Blue Robotics Connector Standard (Beta)

By Rusty

This guide documents and explains our standard pin configurations for various connectors. This standard is intended to maximize compatibility between various devices.

Background

This standard is originally based on the Pixhawk Connector Standard (formerly known as the Dronecode Mini Connector Standard), which was developed to help standardize the connectors used on drone flight controllers. We have added additional types of connections that are frequently used in subsea devices such as RS485. We’ve also added pin configurations for higher-power devices and those connected through typical subsea connectors such as the “MCIL” type wet-mateable rubber-molded connectors.

Connector Types and Pin Identification

JST GH Series

The JST GH Series connectors are the primary connector recommended for use on PCBs. They are compact, easy to plug and unplug, and have affordable. These are specified by the Pixhawk Connector Standard and are used on most ArduPilot and PX4 autopilots. Note that these are not currently used on the Pixhawk autopilot but we will use a flight controller with JST GH connectors in the future.

Pre-crimped Leads: Digikey Pre-crimped JST GH Leads
Crimp Pin: SSHL-002T-P0.2
Recommended Crimper: YRS-1590
Housings: JST-GH housings on Digikey
Eagle Footprint Library: conn-jstgh.lbr
Voltage Rating: 50 V
Max Current per Pin: 1.0 A
Pin Identification:
JST GH Connector Pin Identification

JST GH Connector Pin Identification

Hirose DF13 connectors are used on many older flight controllers including the Pixhawk autopilot. Because of this, several of Blue Robotics products come by default with DF13 connectors. This will change in the future and we do not recommend DF13 connectors for new designs.

Pre-crimped Leads: Digikey Pre-crimped DF13 Leads
Crimp Pin: DF13-2630SCF
Housings: DF13 housings on Digikey
Eagle Footprint Library: conn-hirose-df13.lbr
Voltage Rating: 150 V
Max Current per Pin: 1.0 A

0.1" (2.54mm) Header Pins

0.1″ header pins are a staple of open source electronics designs and used in many places in our product line including the servo headers for the Basic ESC, Newton Gripper, and Lumen Lights as well as on various interface boards like the Fathom-S. Many of our designs expose 0.1″ header pins even if they are not actively used.

Pre-crimped Leads: Pololu Pre-crimped 0.1″ Header Leads
Crimp Pin: Male, Female
Housings Housings
Eagle Footprint Library: conn-jstgh.lbr
Voltage Rating: 250 V
Max Current per Pin: 3.0 A
Pin Identification:
0.1in Header Connector Pin Identification

0.1in Header Connector Pin Identification

Micro Circular (MC) Wet-Mateable Series

The Micro Circular (MC) Wet-Mateable Series connectors are the industry standard connector used in subsea connections. The connectors are rubber molded and must be greased before being plugged in. There are multiple manufacturers of the MC Series and they should all be interchangeable between manufacturers. Please note that Blue Robotics does not use MC type connectors on any current products but they are included here for reference because of their commonality.

Depth Rating: 8,000 m
Voltage Rating: 300 V
Max Current per Pin: 10 A for 2, 3, 4 pin versions, 5 A for 6, 8 pin versions (max 20A per connector)

*All specifications shown are from SubConn documentation. Other brands may vary.

Pin Identification:
MC wet-mateable connector pin identification (from male pin side).

MC wet-mateable connector pin identification (from male pin side).

Current manufacturers include:

MC Series Designation System

MC Series Designation System

MC Series Example Connectors

MC Series Example Connectors

Host and Device Terminology

The Blue Robotics Connector Standard refers to devices as Host and Device. This distinction differentiates some of the connector pinouts, such as the serial port pinout. It’s also important to differentiate between the connector polarities used on the devices. Proper connector polarity ensures safety between devices and ensures that powered electrical pins are never exposed to the user.

Host and device terminology as used in the connector standard.

Host and device terminology as used in the connector standard.

Serial Port

This is the standard pinout for a TTL serial port. There are separate Host and Device versions so that a straight-thru cable can be used to connect devices. CTS (clear to send) and RTS (request to send) flow control signals are optional and should be left floating if they are not used.

Host Serial Port

This pinout is used for the host (computer, flight controller, master device, etc.).

Wire to board connections:

Recommended ConnectorPin #SignalVoltageRecommended Wire Color
JST GH (6 position)



Part #:
BM06B-GHS-TBT(LF)(SN)(N)
SM06B-GHS-TB(LF)(SN)
1VCC5vRed
2TX (out)3.3vGreen
3RX (in)3.3vWhite
4CTS (in)3.3v
5RTS (out)3.3v
6GNDGNDBlack

Subsea connections:

Recommended ConnectorPin #SignalVoltage
Subconn Micro Circular (6 position)



Part #:
MCBH-6F
MCIL-6F
1V+ (power)12-18v
2VCC5v
3TX (out)3.3v
4RX (in)3.3v
5GNDGND
6GND (power)GND

Device Serial Port

This pinout is used for the device (sensor, actuator, controller, etc.). The RX/TX colors are flipped relative to the Host version so that a straight-thru cable can be used to connect the Host to the Device.

Wire to board connections:

Recommended ConnectorPin #SignalVoltageRecommended Wire Color
JST GH (6 position)



Part #:
BM06B-GHS-TBT(LF)(SN)(N)
SM06B-GHS-TB(LF)(SN)
1VCC5vRed
2RX (in)3.3vGreen
3TX (out)3.3vWhite
4CTS (in)3.3v
5RTS (out)3.3v
6GNDGNDBlack

Subsea connections:

Recommended ConnectorPin #SignalVoltage
Subconn Micro Circular (6 position)



Part #:
MCBH-6M
MCIL-6M
1V+ (power)12-18v
2VCC5v
3RX (in)3.3v
4TX (out)3.3v
5GNDGND
6GND (power)GND

RS485

This pinout is for an RS485 serial port. The pin names for RS485 are often confusing and mixed up so the pin names are defined in multiple ways. Be sure to triple check for your application!

Wire to board connections:

Recommended ConnectorPin #SignalVoltageRecommended Wire Colors
JST GH (4 position)



Part #:
BM04B-GHS-TBT(LF)(SN)(N)
SM04B-GHS-TB(LF)(SN)
1VCC5vRed
2D- (A) (non-inverting)5vWhite
3D+ (B) (inverting)5vGreen
4GNDGNDBlack

Subsea connections:

Recommended ConnectorPin #SignalVoltage
Subconn Micro Circular (6 position)



Part #:
Host: MCBH-6F, MCIL-6F
Device: MCBH-6M, MCIL-6M
1V+ (power)12-18v
2VCC5v
3D- (A) (non-inverting)5v
4D+ (B) (inverting)5v
5GNDGND
6GND (power)GND

CAN

This is for CAN bus connections. Currently, CAN bus is not used in any Blue Robotics products but is typically a good choice for vehicle system communication and is used on many drone products. The standard pinout here matches the Pixhawk Connector Standard.

Wire to board connections:

Recommended ConnectorPin #SignalVoltageRecommended Wire Colors
JST GH (4 position)



Part #:
BM04B-GHS-TBT(LF)(SN)(N)
SM04B-GHS-TB(LF)(SN)
1VCC5vRed
2CAN H5vWhite
3CAN L5vGreen
4GNDGNDBlack

Subsea connections:

Recommended ConnectorPin #SignalVoltage
Subconn Micro Circular (6 position)



Part #:
Host: MCBH-6F, MCIL-6F
Device: MCBH-6M, MCIL-6M
1V+ (power)12-18v
2VCC5v
3CAN H5v
4CAN L5v
5GNDGND
6GND (power)GND

USB

This pinout is the opposite of that used on the Pixhawk DF13 connector but matches up with standard USB, which we determined to be more important. The Pixhawk Connector Standard does not officially define a USB standard, so this may not be followed by other flight controllers.

Wire to board connections:

Recommended ConnectorPin #SignalVoltageRecommended Wire Colors
JST GH (4 position)



Part #:
BM04B-GHS-TBT(LF)(SN)(N)
SM04B-GHS-TB(LF)(SN)
1VCC5vRed
2D-5vWhite
3D+5vGreen
4GNDGNDBlack

Subsea connections:

Recommended ConnectorPin #SignalVoltage
Subconn Micro Circular (6 position)



Part #:
Host: MCBH-6F, MCIL-6F
Device: MCBH-6M, MCIL-6M
1V+ (power)12-18v
2VCC5v
3D-5v
4D+5v
5GNDGND
6GND (power)GND

I2C

This pinout is for I2C communication and matches the Pixhawk Connector Standard standard exactly. We do not recommend using I2C for longer connections so no external version is provided.

Wire to board connections:

Recommended ConnectorPin #SignalVoltageRecommended Wire Colors
JST GH (4 position)



Part #:
BM04B-GHS-TBT(LF)(SN)(N)
SM04B-GHS-TB(LF)(SN)
1VCC5vRed
2SCL3.3vWhite
3SDA3.3vGreen
4GNDGNDBlack

Ethernet 10/100

The pin orders are set up so that the same wires can be used for other four-pin connections and maintain the same colors on pins 2 and 3.

Wire to board connections:

Recommended ConnectorPin #SignalRecommended Wire Colors
JST GH (4 position)



Part #:
BM04B-GHS-TBT(LF)(SN)(N)
SM04B-GHS-TB(LF)(SN)
1TX+White/orange
2RX+ White/green
3RX-Green
4TX-Orange

Subsea connections:

Recommended ConnectorPin #SignalRecommended Wire Colors
Subconn Micro Circular (6 position)



Part #:
Host: MCBH-6F, MCIL-6F
Device: MCBH-6M, MCIL-6M
1V+ (power, 12-18v)Red
2TX+White/orange
3RX+ White/green
4RX-Green
5TX-Orange
6GND (power)Black

Power Only / LED Indicator

This is used for the LED indicator and other power-only devices.

Wire to board connections:

Recommended ConnectorPin #SignalVoltageRecommended Wire Colors
JST GH (2 position)



Part #:
BM02B-GHS-TBT(LF)(SN)(N)
SM02B-GHS-TB(LF)(SN)
1VCCRed
2GNDGNDBlack

Tether

This pinout is used on all tether cables. It is compatible with tethers consisting of twisted pairs, up to four twisted pairs. For cables with less than four twisted pairs, the later wires are ignored. For all connections, we recommend using 8 pin connectors, regardless of how many twisted wire pairs are actually used. This will allow for future upgrades and expansion, if necessary.

Sealed compartment inline connections:

Recommended ConnectorPin #WireWire Colors
0.1″ Header (3 position with positions 1 and 3 populated)

1Solid color wireBlue
Orange
Green
Brown
2Empty
3Striped color wireWhite/Blue
White/Orange
White/Green
White/Brown

Subsea and topside bulkhead connections:

Recommended Connector
Pin #Pair #Wire ColorTypical Signal
Subconn Micro Circular and Binder 770 (8 position)

Part #:
Host: Binder 770 Bulkhead
Device (ROV Bulkhead): MCBH-8M
Device (tether): Binder 770 Plug (topside)
and MCIL-8F (ROV side)
1Pair 1BlueHomeplug D-
2White/BlueHomeplug D+
3Pair 2Orange
4White/Orange
5Pair 3Green
6White/Green
7Pair 4Brown
8White/Brown

Thruster or Motor

This pinout is used for thrusters and other three-phase brushless motors. Note that Blue Robotics’ thrusters do not currently enforce consistent pin ordering so two motors may spin in opposite directions for a given input signal.

Recommended ConnectorPin #SignalRecommended Wire Colors


Part #:
Host: MCBH-3F, MCIL-3F
Device (thruster): MCIL-3M
1Phase ABlue
2Phase BGreen
3Phase CWhite

Servo or PWM Signal Devices

This pinout is used for standard RC-type servos or any other device that is controlled with a servo-style PWM pulse, such as the Lumen lights or Newton Gripper. Four pins are used on the subsea version to enable future devices with two independent signals as well as Y-split connections to two devices.

Wire to board connections:

Recommended ConnectorPin #SignalVoltageRecommended Wire Colors
0.1″ Header (3 position female)



1PWM Signal5vYellow
25v (or empty)5vRed
3GNDGNDBlack

Subsea connections:

Recommended ConnectorPin #SignalVoltageRecommended Wire Colors
Subconn Micro Circular (4 position)



Part #:
Host: MCBH-4F, MCIL-4F
Device (servo): MCBH-4M, MCIL-4M
1V+ (power)5v-18vRed
2PWM Signal #15v
3PWM Signal #25v
4GNDGNDBlack
Authors

Rusty

Rusty is the founder and CEO of Blue Robotics. His background is in engineering but he likes to be involved in everything at Blue Robotics!