Picture of Parallel cable breadboard breakout
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I'm experimenting with CNC machines so I came up with this simple and inexpensive way to make an adapter to plug a printer cable into a breadboard. It uses a socket pulled off of an old printer and a 40 pin IC socket. The IC socket is needed because these connectors, weather store bought or salvaged, don't have the right spacing to fit into a breadboard. This can also be useful if you want to fit one to a prototype board with 0.1" spacing.

This method could be used with a DB25 connector, a DB36, or any other angled PCB mount socket. My example uses a socket and cable with a 36 pin Centronics connector, as found on many old printers, because that's the kind of cable and socket I had from a printer I took apart. If you want DB25 like a standard computer parallel port, it's pretty easy to find an old motherboard with one of those sockets that can be used in exactly the same way.

1 DB25, Centronix 36pin or other PCB mount socket that you want to adapt to a breadboard.
1 40 pin IC socket, preferably the kind with flat tabs, though the machined pin kind may work
Zip ties (optional)

Needle nose pliers/tweezers
Soldering Iron
Solder sucker or desoldering iron (if your plug is currently attached to a board)

Step 1: Desolder and crack the socket

Picture of Desolder and crack the socket
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I wont go into too much detail on the desoldering, there are Instructables to cover that. But you don't have to worry about overheating the connector in this case, you're going to crack off the back of it anyway.

So, getting on to that, take a pair of pliers and crack up the plastic on the back of the connector. Since it comes to an angle behind the connector it breaks away pretty cleanly. If you want to be really neat about it you can file off the rough edges left where you broke off the plastic surrounding the pins.
russ_hensel5 months ago

Just a note to let you know I have added this ( a year ago ) to the instructable:

Comprehensive Guide to Electronic Breadboards: A Meta Instructable

>> http://www.instructables.com/id/Comprehensive-Gui...

Take a look at a bunch of project involving breadboards.

pfred23 years ago
I just used a riser ribbon out of an old PC. You can see it here in this picture:


All I did was cut off the double row header connector and strip back the ribbon wires. I have dozens of the things out of old PCs. It was a thrill to actually use one. Yours looks neater than mine does in this article, but mine looked pretty neat too before I hooked it up to something.

The article about my break out board is here:

69fordf1004 years ago
cool idea,
i would be worried about shorting out the wires though. how hard would it be to place short pieces of shrink wrap around each prong before you solder them into place?
PaulMakesThings (author)  69fordf1004 years ago
I thought about that, but they're actually more ridged than they look, they don't move very easily once soldered into the base.