables from quantity 100. The example shown here is a 4 pin 1.0mm SH compatible connector broken out to 4 single pin 2.54mm CRHO-M connectors, only $0.23 each at quantity 100!

Touch it yourself: Dirty Cables Sample Pack v1.0

sample pack

Need to get up close and personal with all these cables and connectors yourself? The Dirty Cables Sample Pack has all of the cable types covered in this post, plus all mating cable and PCB mount connectors. Grab it in the store for $9.95.

Taking it further

In the coming weeks we’ll cover three more categories of less common cables and connectors: crimp terminals, coaxial power connectors, and LED strip sockets.

FONA808 USB interface


Jesus Echavarria published a new build:

For several months I’m working with FONA808 modules from Adafruit to make a portable, web-based locating system. This modules are based on the SIM808 module from SIMCOM manufacturer, and integrates both GSM and GPS transceivers in one 24x24mm package.  The Adafruit board includes this module and also some electronics for choosing voltage levels, battery connection and charger. Because I need to test and programming some of this modules, I decide to make an specific PCB for it, allowing the programming and debugging via PC, wich is more comfortable that use a microcontroller for all these tasks.  I use the MCP2221 USB-Serial bridge and add some electronics to give the board more functionality.

Project info at Jesus Echavarria’s blog.

ESP8266 LED lighting: QuinLED v2.6 PCB


Quindor designed and built an ESP8266 LED lighting QuinLED project with Dirty Board PCBs:

It’s been a long time in the making but I’ve finally put the final touches on my newest revision of QuinLED! This makes it version 2.6 rev 1.00. Let’s check it out!

This post is part of a series – The index for this series can be found here.

Full details at Intermittent Technology homepage. Boards DirtyPCB order link here.

Check out the video after the break.