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.
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.
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.
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.