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Author Topic: Make Own Servo Cables  (Read 6957 times)

wgt40w

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Make Own Servo Cables
« on: September 18, 2015, 10:55:07 AM »

I want to start to be able to make my own lengths of servo and rx to FC cables.

Can you please tell me the correct specs and suggest the best UK place to buy from ?

Connectors - male & female - 0.1" (2.54mm) ?
3 pin male and female housings for above
1 pin single housings from above
Crimp pliers
Servo cable - say 5 metres - What awg? (flexible for light to medium use)
Wire stripper pliers for servo cable
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FlyingRock

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Re: Make Own Servo Cables
« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2015, 11:18:03 AM »

I get the male/female 3 pin kits from Hobby King; they include housing and connectors (link); Not sure where to get 1pin ones.
I also use the HK crimper (link) and my wire stripper is from Homebase - works great and it covers a range of sizes (servo + power cables) (link)
for cable size AWG 22 or 26 is a start but it depends on the current.


hope that helps!


Cheers


Charles
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wgt40w

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Re: Make Own Servo Cables
« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2015, 11:28:59 AM »

Charles - thanks for a detailed response - gives me a good start.

Martin
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iPeel

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Re: Make Own Servo Cables
« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2015, 12:55:06 PM »


I buy loads of the 1 - 5 PIN servo type connectors from eBay, just search for "1 pin dupont" for example:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/50pcs-1P-Dupont-Jumper-Wire-Cable-Housing-Female-Pin-Connector-2-54mm-Pitch-UK-/271895467931?hash=item3f4e3b979b

Hobbytronics are also a great source for bulk servo crimps and deliver next day.
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electrotor

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Re: Make Own Servo Cables
« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2015, 01:15:55 PM »

Another good source for 0.1" pitch connectors in various configurations as well as JST-PH series is Bitsbox.

http://www.bitsbox.co.uk/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=225_230&sort=20a&page=1
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dogzilla

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Re: Make Own Servo Cables
« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2015, 02:09:12 PM »

Crimp tools can be found for <10 but I would advice getting a reasonably decent 20-30 ratchet type. A bad crimp tool is a pain in the arse.

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electrotor

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Re: Make Own Servo Cables
« Reply #6 on: September 18, 2015, 02:32:55 PM »

Crimp tools can be found for <10 but I would advice getting a reasonably decent 20-30 ratchet type. A bad crimp tool is a pain in the arse.

Agree absolutely. Pliers type crimping tools are utter rubbish.
Also, practice on a few test pieces before committing to making up a proper lead. With very small stuff like this it is easy to slightly misalign the pin or the wire and get a badly formed crimp or one which grips the conductor but not the insulation.
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dogzilla

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Re: Make Own Servo Cables
« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2015, 12:39:20 PM »

Another thing..... not all crimp connectors are equal.

I had a set from Hobbyking and they were awful. I just recently got a set from a local-ish hobby shop and felt like I was getting stitched up at 4.50 a pack of 20 sets (i was desperate...) but actually the quality is far superior.

The metal is noticeably thicker and all the bends much more precise. Also they insert into the plastic surround much easier, even with thicker gauge wire. I've just done about 15 cables on the trot with no drama. In comparison the hobbyking ones I spent ages just trying to force the pins into the surround.

So.... where to get some good quality ones then?
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g4uvz

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Re: Make Own Servo Cables
« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2015, 12:58:38 PM »

I have spent my lifetime in electronics and I would e very careful crimping your own servo cables, particularly in our applications where a single point of failure spells disaster!

The crimping has to, not only make a good electrical contact BUT also a good mechanical fixing.

This is not particularly easy to achieve. Where I have made my own servo leads, I have always soldered the gold pins ...However this is extremely tricky as the solder loves to flow on gold plate!  and unless you are very fast the female connectors soon fill up with solder and are then useless!  Also any excess heat melts the servo cable insultation! If you are in any doubt ...use commercial good quality cables and make a solder joint on each of the wires then heat shrink
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Loopdreams

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Re: Make Own Servo Cables
« Reply #9 on: September 24, 2015, 01:48:05 PM »

Personally I hate the idea of soldering crimps, they aren't designed for it so there's no strain relief and it creates a spot where the wires can easily break if they are subjected to any movement or vibration.

With even a semi decent crimp tool it's quite easy to achieve good results where the insulation is gripped correctly for the right strain relief and the wire itself is also well connected.  But you do need to take a lot of care over it and be ready to start again if it doesn't look any good.
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wgt40w

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Re: Make Own Servo Cables
« Reply #10 on: September 24, 2015, 02:01:31 PM »

I have spent my lifetime in electronics and I would e very careful crimping your own servo cables, particularly in our applications where a single point of failure spells disaster!

The crimping has to, not only make a good electrical contact BUT also a good mechanical fixing.

This is not particularly easy to achieve. Where I have made my own servo leads, I have always soldered the gold pins ...However this is extremely tricky as the solder loves to flow on gold plate!  and unless you are very fast the female connectors soon fill up with solder and are then useless!  Also any excess heat melts the servo cable insultation! If you are in any doubt ...use commercial good quality cables and make a solder joint on each of the wires then heat shrink

Best to leave it to the Chinese workers high standard of quality then !!!!!
                          :D      :D
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wgt40w

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Re: Make Own Servo Cables
« Reply #11 on: September 24, 2015, 02:02:33 PM »

Personally I hate the idea of soldering crimps, they aren't designed for it so there's no strain relief and it creates a spot where the wires can easily break if they are subjected to any movement or vibration.

With even a semi decent crimp tool it's quite easy to achieve good results where the insulation is gripped correctly for the right strain relief and the wire itself is also well connected.  But you do need to take a lot of care over it and be ready to start again if it doesn't look any good.

Am I right in thinking that you would at least tin the wires before crimping ??
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Loopdreams

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Re: Make Own Servo Cables
« Reply #12 on: September 24, 2015, 02:15:30 PM »

I wouldn't no.  Most decent servo wire the individual strands are silver in colour i.e. they are tinned anyway.  But if they weren't then tinning the whole lot together into a solid lump would prevent the crimp from working as designed.

Of course you can do just about anything and probably never have a problem in a lifetime of flying models but this is just what I learned from working on aerospace and comms kit with a some ex-BAe staff at the electronics firm I used to work for.
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wgt40w

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Re: Make Own Servo Cables
« Reply #13 on: September 24, 2015, 02:30:11 PM »

I wouldn't no.  Most decent servo wire the individual strands are silver in colour i.e. they are tinned anyway.  But if they weren't then tinning the whole lot together into a solid lump would prevent the crimp from working as designed.

Of course you can do just about anything and probably never have a problem in a lifetime of flying models but this is just what I learned from working on aerospace and comms kit with a some ex-BAe staff at the electronics firm I used to work for.

Thanks - what you say all makes sense.
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dogzilla

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Re: Make Own Servo Cables
« Reply #14 on: September 24, 2015, 02:44:08 PM »

This hobby is fully of challenges and learning experiences. Being able to crimp cables is an awesome trick in the tool box and really helps with plane setup IMO.

Most people should be able to learn pretty quickly how to do a good crimp. Buy a bunch of connectors and just practice until you are comfortable, making sure to yank and pull and test your connections are solid.

Crimped cables are more reliable, especially with vibration and tension and general wear and tear. Soldering just makes them brittle again IMO.

The main thing as Loopdreams said is to make sure the insulation goes in and gets crimped down by the two main pins which are folded and rolled over into the wire. If done right they are very hard to pull free even with some thin gauge wire, just be careful with some of the china camera cables which are super thin and very naff.
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