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Ribbon Cable Soldering?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Ok, I managed to cut one of those hard plastic orange ribbon cables you usually find in electronics in half. I would like to solder it back together, but I can't manage to strip the insulation off from the cable. I've tried scraping with a knife and burning with a soldering iron. Any advice for stripping the insulation from those cables?
post #2 of 12
A printed ribbon cable?

In general I'd advise you to just replace it, or, failing that, pray to the diety of your choice. Or just weep.

I'm not sure you even can solder to them directly. I mean they do get soldered to stuff, but they have plated pads for that installed at manufacturing.

You might try rubbing with fine sandpaper or something, just in case that's really insulation you can get through.

Of course, assuming it really is a printed ribbon cable, once you do get some solder to stick to it you've got strain relief to worry about. That solder blob, combined with too heavy of a wire attached to it, will probably have enough leverage to rip the trace off the plastic.

Clear packing tape on both sides, perhaps? *shrug* Use really fine stranded wire maybe.
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
Yeah, the plan is to use fine stranded wires to reconnect the traces. I'll give the sandpaper a try.
post #4 of 12
ive cut one of those modding an ipod...

take it from me, they are a pain to fix, solder dosnt want to stick even after sanding, hopefully it works better for you

id search for a new cable, mabe from the manufacturer or ebay
post #5 of 12
Maybe you should try using microwire to connect the pins that are now disconnected instead of trying to repair the ribbon?
post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Born2bwire
Maybe you should try using microwire to connect the pins that are now disconnected instead of trying to repair the ribbon?
The thing is, the cable only has pads on one end. The pads on the other end is covered by the same material as the ribbon itself.
post #7 of 12
can you bypass the ribbon to make a new cable?
post #8 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sinbios
The thing is, the cable only has pads on one end. The pads on the other end is covered by the same material as the ribbon itself.
As another sufferer from ribon cable repairs... I'd say replace it if at all possible.

For some reason I don't quite follow your description of the other end of the cable... Are you saying that the ribbon goes into some kind of a connector instead of pads? Or is that the way the cable is arranged you just can't see the pads? Maybe a picture would clear up my confusion. Anyway, 9 times out of 10 there is some way to replace the whole cable assembly.
post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 
michaelconner: sadly, no. I'd buy a new one if I could.

blip: what's happening is that the traces go through the ribbon cable, then directly into a larger patch of plastic made from the same material from the ribbon cable, which is glued directly to the component it connects.

Anyway, the sandpaper did the trick! Got the cable fixed. Problem is, I tore another 20 pin ribbon cable while doing it! This thing has trace spacing similar to those tiny SMT chip legs...
post #10 of 12
This might be a good time to start trolling ebay for another of the same device with some other broken part. e.g. if this is an ipod, look for the same model with a broken screen & no drive.
post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 
Yep, that's what I'm planning on. Those traces look singularly unappetizing.
post #12 of 12
I know this is a bad idea under normal circumstances, but whenever soldering difficult to solder things, my father would dip the item in "baker's solder flux" or put some on a paper (shaped like a taper) and dab it on the item.. this ALWAYS worked .. without fail

the main ingredient for the flux was hydrocloric acid (so you wouldn't wana get it on you)
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