NIKON CABLE SHORTENING


AFFORDABLE NIKON
CABLE SHORTENING

I shorten and lately, most of the times  “ try to repair Nikon Cables.¨    I say try as the production from China year by year quality wise got worse rather than better.  The shooters still using them on brackets have tapered off to nothing volume as far as I am concerned but I will continue to repair them if I can.  The built in electronic triggers, remotes and complex steps with multiple flash have replaced the shortened cables and repairs I do. 

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?   I must have done a thousand and a half, I’m not complaining.

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

The internals which were molded on with the sheath rubber-like compound and then heat treated to retain the loops, will fall apart.  It’s a form of cheap plastic compound the Chinese use since rubber is expensive.  Commonly degaussing, unbending  and striping clean.   I used get  lots of them, but as they get older with no parts or cables  available repair is not feasible without my modifications and in some cases, not a 100%..


SCENARIO

The entire cable loops and all be gone and just the wires left.  The covering just splits and falls off.  Just like the current trade negotiations with the Orient and Occident players will happen.  Or as we say about their production, it’s not what they tell you , it’s what they sell you.

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.  If the cable is bad on both ends like shown in the picture just below, we have several choices.  Repair cables and parts are getting scarce.  Almost robbing Peter to pay Paul.  
07/02/2018  -  There are no current companies making eight wire woven rubber with 24/28 gauge wire, anywhere available in the world. 

FOR THE DO-IT-YOURSELFER
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.  Depends on the model.

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.  Those 28 gauge wires go to the squelching circuits in the flash and to the camera motherboard.

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. 

So you get to celebrate the “ 4 th of July” in your hand and unknown financial disaster from MAC Nikon repair for your brand new Nikon 800-900 series.  Repairs which starts at $179.00.  And if it backs to the camera, you are screwed.


12-01-2017
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. 

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.  They would make them for me if I ordered 5000.  No way Jose...  There is no market anymore.

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 22-28 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.  

The other game-killer is when you loose one of the wires from the pins and try to reconnect.  Very tricky because of the type of solder they used in China.  Many US companies do not use Chinese solder, especially those in the defense industry.
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 a trigger or use it for something else, just to save something.

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 will 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 SC-17 was made in Japan and the newer  27, Disc, 28 and 29 series were stamped Nikon JAPAN… “ Parts and labor from CHINA”   the packaging is Japan.  The 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.

IF THE STRAIN RELIEF IS GONE - RESHAPING
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.  

SOLUTION:  RESHAPED STRAIN RELIEF
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. 

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.  

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. 

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 usually I do not charge extra within reason. I’m fairly lenient with the work I do but always reserve the right if it’s really complex or if you have worse happen...someone who did not know what they were doing and really friggenizzed it up and I gotta clean the mess.


•  Send me the cable via USPS in the seven dollar sixty-five cent small priority mailbox wrapped in a ZIPLOC plastic sandwich and packing bag in case there is a monsoon. 

•  Enclose an additional check for 7.65. for return mail.

•  USPS small boxes fit in multiples in my mailbox.  Otherwise do not use blister or bubble wrap bags as the mailmen crush them in my mailbox which can get full when too lazy to use my big box.

•  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 (un-stretched) you wish the cord to be. 

•  Initially, just send return postage with the cable, I will call you and advise at that point the balance is due if we proceed.

•  Shortened  to 15-24 coils, if in good or salvageable shape.  $47.15  to $57.00  on the average.