What is a good cable/socket system for modular circuits?

I've been working on and off on an integrated color organ and vumeter over the past few months.  Part of the design is that there will be a central "hub" that will do all the filtering and user interfacing, allowing me to build the display itself separately.  The intent is that this will allow me more design freedom in a display, since I won't have to fit all the circuitry into it.  It's also cool, since this project is more self education than anything else.  The minor problem is that I have no idea what type of cable or connector to use in order to make the design modular.

So, is there a good cable/socket type for this purpose?  It preferably needs at least five wires (high, low, mid, left channel, right channel), which is why I don't think USB is a possibility.  Also, will it be necessary for one of the wires to be hooked up to ground of the central hub?  My intent is for the display and hub to have different power supplies, with the filter outputs hooked up to transistors in the display, which will in turn "trigger" the leds.

Forgive me if this is a glaringly obvious question; I'm entirely new to electronics, so I have no experience with cables and the like.

edit: the display is going to be at least a foot from the central hub, if not more, so ribbon cables and the likes are out of the picture.

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Now you've changed the rules - edit the question to say that the units are to be some distance apart....

The cheapest method is probably with DIN audio connectors, like the 5 pin Domino style - but you have a lot of soldering to do, and you can't readily daisy chain the connections.

Lemo are THE best connectors, but since they are close to 50 bucks per pair, you may be a bit out of budget....

They can be purchased for less if you do some looking. I picked up about a dozen 6-pin Lemo connector pairs (socket and plug) for ~$3 per pair at a surplus dealer a couple of years back. Hirose (4, 6, & 12-pin) are more affordable in the staineless shells, but both Lemo and Hirose, as well as newer kids on the block have come up with plastic shell connectors that are far more affordable.

I would warn the OP that soldering these connectors can be a real trial for the noviate, so I'd plan on having a solid iron and a swivel magnifier before attempting. They are in general a one-shot solder operation, as heat tends to destroy the plastic substrate into which the pins are molded. Granted, that can be said for most of the small connectors.

There is also an affordable connector made by Switchcraft in both 3 and 5 pin configurations I've used in the past. It's a very convenient package if you are a decent solderer.

+10 on the soldering issues.
That's why I always specify the PEEK insulator option.

Skidion (author)  steveastrouk6 years ago
I never thought I'd drool over something as paltry as cable. Unsurprisingly it's a bit out of price range. More than the rest of the components combined...

But the DIN looks practical, and a lot more economical to boot. I may end up ultimately going with that.

Thanks for the quick answers.
You can get them premade and cheap too.
seandogue6 years ago
Hirose and Lemo both offer really nice environmental multipin quick connect connectors, but they're not cheap.

There are plastic-body connectors as well. Check Digikey.
You've already answered the question with your choice of keywords. A ribbon cable would be a great way to do this.

Skidion (author)  steveastrouk6 years ago
Thanks for the quick answer. I stupidly forgot to add that, if possible, I'd rather not use ribbon cable. Mainly for the reason that the display will be several feet from the hub, and ribbon cable in my experience is a bit unwieldy for that length.

Thanks nonetheless!