DIY Eurorack Power Ribbon Cable

I am now the owner of a large eurorack studio cabinet and as I started to configure it, I realized that most of my power cables won’t reach the bus boards. :man_facepalming:t2:

In an effort to not spend $500 on pre-made power cables, I figure I should get into making my own. So here I am asking for help with Mouser part numbers or recommended links. My lines search resulted in i2c DIY tips, but not eurorack power (unless I missed something).

So far, I’ve come up with the following (if anything is wrong, please let me know):

  1. 16-conductor ribbon cable
  2. 10-conductor ribbon cable
  3. 16-pin socket w/ strain relief
  4. 10-pin socket w/ strain relief

I’m having trouble finding the appropriate low-profile version of the 16/10-pin IDC sockets as I tend to prefer that type so that I can also make small cables to fit into tighter spots in my travel case.

And I also need a crimping tool (and anything else that would make the assembly of nearly 100 cables ‘easy’).

I found this tool on ebay as Mouser’s crimp tools tend to be more than $1k :grimacing:

Thanks for the help ~

Good move! I‘ve always made my own because I like to have them at the correct length.

I assume that the low-profile IDC connectors you mention are standard connectors without the strain relief. I usually leave that part off.

As for tools the one linked seems useful. I‘ve always used a flat hard surface and a flat heavy object to press the parts together.

I‘ll look up the part numbers later on… on my phone right now.

For crimping, those cheap crimping pliers like what you linked are apparently good as well, but a standard “mini electronics vise” will also work in a pinch, eg. something like this:

I’ve made hundreds of cables with mine with no problems - just put the whole thing together, apply pressure carefully until everything is in place.

Those cables and sockets you’ve linked look good, you might be able to get them for cheaper somewhere else (eg. I bought mine from the local store for less) but I don’t know if it makes sense. As for low profile sockets, I don’t know if there are connectors specifically meant for that but as mentioned above you can leave the strain relief off, if you’re sure you don’t need it.

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I have found a vice is good enough to get started and make a cable after completing a diy module. That said the crimping tool is invaluable if your doing a session of making more than one. Being honest, concentration is the most important for me though, a simple lapse of it has often resulted in an unusable cable. Even with a crimping tool mistakes can occur, so I always double check, triple check when I’m done and during.

This seems like a good resource if you need to build a cable tester too: A stripboard Eurorack power cable tester - North Coast Synthesis Ltd.

I use my Black and Decker Workmate, haha. The key is even pressure so that both sides clip in at the same time. To be honest it’s not that critical if they’re for personal use. The first ones I made were with a G clamp and a couple of chunks of hardwood. I made a little tester with a bit of protoboard and a couple of headers. Plug in the cable; use a multimeter to test continuity between the headers.

Thanks for the help, everyone. Love the vice suggestions. Turns out that my neighbor has a crimping tool (and a vice) and suggested some Amazon links for the ribbons and connectors:

I’m stoked that I can build my first cables under his guidance and use his voltmeter to eliminate any module mishaps.

IDC crimp tools come pretty cheap, $16 for the one I use all the time

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Looks identical to the one I have and similar price too :slight_smile:

get this: