Flexible all-weather USB3 cable?


Christopher M
 

If it is any consolation, I paid a LOT more for a fancy, short, USB 2 A-B cable between my music server computer and my stereo DAC...


Woody Schlom
 

Christopher,

 

Yup, I found the same specs myself.  Interesting that the shielding is aluminum braid.  That alone might make these cables more flexible.  And also interesting is that the cable jacket is PVC – which usually stiffens up a lot when it gets cold.

 

At least for me, I NEVER intend to use the cables at -20° C.  My fingers don’t move at those low temperatures any more.

 

Thanks for your help,

Woody

 

From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Christopher M
Sent: Thursday, January 13, 2022 9:03 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Flexible all-weather USB3 cable?

 

You made me dig but I found it on their international website, oddly:
Lindy 36663 USB 3.2 Gen 1 A-B 5m:  24 AWG power and 28 AWG signal, 85% braid, 5Gbps bandwidth, 2.2" minimum bend.  Under Technical Details:
https://www.lindy-international.com/5m-USB-3-0-Type-A-to-B-Cable-5Gbps-Cromo-Line.htm?websale8=ld0101.ld021102&pi=36664&ci=800504

Yes, it was shipped from the UK and took a couple of weeks to my memory.  The cable isn't small/tiny.  The connectors seem pretty good and not cheap.  I'm happy with mine so far, but again I haven't pushed it lower than -12C so far.   I use it for my QHY5III290C video/guider camera.  No drop outs or issues noticed at high video speeds when I tried planetary work.
Yeah, not a $10 cable, but it feels better than any of the regular/basic USB 3 A-B's that I had lying around, and the final price was cheaper delivered to me in Canada than the L-Com cables were after UPS surcharges (bleh).  I think you should be happy unless you push colder than its -20C rating.
:)


Christopher M
 

You made me dig but I found it on their international website, oddly:
Lindy 36663 USB 3.2 Gen 1 A-B 5m:  24 AWG power and 28 AWG signal, 85% braid, 5Gbps bandwidth, 2.2" minimum bend.  Under Technical Details:
https://www.lindy-international.com/5m-USB-3-0-Type-A-to-B-Cable-5Gbps-Cromo-Line.htm?websale8=ld0101.ld021102&pi=36664&ci=800504

Yes, it was shipped from the UK and took a couple of weeks to my memory.  The cable isn't small/tiny.  The connectors seem pretty good and not cheap.  I'm happy with mine so far, but again I haven't pushed it lower than -12C so far.   I use it for my QHY5III290C video/guider camera.  No drop outs or issues noticed at high video speeds when I tried planetary work.
Yeah, not a $10 cable, but it feels better than any of the regular/basic USB 3 A-B's that I had lying around, and the final price was cheaper delivered to me in Canada than the L-Com cables were after UPS surcharges (bleh).  I think you should be happy unless you push colder than its -20C rating.
:)


michael mccann
 

It gets to small digits plus or minus F° or ~ -20C a couple nights a year. So I would love to see a review on these cables. Usually some of our clearest nights.

Cheers


Woody Schlom
 

Christopher,

 

Thanks.  I’d already found them on Amazon and just blindly ordered a couple purely based on your recommendation.  So if I don’t like them – you may hear about it.  Can you live with the pressure of that recommendation? 

 

My initial reactions to the order are:  VERY expensive, and even though Amazon said they were in stock, they’re apparently coming directly from the UK – and the delivery estimate is first week of Feb. at the earliest.

 

I couldn’t find any detailed specs on the Cromo cables – such as wire gauge.  Based on the photos, the cable itself looks relatively thin to me (thinner than many of my L-com cables with the larger wire gauges and double-shielding).  So I’m guessing the wire gauge for the Cromo cables is probably 30/28/28.  Not the greatest for CMOS cameras that need all the voltage they can get.  My stiff PVC jacketed L-com cables are 28/26/24, and one of them even has #22 power wires inside.

 

Oh well.  I guess the proof is in the pudding and I’ll find out how well the Cromo cables work sometime next month.

 

Woody

 

From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Christopher M
Sent: Thursday, January 13, 2022 4:44 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Flexible all-weather USB3 cable?

 

Sorry, I should have provided a link to purchase sites for the Lindy:
https://www.amazon.com/LINDY-36664-Type-Cable-Cromo/dp/B07F6WHVLH/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1472ZRARBF8FH&keywords=lindy%2Bcromo%2Busb%2B3&qid=1642120850&sprefix=battery%2Bcapacity%2Bmonitor%2Caps%2C272&sr=8-1&th=1

at -12C both the Lindy Cromo cables and the L-Com cables becames noticably stiffer than when at room temperature, but not rigid.  I was not afraid of them cracking in use or when packing up in the morning.

Cheers!
Christopher M


Christopher M
 

Sorry, I should have provided a link to purchase sites for the Lindy:
https://www.amazon.com/LINDY-36664-Type-Cable-Cromo/dp/B07F6WHVLH/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1472ZRARBF8FH&keywords=lindy%2Bcromo%2Busb%2B3&qid=1642120850&sprefix=battery%2Bcapacity%2Bmonitor%2Caps%2C272&sr=8-1&th=1

at -12C both the Lindy Cromo cables and the L-Com cables becames noticably stiffer than when at room temperature, but not rigid.  I was not afraid of them cracking in use or when packing up in the morning.

Cheers!
Christopher M


Woody Schlom
 

Christopher,

 

Thank you for all the detailed information.

 

I’m currently using several various L-com cables, but all the ones I have are made with PVC jackets.  And the double shielded, large AWG ones in particular are even stiff at 50° F.

 

And thanks for explaining TPE, PU and PUR.  I saw that L-com has some TPE cables both made up, and in bulk.  And I wondered if it was more pliable in cold weather.  But I’d have to make my own as the ones they offer made up are too short.

 

I’ve never heard of the Lindy Cromo cables, but will look them up.

 

Thanks again,

Woody

 

From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Christopher M
Sent: Thursday, January 13, 2022 3:56 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Flexible all-weather USB3 cable?

 

Look for TPE (thermoplastic elastomer) or PU or PUR insulated (jacketed) cables, which is are industrial cable insulations rated to -40C and colder.
PVC is typically consumer grade and gets brittle in the cold, as observed
I have made DC power cables from silicone insulated wire of the type used in model airplanes, cars etc, but it is easily nicked and cut, so I protect it with braided sleeving or other.  Silicone wire insulation also doesn't seem to be UV protected so is not recommended (by me at least) for a permanent installation.  I saw a friend's install for his portable RV solar panels go bad in one summer season when the insulation bleached and cracked.

L-Com has high flex TPE insulated USB 3 cables in this series but they are all short:  https://www.l-com.com/usb-usb-30-high-flex-type-a-male-to-type-b-male-cable
They also have PUR insulated high flex USB 2 cables in this series:  https://www.l-com.com/usb-high-flex-usb-20-cables-polyurethane-jacket-type-a-b-connectors
And high flex outdoor rated TPE Ethernet in these series:  https://www.l-com.com/ethernet-cat5e-rj45-tpe-utp-continuous-flex-outdoor-industrial-ethernet-poe-patch-cords

Be warned if you are out of the US that L-Com ships via UPS and UPS did line by line brokerage charges that ticked me off.  $67 in brokerage fees alone for a US$170 order of 5 line items.  Grrr.

Another alternative is Lindy Cromo USB cables available via Amazon.  They are a fancy audio cable maker from the UK and their Cromo line seems pretty nice.  Officially rated -20C to 50C operating range.  eg:  https://www.lindy.co.uk/cables-adapters-c1/usb-c449/0-5m-usb-3-2-type-a-to-b-cable-5gbps-cromo-line-p11357

Personally I have sets of USB 2 and 3 Lindy Cromo, as well as the aforementioned L-Com PUR and TPE insulated USB2 and Ethernet cables, but I have only used them down to about -12C before the skies tanked here for the season (Calgary AB). 

As for making your own, I have heard of people doing it but not tried it myself.  Connectors can be purchased from the likes of DigiKey.  Ensure you get the appropriately rated cable, too, and have good soldering skills as you will be soldering fine wires to small pins in close proximity and you cannot do a sloppy rats nest of bends at the connector as it could impact the signals.

All the best
Christopher M


Christopher M
 

Look for TPE (thermoplastic elastomer) or PU or PUR insulated (jacketed) cables, which is are industrial cable insulations rated to -40C and colder.
PVC is typically consumer grade and gets brittle in the cold, as observed
I have made DC power cables from silicone insulated wire of the type used in model airplanes, cars etc, but it is easily nicked and cut, so I protect it with braided sleeving or other.  Silicone wire insulation also doesn't seem to be UV protected so is not recommended (by me at least) for a permanent installation.  I saw a friend's install for his portable RV solar panels go bad in one summer season when the insulation bleached and cracked.

L-Com has high flex TPE insulated USB 3 cables in this series but they are all short:  https://www.l-com.com/usb-usb-30-high-flex-type-a-male-to-type-b-male-cable
They also have PUR insulated high flex USB 2 cables in this series:  https://www.l-com.com/usb-high-flex-usb-20-cables-polyurethane-jacket-type-a-b-connectors
And high flex outdoor rated TPE Ethernet in these series:  https://www.l-com.com/ethernet-cat5e-rj45-tpe-utp-continuous-flex-outdoor-industrial-ethernet-poe-patch-cords

Be warned if you are out of the US that L-Com ships via UPS and UPS did line by line brokerage charges that ticked me off.  $67 in brokerage fees alone for a US$170 order of 5 line items.  Grrr.

Another alternative is Lindy Cromo USB cables available via Amazon.  They are a fancy audio cable maker from the UK and their Cromo line seems pretty nice.  Officially rated -20C to 50C operating range.  eg:  https://www.lindy.co.uk/cables-adapters-c1/usb-c449/0-5m-usb-3-2-type-a-to-b-cable-5gbps-cromo-line-p11357

Personally I have sets of USB 2 and 3 Lindy Cromo, as well as the aforementioned L-Com PUR and TPE insulated USB2 and Ethernet cables, but I have only used them down to about -12C before the skies tanked here for the season (Calgary AB). 

As for making your own, I have heard of people doing it but not tried it myself.  Connectors can be purchased from the likes of DigiKey.  Ensure you get the appropriately rated cable, too, and have good soldering skills as you will be soldering fine wires to small pins in close proximity and you cannot do a sloppy rats nest of bends at the connector as it could impact the signals.

All the best
Christopher M


Woody Schlom
 

A Canadian on another Groups.io forum brought up the question of USB3 cables in sub-freezing temperatures.  Many of us are using CMOS cameras that only work on USB3.  And most USB3 cables get very stiff in the cold.

 

There are several soft and flexible “all-weather” cables made for other uses (audio, AC, etc.).  In my experience, these are usually made with soft Silicone jackets with braided shields and fine stranded wires.  But so far I haven’t found any high-grade USB3 cables that are flexible in extreme cold.

 

My current favorite USB3 camera cables are made by L-com.  I found what L-com calls their “Super-Speed 3.0 High Flex Drag Chain” cable, but so far as I could see – it’s only available in bulk.  The cable specs are wire gauges of 28/26/22, braided outer shield, foil inner shield, and two of the twisted pairs are also individually foil shielded.  The cable jacket is PVC (which I generally consider stiff and bad in cold weather).  L-com’s environmental specs. are -15 C° - +40 C° for cable that flexes or moves (which is what I need).  That low temp. spec. is fine for me, but not nearly low enough for folks up North.  AND if this cable is only available in bulk – is it realistic to make your own USB3 connections?  I see that L-com has solder-on USB2 connectors, but I didn’t see similar USB3 connectors.

 

Any recommendations?  How hard is it to make your own USB3 cables?

 

Woody