Where do you purchase your cables and connectors?

Thread Starter

pommeverte

Joined Apr 8, 2023
9
Hey everyone.
I'm looking to make a bunch of custom USB type-c cables (from spec 2.0 and upwards) and I'd like to purchase spools of cables (<= 100ft, preferably 20-30ft) for this.

I know that the spec of those cables will depend on what USB specs I'm aiming for, but my issue is that I can't seem to find any place to purchase cabling for some of the higher-spec versions. USB type-c full-featured calls for 16 wires (17 with Vconn) and those are nowhere to be found.

Likewise, type-c connectors with small boards that expose all 16 pads seem impossible to find. I know they exist because I can find pictures of them on sites that make custom cabling but I just can't seem to find them for purchase.
Do I need to purchase the M connectors and just custom-make those mini boards?

Where do you all go to purchase spools of cables? And do they carry the above?

Thanks for helping a lost soul!
 

SamR

Joined Mar 19, 2019
5,020
Back in the day, my go-to was Belden Wire and Cable. If they don't have it, they will make it to your spec for not much more than their standard products. Belden
 

Thread Starter

pommeverte

Joined Apr 8, 2023
9
Hey,

Thank you both for your suggestions. I might be doing things wrong but I couldn't find anything useful from either of those. At least not in their standard offering.

Finding USB 2.0-compliant cable was easy enough and you can pretty much get it from anywhere. But I was looking for thicker gauge PWR/GRND wires in case I wanted to repurpose them for charging (usb 3 or longer cables), and a CC wire. Neither Digikey nor Belden had it in their standard offering (nor did L-com)

For USB 3.0 9-core that just straight up wasn't something I could find. Especially considering I wanted a thicker gauge for PWR/GRND again and I wanted the data pairs to be individually shielded with ground wires (but I didn't need that shielding for the D+/D-twisted pair). + I was looking for something under 5mm in diameter.

I ended up reaching out to a manufacturer in China (P-Shine) who does some really good work and has well-specced USB cabling. Their minimum order quantity is 3000m (~10,000 feet) though. But I decided I would try my luck and ask if they could just pull an extra few hundred feet the next time they got an order that met my requirements.
Turns out they had inventory and were willing to humour me.
Honestly, this might be a bit of a plug but the experience with them has been amazing and the pricing they offered was at least half what I had found for the USB-2 and just straight up an order of magnitude cheaper for the 9-core USB-3. All with spot-on specs and quality that would be hard to fault. In the end, the shipping ended up costing me more than the cables, and even with that, it was still cheaper than any alternative I could've found.

I don't think they would be willing to honor small demands like the one I did again in the future, so I wouldn't necessarily suggest reaching out to them with hobbyist-level quantities, but if you ever have requirements that meet their minimum order quantities, I would highly encourage you to consider them for your tenders.

As for the connectors, digikey had the connectors but I was looking for 3-4 usb-c breakout boards for various scenarios and they only had one of those. So I ended up ordering from various shops on AliExpress. I haven't received them yet so can't speak to the quality.

Thanks again to the two of you for giving me a bit of direction.
 

MaxHeadRoom

Joined Jul 18, 2013
28,528
In installing incremental encoders, in harsh environments I use a Belden 9891 it has 4 shielded pairs with overall braid shield plus a bare GND wire under the shield.
One pair is larger gauge for power.
You don't get much better shielding than this.
8mm dia.
 

SamR

Joined Mar 19, 2019
5,020
Belden will put any wire you want into a cable, for a very reasonable price. We had them make gobs of 19 twisted pairs, individually shielded, with an overall outer shield instrument cable to our corporate engineering spec. But then we were a multi-site Fortune 500 global company. If you're looking for lots of less than 100 units... Google is your friend. Still, it wouldn't hurt to call Belden and speak with one of their application engineers about what you need and ask for a quote. They are super helpful.
 

Thread Starter

pommeverte

Joined Apr 8, 2023
9
In installing incremental encoders, in harsh environments I use a Belden 9891 it has 4 shielded pairs with overall braid shield plus a bare GND wire under the shield.
One pair is larger gauge for power.
You don't get much better shielding than this.
8mm dia.
Thanks! I did find a lot of great stuff on their site including this one. I was just aiming for sub-5mm (diameter) cabling so I came up short in my research. I actually ended up getting other cables from them for another application I had so it was definitely worthwhile.
 

Thread Starter

pommeverte

Joined Apr 8, 2023
9
Belden will put any wire you want into a cable, for a very reasonable price. We had them make gobs of 19 twisted pairs, individually shielded, with an overall outer shield instrument cable to our corporate engineering spec. But then we were a multi-site Fortune 500 global company. If you're looking for lots of less than 100 units... Google is your friend. Still, it wouldn't hurt to call Belden and speak with one of their application engineers about what you need and ask for a quote. They are super helpful.
Yeah to be fair I haven't reached out to them, I think their minimum order quantity is 500 feet which is a little over what I needed. So it was a bit of a balancing act for me this time around. I actually meant to give them a call during the week but P-Shine was so quick to get me what I needed that I never got to it.
 

MisterBill2

Joined Jan 23, 2018
17,875
There is an issue that none have addressed, which is the number of conductors.
"Likewise, type-c connectors with small boards that expose all 16 pads seem impossible to find. I know they exist because I can find pictures of them on sites that make custom cabling but I just can't seem to find them for purchase. "
I see a real problem because USB cables only have FOUR conductors.
HDMI cables without audio may have 16 conductors. Full HDMI cables have 19 conductors plus a shield.
 

Ya’akov

Joined Jan 27, 2019
8,974
There is an issue that none have addressed, which is the number of conductors.
"Likewise, type-c connectors with small boards that expose all 16 pads seem impossible to find. I know they exist because I can find pictures of them on sites that make custom cabling but I just can't seem to find them for purchase. "
I see a real problem because USB cables only have FOUR conductors.
HDMI cables without audio may have 16 conductors. Full HDMI cables have 19 conductors plus a shield.
USB Type-C cables can have more than four conductors.
 

Thread Starter

pommeverte

Joined Apr 8, 2023
9
I see a real problem because USB cables only have FOUR conductors.
HDMI cables without audio may have 16 conductors. Full HDMI cables have 19 conductors plus a shield.
That's true for USB 2.0. Technically, type-c can support up to 24 and I believe that's the standard for USB4 cables, especially for compatibility with third-party USB-c implementations. Thought in practice most applications stand at around 20 iirc.
For USB 3 implementations I think it can be anything between 9 and 16 depending on the exact version.

Although I will admit that it's been hard for me to figure out where the specs end, and where actual production liberties were taken in current existing USB cable assemblies.
 

MisterBill2

Joined Jan 23, 2018
17,875
Given the cost of the items that I own that connect with a USB cable, I would be really in error to have any USB power sourcing device able to supply more than 5 volts.
In my opinion, allowing for a USB connection of more than 5 volts is REALLY STUPID!! Use a different connector for other voltages so that accidents are avoided, because we all know that poor quality equipment will fail eventually. How many smart phones could survive 24 volts at the charging connector?? How many tablet devices could survive???
 

Thread Starter

pommeverte

Joined Apr 8, 2023
9
Given the cost of the items that I own that connect with a USB cable, I would be really in error to have any USB power sourcing device able to supply more than 5 volts.
In my opinion, allowing for a USB connection of more than 5 volts is REALLY STUPID!! Use a different connector for other voltages so that accidents are avoided, because we all know that poor quality equipment will fail eventually. How many smart phones could survive 24 volts at the charging connector?? How many tablet devices could survive???
USB has built-in mechanisms for both devices to agree on power before they go above 5V/500mA. So unless someone does something unsafe with cables (like missing/incorrect built-in resistors) It should be safe. In addition to that, anything above 15W requires PD and the cable needs to include a chip to let the systems know that it can handle the requested power without melting.

So overall, it's decently safe as long as you don't purchase DIY cables (though most DIY cables are just 500mA).
 

Ya’akov

Joined Jan 27, 2019
8,974
One thing to be careful about, though, are the product specific chargers that have a Type-C connector on them. I unfortunately ran into one example that was just a 12V power supply and always provided 12V at 3A no matter what.

An inauspicious pairing with the other side of the Type-C fail—a device that depends on the good will of a Type-C power source and counts on there only being 5V at 1.8A if it doesn’t ask for more. It also had no over voltage protection on account of that misplaced trust.

Neither should have had a Type-C connector on it, full stop. I do note that the offenders of the dumb power supply variety tend to have captive cables terminated in a Type-C connector rather than a receptacle on the body of the device, so perhaps that’s a warning sign...
 

MisterBill2

Joined Jan 23, 2018
17,875
"Y" 's tale of grief backs up my assertion that USB connectors, and power sources, should ONLY be 5 volts. NO EXCEPTIONS EVER!!
it would only take the destruction of one new $1200 smart phone for others to see why I am right. (No, I did not lose a phone)
 

Ya’akov

Joined Jan 27, 2019
8,974
"Y" 's tale of grief backs up my assertion that USB connectors, and power sources, should ONLY be 5 volts. NO EXCEPTIONS EVER!!
it would only take the destruction of one new $1200 smart phone for others to see why I am right. (No, I did not lose a phone)
Type-C PD is a very important advance in powering and charging portable devices. It has made things much easier. There are possible problems but the net effect is very good. So, I can’t agree with you at all.
 
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