How to make a VGA cable

Written by steve brachmann
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How to make a VGA cable
A basic VGA connection requires a 15-pin plug. (connection cocnept - cables studio isolated image by dinostock from Fotolia.com)

Video graphics array, or VGA, cables are the basic connection used to link between a component and a monitor. The computer you're using right now has its own: the cable used to link the monitor to the video card. A basic VGA connection needs a cable, a 15-pin plug (the pins should be arranged in three rows of five pins) and three male RCA connectors to transmit the electronic signal. If you want to be able to hook up a video console to a monitor and you don't have a VGA cable, you can create one yourself using some basic materials.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • CAT5 (Category 5) shielded cable
  • Wire strippers
  • 15-pin metal hood
  • 15-pin male connector
  • RCA plugs
  • Multimeter or continuity tester (optional)
  • Soldering iron
  • Rosin core solder

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Use wire strippers to expose about an inch of the CAT5 cable. This will expose eight cables in four colour-coded pairs: brown and brown-white, blue and blue-white, green and green-white, and orange and orange white.

  2. 2

    Connect CAT5 cable to the back of the 15-pin male connector. This will need to be done in a specific sequence to ensure a working connection. In your head, number the pins from 1 to 15, starting at the top left of the front of the male connector and numbering left to right. Solder the following cables to the back of the corresponding pin: Orange to Pin 1; Green to Pin 2; Blue to Pin 3; Orange-White to Pin 6; Green-White to Pin 7; Blue-White to Pin 8; Brown to Pin 13; Brown-White to Pin 14.

  3. 3

    Test each of the pins on the 15-pin male connector for continuity if you have a multimeter or continuity tester. This step isn't necessary, but you can make sure your male connector has continuity before assembling the rest of the cable. If it doesn't have continuity and you do finish the cable, the monitor may not show clear video, or the connection may not work at all.

  4. 4

    Assemble the pin connection by securing the 15-pin male connector to the 15-pin metal hood. Some 15-pin metal hoods will allow you to secure the 15-pin male connector by simply snapping it in. Others will require that you solder the male connector into the hood. If you decide to solder, secure the 15-pin male connector into the metal hood using your thumb, and carefully solder the connection of the hood and male connector using your soldering iron and rosin core solder.

  5. 5

    Use wire strippers to expose a few inches of CAT5 cable on the other end. Separate the eight wires into their colour-coded pairs. Solder each of the four solid colour wires onto the back of the centre pin of the RCA plug. Some RCA plugs will have a jacket that you'll need to unscrew to expose the back of the centre pin. Take the remaining wires and solder them to the sleeve (ground) of the RCA plug that holds their corresponding wire. If you had to unscrew the jackets from the RCA plugs, screw them back on.

Tips and warnings

  • Although you'll need to do some extra homework to figure out how to create different connections, the basic process outlined above can be used to create audio cables, VGA-to-VGA cables, or component video-to-component video cables.
  • Be careful while soldering parts. Solder is extremely hot and can cause burns. Soldering mistakes may render the VGA connection unusable.

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