The Problem With Wire Cables Cracking

Discussion in 'Technical Repair' started by MrAl, Sep 29, 2017.

  1. MrAl

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Jun 17, 2014
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    Hello there,

    I noticed that many of my wires are cracking after having them for some time. The insulation gets very brittle and cracks, and that exposes the wires inside the cable. It's not too long after that the wires themselves start to break and the connection is lost.
    This happened in several things i'll name a few here.
    First, a keyboard i purchased had a USB cable, that cracked, wires broke.
    A meter i had for several years, the meter lead plastic cracked especially the molded strain reliefs.
    A headphone patch cable, where the cable casing became brittle and cracked. The exposed wires where insulated, but they are fairly thin wires so they broke. I fixed it, then a couple weeks later i see the cable is now cracked again in a different place.

    Anyone else notice this?
    I wonder if the cables made today are too cheap.
     
  2. nsaspook

    Expert

    Aug 27, 2009
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    Yes, most of the stuff today is cheap junk.
    [​IMG]

    Use good cables. A good cable designed for the application should last for the lifetime of the device. I've had excellent results with Belden and Alpha products.
     
  3. strantor

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    Oct 3, 2010
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    I have only experienced this when they get overheated and/or when oil get on cables not rated for oil.
     
  4. joeyd999

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    Jun 6, 2011
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    Ozone. And sunlight.
     
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  5. MrAl

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    Jun 17, 2014
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    Hi,

    Sounds good. Only problem is that when i buy pre made cables they dont usually say what kind of wire they use. I didnt think it would be as bad as it is though. I didnt really have this one cable that long before it cracked. I am not that hard on it either.

    I guess what you are suggesting indirectly then is that we make our own cables. I guess i can do that next. I'll have to pick up some good three conductor audio wire, the thin type then. Cant trust the China ones.
    Same with the meter leads. I have some good wire for that, but i'd have to figure out a way to get the probes off of the old wire so that i can use it with the new wire. The new types of banana plugs used with this meter are also a bit different that the old style as they have that plastic sleeve too.

    I have to wonder how you find all these cool graphics :)
     
  6. MrAl

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    Jun 17, 2014
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    Hello,

    Little interesting update here...

    I found some nice cables! They have nylon weave over the cable exterior so they are very strong, presumably. The end plugs are metal, and the contacts are gold plated. I think i found my favorite cables here. I'll be getting them in a few days so i'll update with notes on quality, but i'd be surprised if they arent good unless there is a manufacturing defect or something.
    Another nice thing is they come in various colors and have a sort of herring bone pattern, so they are easily distinguishable from other cables. I have a lot of cables so this will help too.
    I cant believe somebody finally made a cable that looks like it can handle some minor abuse without breaking and loosing the connection. Miracles really do happen once in a while i guess :)
    I found these on good ol' Amazon, but i am sure they would be just about any place you look. There are several brand names too and different styles. A giant step up from those cheap Chinese cables that crack when you look at them too long. Price is fair, about 7 dollars USD for two 5 foot cables but i suppose that varies where you get them from.

    Oh yeah, i found other things have these cables too now, like keyboards. I was so disappointed when i got a nice Logitech keyboard several years ago and in a few months the cable on that cracked too. I had to wire in my own USB jack to the keyboard so i could use my own replacement cable. It was an expensive keyboard so i did not want to chuck it out.

    I'll post more once i get the cables.
     
  7. MrAl

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    Jun 17, 2014
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    Hello again,

    Here is a pic of the cable. It's got a nylon wrapped cable and is still flexible enough. The cable flexes nicely so i think it will last for a while. We'll see i guess.
    Ends are small but rugged.
     
  8. joeyd999

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    Jun 6, 2011
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    Do you have one of those air ionizers in your house? Or a laser printer or photocopier?
     
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  9. MrAl

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    Jun 17, 2014
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    Hi,

    Why do you ask?
     
  10. joeyd999

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    Because they are notorious sources of ozone. Printers and copiers usually have an activated charcoal ozone filter, but they sometimes lose their effectiveness and need to be replaced.

    Air ionizers just dump poisonous reactive ozone into the air.

    In either case, ozone wreaks havoc with wiring insulation. If this happens a lot at your location, it's the first thing I'd suspect.
     
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  11. MrAl

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    Jun 17, 2014
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    Hello there,

    Oh very interesting i will have to look into this.

    I dont run any of those devices except for very very rarely these days, like printer, once a year not even that probably. So if it is related to 'ozone' what else do you think could cause this? Think it could be some industry in the area maybe? Or something else that might be common?
    Comments appreciated.
     
  12. joeyd999

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    Jun 6, 2011
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    High voltage is all I can think of. Here's something I found via a google search:

     
  13. MrAl

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    Jun 17, 2014
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    Hi again,

    That looks interesting i'll have to read that probably in it's entirety as it covers a lot of ground.

    I am thinking now that maybe it really is just because of the cheaper quality. I am thinking this now because i have a lot of plastic items around that dont seem to be affected in the same way. However, i do notice some other effects too.

    Do you happen to know of any other drying agents that might be entering the home such as some kind of chemical brought in by the natural wind outside? Funny because sometimes i do notice that my nose seems to dry out sometimes and not other times. That makes me think some kind of chemical is entering the home on an irregular basis so it is hard to detect.

    Comments welcome.
     
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