Cable talk (with Linda Richman)


Dale Ghent
 

On Apr 10, 2021, at 12:47, Bryan R. <bross138@gmail.com> wrote:

I am a fan of Switchcraft DC jacks. They seem to be of much better quality than run-of-the-mill amazon stuff, bit easier to solder, and made in USA. Would like to hear that others have used for ethernet RJ45 connectors if fabricating their own patch cables as I do.
I personally prefer not to solder things anymore. While I'm pretty comfortable with my soldering skills, I prefer to skip that with cables because it makes fixes in the field more of an ordeal and I never have that 3rd hand when I need it. So, for power, I do crimped powerpole with an array of adapters that I make myself.

For the typical 5.5/2.1mm or 5.5/2.5mm coaxial power plugs, I buy bags of premade connectors that have pigtails, and they're readily available with 18 awg wiring. Example:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B079CKL6P9/

I take these, trim them down a little and crimp 15A powerpole ends on to them. Since I run a Pegasus UPBv2 with 5.5/2.1mm power sockets instead of a powerpole hub, I just have these at both ends and run a powerpole extension cable between them of appropriate length. I also make these out of a roll of 18 awg silcone jacketed zip wire. Pretty flexible and more than sufficient in the winter in my mid-Atlantic US temperate clime.

All my powerpile/cabling stuff fits in a small fishing tackle box and I don't need a soldering iron (and power for it) to make anything I need when it comes to 12V DC. Crimper, stripper, knife, side cutters, and all my supplies fit nicely on a box that's easy to pack and doesn't take up much space:

https://i.imgur.com/Gt68XsO.jpg

For USB, I exclusively use L-com (l-com.com) cables now. They have a line of high-flex USB2/3 cables in various lengths that are really super nice to use, especially for through-mount cabling:

https://www.l-com.com/usb-high-flex-usb-cable-assemblies

They also have high-flex versions cat 5e/6/6a ethernet and HDMI.

For ethernet and RS232 over 8p8c/twisted pair, I just crimp my own using wire and connectors sourced from wherever is handy at the moment; usually Monoprice. I use some leftover solid-core cat6 I have on a spool from wiring my house if the wiring isn't going to move much, otherwise I have some stranded-core cat5e. The only use of such cable I have is on my main rig where I made a cable to connect the focuser controller on my UPBv2 to the HSM35 that drives my 130GTX's focuser. This will go away soon, though, as it's all getting replaced with a Nitecrawler and that's just another 12V+USB2 wiring job.

/dale


Woody Schlom
 

Dale,

I agree with you on just about everything you said. I've pretty much given
up on soldered connections too. And I too have recently discovered L-com
for USB cables. They're expensive, their shipping is expensive, and they
even add on a Tariff charge. But I'm really liking their cables and the
unbelievable selection they have.

Last night I was looking for a very specific kind of USB3 cable and just
couldn't find all the features I wanted in one cable. Even on their
website. So I gave in and opened a Chat session with them. And within
about 5 minutes the guy found me exactly what I was looking for -- which
doesn't show up on their website unless you have the actual part number. So
they even have more stuff than you can find on your own on their website.

Unfortunately the longest UltraFlex USB3 cable I found was 1.5m long. But
hey, I'm sure I'll find uses for a cable even that short.

Woody

-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Dale Ghent
Sent: Saturday, April 10, 2021 5:50 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: [ap-gto] Cable talk (with Linda Richman)


On Apr 10, 2021, at 12:47, Bryan R. <bross138@gmail.com> wrote:

I am a fan of Switchcraft DC jacks. They seem to be of much better
quality than run-of-the-mill amazon stuff, bit easier to solder, and made in
USA. Would like to hear that others have used for ethernet RJ45 connectors
if fabricating their own patch cables as I do.

I personally prefer not to solder things anymore. While I'm pretty
comfortable with my soldering skills, I prefer to skip that with cables
because it makes fixes in the field more of an ordeal and I never have that
3rd hand when I need it. So, for power, I do crimped powerpole with an array
of adapters that I make myself.

For the typical 5.5/2.1mm or 5.5/2.5mm coaxial power plugs, I buy bags of
premade connectors that have pigtails, and they're readily available with 18
awg wiring. Example:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B079CKL6P9/

I take these, trim them down a little and crimp 15A powerpole ends on to
them. Since I run a Pegasus UPBv2 with 5.5/2.1mm power sockets instead of a
powerpole hub, I just have these at both ends and run a powerpole extension
cable between them of appropriate length. I also make these out of a roll of
18 awg silcone jacketed zip wire. Pretty flexible and more than sufficient
in the winter in my mid-Atlantic US temperate clime.

All my powerpile/cabling stuff fits in a small fishing tackle box and I
don't need a soldering iron (and power for it) to make anything I need when
it comes to 12V DC. Crimper, stripper, knife, side cutters, and all my
supplies fit nicely on a box that's easy to pack and doesn't take up much
space:

https://i.imgur.com/Gt68XsO.jpg

For USB, I exclusively use L-com (l-com.com) cables now. They have a line of
high-flex USB2/3 cables in various lengths that are really super nice to
use, especially for through-mount cabling:

https://www.l-com.com/usb-high-flex-usb-cable-assemblies

They also have high-flex versions cat 5e/6/6a ethernet and HDMI.

For ethernet and RS232 over 8p8c/twisted pair, I just crimp my own using
wire and connectors sourced from wherever is handy at the moment; usually
Monoprice. I use some leftover solid-core cat6 I have on a spool from wiring
my house if the wiring isn't going to move much, otherwise I have some
stranded-core cat5e. The only use of such cable I have is on my main rig
where I made a cable to connect the focuser controller on my UPBv2 to the
HSM35 that drives my 130GTX's focuser. This will go away soon, though, as
it's all getting replaced with a Nitecrawler and that's just another
12V+USB2 wiring job.

/dale


Kenneth Tan
 

Thanks for the recommendations! Always good to know where to get good stuff.

On Sun, 11 Apr 2021 at 08:49, Dale Ghent <daleg@...> wrote:

> On Apr 10, 2021, at 12:47, Bryan R. <bross138@...> wrote:
>
> I am a fan of Switchcraft DC jacks.  They seem to be of much better quality than run-of-the-mill amazon stuff, bit easier to solder, and made in USA.  Would like to hear that others have used for ethernet RJ45 connectors if fabricating their own patch cables as I do.

I personally prefer not to solder things anymore. While I'm pretty comfortable with my soldering skills, I prefer to skip that with cables because it makes fixes in the field more of an ordeal and I never have that 3rd hand when I need it. So, for power, I do crimped powerpole with an array of adapters that I make myself.

For the typical 5.5/2.1mm or 5.5/2.5mm coaxial power plugs, I buy bags of premade connectors that have pigtails, and they're readily available with 18 awg wiring. Example:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B079CKL6P9/

I take these, trim them down a little and crimp 15A powerpole ends on to them. Since I run a Pegasus UPBv2 with 5.5/2.1mm power sockets instead of a powerpole hub, I just have these at both ends and run a powerpole extension cable between them of appropriate length. I also make these out of a roll of 18 awg silcone jacketed zip wire. Pretty flexible and more than sufficient in the winter in my mid-Atlantic US temperate clime.

All my powerpile/cabling stuff fits in a small fishing tackle box and I don't need a soldering iron (and power for it) to make anything I need when it comes to 12V DC. Crimper, stripper, knife, side cutters, and all my supplies fit nicely on a box that's easy to pack and doesn't take up much space:

https://i.imgur.com/Gt68XsO.jpg

For USB, I exclusively use L-com (l-com.com) cables now. They have a line of high-flex USB2/3 cables in various lengths that are really super nice to use, especially for through-mount cabling:

https://www.l-com.com/usb-high-flex-usb-cable-assemblies

They also have high-flex versions cat 5e/6/6a ethernet and HDMI.

For ethernet and RS232 over 8p8c/twisted pair, I just crimp my own using wire and connectors sourced from wherever is handy at the moment; usually Monoprice. I use some leftover solid-core cat6 I have on a spool from wiring my house if the wiring isn't going to move much, otherwise I have some stranded-core cat5e. The only use of such cable I have is on my main rig where I made a cable to connect the focuser controller on my UPBv2 to the HSM35 that drives my 130GTX's focuser. This will go away soon, though, as it's all getting replaced with a Nitecrawler and that's just another 12V+USB2 wiring job.

/dale





Eric Dreher
 

Agreed on all counts, with Anderson Powerpoles used everywhere possible.  This extends to my ham radio equipment as well.

I recently purchased a new Yaesu 2m transceiver that came with the most ridiculous harness power connector I've ever seen.  The radio now sports 30A Anderson's.


Astronut
 

Great Info !
About the L-com cables...
When they say ultra flexible, does that mean that they are ultra durable, to withstand many repeated movements, - OR - do they offer ultra low physical resistance to movement (like the ZWO USB3 flat cables that they use wth their cameras), OR BOTH ?
So far, the ZWO flat cables seem to have very low resistance to movement, but only in the flat side orientation, of course.
I too am looking for some versatile USB3 cables that are reasonably durable, but with extremely low physical resistance to movement.
Thanks,
Tim


M Hambrick
 

I have had really good luck with the USB cables I have gotten from L-Com. McMaster is also a good source of cables.

There is also a category of cable called continuous flex. These cables are not necessarily more flexible than a regular cable, but they are designed to withstand repeated movements without failing. I ordered one of these continuous flex Cat 5 ethernet cables to use with my Focuser Boss, and it was actually quite stiff. The continuous flex USB cables seem to be OK though.

Mike


Dale Ghent
 

On Apr 11, 2021, at 08:11, Astronut <hg2u@hotmail.com> wrote:

Great Info !
About the L-com cables...
When they say ultra flexible, does that mean that they are ultra durable, to withstand many repeated movements, - OR - do they offer ultra low physical resistance to movement (like the ZWO USB3 flat cables that they use wth their cameras), OR BOTH ?
Both. Their high-flex USB cables are rated for 10,000 flex cycles. They use a TPE jacket instead of the more typical PVC one, so they remain flexible in colder temperatures where vinyl will start to stiffen up and, in some cases, crack.

So far, the ZWO flat cables seem to have very low resistance to movement, but only in the flat side orientation, of course.
I too am looking for some versatile USB3 cables that are reasonably durable, but with extremely low physical resistance to movement.
ZWO's flat cables are verified trash. I cut one open not too long ago to find two major faults:

1. The pairs are not twisted around each other, which is the only way you can get a flat cable obviously. The lack of this group twist reduces the cable's ability to reject interference

2. There is no encompassing grounded braid under the jacket, so noise rejection is further limited. The individual conductors are molded into the flat cable jacket.

If these cables work for anyone, it's by luck more than anything else. Low noise environment, probably. I had this same issue back when I got my first ZWO camera. The thing couldn't keep a connection in my office, surrounded by a lot of computing equipment, but seemed fine outside, with the ZWO driver's USB Limit setting also set to its lowest value of 40.


Astronut
 

Hi Dale,
A big thanks for the ZWO cable insights !

I too run mine with the USB throughput at the minimum 40% level and been lucky so far (knock on wood), but do appreciate the understanding that electrically they are nothing to write home about, to say the least...
I do run 3 ZWO cameras concurrently that way, but I only run mine outdoors, away from most other devices. Eventualy, when one fails, I will cut it apart to better 'appreciate' the quality of construction as well ;)
I had previously found some high end flat flex cables out there, that did have either coaxial or twisted pairs, as well as an overall braided shield, but they looked fairly thick (compared to the ZWO cables) and were hundreds of dollars each. IIRC they were marketed for robotics and industrial automation hi flex applications as well.
Thanks for the L-com info everyone !
Tim