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flat clear plastic cable

Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by Mark, Apr 4, 2005.

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  1. Mark

    Mark Guest

    Hello,

    What is the proper name for that clear flat cable that has flat metallic
    condictors 'printed' on it. I need to make or buy and extension for a four
    conductor one that connects two boards. Is it possible to cut it in the
    middle, lightly sand down to the conductors and solder a piece of ribbon
    cable to extend it?

    Mark
     
  2. John Fields

    John Fields Guest

    ---
    It's called "flexible flat conductor cable". If you're talking about
    the kind that has the conductors silk-screened on the carrier, like
    membrane switches, then you won't be able to solder to it, but if it's
    the other kind, with thin PC-like traces then you should be able to
    solder to it. I'd do the sanding before the cutting so you can expose
    as much of the conductor as you need to before you cut it. That way
    you wont have to deal with the edges when you sand the cable down.
    You may also just be able to melt the insulation over the conductors
    and then solder to the conductor without having to sand anything.

    Another, much cleaner, way would be to cut the cable in the middle,
    put connectors on the ends, and then make a center section with
    matching connectors on it and ever how long you needed the extension
    to be between them.
     
  3. Mark

    Mark Guest

    Thanks, John. I'd rather do it with an extension in the middle as you
    describe, but where do I get the connectors and cable - do you have a
    source?

    Mark
     
  4. Rich Grise

    Rich Grise Guest

    Once you've got the conductors exposed, you could just poke it into
    a card-edge connector (with the right spacing) and back it up with a
    piece of unplated PCB material, which would hold it in place.

    I know, it's a klooge, but it would get the job done.

    Good Luck!
    Rich
     
  5. John Fields

    John Fields Guest

    Yeah, take a look at what Digi-Key's got: Amp, Parlex, Waldom...
     
  6. Mark

    Mark Guest

    Thanks for the help!

    Mark
     
  7. "Copper on Kapton" is a common material used for "flex-circuits", such
    as the ones used to connect moving print-heads. I've also seen "silver
    on polyester", but the latter is much trouble (I.e. stay away, far-far
    away).
    Should work in a pinch. I wouldn't do it for production, but for a fix
    or prototype it should work. I've done worse (e.g. patched SMT devices
    into it). The stuff acts much like copper on FR4 (but flexible,
    obviously).
     
  8. Guest

    I take it you're one offing. In which case it might be acceptable to
    use thin paper card with self adhesive copper track on it. You can
    design it however you want then, within the limits.

    NT
     
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