How to connect wires to the micro:bit

Here is a rundown of the different ways you can connect wires to the micro:bit. This is something I’ve spent a long time working out and trying out different techniques

Through the holes

The micro:bit has 5 holes representing 5 pins: 3 data pins, ground and 3V. You can wrap wires and thread through the holes and around the edge of the micro:bit. You could secure with some electrical tape

Pros: Simples! No extra skill or kit required

Cons: For projects that move, the tape never holds onto the wire/thread. Moving wire/thread also risks touching other pins and shorting the micro:bit. It would be tricky to attach more than 1 wire to 1 pin.

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Bare wire stuck through the hole on Pin 0

Crocodile clips

Cheap and cheerful. Crocodile clips can be clipped onto the holes of the micro:bit. If you need a wire on the other end you could always chop off the crocodile’s head!

Top Tip: Pass the croc clip jaw through the hole for better grip!

Pros: Cheap, easy to use, no extra skills needed to attach

Cons: Not very stable. When moved they can lose connection or touch other parts of the board. Can only attach a limited number of crocodile clips to each pin. Can only use the 5 basic pins. If you pass the jaw through the hole it makes the whole setup a lot taller.

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Crocodile clips attached to Pin 0 and GND

Edge Connector

The Edge Connector is a separate piece of kit that the micro:bit slots into. It gives you access to the full range of pins on the micro:bit including multiple ground and 3V pins.

https://www.kitronik.co.uk/5601b-edge-connector-breakout-board-for-bbc-microbit-pre-built.html

Pros: It allows you to connect jumper wires to the micro:bit which are very easy to use, no extra skills required

Cons: While not expensive (about £5) it is an extra cost, it makes the profile of the project a lot thicker, I have bent the pins on these boards (they still work though!)

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A micro:bit plugged into an edge connector

Bolts and Nuts

The holes in the front of the micro:bit fit an M4 bolt. I first saw Les Pounder using these to hold wire and thread in place – what a genuis! You can wrap the wire/thread around the bolt and hold in place with a nut.

Pros: Easy to use, no extra skills required

Cons: If you want to buy a LOT of bolts then that’s okay and they’re cheap. But if just want 3 they’re expensive! I can never tie thread or wrap wire tight enough around the bolt – it always falls off on me.

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M4 bolts in the holes for Pin 0 and GND

Bolts and Nuts and Terminal Rings

Instead of wrapping wire around the bolt you can crimp the wire into a terminal ring then hook the ring around the bolt. This makes sure there’s no raw wire floating around and it’s the most secure connection I’ve seen. To crimp the wire on I’ve found it easier to fold the wire back on it’s self and crimp this thicker piece of wire rather than the raw wire on its own.

Pros: Secure, stable, no raw wire on display.

Cons: You have to crimp wires onto terminal rings – which you need wrists like the Hulk to do with a standard pliers or an expensive crimping tool. Again with the terminal rings: a 100 are easy to get hold of, 3 are not.

 

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Terminal rings attached to bolts on Pin 0 and GND. A pack of terminal rings in the background!

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