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 Post subject: Cable Sleeving : Tutorial
PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2005 5:11 am 
Boy in Black
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Ok, forgive me as this didn't turn out how I really wanted it to be. I opened my case one day and saw dirt all over, so figured I'd rip that thing apart and re-sleeve the poor thing and make a tutorial out of it. Like I always do, I have good intentions, but it doesn't turn out right because I get caught up in the work so much, I don't take good pictures. When I was done, I looked back and saw that nothing really told anyone how to do anything! So, at 4am I whipped something together with some stupid adapter and some crummy lighting. That said, here it goes!

First, figure out what you're going to sleeve. If it's the whole thing, you'll need a variaty of toys from your local or internet vendor. I have a Fry's in town, so I like to go there for my goodies. You can get kits anywhere that should have the basic sized sleeving in the common sizes and lengths. In general, I use 1/8" sleeving for the single runs of molex leads, and 1/4" sleeving may be easier to work with. The size is really a close guess because the stuff can expand anywhere within twice it's size and still look good. You may fight more than you want to with this 1/8" stuff...so it's up to you and your blood pressure.

Then you need the stuff to hold it in place. Folks here like ZipTies, but I don't. Heatshrink is for me! It looks much cleaner, and more profesional IMO. ZipTies can be applied too tightly, too loosely, and the cut pieces can be sharp if you don't have a fancy $90 ZipTie gun. For this tutorial, I only needed two sizes: A little bit of 3/8" and mostly 1/4". You'll need bigger stuff than that to do a large bundle obviously. I had done some of mine prior, so I'm not redoing it here...sorry:p
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Here's basically what you're doing, then we'll get to the bigger picture. What you're doing is just putting the wire in a sleeve and then getting it to stay put; and all along you want it to be pretty. Here's the problem:
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You can't just put sleeving on that easily. The molex is in the way! Oh dear, what to do...

I know, take off the Molex! Ok, so how do you do that? With a molex tool ya tool! I had a nice one from Frozen CPU, but let someone borrow it and had to pick another up at fry's. The basic Molex pin is .093", so get one for that size. Fry's carries Waldon Molex tools and other Molex bits, and you can find the same stuff HERE. I have that W-HT-2038-P tool and it works fine. It's just not shiney. With it, you can do both female and male, so it does fine for any occasion.

Here's my test sample I scooped out of the drawer for the basics:
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Lay it out so you can work with it. We'll begin by getting it sized up for it's tuxido. Layout the sleeve from connector to connector and cut it. The thing to keep in mind here is that you'll need some wire left un-sleeved so the heatshrink will hold on to both the wire AND the sleeve. By cutting it right at the connector may sound like we're going against that, but keep in mind that it's going to expand in thickness with wire inside it, and will shorten up just a bit. If it doesn't have much stuff in it, then cut a bit more off.
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So now you have the wire and the sleeve ready to go on. Now we need to get that molex out of the way. Here's what's going on in that molex and how those pins stay in.
The pins have barbs on them (two) and the plastic piece has lands that they catch on.
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They go in one end, then won't pull out. You need the tool to push those pins in, and it pushes the pin out of the molex's body at the same time.
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On some of the connectors, it's a breeze because they push right out. On others, you need to give the tool a little whirl in a circle while pushing on it. It's just that some of the barbs are right on the edge and need a little more motivation to let go of the landing. Basically, you just hold the connector in one hand and push with the tool in the other. If it fights, don't worry because you're still probably doing it right. Some just like fighting.

Now you should have this:
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But what if I get lost putting it back right!? That's indeed a good question. If you don't like drawing, here's a little trick before we go further along. Molex's only connect one way. They're keyed with the top having angles cut off the edges. If you have a good memory, you can look at one that's still together and remember "yellow on right facing me". My memory sucks, so here's a geometric picture for those with the same (or less) menatal capacity as me. Plug the empty connector in, and loop back the corrisponding wire straight back. You can't mess this up really. If you ever get confused in what goes where, this will get you back on path:
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Oh, and black is black. But if you REALLy care about getting the same black wire going all the way down, you'll have to do wire pulling through the sleeving. Getting ahead of myself here, but once the sleeve is on, both blacks look the same. So pull on one end, and the other end sinks back too. That's your wire, and you can then continue doing this on down the lead keeping that black in the same pinout all the way through. Picky, but some like to do that. I think it's a good idea just to keep your sleeving from looking pregnant. If you keep all the wires in order down in the sleeving, there's no big buldge anywhere and it's nice and even. Moving along to sleeving!

Slide the sleeving over the open end of the wires. You may find it tricky because the pins catch on everything. You can bind them real tight with electrical tape, but keep in mind that the tape will increase the diameter of the bundle you're trying to shove through the sleeve, so use just a little bit. Just enough to cover the barbs and tips so they don't catch. You can also expand the sleeving to make it's guts wider so the wires pass through easier. Squash it down and get it over the wires.
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Grab the length of heatshrink (they come in long tubes so you look funny walking around Fry's with them) and hold it up to the sleeved wire.
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You want half of it on the wire, and the same amount on the sleeving. Maybe even more on the wire because that's what's going to slide more often than not. I keep it uniform, but do what you gotta do.
You'll face the same hazards here with the heatshrink as you did with the sleeve. Except the heatshrink won't budge.
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This is why you buy the stuff big enough to get over your work. The stuff shrinks a lot so don't be too afraid that it's too big. Even if it IS too big, you can brave the heat and pinch it tight to the wire. When it cools, it stays like that pretty well. And you may fight the sleeve a bit because it can strand out and the individual strands catch the sleeve. You can melt the bitter-end a bit so they don't fray and catch, but that's pretty permanant. I put an edge in the shrink, then tease the other edge in. With a gentle twist, the heatshrink is over the sleeve. If it's snug on the sleeving and hard to move...uhhh...spit works good for a little while. Yuck!

This part should NOT be skipped! I do it so often, it's not even funny anymore. I get the sleeve on and one piece of heatshrink and start putting it back together...only to find that I forgot the other piece of shrink for the other end. DOH! So, go ahead and slide another piece on there.
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The hard part is done! Now you just snap the pins back into the CORRECT hole of the molex again. Remember the "loop-back" here, as you may need to do this about now. Give the pins a gentle tug to ensure they're in there pretty good as you go from pin to pin. You may also find that a pin may not want to stay in. A barb could have broken off, or maybe it's just bent in, as is in most cases. It just doesn't spring out any more. Take something thin (like my knife here) and gently pry the barb out a bit.
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Should stay in there now!

I'm not posting pics of how to shrink the tubing. My way is the way everyone says not to do this. The right way is to use a heatgun. You know how hard it is to hold a heatgun in one hand, keep the sleeve tight with the other hand, hold the wire in the other, and do so without burning any of your three hands!? Hard. I see a lighter that I may, or may not use. IF you do something so dangerous and wrong, do so with the tip of the flame and only for a brief second at a time. If you use the heat OFF of the flame, you can soot up your work and make it ugly. If you use the heart of the flame, everything AROUND it gets hot because the tip is the hot part.

Heatshrink holds heat very well. When you see it start to shrink, you can remove the heatsource and it may keep shrinking. If you give it a second to cool, you can still work with it if you want to. I mentioned squeezing it to the wire, and I do so. I don't think you should at all, because you'll sue me. But my fingers are so numb at this point that what's a little more pain?

There:
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There's your finished practice piece. Pretty? "No, your pictures are crap Chumz". I know, I know...it's 4am and the only light to use is comming off my monitor. Besides, I'm not showing off my work, I'm showing you how to do better!

Look at what you did right, and what you did wrong. It's ok to screw up here because it's just practice. Better to do it here instead of on the real thing. In the service, we had a little saying, "the more you bleed in training, the less you bleed in battle". I like that one still today, and you sir can use it in modding your case!

Ready? Cause we're moving on to the case...


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 Post subject: Part II : The case
PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2005 5:53 am 
Boy in Black
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Disclaimer: This is not a PC I really really love and cheerish like I once did. So, This is still a pretty thrown together job. When it was built, I took a full weekend sleeving it all up and making it pretty. Now, I just got done building my latest PC and spent a LOT of time with it, so I'm pretty short on patience with this one. It's a B- job IMO, but I promised a tutorial and this was an opertunity to do so. If you do this on your own PC, do even better. I'm still waiting on good sunlight to photograph my "good" PC, and that has some great wiring done. Bad things happen to good PC's, and it's sad to type that because this used to be my pride and joy.

And...I sized all these pics to be 500pixels wide, but photbucket resized them when I went to PNG. I'll try and get them back up to 500 wide, or not. We'll see how it goes. Small may just be good with all these pics up.


Here's your average PS bundle:
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It's just a tangled mess. I noticed that they had all the blacks comming out together, all the yellows out together, etc...that makes no sense because they all go different places. I need to fix that.

So, I open up the Power Supply's case (voiding the warranty BTW):
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More dirt in there, so I clean it up with Blues Brush. Follow the safety precautions here, or don't even listen to me and skip this. I don't hold your life endanger for any of your actions that may get you zapped by a capacitor holding a charge. There's threads and threads in here and around the internet on how to safely work on a PS's guts. Be safe.

Now, I spread the wires out and get them exiting in groups according to what lead (or leg) they're going to. Lead1 goes out together, lead2 leaves together, ATX12v Goes out together, and so on. I bundle them in my fist, and squeeze the wires back into the grommet, and the grommet back into the hole in the PS's case. You may find that flattening the bundle works best, just keep the order right and it'll turn out to something like this:
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No, it's still not pretty, but we're not done. At least they're not tangled and intertwined anymore and there's some order to all that past madness.

I start on the small stuff first. The case fans usually need order the most. I have mine all being powered off a special "fan" lead from the PS. I then route each fan's blue RPM feedback wire to a connector on my board. This is easy to me, but do what you wish. I only have 4 80mm fans and feel fine doing it this way. They're all powered, and speed is still individually sensed by using the fan's sensor wire. So...
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I'll use the back two fans real quick. I route ALL of the wires through some sleeving and into the backside of the case. You only need enough sleeving to hide what is shown. Whatever goes on under the tray really doesn't matter as long as it doesn't get pinched as you put that cover back on. I make the power connections, and feed out the sensor wires.
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In part I, I mentioned that the HeatShrink holds to the sleeve pretty good, and that the wires slip more. More so with small stuff. I put more than enough on the wires so it's sure to hold. I know this won't be seen and doesn't need to be cosmetic.
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Now those two fans move and are mounted as one big unit with one bundle exiting stage left. They meet the front fans backstage and are powered by one set of wires from the PS.

I can skip a lot here because the basics covers the legs very well. What we need to really look at is the layout. Look at this:
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That's just too much wire for such a short distance. I'm cutting that un-needed loop out and re-soldering that lead. If you decide to solder or re-wire, do it right. Put your heatshrink on the wire, twist the wires end-to-end, and solder the joint.
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That has a low profile and shrinks up nicely. It becomes impossible to work with if you just hold the wires together and twist the ends. You can't sleeve that stuff and expect it to look nice. If you do this end-to-end, you can never tell you messed with it once it's all sleeved up.

Break out the tool again and break that, now correct length, lead down to wires and pins:
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And proceed to sleeve it as you did in Part I of this tutorial. Nothing has changed, and it's the same thing all over.

This thing is all about what impeeds airflow, and what is pretty to look at. But you don't need to sleeve an entire lead if it's not all seen. My case has a rail across that has been holding wire it's whole life. I'm going to use it again to save on sleeving, and to save on work. Besides, I wanted to point this out as another trick in sleeving.
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In that shot, notice that only a bit is actually sleeved. It may look crummy now, but shove that extra length into the rail, and it's all hidden:
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Just the part that pops out to the world needs to be covered. The rest is still usable if you ever add more drives on down the road. That case is now 3rd down and may never get anything new, but it may get some hand-me-downs, so it's ready if that day comes. I KNOW it'll never have any more opticals than the current two, so I was fine with chopping that extra stuff out. One of the hand-me-downs is a Plextor PX-12A, which is pretty new actually.

You'll also notice in that picture a single blue wire comming out of a hole and into a board connector. I like to use stuff like this as an opertunity to route wires cleanly. The less wires you have out in public, the better. That's just one little wire, and you probably wouldn't see that RPM feedback if I hadn't pointed it out.

I even tried doing the really small stuff like the Chipset fan, which I've never attempted before. Looks good, but now I need to get that CPU fan wiring in there too. I'm going to be changing out the fan for the old thermalright again, but need for the other PC to get it's own HS first (It had my waterblock, which I've since robbed for the 3.46EE)
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Keep in mind that the real reason you're doing this is to better the airflow and not just for looks. The looks are just a side effect, really! So, you're doing nothing good by doing all this and covering something important up. Run your loom out of the way of such things as the PS's fan.
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It's more easy to cover up if it's on the rear, but you could still cover up a bottom fan as I about did. Oh, and that's the backside of one of those rails. Sneaky sneaky!

When everything is back together, you still need to work on getting it clean because it's just not done. IDE's need routed still, and other things like Audigy2 Live Drive cables need ran...all sorts of stuff. Right after you're done, It looks like this:
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All that was done was really the power wiring here, so the rest needs cleaned up and straightend out. It's very functional as it is, but it's the form that needs worked on. But looking back, it's a LOT better than what you started with. Functionally, you have a better flowing case than when you started. Again, work on the form now.

You can bend the wire bundles and they'll stay put. That top bundle that I shortened (the opticals) can be squared off to some sharp edges. In, out, and back in...squarely and smartly. No loopie-do's or other lazy shapes. Same goes for everything else in there. Bend it and shape it until it's nice and orderly looking. It's now cleaned up and I've done all that, but I'm going to bed. No pics today...maybe later? :p

And here's a little connector I found along the way that I found pretty cool:
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It has a little door that covers some extra pin taps. I'll find a use for this thing somewhere, but figured it was worth a picture and a post.


Last edited by Chumly on Thu Mar 03, 2005 6:25 am, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Dust : The Alpha to this Omega
PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2005 5:57 am 
Boy in Black
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Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 1:40 pm
Posts: 24339
Location: South of heaven
I felt the need to put these up here too. This is why I needed to tear down the case anyway and how this tutorial came about getting done:
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Dust! In the window, everything was average. But I took a peek at my filter, and man-oh-man was it clogged up. It was doing it's job I suppose, but I had been having heat issues here and there. I thought it was because I robbed the CPU of it's cool Thermalright HS and went back to the OEM jobbie, but this clean up fixed the entire problem. Note to everyone: Just because you don't see it, doesn't mean something's clogged up in there! Like I said, it looked clean through the window and only a couple tumbleweeds drifting about. That filter's in the bezel and is only 3 months old!
(Oh wait, look at that cool front USB thing Chumly did to that Chieftec! That's pretty neato! Hey chumz, stop talking in 3rd person, it's scary. Ok, dude. But it IS cool. Thanks)

And it's not just nasty Cali air...it's in everyone's house, and this PC is on carpet level sucking it all up. Here, look at my OTES on my graphics card:
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Clogged to the gills with gunk. I'm not dirty, and keep my place clean. you just can't avoid this crap no matter how much you pledge.

Here's a little tool for you all that MPC never adds to their tool boxes:
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It's a shoe shine brush (Kiwi brand) and I have one in every glove box too. Does real good at cleaning your car (A/C vents) AND your PC. I think the Blues Clues stickers really help find dirt too. Sing the song as you clean to keep your sanity...or to show others that you've lost it. Either way, it's fun to do.

I'm also sneaking in some OCZ ads hoping they send me some of that advertising money, or a couple hundred gigs of their memory. But, perhaps they think I'm such a coocoo, that they write and tell me to remove their product from my silly postings! LOL... I am a whore though, and I love you OCZ :D

And I'd like to give credit to this old machine for allowing me to do this here today. That's my old trusty Rambus machine I keep mentioning around the forums. It's about 2 years old now, and has been more than faithful to me with not one crash. Her name used to be DeepBlue, but it's since forgot how to play chess (and I even kick it's ass at checkers pretty easily), so I changed her name to Bacardi Blue. It's a 2.53 P4, Kingston PC1066 Rambus, on a Gigabyte 8IHXP Rev.3, and an Abit OTES Ti4200. It's even the only one up on the Overclockers.com database for it's spec and class! I think it was 2.73Ghz...hahaha...these things don't like overclocking at all. Thank you Bacardi Blue, for allowing us all to look up your skirt:D


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