How To Make Your Own Super Cable

supercable main How To Make Your Own Super Cable

Yesterday we joked about a manufactures getting together and releasing a single transfer cable to alleviate the need to buy all kinds of different cables. Some bought this April first joke until they saw pictures of this massive cable below the fold.

While a single cable will forever be a pipe dream and the proprietary vs standard debate will go on, you can easily and cheaply whip up your own “MediaWire” as seen in our April fools post. Read on to make your own.

Choosing the cables

You will need to do is figure out what cables you want to include in your bundle and how many. When I made this last cable I choose 7 connections since that seems to be the maximum number of most USB hubs and I wanted to use it permanently connected to my D-Link USB Hub.

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Getting the wires and supplies

Most of the supplies and cables in this guide can be picked up anywhere, but one of my favorite online shops aside from Amazon is Monoprice.com. If you ever need cables, connectors, or wall mounting items, this is the place to go.

One of the things you will need a wire sleeving kit in either black or blue. What is nice about this kit is that it has everything you need aside from the cables including: braided sleeves, tie wraps, and heat shrink tubing. There are several different sizes of braided sleeve and tubing in the kit so you will be covered for however many connections you choose to put in your super cable. If you are not shopping at Monoprice and can’t find a kit, all of what is in the kit can be purchased piecemeal at many electronic parts stores or sometimes even places like Home Depot.

The wires can be what you have hanging around your house, but you might not want to tie up your original cables into a super bundle. So you might want to pick up some super cheap OEM cables while you are at it. At Monoprice they are around $2 each for standard USB cables as well as proprietary ones. If you can’t find what you’re looking for there, eBay and other online retailers stock cheap after market cables. Just please don’t pay $20 for an original cable if you don’t have to.

A Quick Note: Different cable sizes

When you start to arrange your cables you might run into a problem that not all cables are the same lengths. There are a few ways to go about solving this problem.

If you purchase all of you cables from Monoprice or s similar OEM cable vendor you may get lucky and won’t run into this problem. If you don’t have all the same lengths you will have to do some creative wrapping of the cables.

In my case what I did was overlap a few of the cables and using wire ties to keep them in place. Unfortunately, when I made this super cable I didn’t have a how to guide in mind so you will have to settle for my crude diagram. You should be careful not to overlap too much in one spot, you still have to fit the braided sleeve over top.

wire tie diagram How To Make Your Own Super Cable

Though you do have a final option and that’s to just leave them at different lengths. You might actually want this on either the USB side you might hide or on the connection side to give you more room for gadgets.

The Stepps

You first cable tie should be at the connection end of the cables since it will be easier to get the USB end thought the sleeve and shrink tube. Align them like you want, then put one wire tie 3” from the connection side end to keep them in place.

The second step is the optional step previously discussed, overlap longer cables to make the ends even.

Third, is probably the hardest part, putting the sleeve on, especially if you are trying to push 7 at a time. You might have to fold some back or stagger them to fit them though. Remember you can also wire tie things in place and cut them off when they get thought to the other side. Other than that, you are just going to have to work with it- it’s tricky stuff.

Once you get the sleeve to the other end you might want to tie it or tape it in place so that you can properly cut the other side. When you do cut the other side you might want to use tape the spot you are going to cut since the braid will start to unravel.

On the fourth step you will need to pick out the smallest shrink tubing you can get to go over the smallest end. You will need 2 pieces per end; one of them about a half inch to an inch bigger than the other so that they can overlap. The size will vary on case and personal taste, but the smaller one should be at least big enough to hold the braided sleeve in place.

For mine, I wanted a smooth finish on the end so I took off the wire ties that would get int the way of the shrink tubing. In some cases you might want leave them on for extra strength.

Last, flip it around and install two more pieces of shrink tubing on the other end. Before you shrink one, put them both on. It will be easier this way.

Enjoy.

16 Comments

jkj1962 on April 2, 2009 6:51 PM

That’s just….disturbing. :~)

redhat on April 2, 2009 9:33 PM

It seems very interesting, but I do not think this is the best idea.I think the best way is that we can use only one cable to all the device!Any way thank you for your bug work!here I have another good share: Tradestead , there are many kinds of cheap and beautiful consumer electronics that I like it very much!

yitzy on April 3, 2009 7:15 AM

NiceAnother small ideaOn each cable paint a different color on both sides,that way, when your on the go and you only want to connect one (or more..not all) cable, you will know which USB to connect to the computer…

ITrush on April 3, 2009 10:39 AM

Interesting, but rather buy one if there are any… looks too complicated for me cause I don’t have any idea about cables and other thing.

Yolanda on April 3, 2009 11:05 AM

I found I had just 3 cables so I simply braided them, now instead of 3 bundles I have one extremely ungainly thick cord that won’t bundle… LOL, but when I get a hub later today I can tuck them away behind things and just have the connector ends poking out and the hub plug-in hanging out to connect to the laptop. Not a bad idea. I do caution people not to get too much bundling and tying going on as too tight a bend can break a wire and too tight a bundle can create electromagnetic interference on the line. That can cause data corruption. Try to keep lines going in a single direction as much as possible.

CA on April 3, 2009 1:03 PM

That may work if you have all the cables connected to PC all the time. Then it’s just banal cable management. But if you need only one connected at a time, then you need to label the USB ends — which gadget each goes to.

CCraw on April 3, 2009 2:56 PM

My problem when I do this is that when I travel, I invariably need to bring along one of the specialty cables and end up tearing the whole bundle apart.I use a piece of foam pipe insulation split along the length. Makes it easier to tuck and untuck the cables.

J on April 3, 2009 5:16 PM

923 words and 8 pictures to say “wrap them all together”??? We have, in fact, devolved….

Robert Jordan on April 3, 2009 7:38 PM

Wow… I thought my family had a ton of mp3/ipo…nevermind…6 seriously? Thats a lot of music…

Lintegras on April 4, 2009 3:57 AM

Website : Anythingbutipod.comArticle picture : includes iPod charger/irony

Martin Sägmüller on April 4, 2009 6:25 AM

Grahm, you should have included the DS Lite USB charger cable from Dealextreme. ;)

Mark 42 on April 5, 2009 2:03 PM

My wife actually has a cable that goes from one single USB to several devices (iPod, cameras, not sure what else).But there already is a standard… USB. No reason an MP3 player couldn’t use a standard USB cable.

Tzer2 on April 7, 2009 3:58 PM

You can joke about a single data cable being a pipe dream, but that’s exactly what all major phone manufacturers have agreed to do, with a majority of phones due to use the new unified cable by 2012.In fact they’ve gone one step further, not only agreeing to unify their data cables but also to use the same unified cable for charging too:http://www.allaboutsymbian.com/news/item/8985_Nokia_Samsung_Sony_Ericsson_Mo.phpThose who want to charge the old fashioned way could use a standard charger with a cable connector on the end, as shown in the article.

anon on May 6, 2009 11:16 AM

this is probably the dumbest thing i’ve stumbled on in a while. U just took a bunch of cables and essentially taped them together, and somehow managed to bullshit an entire page about it. It has no advantage over just not taping them together, other than maybe them not getting tangled. Maybe in the future you’ll come up with real “projects” that actually achieve something.

kennypu on November 22, 2009 4:21 PM

LOL hey guys, I found a universal charger for sale xD:http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.21303

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