Microcontrollers   PCs — Embedded Electronics





Projects:  Wire Wrapping. Resuscitating a Venerable Technology








 Projects Home

 Workspace Pictures

 ReAl Computer Architecture

Site in German  







The Problem:
How to employ such modules in projects outside their native ecosystems?

This task can be solved easily by resorting to the venerable technology of wire wrapping. The only change necessary is to insert other connectors. This way, the modules can be plugged into platforms made of inexpensive prototyping boards. The technology allows intermixing freely Arduino, Raspberry, and other modules. Mechanical sturdiness and reliability are ways superior compared to the contraptions one can see in catalogs and on the Internet.

To attach an E-Paper module to microcontroller modules, the vendor recommends jumper wires. (Source: Embedded Artists AB.)

However, what about this alternative?

Here, our dual-screen display is attached to an Atmel STK500 starter kit.

Let's have a closer look at the experimental platform:

Two experimental platforms withmodules. They are good for nothing except to demonstrate the  wire-wrap technology. Arduino, Raspberry Pi, and other modules can be intermixed freely. All modules are easily accessible.

And this is the secret:

1.  Insert appropriate connectors into the modules:

2. Employ this venerable technology to wire the prototyping board:

(Source: Bell Telephone Labs)

The GPIO trainer type 1:

  • The module to the left is a KA 05 IN/OUT shield for Arduino (Velleman NV).
  • The module to the right is a PiFace Digital 2 (OpenLX SP Ltd.)

The LED trainer type 1:

  • The LED-array modules are a Scroll pHAT and a Unicorn pHAT (Pimoroni). These modules can be inserted horizontally or vertically (the latter, for example, to demonstrate bar graph displays).

  • The module to the right is a Pibrella general-purpose I/O module (Cyntech Components).

Experimenting with LEDs and relays.

A makeshift test system. The microcontroller module (1) runs the application or test program. The human interface module (2) serves as a protocol console. The module (3) is our GPIO trainer. In this setup, the device under test (DUT) is the Velleman KA 05. The second microcontroller module (4) is programmed as a peripheral emulator. It energizes the inputs and senses the outputs of the KA 05, thus emulating a real application environment. Each microcontroller module has a tablet PC behind it, both acting as virtual operator panels.


References, sources, weblinks:


Matthes, Wolfgang: Microcontroller Modules for the Ambitious. Circuit Cellar, Issue 312, July 2016, S. 24-33. 


Solderless Wrapping Manual. Doc-No. 130031371A. Honeywell Computer Control Division, November 1967.


Design Parameters for Wire-Wrap. Gardner-Denver Company, 1962.


Kilgrease, D. L.: Mechanization of Engineering Design Data. IBM, 1962.


Winters, Ryan: Wire wrapping vs. soldering: How and When to Use WireWrapping.


Xcelite Catalog. Apex Tool Group, LLC, 2014.


Tools for Telecom, Datacom, Electrical, and Electronics. JDV Products, Inc., 2018.


Jonard Tools Catalogue No. 114. Jonard Tools, 2018.


Hookup Wire Catalog. Lit. No. HUW-Bro-1501. Alpha Wire, 2015.


Wire-Wrap-Draht. Rollenware und konfektioniert. Catalog sheet (German).


BPS BusBoard Prototype Systems 2016 Fall Product Catalog Rev 1610. BPS BusBoard Prototype Systems Ltd., 2016.


Prototyping Products and accessories for the Eurocard/19" Technology Market. Vero Catalogue 05.1. Vero Technologies Limited, 2005.


Uncommitted and Microbus backplanes are an effective interconnect technology for general purpose small systems (16 05 Backplane white paper V2 25 May 16.).  Vero Technologies Limited, 2016.

Historical documents ([2] to [4)]:


Tools ([6] to [8]):




Wire ([9]):  


Pre-cut and pre-stripped wire [10]:


Prototyping Boards ([11] to [13]):














July 20, 2018

References, sources, weblinks

Download schematics: