Access pi GPIO pins for other uses

Hi, I want to be able to access the other GPIO pins for other projects on my ThunderBorg, does piborg sell any device which is intended to breakout these pins with the Motor Controller attached? At the moment the motor controller only uses 6 pins but its placement restricts access to the remaining pins.

If there isn't anything available off the shelf, whats the best way to access these? Is there any specific cable/board I can buy or make?

piborg's picture

There a few options depending on your robot setup.

1. Use 2x 3-pin cables to connect the ThunderBorg

This is the easiest option, but it means the ThunderBorg cannot be mounted directly to the Raspberry Pi.

2. Use a TriBorg+ to make more GPIO headers available

This has a couple of downsides. Firstly it will raise the height the ThunderBorg is mounted at. Secondly it does not provide mounting holes for the ThunderBorg to use.

You may also need to fit a right-angled header for connecting wires to instead of the supplied straight ones if the connectors are all directly underneath the ThunderBorg.

3. Use a ribbon cable, e.g.

This would be the best option, but there is a catch - the connector will clash with the GPIO pins next to it.

Fix 1: File off the edge of the connector until it fits - not ideal, but should be okay if you are careful.

Fix 2: Remove the clashing GPIO pins - not recommended as this will remove you ability to use these pins in the future :(

4. Use stackable / extended headers, e.g.

In this case either two 3-pin or one 3x2-pin stackable header is used to raise the height of the ThunderBorg, allowing direct access to the remaining GPIO pins.

This is the cheapest option if the height increase is not a problem, but you will probably need extra (or longer) mounting posts for the ThunderBorg, e.g. Mounting Post Kit for Raspberry Pi (6mm).

Thanks, I really appreciate the comprehensive reply! A ribbon cable crossed my mind, and I think this will be my preferred option. Regardless of the outcome, I'll report progress back here so it can be of use to other who may have the same question!

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