Female Headers

Single row of 40-holes, female header. Can be cut to size with a pair of wire-cutters. Standard .1" spacing. We use them extensively in our SparkFun Original boards. They mate very well with break away male headers.

Please note: You will probably lose one pin with each cut.

  • Receptacle Style: Square
  • Number of Pins: 40
  • Pin Spacing: 0.1" (2.54 mm)
  • Receptacle Depth: 6 mm

Female Headers Product Help and Resources

Trimming Female Headers

There are a few methods of trimming down the female headers. You could use the diagonal cutter [ https://www.sparkfun.com/products/8794 ] to cut down the size of the female header. Keep in mind that you will need to sacrifice one socket. You could also use a dremel and some safety glasses. After cutting the header down, you can sand it down using sandpaper.

Listed below are a few tutorials examples that show you how to trim the female headers:

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Skill Level: Noob - Some basic soldering is required, but it is limited to a just a few pins, basic through-hole soldering, and couple (if any) polarized components. A basic soldering iron is all you should need.
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Looking for answers to technical questions?

We welcome your comments and suggestions below. However, if you are looking for solutions to technical questions please see our Technical Assistance page.

  • Member #1087715 / about 7 years ago / 1

    True Breakaway Female Headers: https://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/samtec-inc/SSA-132-S-T/SAM1122-32-ND/1105784

  • ericjforman / about 13 years ago / 18

    If you're looking for specific pin-number female headers, here are digikey part #s (0.1" 1-row gold ROHS):
    pins straight right-angle
    2 S7035-ND S5477-ND
    3 S7036-ND S5478-ND
    4 S7037-ND S5479-ND
    5 S7038-ND S5480-ND
    6 S7039-ND S5481-ND
    8 S7041-ND S5483-ND

  • Plusea / about 16 years ago / 18

    Exactly. I would not really call these "breakaway" since one can not snap them apart as should be possible.

    • Member #233939 / about 13 years ago / 6

      they are NOT "Break-away". This is a solid row. VERY misleading.

  • BigBen1861 / about 14 years ago / 10

    You shouldn't be calling these "Break Away". They clearly are not. You have had people complaining about this for 3+ years. Sell 'em for what they are, but your description is misleading.

  • CJG / about 14 years ago / 10

    I also take issue with calling these "breakaway" headers.
    They are NOT. They are simple 40 hole headers. There is NO provision in the design to have them break or to be cut.

  • Member #9307 / about 17 years ago / 9

    You lose a pin at each cut, there is only a thin wall between adjacent pins. Keep that in mind when ordering.

  • Bootsie / about 13 years ago / 6

    You can all stop complaining now. I needed a six-pin header, so I pulled the pin out of the seventh, scored it with the nearest knife, broke it and filed it flat with a multitool I could reach from my chair. No effort at all and I have a very nice-looking piece that matches what I need. Yes, you will lose a pin - but they warn you. In making all the headers I needed for my board, I lost 20 cents worth of headers. Big whoop! These are great!

  • Grumpy7791 / about 14 years ago / 6

    These are NOT "break-away headers". They're a 1x40 female header that's brittle enough you can snap it in pieces. You will lose at least one pin on every break, the edges will look like hell, and if you're unlucky you'll also lose the last pin you wanted to keep... giving you a useless 1-pin-too-few header.
    I had some luck melting the edges smooth with an old soldering iron, but the results were shoddy at best. A saw or dremel works a little better, but you're not going to just get clean snaps.
    SF - please sell 1x4, 1x5, 1x6, 1x8 and other common sizes. Put them in a grab bag if they can't be sold individually, or 10-packs, or any other combination. We know you carry them because your Arduino "shield" kits all have them and they look and work a good bit better than these.

    • MoriFi / about 14 years ago / 2

      Ahhh ever herd of a razor or exacto knife and sandpaper or a file you dont lose any

  • Member #243907 / about 12 years ago / 4

    Stop calling these breakaway!

  • gezepi / about 15 years ago / 3

    I was able to save all pins when I used an exacto knife heated with a lighter to cut through the plastic more easily. Even then, however, I was quite lucky the one pin didn't fall out.

  • MrAureliusR / about 11 years ago / 2

    $1.50 is an insane price. For $3 delivered i can get 10 of these on a popular auction site. For something like $12, 50.

  • I don't see how this is misleading anymore. They changed the name by taking out the 'breakaway'. All the information you could possibly need are right there

  • Maxwellfire / about 12 years ago / 2

    when do you expect them to go back in stock?

  • scharkalvin / about 13 years ago / 2

    These look like the headers on Arduino CPU boards. How about stocking the double row kind used on the Mega's?

  • DMKitsch / about 13 years ago / 2

    I do not wish to be unkind but from place XYZ (name removed to keep Sparkfun's dignity) i can buy these for $0.09. I think your price needs a little updating

  • Reinaldo / about 14 years ago / 2

    waste of money...

  • datapolo / about 15 years ago / 2

    Would be much better supplied in multiples of 2 (2,4,6,8 etc.) and a single the you could combine them as necesary. It is time consuming as well as wasteful to cut these and make any effort to make the cut end look good.

    • BigHairyTroll / about 14 years ago / 1

      I am not sure I agree with this: they are not very strong mechanically and you would not end up having a perfectly aligned row, with the risk of bending the male connector when you plug it in, in addition to boards that do not look that good.
      Besides chances are you would quickly end-up using up all the short ones and needing to cut the longer ones to our needs => back to square one.
      If you want good-looking, easy to break out female pins, look at the pin headers with machined pins (swiss style or something) that SF provides - they might be what you are looking for.

  • Aristarco / about 9 years ago / 1

    Please, stock this in right angle and double row variants, please!

  • DaveW2 / about 10 years ago / 1

    Breakaway - Not But, how else would you describe a header that you can cut to size? I think Breakaway is the closest description or Cut to size might be better.

  • GraysonR / about 10 years ago / 1

    So are these spring loaded?

  • Member #510744 / about 11 years ago / 1

    Goto chandni chowk and get it for 5 rupees

  • ThomasW / about 11 years ago * / 1

    Do you have the kind of half-height female headers that used with XBee adaptors or breakout boards?

    edit Ah, they are here.

  • Member #425270 / about 11 years ago / 1

    Although these are not true break away headers, I use Craftsman's Handi-Cut cutting sheers and this breaks them apart perfectly every time. The top part of the sheers has a straight blade and the bottom part has a flat surface, so you can actually line up the straight blade in between pins and use the flat part to brace the back of the cut. There are similar sheers out there but I haven't seen any others with the blade on just one side and a flat surface on the other and this feature is what makes these perfect for the task.

  • Member #321094 / about 12 years ago / 1

    Thanks ericjforman. You saved me a ton of time. I did not like these headers from Sparkfun and I agree with many that the information is VERY misleading.

  • Zio / about 12 years ago / 1

    I always add a few of these to my orders because they are pretty useful for connecting sensors. I just wish they were cheaper.

    I have found the best way to cut these is by scoring the plastic very lightly all the way around. Then use a lighter to heat up a razor blade and let the heat do the work. It usually takes 2-3 tries to go through but it works and I am able to not loose pins. The down side is that the end will always look hideous, just use a little sand paper to straighten it up. If it is meant to go in a permanent project where looks matter, I will sacrifice a pin.

  • Member #101088 / about 12 years ago / 1

    As others have said...these are not by any means breakaway. I have a number of good knives and still found these VERY hard to deal with, especially if you want a short number of pins (like 2).

  • LexTalionis / about 12 years ago / 1

    Please stop calling these break away.

  • cyclophane / about 13 years ago / 1

    Yes you lose a pin every time you break, they are cheap enough that it doesn't matter. Score it along the next pin to be certain you don't mess up the set you need then hit the side with a plastic welder if you need it to look relatively pretty.
    20 bucks worth of these and most will not find themselves wanting for female headers any time soon.

  • johnc2 / about 13 years ago / 1

    I don't see a good way to cut these without losing a pin since the amount of plastic in the wall between each pin is so thin.
    If you accept losing a pin you can make the cut on the side closer to the pin you will lose. So you get to keep the entire wall, thin as it is -- it works.
    I used a sharp wood chisel and a hammer and got a good cut. A very light touch up with some sandpaper dressed the ends nicely.
    I should have read these comments before I figured this out the hard way - I looked closely for the breakaway score, couldn't find it, assumed it was some kind of fancy "invisible" breakaway and even though I sensed something was wrong I tried snapping one of these with a pair of needlenose -- epic fail and the 7 pin header I was shooting for became a 6 pin header :-( Duhhohh. LOL

  • Any chance of a version with long solder tails, like are found on stackable Arduino shields?

  • gigavolt / about 13 years ago / 1

    I lurvs me some female headers.

  • Tim S. / about 14 years ago / 1

    What would the thickness of the plastic header be?
    ..would I be able to take one and after breaking it into four pin long strips, be able to stack them side by side and still maintain a .1" pitch not only from pin to pin.. but, ahh, beside one another, as well?

  • arduino1324 / about 14 years ago / 1

    I really wish there were 4pin headers because i making a project using the arduino usb board to reprogram.
    This product is good if your willing to lose a pin for every cut you make. Since these headers have thin plastic gaps, you cut through another pin, making you lose a pin....other wise this is a great product!!!

  • SomeGuy123 / about 14 years ago * / 1

    These tend to lose pins easily during cutting.

  • letter / about 14 years ago / 1

    I cut mine with diagonal pliers... works great but the first few I cut sent the snipped pins flying across the room... now I cover with my hand while snipping.
    as everyone says... you will lose a pin with each cut.

  • dakl / about 14 years ago / 1

    Are these available in a 90? angle? Or can they be bent?

    • BigHairyTroll / about 14 years ago / 1

      Can't be bent easily, I'm afraid, unless you want to bend the pin itself but then the mechanical characteristics degrade a lot (i.e. it becomes flimsy).

  • Trav / about 15 years ago / 1

    I'm also after the height dimension of the pins, I'm thinking of making a triple layer PCB (each PCB is double sided) using these to stack and connect the PCB's between eachother

  • rotormind / about 15 years ago / 1

    Possible to get height dimension with any precision?

    • tlied2 / about 15 years ago / 1

      Just meansured one, got 8.6mm for the plastic part (not counting pin length)

  • ArduinoFun.com / about 15 years ago / 1

    I wish SparkFun sold them in 8 and 6 rows for arduino. The best thing I have found to cut them down with is a small jewelry hacksaw.

    • brewer / about 13 years ago / 2

      Ditto that. I usually get headers from Futurlec (they are slow but very cheap) however they do not stock 6 pin female headers.
      I just cut mine from 40-pin stock like this. If you are stuck, don't forget you can use right angle headers (sold here) and straighten the pins).

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5

Based on 8 ratings:

Currently viewing all customer reviews.

1 of 1 found this helpful:

Misleading description

The description says: "Can be cut to size with a pair of wire-cutters."

This is not the case. If you try to cut it, the plastic shatters and the pins on either side of your cut aren't usable.

3 of 3 found this helpful:

Non-breakable female header, but still worth it

These headers are great if you have 40 I/O to use, but when it comes to smaller, they are more difficult.

In a project at my last company, I used these to melt power and LEDs to a protoboard and they are not easy to work with. Luckily I didn't need all 40 pins.

Suggestion: When breaking them apart, take a pin out, heat up an X-acto knife and then cut where you pulled the pin out.

1 of 1 found this helpful:

Handy for prototyping

These are deep sockets that accept long or square pins, so they work well with male pin headers. They can be cut to length to form custom sockets for odd parts, unusual pinouts, breakout boards with pin headers on them, or anything you want to elevate some to clear components underneath. The insertion force isn't too high, so it's easy to plug a lot of pins into these at once when need be. I cut at a pin (losing that pin) to avoid breaking the plastic around another pin. This leaves a rough end, but that's easily touched up with a file or emery board if you want a nicer looking end or need to fit right next to something.

3 of 3 found this helpful:

Note the short pins

These are great female headers, but be aware: if you want to stack your boards you might want to instead buy something like the Arduino Stackable headers (https://www.sparkfun.com/products/10007). The Arduino Stackable headers have longer pins so you can... wait for it... stack boards that use them.

2 of 2 found this helpful:

Not break-away, but still good.

You 'can' cut these with wire-cutters, but it's nearly impossible to do so without sacrificing one of the headers in the process. I typically just cut straight through one of the header pins so the other pins are untouched.

Got the job done

I purchased the header at the same time I purchased the spectrum shield. It was easy to cut and worked out good.

Worked for what I needed

I cut off a single hole and prong(yes I lost the one next to it like others have said) and smoothed it off with sandpaper. I soldered a wire to the male end so after a few minutes of work I had converted a wire to have a female slot that as stated mates very well onto male pins and is sturdy. Useful for prototyping and allows me to modify wires to female at a relatively decent price so it's nice to have a strip around in case. Bought this after not finding exactly what I was hoping for and as I said it worked for what I needed. If an admin can point me in the direction of a female/female adapter that can attach to male pins as well as this does on one side and that I can plug and remove a wire from the other I would appreciate it.

I wish I knew about a F/F adapter like that. When I need one, I have always just cut these to the pin count I need and then soldered two of them together to make a f/f. Happy hacking!

It works

Great for when you need a generic female plug, easy to cut, you will loose one when you cut as the description says, but one can't really design that out, so... Other then that, I have no problems, works great to add headers to a board, originally bought them to replace pins I broke off of an Arduino, and I just keep finding uses for them.