I shorten and lately, most of the times repair Nikon Cables, as the production from China got worse rather than better. I have been doing it for more than forty years. I have a work station just for cable repair.  And you are probably wondering why Nikon ever made those cables for the SC-17, SC-28, SC-29 so damn long?  

Because Nikon thought these cables could be used for off camera "statue of liberty” shooting, not as common a technique any more with brackets or wireless and integrated flash systems.  So we are stuck with long cables.  

PROBLEM:  COILITUS -  If you used them on a bracket, you have “Coilitus”, and three feet of coiled cord, a nuisance.  

PROBLEM:  ROPING - In fact roping it around the handle will cause the Chinese cable to split open, many do this.  Bad for you, good for me, keeps me busy.

PROBLEM:  COMPLETE RUBBER DISINTEGRATION - The internals which were molded on with the sheath rubber-like compound and then heat treated to retain the loops, will fall apart, unbend and I have seen them do just that and then you really have a mess that will kink, and the entire mass will split and completely peel off, unfixable.  The entire cable loops and all be gone and just the wires left.  The covering just falls off

A GAME -  After you send me the remains (just the end pieces if that bad)  you have choices after I look at it.  And I will call you and hopefully I can save the rest, fix the bad end and remake the cable.

B-GAME - If the cable is bad on both ends like shown in the picture just below, we have several choices.
B1-  Make something like a same size short cable attempting to retain the TTL
B2 - Make a long twenty foot Mono Cable out of it.  Which is like a long extension trigger used for Beach scenes with extreme backlighting. NO TTL but ignition, Houston.
B3 - No-TTL  but useful for various other purposes. I make a lot of those for the guys who shoot A mode.

If you recently graduated Cro-Magnon High and  think your cave is man-like, it is not a good idea to use a cable that has torn ends or breaks near or in the strain relief as seen on this sample I received. The rubber covering is eating itself and splitting.  The strain reliefs , a different plastic  are degaussing and might be the cause of the splitting. Impure plastics (?)

Regardless.  Now you have a break in the open wiring, part of which is a gaggle of wires with an exposed ground, connected to a strobe with 320 volt capacitor inside triggered by the camera.  

Err... electricity sometimes jumps around, they may be called shorts but they are long in damage. The perfect storm especially since the five (quenching and focus control wires) plus one ground wire is only rated at 3 volts and capacitors are rate at 320 to 330 volts. And this is thin 22 gauge wire in thinner coverings.

So you get to celebrate the Fourth of July in your hand and unknown financial disaster from MAC Nikon repair for your brand new Nikon 800 series.

A smallish break anywhere in the strain relief indicates and will disintegrate the entire cable.The older Japanese rubber on the grey SC-17 was good, the Chinese rubber compound on the strain relief is weird, as it age’s, it splits, degauss’s, and literally pulls apart.  Here is a good example of bad karma.  I could crush the strain relief remnants with my fingernail.  Complete degauss of the cheap plastic.

PROBLEM - WORST THIS WEEK - 12-01-2017  
We have a new winner.   Just above, here is a working example sent to me with the rotten Chinese compound which makes the SC-29 totally useless. The strain relief for repairs they use is unavailable as it is proprietary from a mold, made of a bad composition like used guava jelly and bubble gum, supports nothing, cheap at best and not available from any of my sources.  

NO PARTS AVAILABLE - circa 1978-2018
Again , there are NO aftermarket strain reliefs I could buy for the SC cables and I have looked for ten years for one that would be compatible.   

I did get a reply from a  Chinese supplier-molder knock off manufacturer who offered to help me if I ordered 50,000.  For-get-about-it!


This is a hit or miss repair using several techniques and I am going to use shrink tubes to manufacture a strain relief which is the only repair as shown on the worst one of the week. The repaired cable is below with the red border.

I have used SC-17 cables for those wanting the lock features on short SC-28, 29 when they were totally ruined. When one end is shot, but usually both ends are going bad and the 29 with it’s optical head is sheer micro work.

The wire is virtually not solderable unless you are astute at 22 gauge wire butt cold setup soldering.  I had to develop a new hot-solder technique for these weaker wire units which is working out well, but complex.  One miss with the solder tip and you are finished.  As far as technique goes, it’s all in the wrist.  

The other game-killer is when you loose one of the wires from the pins and try to reconnect.  Very tricky because of the solder they used in China.  You will clean the joint off and not get a good joint or get a glob so that the pin on a spring doesn’t function.  Useless cable. I might have to build a manual no ttl cable from it,  just trigger.

I also had to develop a new technique to prevent the cable from putting a strain on the solder joints and that is metal and working perfectly.  Using HD tubing in layers, a metal stop and epoxy, I have the solution. It’s a lot of work but its usable, strong and hopefully last a lot longer.

All of this was needed to fix the worst of the week just to the right, there it is the before and the after.

THE CHINESE SAGA -  When Nikon went to China, they lowered the bar.  I said,  “It appears Nikon is doing the limbo on a Chinese Junk on high seas” during a monsoon.  Chinese quality is not up to par as yet.  I battle with it everyday.  Canon announced they are pulling their better lens manufacturing back to Japan, the extra profit in labor became losses in repairs and replacement.  

When we had our store and were selling Rebels, the two lens kit became a two lens repair.  Ever wonder why there are always Refurbished Basic Kit Lenses available, B&H and Adorama seem to have a ton of them, they get the first shot because of volume. Now there are so many, overages, they wind up on eBay.

No they were not returns, as claimed, nor did customers want something else or some other excuse.  Truth is, they are cheap crap from third world countries using cheap plastics, and underpaid labor and the product failed. Period.

The SC-17 was made in Japan and the newer  28 and 29 series were stamped Nikon JAPAN… “ Parts and labor from CHINA” the packaging is Japan.  

New ones,  SC-28, SC-29 are “Made in China”.   The SC-29 picture to the right is one that came out perfect, I strive for that, the strain relief fell to my new technique,  but… thats because it was an older batch when the SC-28/29 first were made in Japan and  then they went off to China and again things went downhill when the Chinese cheapened it.

Understand, this is a repair / service process, not beautification.
 I will do my best to make it look good and save the strain relief.  A higher percentage of the reliefs have already failed, or will fail and I will make a new relief.  Less cable does mean less resistance, less to rot or  degauss, (fungus trunks at the strain relief) . 

We check the internals, especially the screws that hold the platform loosen on the top near the flash foot.  On the SC-17 the strain relief is a separate added component and held in place (sometimes) by a soluble glue and is (sometimes) workable intact.  

No way to tell but with luck on some of the older origional SC- 28 and 29 models, sometimes the relief is a molded one part extra component and comes off.   Not all the time but when it doesn’t,  it just means blind in hand cutting using a Dremel and side cutting drill bits to recut and reshape the part:  

I may take it down as far a needed, in some cases even flush; secure it internally; shrink tube the outside and epoxy or high tac industrial hot glue the mess for stability.  It is hit or miss, some come apart, some don’t.  If the don’t it’s a plan “B”.

My goal is making it shorter and usable.  The cracks in the relief basically tell me when to stop unless they have degaussed.   

Because of this, it’s common inconsistency of the product coming into the country I have to make the call as to which end I shorten, the shape of the strain, length, etc.  It all depends what you send me.  

This shaping from weak strain reliefs guarantees no two will ever be the same. "A" Modified strain relief,  "B" Shortened length,  "C"  Removed strain relief parts.    Several have totally unwound, the rubber coming off in strips, really amusing but the cable has to be replaced by those ends I remove from good ones I shortened and that makes for major surgery or modify a totally new cable using your ends but might be just a flash connector and lose the TTL part so you might use the strobe in A mode.

Another trick I learned is to take the ends off,  if usable and utilize a specific electrical  underground (round) cable not the flat stuff and rebuild them into twenty-five foot extensions for off camera shooting that makes sense. 

I am playing with that now for the guys doing beach shots of half naked ladies destined for stardom in Hollywood, California. The technique is to backlight the model using the sun and moving the strobe close for fill flash, using a long lens for the perspective.  It’s cheaper than buying a 2000 dollar Profoto ads by a known photographer and an overpriced unit.

If you want yours shortened just follow these simple instructions. This fee applies to those that haven’t been butchered or why doesn’t it work syndrome?  Most cases I can repair small connections as needed and not charge extra within reason.

Send me the cable via USPS in the seven dollar fifteen-cent small priority mailbox wrapped in a ZIPLOC plastic sandwich bag in case there is a monsoon. USPS small boxes fit in multiples in my mailbox.  Otherwise use blister or bubble wrap bags.

Enclose name, address, email, and phone numbers, home and cell.  “No phone” then the name of your carrier pigeon, snail or wombat delivering it to me and how many loops in length (unstretched) you wish the cord to be.

Enclose check for 47.60 dollars ( personal OK) or copy of PAYPAL to for those 28-29 series. The SC17 is a much simpler unit and is 37.60 dollars, check or PAYPAL.   A few days later you will have a clean and neat short cord returned by Priority Mail.  Cut and Paste.

Send me the parts, the mess and a check or cash for 7.15 and I will call you with costs and an explanation of what we can do. Shorten, modify, beach cable, burn, throw away or do nothing, etc.   A few days later you will have a new product to use, or the mess mailed back to you, hopefully with a clean and neat short cord returned by Priority Mail.  Cut and Paste.

APT 3503
LARGO,   FL  33771-2179