DIY custom header connector cable

Today I will show you how to make a cable like this.

It’s a female to female multi-pin connector cable for standard headers. You can use same technique for making male to male or male to female cables with as many pins as desired.  It’s a real “ghetto” way to make a cable, but will do in a pinch.
Part List:

  • Heat-Shrink Tubing of 3 various sizes (from really small for sing wire, to large one that can cover 4 pin connector). You can it at RadioShack or Home Depot.
  • Pieces of wire (I got mine from CAT-5 cable I had)
  • 2.54 mm Single Row Female Pin Header (eBay)


  • Wire cutters
  • Wire strippers (24 awg)
  • Soldering Iron
  • 3rd hand tool (optional)
  • Heat Gun or hair drier


With wire cutters carefully break pin header row to the size you need. I found it’s better to brake on the next pin, so if you need 4 pins, break at 5th.

Prepare wires. Make them as long as needed and use as many as number of pins you will have. Strip ends (small portion) with wire strippers.

Pre-Tin wires with soldering iron

Pre-Tin header connectors. I left some extra lead on them on purpose.
Solder wires to header connectors. Keep them parallel and check if they are holding.

Very important, know which color goes to which PIN. Use paint, nail polish to mark one side, this will be your Pin #1.
Cut shrink-tubing of the smallest diameter  (mine was a bit too large) and slide over each connector. If you using 3rd hand tool angle connector so tubing stays put.

Using heat gun on lowest setting blow over shrink-tubing, until it shrank.

Now slide over very large diameter piece of shrink-tubing so it covers wires and header.

Shrink it with heat gun

Now use smaller piece of shrink-tubing, slide it over big one and shrink with heat gun.

First end of your cable is ready!

Before you start soldering second end, slide shrink-tubing pieces in reverse: medium, large, small pieces.

You did take note of which color wire goes to which pin, right? 🙂 If not you can find out with a tester. Repeat process of soldering wires to the other end, and heat shrink-tubing.

Congratulations you just made one ugly, but functional cable! 🙂



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