LESSON 26: Wire Wrapping

The neat thing about using breadboards and jumper wires to build a circuit is that it is a quick and easy way to get your prototype up and working. It is an excellent way to get your circuit and code debugged. The wires are very easy to connect by just plugging them into the holes. the downside is, those wires come out just as easily as they went in.

Breadboard
Breadboard Prototype Wires are Not Securely Connected

The breadboard prototype is great for getting your prototype going, but to use in a real project like a robot, unmanned aerial drone, or high altitude balloon, you will need a more secure way to connect your circuit up. Typically the next step for commercial products would be to order a custom PC board, and then solder the components into the board. This is a great way to go, but there are some pretty large barriers to doing this. There is a fairly steep learning curve to the board design software. The second issue is that even for simple projects the minimum order is usually around $100. Once you order the board you really can not tweak or make changes to your design. Also, you typically solder the components into the board, so you can not take it apart and use your components in other projects.

Wire Wrapping Tool
Wire Wrapping Tool and Wire

Luckily, there is a good options for students working with a limited budget. It is an almost lost art form known as Wire Wrapping. To make a robust circuit suitable for deployment in real projects, you need a minimum of equipment, and it is very easy to learn.

In order to get started, you will need a few things. You will need a good Wire Wrapping Tool,  30 AWG Wrapping Wire,  and some Prototyping Boards.

Once you have your gear, the rest is pretty simple.  Measure out the length of wire you need, leaving excess on each end for the “wrap”. I like to use about 1 inc of wire for a wrap. Hence, I would leave 1 inch extra on each end, or two inches total extra for each wire. Then strip about 1 inch of wire off each end. Insert the wire into the small hole or indention in the wire wrap tool. Place the tool over the post or pin you want to wire wrap, and gently rotate the tool clockwise until the wire is wrapped around the post. Simple as that. The video above shows you just how to use it.

4 thoughts on “LESSON 26: Wire Wrapping”

  1. Paul, A few weeks ago I stumbled across your excellent Arduino lecture series after watching the Australian Core Electronics tutorials. You are both informative, keep up the good work. Regards from Watsons Bay, on the shores of beautiful Sydney Harbour.

    1. Thanks for the kind words . . . I have had the joy of visiting Australia 4 times. Really love the country.

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