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Not too long ago, I made my own version of the popular Wing Shield out of some spare parts and scraps of perf board I had laying around. Instead of the screw terminals that the regular wing shield uses, I used some female headers that I soldered to some Arduino stackable header pins. This time I did something a little different and it makes the new ones much better.

I figured out that I can bend the pins on the bottom of the female header pins and make them 90 degree female headers. I can then make the points that need to be bridged with solder much closer than they were in my last attempt. This makes them a lot easier to make, but it also makes them much easier to use. The stackable headers remain the same, but the female header now lays down so that you have easy access to all of the Arduino pins, regardless of what kind of shield you have on top.

To top things off and make these as ideal as possible, I started with the Arduino R3 stackable headers, which are a little longer and give you every pin, even the reset, IOREF and AREF pins. I like to use masking tape to mark the pins when I use female headers and with these I was able to mark the inside and outside so I don't have to take everything apart to see the markings on the Arduino board.

Step 1: Parts

Parts:
Arduino R3 stackable headers
Long strip of female headers
Scrap pieces of perf board

I like to trim the perf boards so there is a tab on one side that I can easily grab to pull the headers back out of the Arduino board. I also wanted to make sure the new 90 degree headers had support from the perf board, so I needed the pieces to be at least 4 holes wide.

I cut and trimmed the female headers to match the length of the R3 headers. I then bent the leads on each header so that they would be at a right angle.

Step 2: Soldering

When I solder header pins of any kind, I don't use my helping hands anymore. Instead, I like to tack solder once I have the part aligned where I want it. To do this, I will hold the perf board and the header together and peel the solder off the spool a little bit. I touch the end of the soldering iron to the solder strand and get a little on the iron's tip. I touch the iron to the joint of the header and the perf board and it will hold everything in place while I make the other connections.

If you do it right, that first tack solder will be perfectly aligned and the rest is easy. If you didn't do it right, touch the iron to the solder again and then realign the header.

Step 3: Labels

I marked the ends of my previous ones with green permanent marker, this time I used purple so I can tell them apart. I cut little strips of masking tape and stuck them to the stackable headers and the female headers. Then I just copy the Arduino pin names onto the extensions with a fine point permanent marker.

Step 4: Finish

Now I have 2 sets of these port-replicator/extenders. I like these a lot better than the last ones because they give me better access to the headers. They were also a lot easier to make because I didn't have to make little jumper wires or make such big blobs of solder to bridge the gaps between the plating on the perf board. I still had to bridge some gaps, but between 2 holes, not 4 like the other set.

<p>I looked at your older version and see this reference to 'excessive solder to bridge the gaps'. I assume that you are referring to big holes that have no plating and the solder won't 'wet' between the two? Or something else?</p><p>If the first, then why doesn't running a wire through work better? I know that I run across this problem on vias of PCBs. I have been successful, when both sides are not accessible, to wet the wire and use it as a 'wetting' tool. Sometimes I use the pointed tip of the soldering iron and just stick it into the hole while adding new solder. But I also use a long piece of insulated wire, strip the end and after wetting the wire, insert it into the hole. With enough heat, the wire will wet the solder on the other side. (I like to have the hole 'covered' with a solder span to get it to work faster and add solder as it is going in - using a blob of solder on the iron, but sometimes it is not possible to prepare the upper opening.) The wire is then cut off to leave a pin behind if no module pin is already in the hole.</p><p>Once the hole is wetted, the pin keeps it from disconnecting even when reheated. If you do not leave a pin in the hole, the solder will disconnect upon reheating because as the heat source is pulled away it draws the solder with it. Of course, using larger wire commensurate with the size of the hole also helps, but is sometimes not usable (unavailable or there is a module pin in the hole already).</p>
<p>Great idea! I have a couple of Pro Minis that could benefit from this, with modifications, of course. Here's a photo of what I've done in the past using a general purpose PCB from RadioShack (cat #276-148). I think I'm gonna use the 276-149 &amp; adapt your technique with the bent-over headers. It'll be a Pro Mini Wing Shield! Thanks for the idea!!</p>

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