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Case Smithing: Getting Started with DIY Cable Sleeving

By: John Williamson | Guides | Posted: Jan 29, 2013 5:38 pm

Cable Preparation and Plug Removal




The Silverstone Strider Essential is a non-modular power supply so there are two obvious ways to conquer the job. The first will keep our warranty intact and generally make things a bit easier. For this method the cables are sleeved from the plug to their exit point from the power box.


The second method and the one I will be using will void the warranty of your PSU. Please use caution as myself nor Tweak Town will not be responsible for your exploded power supply units or any injuries. If you are confident and proceed with this option of sleeving, remove your power supplies cover via the screws located on the fan side. Take care and remember that when your cover comes loose so will the interior fan, so be careful.




The Silverstone unit comes pre-sleeved with some TechFlex so I will start by removing this so I can replace it with single sleeved Paracord. Using my blade I carefully slice the heat shrink off either end making sure not to go too deep - do not go too deep as to cut the cables. I can then slide my scissors under the braid and cut it away from the cables.




With all the wiring now exposed, next the cable/zip ties need to be removed. Notice that these ties are very tight, there is no way scissors can be placed under the tie to cut them free. Don't stress there is a trick for removing these nasty ties. Using a solid surface as a base, position the cable/zip tie so it's in the same position as the one I've shown below.




Place your blade parallel to the wires across the locking mechanism and press down. The blade should cut halfway through releasing the cable tie without damaging any cables.


After the cables are freed up you may notice that some wires can be done one wire at a time when doing single sleeved as opposed to removing every wire at once. Other cables however will require numerous or all wires be removed at once making things a tad more complicated. The easiest way to manage multiple cables at once is to draw yourself a diagram of the plug layouts. Using your tape make a label for each cable marking its position on the diagram. Like this:




Once you are 100% sure that you can identify every cable and its starting position work can begin on removing the connector casings. If you are planning on sleeving more than just once in your life or if you are taking on a large project, I would highly recommend buying a power supply mod kit. Most mod kits come with instructions on how to use the contained tools so today I will show you how to remove the most common types of pins with DIY tools.



Round Male Pins (Molex Power)


To remove the round type male Molex pins use a ballpoint pen that can have the core removed; the de-cored pen needs to fit inside the pin housing whilst being able to "grab" the pin itself.




To remove the Molex pin simply insert the "tool" into the casing making sure the pen grasps the pin the complete way. Give the pen a slight twist and then with minimum force pull on the matching cable. With any luck the wire should unclip and pull free.



Female Fan Pins


For removing the female fan pins I will be using a safety pin, but any small pointy object will do. Like before work out your cable colors on a diagram, with that out of the way lay the connection down with the clips facing up.




Make sure the cables are pushed all the way into the housing which will free up the clip from any obstructions. Push down on the clip and gently pull on the corresponding wire freeing it from its plastic prison.



Power, PCI and female Molex Style pins


Probably the most accepted DIY tool for all of these connection types is believe it or not a humble staple. After raiding your stationary draw, bend the staple so that it forms a long "U" shape.




For all three connections you will need to push the staple into the front of the connection pushing in the clips on either side of the pin. As with the female fan pins, sometimes pushing the wire all the way into the housing can help the clips free up of surrounding obstructions. When you think you have snagged the clips, try pulling the cable loose.


These types of connections will definitely take you the longest to master - have patience and if a pin is stubborn, it's usually better to skip it, and return later or have a short break.

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