Jumper wires are small simple wires that have connector pins at each end, allowing them to be used to connect points to each other without soldering. Typically used in circuit boards, jumper wires make it easy to quickly change a circuit as needed by adding simple electrical connections. As a versatile part in circuitry, jumper wires can come with different connector types which are designed to mate with certain components. Jumper wires also come in a variety of colors, but they do not signify different working properties. Rather, the colors are there to help with organization, so that you may assign your own meaning to keep things clear.
What Are Jumper Wires Used For
Generally, jumper wires are used to close or open a circuit part by connecting multiple portions on a circuit board. Their role is to configure the settings for computer peripherals, like the motherboard. As such, you can use jumper wires to modify a circuit or diagnose problems. Moreover, they are best used to bypass a part of the circuit that does not contain a resistor and is suspected to be malfunctioning. For example, if all the fuses are good but the component is not receiving power, you can find the circuit switch and then bypass it with the jumper wire to diagnose the problem and fix it temporarily.
Types of Jumper Wires
Jumper wires come in three versions according to their connection types: male-to-male jumper, male-to-female jumper, and female-to-female jumper. They also come with two types of head shapes: square head and round head. Regardless of the head shape, male ends have a pin protruding and can plug into things while female ends have a concave section that is also used for plugging. Additionally, a male connector is referred to as a plug and as a solid pin for conduction through the center. Meanwhile, a female connector is referred to as a jack and has a center conductor with a hole in it to accept the male pin. Of the three types, male-to-male jumper wires are the most common and consist of a wire with two male ends.
Another type of jumper wire is an alligator clip, which consists of two spring metal clips connected by wire. These unique connection points allow the clips to be used in situations where it is difficult to use a regular jumper wire. For an even more specialized option, there are wires that have a male pin connection on one end and an alligator clip on the other.
Jumper Wires and Soldering
While the temporary connection jumper wires create can be advantageous for many different procedures, others may call for a more permanent connection. In this case, jumper wires can be soldered, as long as the soldered wires are discernable on the opposite side. Similar to a through-hole component lead, the outline of the wire in the solder connection should be visible. In addition, jumper wires soldered to lifted or clipped components should also be insulated to prevent shorting.
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