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How to strip ribbon cable

Updated April 17, 2017

Ribbon cable is effectively a series of small cables, collectively shrouded in a plastic jacket. This resulting flat cable still has the individual conductors accessible, which is useful when terminating the wires. Ribbon cable usually supplies power and/or data to hard drives, DVD drives and other hardware (such as video cards). Understanding how to strip ribbon cable is useful if you're repairing or replacing computer hardware.

Snip approximately 1 inch of the jacketing in between the conductors, using the scissors. Take care to not nick the wire in the process.

Separate the individual conductors from each other (maintaining the 1-inch gap) using the needle-nose pliers.

Insert each wire individually into the wire stripper, matching the gauge markings on the stripper to those on the cable's jacketing. You will probably use the smallest-gauge hole. Gently squeeze the handles of the stripper, and rotate 360 degrees around the wire until the stripper spins more easily. Pull straight back on the wire's insulation, exposing the bare wire. Repeat this process for each wire on the ribbon cable.

Things You'll Need

  • Wire stripper
  • Ribbon cable
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Scissors
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About the Author

David Lipscomb is a professional writer and public relations practitioner. Lipscomb brings more than a decade of experience in the consumer electronics and advertising industries. Lipscomb holds a degree in public relations from Webster University.