Extension cables

Where do I order 4 conductors & 3 conductors cables by the foot? I need to replace all the cables on my S3 XXL. I’m moving the control box away from the S3, to be mounted on the encloser I’m building. Can I get the cables from C3D? Or, can I get these cables?

From: https://wiki.shapeoko.com/index.php/Parts

18 or 20 gauge.[58] 4 (or more) conductor 18 gauge security cable is sold in bulk by the foot at most hardware stores, e.g., Home Depot’s 18-4 CL3R Security Cbl Shld 1’ @ 0.63, Part number 0000-249-865 Ed0345.18.10 <A>, listed by the foot on their site. Most larger hardware stores will have a carrel or rack near the electrical wiring area which has spools of wire which are sold by the foot. Note on the importance of secure wiring here: Re: Shielded cable or not

Shielded cable will include a “drain wire” which should be grounded at the controller end (some controllers will include a connector for this) — the other end should be removed so as to preclude ground loops. http://www.newark.com/pdfs/techarticles/alphaWire/Understanding_Shielded_Cable.pdf

c.f., https://wiki.shapeoko.com/index.php/Shapeoko_3#Wiring

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@WillAdams I purchased this from Home Depot. I think it’s the correct cable that I need.

Yep, matches:

  • 18 gauge
  • 4 strands
  • shielded

That’s what you need.

The only problem with that stuff is it’s (lack of) flexibility. It will eventually fail.

Isn’t it multi-stranded? It seems to match up well with what’s used in the machines — is there something which is more flexible?

Yes, but there are fewer, usually thicker, strands per wire than in cables meant for flexing.
I just ordered some of this… The price is reasonable compared to other similar options.

Key word to search is “continuous flex cable”. Most I found is only available in 100ft, 500ft, or 1000ft.

I’ve looked at this which has even better specs (over 1000000 flex cycles), but I couldn’t justify the cost.

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@neilferreri Do you recommend that I return what I got and order he one you listed? It’s about the same price.

A little digging turned up this cable that it says is high flexibility (thus high number of strands) https://www.wireandcableyourway.com/18-4-soow-portable-cord-600v-ul-csa.html?utm_source=google-shopping&utm_medium=shopping&gclid=Cj0KCQjwv8nqBRDGARIsAHfR9wDmxAFeUbb2WS0jID_azuaDbRO49qFtHQdaYbH9Duzbj0EJsrbOME8aAlAlEALw_wcB

No. I’m not sure it’s what I want. I should have it in a few days and I’ll report back.
To be honest, I’ve been looking at ways to make replacing wiring easier. I’ve had wires break several times on 3d printers, and it’s only a matter of time before something goes. I used some security cable like the stuff you got at Home Depot and it just felt like it’s meant to be run through a wall and never touched again.
Like I said, I’ll report back if you can wait. I bought the cable I linked like 20 min before you posted. Looking at it again, I’m not sure what “includes ground” means. The internal wires all look the same color except for the one too… That’ll be annoying.
I don’t think the one @tmorris9 posted is shielded.


For grounding the shielded security wire includes a foil wrap and a “drip wire” — that last AIUI is supposed to be clipped at the far end, and the end nearest the controller is supposed to be wired to ground.

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When using the foil-and-drain shielded cables, the two options are a connector that makes shield contact (the most familiar case would be RF connectors, but full-shielded connectors are used in a lot of other applications) and to connect the drain wire. The drain wire doesn’t make great contact with the foil, but it makes contact over the full length of the cable, so is quite effective.

In many cases, I will crimp a flexible, stranded, insulated lead of the needed length to the drain close to the cable casing, then fold back the pair over the casing and heat shrink for support. The drain wire is often not real robust. For this, I use small tube crimps.

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Thanks guys. I get, on a basic level, how the shielding works. What wasn’t clear to me is in the product description it says “4 contacts (includes ground)”. My initial thinking was that there was just a wire with a green insulation and there’s no reason I can’t use it for a stepper coil. As I read it again, I wondered if that included ground was actually a drain for the shielding, leaving me a conductor short.

“4 wires (includes ground)” generally means that there are 4 insulated current carrying wires, in addition to the shield, which should not be used to carry current. The ground is just a different color insulation. (coaxial cable is a different animal, here. I relies on the shield carrying current.)

There are a bunch of caveats, but I will not go there unless asked, since they don’t usually apply to machine or communication cable.


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