Build a VGA cable on site and for pennies by soldering two ends on a cable and attaching a pair of hoods. When a longer cable is needed, one can be made in just minutes for very little cost in a few simple steps. Nearly any computer cable can be created in custom lengths by using a small assortment of solder and crimp connectors and having a supply of cable on hand. Simple steps and links to the pin diagrams necessary to make various cables are all that is needed.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Wire strippers with cutter
- 15-conductor cable
- Electronic soldering iron
- 15-pin high-density D-Sub connectors with hoods
- Hands-free soldering aid
- Coil of 60/40 tin-lead 0.031-inch solder
Cut the cable to the desired length, leaving some spare cable for slack and to be able to rearrange the desk.
Strip about an inch of the outer insulation from each end of the cable, being careful not to nick or strip the insulation from any of the inner conductors. If any of the inner conductors are stripped in the process, cut the cable back an inch and strip the outer conductor again.
Strip about a quarter-inch from each of the inner conductors. Preheat the soldering iron while stripping the conductors.
Place one D-sub connector into the hands-free soldering aid so that the solder connectors are facing up.
Insert a single conductor deeply into the middle pin of the middle row of solder connections, choosing a colour that is in the middle of the cable to keep the conductors from getting tangled.
Touch the tip of the soldering iron to the conductor and press it against the solder connection on the D-Sub connector for a second or so and then apply the tip of the solder to the conductor until solder flows into the connector and onto the conductor evenly. Remove the soldering iron and inspect for a good connection.
Solder the remaining pins in the middle row and then solder the pins in the outer rows until each of the 15 pins has a conductor soldered to it. Repeat the process for the other end of the cable, using the same colour conductor for the same pin number on each end of the cable.
Attach the protective hoods to the ends of the cable after inspecting the connections. Connect the cable to the monitor and the video card.
Tips and warnings
- Most VGA cables use standard HDD DB-15 D-Sub male connectors on each end of the cable. There are exceptions, so the individual monitor and video card should be inspected before making the cable. In rare cases, a female connector, ninepin connector or four RCA-type connectors (RGB) are used for the monitor end of the cable. Make a note of the pin number and the colour of each conductor used and use the same colours for the same pin numbers on the other end of the cable.
- VGA cables longer than 15 feet can have unpredictable results and may cause damage to the monitor or the video card unless they are designed for long-distance use. These instructions assume the reader is making a cable that attaches to the outside of the monitor. Due to the extreme voltages present inside the monitor, it is not advisable to attempt soldering one end of the cable directly to the monitor circuit board.
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