How to Repair a Flat Ribbon Cable

Solve connection errors on hard drives, optical drives and other devices that use flat ribbon cables to communicate. Repair a flat ribbon cable and improve performance by eliminating the number of retries that the system performs every time a data error occurs. Create a custom ribbon cable for immediate use with a few simple tools and inexpensive parts that can be kept on hand for use at times when buying a ribbon cable is inconvenient or the particular cable is no longer available.

Typical flat ribbon cable with crimped connector

Step 1

Cut the ribbon cable about 1/2-inch from the end that needs repair, making sure that the cut is clean and perpendicular to the cable.

Step 2

Align the connector with the cable so that the conductor marked with a colored strip on the ribbon cable is attached to pin 1 on the connector.

Step 3

Crimp the connector onto the cable firmly and with even pressure. Inspect the connection for proper alignment and seating.

Step 4

Replace badly twisted or worn ribbon cable with new cable and crimp new ends where needed.

Things You'll Need

  • Shears

  • Crimp connectors

  • Crimping tool

  • Ribbon cable

Tip

Connectors on flat ribbon cables can be mounted on either side of the cable. Decide where the components that use the ribbon cable will be located before crimping a connector to make sure the orientation of the connector is correct and that it is located on the correct side of the cable for convenience.

Warning

Always crimp ribbon cable connectors firmly to avoid poor connections.

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