Flat Cable Basics
Whether you make your own cables, or we make them for you, the first step is to define the cable you’re using and what you want to do to it.
What type of flat cable are you using?
In standard flat cable, the insulation surrounding each conductor is bonded to the one next to it, with no space between wires. In webbed flat cable, there is some added space between the wires, with a ‘web’ of insulation between them to hold them apart.
Whether you’re buying cable prep services or tools, we need to know what cable you have and what you want to do it, to make sure your finished cable meets your needs.
Flat cable properties / characteristics
1. Number of conductors
2. Wire gauge – 18 awg, 22 awg, etc.
3. Pitch – 0.025″, 0.050″, 0.100″, 0.156″, 2mm, etc.
4. Insulation material – PVC, Teflon, etc.
(Note: Cable pitch is not the same as connector pitch. For example you may have two different connectors with different pitches at each end of the same cable or you may even have something like a DB9 connector that consists of offset rows and has a pitch that is half of what you would think it is.)
What do you want to do to your cable?
Cable processing terms & definitions
Measure & Cut: Cut cable to specific lengths.
Notch: On web cable, remove web between wires.
End-Notch: Remove web at end(s) of cable.
Mid-Way Notch: Remove web somewhere mid-way in the cable.
Pitch: The distance between conductors, center-to-center.
Note: Connector pitch is often not the same as cable pitch; to properly size and configure cable prep tooling or services, we must know cable pitch.
Separate or Slit: Slitting simply cuts the insulation between wires. During or after slitting, individual wires in the cable may also be physically separated, to facilitate connector attachment.
End-Feed Separation: Separate wires at end of cable.
Mid-Way Separation: Separate wires somewhere mid-way in the cable.
Strip: Remove insulation from end(s) of wire.
Full Strip: Completely remove insulation.
Strip & Retain: Leave short length of insulation on end, to keep wires in position for termination.
Terminate: Attach connector(s) to end(s) of cable.
Tin: Prepare stripped wire ends for solder termination.