Strain relief for custom cables. Do I need those boots?
On many occasions we have customers sending us quotes for custom patch cords. Regardless of the type of cable Cat5e or Cat6 or above, some of the specifications requested from time to time are cable boots and the label for each one of the assemblies.
Customers do not always want strain relieves out on their custom cable assemblies; perhaps they do not take into account the type of application where these cables are going to be plugging into. The problem is that sometimes the boots of the patch cord become critical for the performance and/or the environment where they are going to be installed.
Not too long ago, we had a brand new customer asking for Cat5 patch cables. He had heard from us from another customer who shared his experience with him. He decided to go with us because of our quick turnaround we gave him on a cat5e custom cable sample for his project. At the time, he requested boots for the cable we made for him first. We made this custom assembly using Quabbin wire, generic boots on the wire, and a modular cat5 plug that was the conductors crimped into. Lastly, we shipped it the same day the customer sent us the quote. When the prospect received the final product, he went ahead and tested the cat5e cable with his application.
Unfortunately, the cable did not fit his application because of the boot. The problem here was that the strain relieves made the wire a little wider for the cable to fit in the tight space inside his machine. Here, it actually made more sense to make the custom cables without the boots. He was very glad he got to see the cable before placing the order for the remaining large number of cables he needed to complete this project. It would have been a nightmare to get a large number of cables and then get rid of the boots once the cable was crimped.
Strain relieves provide help to accomplish performance on cables that require it. The job of the cable boots is to stop the wire from bending too much at the plug level to avoid crushing each conductor with another. This provides better performance and also would avoid yanking the conductors from the pins by accident when bending the cable too much. The only problem with having a strain relief would come up if there was very limited space where the cable needs to be plugged in and the strain relief needed to be added to the custom cable assembly; the above taking into account that the use of a molding machine is non-existing for regular patch cords that need quick turnaround. In this case and because of the minimal space between plugs, the use of the cable boots may be difficult. Therefore, the use of strain relieves may be a trade between performance and/or functionality.In conclusion if you are a customer, always think about the application where your cable is going to fit. Ask your vendor for a sample if you are not sure if the cable will meet your needs.
If you would like to request a custom cable quote for a network custom cable, audio custom cable or video custom cable in fiber or copper, please do not hesitate to email our sales team directly at [email protected] . If you would prefer, you can give us a call at 682-325-1944.