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Patching Ribbon Cable

Posted: Fri Mar 31, 2006 10:47 pm
by Vincent
Is this even possible?

I have a small ribbon cable that has a few traces cut in an automotive radio. I know a replacement is out of the question. It must flex because the face on the radio is motorized.

Thanks for any info on patching this to get it working again.

Posted: Fri Mar 31, 2006 11:18 pm
by philba
It's possible but the stuff is hard to work with. clearance might be an issue. what kind of connectors does it have and what is the pitch ( distance bentween conductors). it might be possible to make a replacement.

Posted: Sat Apr 01, 2006 5:37 am

Posted: Sat Apr 01, 2006 1:56 pm
by Vincent

I don't know if that will help any. Pitch looks to be around 1mm.

The cable is 12cm long until it enters the radio face. I haven't pulled that apart yet, so i'll have to see how it's connected in there.

Posted: Sat Apr 01, 2006 2:23 pm

Posted: Sat Apr 01, 2006 4:40 pm
by rshayes
There are (unless they have been discontinued) several conductiive paints made for printed circuit repair. GC Electronics makes a silver based paint, and there may be less expensive versions using copper or nickel. The main advantage of a conductive paint is that it is less likely to damage the cable than attempting to solder to the conductors. Molton solder tends to dissolve copper and silver, so the cable conductors may simply disappear if you try to solder to them.

The paint may not be flexible enough if the breaks are in an area that is continually flexed. It might be possible to use a thin strand of wire to bridge the gap, using the paint to make a conductive contact at each end.

There are also conductive epoxy formulations available. These will probably adhere better and may be useful for bridging hairline cracks without making the cable much stiffer.

Posted: Sat Apr 01, 2006 5:51 pm
by Vincent
Imagine you took a pair of scissors and cut three leads directly perpendicular to their direction. It's a real clean break...there's nothing missing. If I align the two together, they're touching.

I guess taking pics of the break would have been a good idea. :?

I'll get some in a little while.

The conductive epoxy may work, but it sure isn't cheap from what I'm seeing.


Posted: Sat Apr 01, 2006 8:41 pm
by philba
actually, it's not a flat cable but a flexcircuit. I think you could just scrape 1/4" of the solder mask (?) off each side of the cut and solder some very light ga wire. I'd be very carefull and solder it very quickly. depending on the cut, you may be able to solder the ends of the wires together. Maybe use a hot air gun to pre-heat it,. Use some electrical tape to insulate it. You might temperature test on an non-critical section.

Posted: Sat Apr 01, 2006 9:54 pm
by Chris Smith
I had a plastic solar panel that was flexible and had a plastic coating on its feed ribbon, .... and I used a 100 watt soldering iron designed to fix radiators and the world trade center building on it,..... using one second “attacksâ€

Posted: Sat Apr 01, 2006 10:45 pm
by dyarker

Posted: Sun Apr 02, 2006 4:16 am
by MrAl

Ive done a repair on computer hard disk ribbon cable.
Strip the insulation back a little, bridge with wire, solder.
Electrical tape over the repair.
Worked fine, but this didnt have to flex that much.

Take care,
PS wow this font sure is small when typing the reply.

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Posted: Sun Apr 02, 2006 1:57 pm
by sofaspud
I had the same failure with my Kenwood head unit. I had mine repaired by the local Kenwood-authorized shop for around $60. Bridging the cracks with a small strand of soldered wire didn't seem reliable enough.

Posted: Mon Apr 03, 2006 8:42 pm
by Vincent
Thanks for the feedback.

I was given the radio and don't really have a use for it, so I'd rather try a cheap DIY solution. If that doesn't work, I'll consider getting it repaired.