Seeed Studio has created a very nice portfolio of devices centered around their grove connector. Recently, we started experimenting with the grove system ourselves as a nice way to quickly add sensors to CANZERO nodes in a NoCAN IoT network. Arduino even provides a nice MKR connector carrier board that fits perfectly well on our CANZERO nodes:

From afar, the Grove connectors look like the ubiquitous 4-pin JST PH connectors you can find everywhere, including cheap clones on eBay or Aliexpress. Despite being open-source, the Seeed Studio Grove system employs semi-proprietary connectors that can basically only be sourced through Seeed Studio and their resellers. Using JST PH would be a nice alternative. Unfortunately, a closeup look shows that apart from a similar 2mm pitch, they are two different incompatible connectors.

The picture below shows the Grove connector on the left and a JST PH clone on the right.

Sadly, you cannot plug a grove socket into a JST PH header, nor can you plug a JST socket into a Grove header. The through-hole footprints of the headers are compatible, so if you design a board with a Grove connector footprint, you can swap a JST PH connector when you populate the board. This footprint compatibility does not apply to the SMD version of these connectors.

Looking ahead

So what connector should we use for our future boards? Let us know what you think!

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