Add all the microcontroller inputs and outputs your pretty lil' heart desires* by building a super simple ground terminal (block) out of common materials found at home!
Use this ground terminal to connect the ground leads of various components in your circuit. This is especially useful for Arduino or other microcontroller projects since there are a limited number of ground ("GND") pins.
Terminal blocks help simplify a circuit, provide a secure (& solderless) point of electrical connection, and reign in some of those pesky wires (which typically like to hang out all over the place and get tangled and stuck to everything..).
You can connect all the ground wires to one terminal or build multiple, electrically connected terminals for each component, like commercially available terminal blocks.
*Offer limited to the number of I/O pins on the microcontroller.
Step 1: Materials!
- One (1) 1" x 1" cardboard square
- One (1) metal paperclip
- One (1) bolt
Bolt size doesn't matter much as long as the washers and nuts are compatible.
- Two (2) washers
- Two (2) nuts
- One (1) wire
Step 2: Build It! Pt. 1
1. Poke a hole in the center of the cardboard square smaller than the size of the bolt.
2. Place one washer onto bolt, then add the paperclip, followed by the second washer. Push washers + paperclip to top of the bolt.
3. Twist one nut onto the bolt until it secures the washers around the paperclip.
Step 3: Build It! Pt. 2
1. Push bottom of bolt through cardboard hole.
2. Attach second nut on the bottom of the cardboard and tighten until it secures the bolt to the cardboard.
3. Add a ground wire to the paperclip (twist it on or use alligator clips), or otherwise electrically connect it to the bolt. Connect that ground wire to your circuit ground.
4. Add ground wires for each component with a ground connection.*
*You can also easily create a (low voltage/current) common wire with this!
Step 4: Connect It to Your Circuit!
And you're done!
This design was inspired while prototyping projects with a bunch of components that each require a GND connection. Typically, I'd end up with a giant mess of wires and alligator clips, half of the time accidentally shorting my circuit. This finally prompted me to design a super simple + quick ground terminal using materials easily available and plentiful at home.
Try different designs depending on your available materials and project needs-- most metals conduct electricity so there are tons of possibilities for a ground terminal! Share your designs in the comments below, or post a tutorial of your own! :D