I’ve been working on an air quality monitoring project using the Plantower PMS5003 particle detector. It’s a cool little device that uses a laser to count particles of various sizes (1.0µm, 2.5µm and 10µm). It won’t tell you what kind of chemicals are in the air but it will give you a good idea of what size and how many particles the sensor is seeing.
tl;drThe Plantower PMS3003/PMS5003 particle sensors usually come with an 8 wire cable with male plugs on each end. The cable needs a Molex 053261-0871 female connector, which has a 1.25mm pitch “PicoBlade” header. You can find it at Digikey, Mouser, eBay (but don’t, the prices on eBay were ridiculous last time I looked) and even Amazon.
The toughest thing about using it isn’t the software or hardware, it’s mechanical - I had a very difficult time finding a compatible connector. The sensor ships with a short 8 wire cable with two male ends. I ended up just cutting the wires in two and soldering them to a perfboard, but this is a less flexible and more permanent solution than I was happy with.
After reading many specs sheets and product listings I still couldn’t find the name of or specifications for the connector (thanks in advance to the folks who’ll read this and let me know that they found this info on the first try!). I finally found an Eagle project for a breakout board for the connector: Molex part number 053261-0871, a 1.25mm pitch, 8 pin “PicoBlade” header. Thank you, Akram Ali for designing the breakout boards and sharing them on Github!
Adafruit offers the PMS5003 with a breadboard-compatible breakout board. If you’re looking to buy one or two PMS5003s, save yourself the hassle and just get them directly from Adafruit.
I did a small run of these OSH Park at $3.20 for 6 boards, shipped. I had them in about 2 weeks. I ordered the connector from Digikey at $1.56 each. Soldering was a bit tedious but with a magnifying lens, a fine soldering tip, 0.6mm solder and a steady hand, bright lighting and some patience, I was able to assemble them reliably.