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Hacking Insulin Syringe Into a Logic Probe

Recently I needed some sort of probe to reliably stick onto a tiny .5mm pitch IC pins. My scope probe was a bit unwieldy for that. Not sharp enough either. And so I came up with this probe from a tiny insulin syringe. It is extremely sharp, so it’s really easy to pierce through oxidation coating or even through a solder mask.


First I drilled a small .5mm hole near the base of the needle. Then the piece of stripped twisted pair cable went through.

Also I soldered a small piece of coax cable to a standard 0.1 inch pins. I used coax cable here, because the wire that goes through syringe would act like a big antenna, which I don’t really want. And, yes, I know the needle is pretty long, but at least that piece of coax would make things a little bit better. Just an additional shielding.

Then I soldered one side of coax to the solid core copper wire and passed it all through the syringe, so that connector would stick out at the top. I soldered only the central core of the coax cable, and chopped the screen at the end.

Then carefully wound wire onto the needle. Reasonably high amount of wounds, so that it would make a good contact even if copper a bit oxidized. It’s a bummer that you can’t solder copper to a stainless steel..

Finally used some hot glue to hold connector in place and also marked shield terminal with black sharpie.

Well, that’s it! “The probe” with both caps on. Super sharp, super cheap and super handy :)

Be careful, needles are extremely sharp! Do not pierce your hand!

9 comments

6 pings

  1. Lindsay Wilson says:

    Very neat idea!

    Soldering copper to stainless – I’ve had a lot of success with a flux called “Fernox Powerflow”. I think it’s meant for plumbers, and is a white cream in a big yellow plastic tub. Apply plenty to the joint, get a blob of solder on your iron, and solder away. It’s not perfect, but it should certainly make a joint. Make sure to wash the flux off afterwards (hot soapy water), otherwise it’ll corrode the joint.

    1. admin says:

      The thing is – how good that joint would be?. I don’t think it is worth it.

  2. GeriBoss says:

    Nice job getting this posted on Hack-a-day! It really IS a handy tool, I usually use syringes to inject tiny amounts of flux or solder paste.

    1. admin says:

      I did not believed myself how good it is held at the connection point.
      p.s. I also use syringes for the same purpose you do. It’s a good thing that there is no restrictions on buying syringes where I live. They indeed are handy!

  3. Mjolinor says:

    If you use the green needles and standard wire wrap wire then the wire will fit down the needle hole. No need to fix, just bend it back at the end and let the needle cut it off.
    I have used this for as long as I have been diabetic (28 years) and only replace when the needle gets knackered, they never fail because of bad connection between wire and needle.

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  1. Forget treating your diabetes – use your insulin syringe as a logic probe - Hack a Day says:

    [...] Hackaday reader [JumperOne] was in need of a logic probe that he could use to reliably test some tiny .5mm pitch IC pins. The probe that came with his oscilloscope was a bit too big and not near sharp enough to do the job, but he figured that a syringe might do the trick nicely. [...]

  2. Forget treating your diabetes – use your insulin syringe as a logic probe « My Horizon Wireless says:

    [...] Hackaday reader [JumperOne] was in need of a logic probe that he could use to reliably test some tiny .5mm pitch IC pins. The probe that came with his oscilloscope was a bit too big and not near sharp enough to do the job, but he figured that a syringe might do the trick nicely. [...]

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    [...] era un poco demasiado grande y no cerca de lo suficientemente aguda para hacer el trabajo, pero pensó que una jeringa puede hacer el truco muy bien. Se perforó un agujero pequeño cerca del final del negocio de la jeringa, a través del cual se [...]

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    [...] Hackaday reader [JumperOne] was in need of a logic probe that he could use to reliably test some tiny .5mm pitch IC pins. The probe that came with his oscilloscope was a bit too big and not near sharp enough to do the job, but he figured that a syringe might do the trick nicely. [...]

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    [...] Hackaday reader [JumperOne] was in need of a logic probe that he could use to reliably test some tiny .5mm pitch IC pins. The probe that came with his oscilloscope was a bit too big and not near sharp enough to do the job, but he figured that a syringe might do the trick nicely. [...]

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