A while ago we talked about the Bus Pirate, a device made by the people from Hackaday, which connects to the PC using the USB port, supports most serial protocols and possesses lots of other useful features and can be very helpful in testing various chips and circuits. The Bus Pirate requires a probe cable to connect to the circuit itself and this can be difficult depending on the circuit or the PCB.
The probe cable has a 2×5 connector at one end and a probe on the other end. The 2×5 connector goes into the I/O pins of the Bus Pirate and the test ending (which can be an alligator clip, a test hook or a tweezer probe) goes on the circuit you’re testing. Alligator clips should have a rubber cover to avoid any short circuits and this should be installed before soldering the wire to the clip.
Test hooks are fit for testing headers or various through-hole components, but their size can be a problem when you want to place more of them on a crowded PCB. The test hooks also have a casing made of non-conducting material to prevent accidental short circuits and can be easily soldered to your cable.
Another testing device is the tweezer probe, which has small retractable tweezers that can easily attach to surface mount chips. Most of them can be opened up and soldered using the solder metal tab. Tweezer probes are very secure because there is little metal exposed, so short circuits are very rare.
Of course, you should choose the testing probe that best fits your needs. All of these have their place and can make your life a lot easier if used correctly. Happy hacking.
Bus Pirate Extension – Probe Cable: [Link]