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Pin header

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Title: Pin header  
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Subject: STM32, Segger Microcontroller Systems, Ensoniq SoundscapeDB, Parani, Jumper (computing)
Collection: Electrical Connectors, Electrical Signal Connectors
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Pin header

6x1 male pin header
8x2 male pin header
13x2 IDC connector, shrouded with notch key, triangle denotes pin 1

A pin header (or simply header) is a form of electrical connector. It consists of one or more rows of male pins typically spaced 2.54 millimetres (0.1 in) apart, but sometimes 2 millimetres (0.079 in) or 1.27 millimetres (0.05 in) is used as well.[1] The distance between pins is commonly referred as pitch in the electronic community.


  • Overview 1
  • Shrouded header 2
  • Polarizer key 3
  • Pin numbering 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Pin headers are often associated with ribbon cable connectors, pin headers often also function as recipients for jumpers. The most common jumper spacing is 0.1 inches (2.54 mm) spacing, though 2 millimetres (0.079 in) is sometimes used in smaller products.

Pin header connectors are thus "male" connectors (female counterparts do exist, but these are normally just called "header connectors", without "pin") and are mostly used inside equipment, rather than being used as a connector on the outside of the device.[2]

Normally pin headers are pin through hole (PTH) devices, but surface-mount technology (SMT) versions of one and two row pin headers also exist. In the latter case the solder sides of the pins are simply bent on a 90 degree angle so as to be soldered to a solder plane. On single row pin headers the pins are bent alternating to one side or the other, on dual row pin headers the pins are simply bent outwards. If pin headers are optional, the PTH variant is often chosen for ease of manual assembly. Pin headers can be either straight or angled. The latter form is often used to connect two boards together.

Pin headers are cost-effective due to their simplicity. Headers are often sold as long strips (typically 40 pins for the dual row versions) which can easily be broken off to the right number of pins.

Shrouded header

Pin headers with a plastic guide box around them are known as "box headers" or "shrouded headers" and are normally only used in combination with a ribbon cable connector. A notch (key) in the guide box normally prevents placing the connector (polarised by a "bump" on one side) the wrong way around.[3]

Polarizer key

Some systems polarize or key the pin header connection with something that fills and blocks one of the holes in the sockets.[4][5][6][7] One pin of the wrong pin header (or the correct pin header rotated in the wrong orientation) hits that obstruction and prevents an incorrect connection. The correct pin header has one or more pins in the header removed or clipped to indicate a key for correct orientation.

Pin numbering

In absence of a pin 1 designation on the header, if a designation is missing from the header, the PCB may have a marking indicating orientation (often the solder pad around the hole of pin 1 of a PTH header is square rather than round).

For multi-row pin headers, the pin number is more complex, because knowing the location of pin 1 doesn't automatically ensure how the remaining pins are numbered. Typically for headers that support ribbon cables, the pin numbers alternate between rows as the pin number increments, thus pins would be numbered with odd numbers along one side and the even numberes ones along the other.[8]

For multi-row pin headers, its best to make pin 1 with a square pad, then label pin 1 and maximum pin number in the silkscreen.

See also


  1. ^ TSW and HTSW through-hole square post header datasheet; Samtec.
  2. ^ Glossary entry about headers;
  3. ^ Glossary entry about shrouded headers;
  4. ^ "Front panel Connections"
  5. ^ "USB 3.0 Header to USB 2.0 Header pinout".
  6. ^ "Voided Header Pins and Blanked Socket Cavities"
  7. ^ Lee Penrod. "How to Install Front USB by Connecting Front USB Ports to a Motherboard". quote: "One pin is blocked so that it is impossible to install improperly."
  8. ^ 10 pin IDC male connector diagram and applications pinouts

External links

  • Square Post Header, Male, 0.1-inch center,
  • Socket Strip, Female, 0.1-inch center,
  • Shrouded Square Headers, Male, 0.1-inch center,
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