Firstly, I don't claim to be an expert when it comes to sleeving (this is actually my first build) so feel free to jump in and post comments if you think I could be doing something better/easier. Hopefully this guide will help others who are starting out or considering sleeving their PSU for the first time.
Above is a pinout diagram I made for the Corsair AX1200, PCI-E connector. I've also colour coded the wires so I know which colour sleeve goes where.
It's important that you know the correct pinout for your cable, if in doubt try this page
, however some PSU manufacturers (e.g Corsair) use proprietary (non-standard) pinouts on connectors that go into the PSU. If that's the case I recommend you pull apart an existing cable and draw your own diagram. That way if something goes wrong you've only got yourself to blame.Step 1
: Start out by half-crimping the contacts. Bend the contact until you hear 4 clicks, this may vary depending the crimping tool you use. I recommend the crimping tool from mdpc
which is what I use.Step 2
: The contact wings (which grip to the wire) should be folded just enough so that it creates a tight fit when inserting the wire into the contact.Step 3
: Repeat step 2 for how ever many wires your connector has. In my case I needed 15 contacts for the PCI-E connector.Tip
: Once you've figured out the ideal length of the cable your going to sleeve, cut the wire with an additional 3-4 cm in length. Stretch out the wire by gripping and running your fingers down the wire (do this 4-5 times from both ends), the reason for doing this is because the wire insulation will sometimes move/stretch off the copper. It's better that the wire insulation is stretched now before the contacts and sleeving are added. Tidy up the ends by trimming off any excess/over-hanging insulation.Step 4
: Lay a ruler flat on the table to measure the wire against while trying to keep the wire taut and straight. Then mark the wire with a knife so you know where you need to cut.Step 5
: Repeat step 4 for how ever many wires your connector needs.Step 6
: Once all the wires have been cut to the same length, use a wire stripper to remove 3mm of insulation from each end.Step 7
: It's time to start crimping! This is where step 1 (half-crimping the contacts) pays off, by making sure the contacts stay in position. Now just slide the wire into the two wings.Step 8
: With the wire inserted into the contact, there should be very little movement when positioning the contact into the crimping tool. Simply squeeze the handles together until it releases.Step 9
: You should now have a pretty decent looking crimp which holds well.Tip
: Before you go ahead and crimp the other end of the wire, think about how your connectors are positioned, are they upside-down from each other? If so, your contacts should also face opposite each other. It's important you get this right before sleeving your wires, otherwise you will have to twist them in order to insert them into the connector.Step 10
: Repeat step 7 and 8 until all of your wires have been crimped.Step 11
: Yep you guessed it, heat shrink. Before you grab your dealer bag full of pre-cut heat shrink, stop and take another look. This isn't the same stuff you get from the likes of mdpc, each piece is 2.5mm in diameter, 8mm long with a shrink ratio of 2:1.Step 12
: Cut and measure your sleeve so that it sits on top of the contact at each end of the wire.Step 13
: Grab some pointy nose pliers and stretch a piece of heat shrink just enough so that it fits over the sleeve. Measure from the tip of the contact to the end of the heat shrink making sure it's no longer than 18mm, otherwise the heat shrink will be visible. Note that this may vary depending the size of your connector.Step 14
: Once your happy with how the sleeve and heat shrink is positioned, lock it down with a heat gun or lighter.Step 15
: Repeat step 12, 13 and 14 until all of your wires have been sleeved.
Some modular power supplies will group multiple wires together within a single contact, this makes it difficult to sleeve using the same technique shown in this guide, because crimping 2 wires together, sleeving both, plus adding heat shrink would make it impossible to fit into a single hole.
To overcome this problem, I decided splicing two wires together creating a Y
connection would be the cleanest option, rather than crimp 2 wires together forming a V
connection. This means all wires will look the same when inserted into the PSU and PCI-E/ATX connectors.Step 16
: Remove a 10mm section of insulation from the full length wire (which has contacts at both ends), this is where the second wire will be attached. I chose to remove the insulation between 150mm - 160mm because it would mean the join would be located behind the mother board tray when routing the cable through the rubber grommets. Where you make the join is entirely up to you, but you should try and position it where its not likely to be seen.Step 17
: Separate the wires and place the end of the second wire in the middle of the full length wire. I should probably add that you need to make sure the second wire is cut to the correct length with 20mm of insulation stripped from the end.Step 18
: Now just twist the wires together.Step 19
: Yes that is one ugly soldering job
(I actually used a blow torch because the solder seems to get drawn into the wire better). It won't be seen so it doesn't really matter. I would suggest practising this join/solder technique on some scrap pieces of wire before attempting it on your actual cables.Step 20
: Cut and measure your sleeve allowing 5mm - 8mm of space between the sleeve and where the wires intersect. The sleeve at the other end of the wires should sit on top of the contacts (see Step 12
: Fasten the sleeve down with heat-shrink (see Step 13
: Now lock the other end of the sleeve down with heat-shrink. The heat-shrink used is pre-cut (15mm) from mdpc, however I trimmed each piece down to 10mm because I am trying to limit the total length of heat-shrink visible to 20mm.Tip
: To achieve a clean look, make sure both pieces of heat-shrink line up with each other. This is important for when we eventually cover the joins with a final piece of heat-shrink (see Step 27
: Cover up the exposed wires/solder with heat-shrink. I've used 2.5mm (diameter) heat-shrink for this because it has a thinner wall and I don't want there to be a bulge when sleeve is later put over the top of it.Step 24
: Cut and measure your sleeve allowing 5mm - 8mm of space between the sleeve and where the wires intersect. The sleeve at the other end of the wire should sit on top of the contact (see Step 12
: Fasten the sleeve down with heat-shrink (see Step 13
: Now lock the other end of the sleeve down with heat-shrink. When positioning the heat-shrink I measured and made sure the total length of heat-shrink to be 20mm before using the heat gun.Step 27
: Cut a piece of heat-shrink 20mm in length and slightly stretch one end with a some pointy nose pliers, the end of the heat-shrink which has be stretched should fit over the two wires comfortably. The purpose of this final piece of heat-shrink is to cover up the other pieces of heat-shrink, not to fasten the sleeve, so for a clean look be careful not to apply too much heat when using the heat gun.
As you can see the total length of the heat-shrink visible is 20mm.Edited by ontic - 11/28/11 at 5:10pm