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Ribbon Cable Repair

tom french posted the following procedure on the "Taking apart the iPod mini" thread. I figured it deserved its own thread, rather than buried in a long thread that is on a whole different topic. I'm going to try his procedure on one of my own projects . . . "Fixing the Hitachi Handheld PC HPW-10".


By tom french on Jul 27, 04 7:29 am
"To repair ribbon cable, expose the ends of the ribbon wires. Fine sandpaper (say 600 grade) usually achieves this.

"You only need to abrade about 1-2mm of the insulation for this and only on ONE side of the ribbon. Check with a continuity checker and a couple of sharp pins that you really have access to the wire.

"Use a piece of flexible adhesive tape - the sort of tape used for sealing greenhouse glass etc, not cellulose tape. Stick this on the back of the broken cable (i.e the side you DIDN't abrade), aligning the broken pieces as closely as possible.

"Next you take another two pieces of tape and you put them over the TOP of the ribbon cable so they wrap round to the tape underneath, but leaving a small gap at the point where the exposed wires are.

"Finally we are ready to bridge the broken cables. This is done with conductive epoxy resin. Silver-loaded resin can be purchased from specialist electronic stores. It is not cheap but cheaper than a new gadget, for sure. (no, you can't solder the cable. Don't even think about it.)

"Mix a small quantity of resin and hardener and then using a small flat-blade jeweller's screwdriver, carefully place a small blob of resin to bridge each broken connection. A magnifying glass on a stand is very helpful while doing this, as are steady hands. Use a piece of sticky tape to make sure the ribbon cable can't wander around while you're doing this. Attach the whole ribbon cable assembly to something small but solid - a chopping board is good - because later on we need to pick up the whole thing and move it.

"If the cable was torn badly it may be necessary to use a small piece of very thin wire to bridge the gap. The ideal wire for this is wirewrap wire because it is silver-plated. But very thin fuse wire will do, at a pinch. In this case, you will find a pair of needle point tweezers helpful. Dip one end of the wire in the epoxy to put a very small amount of adhesive on it; this will help keep it anchored, then position with tweezers then put a small blob of resin on each end.

"Finally, we need to cure the resin. Silver-loaded epoxy needs a reasonable room temperature to cure properly; ideally, place the whole thing somewhere where the temperature is at least 30 degrees (celsius, don't know how to convert to old-fashioned fahrenheit, sorry).

"Wait 24 hours, then place a small layer of tape over the bonded portion of the cable. Your repair is complete."

Chieh Cheng
Mon, 31 Jan 2005 16:39:26 -0800

I want to thank you for posting this on the net. I have two LCD's that will probably need to be fixed in this
manner. I just hope I can find the breaks.
Do you have any idea where I might find or locate the Silver loaded epoxy?
Thank you again and have a great weekend.
Peter

Peter
Fri, 28 Mar 2008 02:41:07 +0000

You can get this on Amazon: Chemtronics Conductive Epoxy, Circuitworks, Two Part

Chieh Cheng
Fri, 28 Mar 2008 07:36:42 +0000

thanks alot, gonna try it on my nokia 5310.

seanG27
Sat, 06 Sep 2008 11:49:13 +0000

thanks, this was a great idea, my 80gig ipod's headphon jack cable ripped and i used this to fix it, thanks again

cj dean
Wed, 12 May 2010 17:15:30 +0000

Many Many thanks for this article. I searched the web for ages before i found this.
I opened a tft monitor to do repair and ended up tearing a ribbon.
This will help me.
Good work.

steve
Wed, 28 Jul 2010 08:18:38 +0000

will this work on higher power ribbon cables like in plasma tvs?

joe
Mon, 25 Oct 2010 22:57:26 +0000

I'd like pictures.
Great post, though.

TheFrog
Fri, 10 Dec 2010 02:16:53 +0000

F=[(9/5)C]+32

F=86 degrees Ferinheight. A little above room temperature but it doesn't matter.

Ferinheight Conversion
Thu, 06 Jan 2011 04:57:01 +0000

What type of green house tape do you recommend?

sean
Fri, 15 Apr 2011 14:21:04 +0000

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