Making the Video Card Power Cables – Sleeving Tools
In this post I’m going cover making the video card cables, and I’m going to show you all of the tools I use as well. I’m won’t be doing a full on “sleeving guide”, if you aren’t familiar with sleeving cables I suggest watching some of the sleeving videos on youtube. I will however show you a few tips that may be helpful.
First let’s take a look at some of the tools I use. Starting with the top left, if you don’t have good lighting these headband lights work great! To the right are tweezers, MDPC-X pinremover, Molex pinremover, X-acto knife, small screw driver, MDPC-X CTX3 Crimp Tool , wire strippers, lighter, ratcheting screw driver with interchangeable tips, two wire cutters, small needle nose pliers, scissors, PA-09 Engineer Micro Crimpers, and Knipex wire strippers.
These are probably the two most important tools. There are several versions of the Knipex
wire strippers, this one will work on wire as small as 32 gauge, which is nice when you are working with thin wires like fan wiring. The cheaper versions are not rated for the smaller sizes of wire.
I have the older style of the original MDPC-X Crimp Tool which worked great. This new style CTX version
of the tool is even better. The smallest crimp jaws I use for fan pins, the middle one for ATX pins, and the largest size for Molex pins.
The PA-09 Engineer Micro Crimpers
is the one to use for small pins like the Dupont pins in USB cables. The bottom wire stripper/crimper tool I only use when I want to cut out a piece of insulation in the middle of the wire like when soldering another wire on for making a “double wire”.
MDPC-X Molex and ATX pin removing tools.
This Dremel Butane torch
is what I use for melting the sleeving to the connector pins. It works much better than a ligher!
One tip that really helps to make your cables easy to “train” or bend to stay in the shape you want is to remember that the “the curve is your friend”
When you crimp your first pin on your wire make sure you clock the pin correctly so when it goes into the connector body with the natural curve of the wire is already going the way you want it to.
I originally purchased 100 feet of the Titanium Grey sleeving. Good thing I ordered more recently as the piece of sleeve you see here is literally for the last grey wire I needed. I would have been less that one foot short of that sleeving. I also would have been short exactly two ATX pins!
Ready for some cable combs and the first connector body.
In most builds the video card power cables are routed from a pass through hole in the top back of the case straight down and curving into the video cards, or the cables are routed from a pass through hole in the back of the case at the bottom, and straight up into the video cards.
The top pass through hole in this case has a thick USB 3.0 cable running through it, as well as the power/rest cables, and a five pin USB cable, so there really isn’t enough room there for four eight pin power cables. The bottom pass through hole has the eight and four pin motherboard power cables, so not enough room there either.
I do have enough room in the pass through in the center of the case right above were the SATA cables go through, and below the other two power cables one of which goes to the HDDs. Plus the power supply is located right behind this top most center pass through.
On the back side the video card cables will route behind the 24 pin cable.
I was originally planning to make four separate eight pin power cables. After I made the first eight pin cable, I came up with the idea to make the two eight pin cables for each video card like one big 16 pin cable by using 16 pin cable combs. This way I could keep all the wires together very nicely, and make the cables sweep in from the side.
I didn’t have any 16 pin combs, so I had to order some. Good thing I also ordered more Titanium Grey sleeving, and ATX pins while I was at it! So I removed the eight pin combs from the first cable I made and put the new 16 pin combs on. Here I’m ready to cut the ends off the second set of eight wires.
I put this towel down to keeps any small wire or sleeving pieces from getting into anything below it.
Then a piece of masking tape across the wire ends on the backplate, and I cut the wires off evenly against the edge of the video card.
The tape got most of the little end pieces.
It was really easy to decide what color pattern to use here! Like all of the power cables I’ll stick with the theme of mostly red with some black and grey. I’m going to basically match the pattern of the 24 pin cable, except one red wire on the outside instead of two, and two red wires down the center instead of four.
Here’s the first video card cable set finished and installed. Take a look at the bottom grey wire on the 24 pin cable. It’s a little short, and a little tight so I’ll be swapping that out for a longer wire here shortly.
These cables make a tight flat 180° bend at the video card, then slightly crunch together while making a 90° counter clockwise twist while going through the center divider of the case, and then another 90° bend going into the power supply on the back side.
The second cable set is ready to get cut to length, get the pins crimped on, and the last two connectors installed.
I really like how these cable combs easily slide up and down the length of the cable! It makes it so you can adjust them just right. The second cable is all done here.
Before I install these cables I must test them! I have a spare power supply here on the bench which is much easier than using the power supply already installed. This is the read out of the 24 pin cable.
This is the read out of the video cable. All four check out good
You can call it being paranoid… but I’d call it being “extra careful”… as I check all the powers and grounds on the cables with my digital volt meter too!
I did pull the 24 pin cable out to swap out the lower grey wire. I have messed around trying to adjust it numerous times while it’s been installed, but that one wire is just a little too short. Although it’s really minor, and really didn’t look that bad, it bugs me. So now’s the time to fix it!
All the power cables are now completed.
Now the 24 pin cable is as good as I can get it.
Here’s the first shot of the power supply with all the cables complete. You can see the video card cables sweep in nicely behind the 24 pin cable, and below the eight and four pin motherboard cables. The two cables below that are used to power all of the Splitty9 fan hubs.
All five Aux/Perf ports are being used:
- Both pumps
- SSD hot swap bays
- Aquaeros and Farbwerk
- Hard disk drives
- Motherboard molex power