How to Work with Jumper Pads and PCB Traces

Contributors: bboyho
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What is a Jumper?

A jumper is an electrical connection designed to open or close a circuit between two or more points. Depending on the PCB, jumpers can be added into a design to change the board's default:

  • Serial UART
  • I2C Address
  • SPI
  • Voltage Level
  • Pull-Up Resistor
  • Mode

Jumper Pads

Below are a few examples of 1x2 and 1x3 jumper pads that are used with SparkFun boards. The spacing between pads are usually close together making it easy to add a solder.

Sunny Buddy w/ JP1 Closed Jumper and JP2 Open Jumper Pads 5V FTDI w/ 1x3 Open and Closed Jumper Pads Si7021 Humidity and Temperature Sensor w/ 1x3 Closed I2C Pull Up Jumper Pads

Jumpers with Plated Through Hole Pads

However, that may not always be the case for jumpers. Standard 0.1" pitched pins can have a wider gap or a development board may have a pin located in a different position. Additional solder, 2-pin jumper blocks, and jumper wires may be required to make a connection.

Custom cable adapter using the snappable protoboard w/ solder jumpers between wires and connector. Electric Imp Breakout w/ 2-Pin Jumper on Header GPS Logger Shield w/ Software Serial Rerouted w/ Jumper Wires