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SHORTEN  NIKON SC CABLES



READ ME CAREFULLY

I guess you are here because you are wondering why Nikon ever made those cables for the SC-17, SC-28, SC-29 so long.  The reasons I thought were obvious. 

Nikon still thinks these cables can and should be used for off camera "statue of liberty" shooting, handheld off camera for micro or on a separate light stand device.  If you put them on a bracket, you have "Coilitus". Three feet of coiled cord.  And it does not make a nice handle. In fact the stress from going against the coil will eventually rot it through. 

The units, originally the SC-17 were micro soldered, formerly out of Japan. Thats good!  The newer 28 and 29 series are stamped Nikon JAPAN, and you guessed it, re-stamped, look lower than the embossed JAPAN and you will see "parts and labor from China". 

I MADE A MONSTER

It backfired, simply because I felt if I could solder,  so could others. Wrong, I simply overestimated the capabilities of those folks who thought they could solder. 

Soldering pipe joints, is not soldering 24 gauge wire with meltable coverings with a 1/8 inch tip.

The results were underwhelming. And I got deluged (that means a lot) of cables cut in the wrong places, missing screws, busted plastic keys and pinouts over-soldered.  

Many I could save after hours of work, rebuilding cable structure and making new joints. And bless the five ton dental epoxy I have as it is the only thing holding some together.

Some unfortunately were DOA.  There is no amount of money that justifies the time to fix one. Worse, no amount of rebuilding could fix this.  
Most work on this level is 60-80 dollars per hour.  Again, Nikon and Canon do not have parts for sale and neither Mouser nor others had these proprietary parts if they got messed up

Also some of the SC-17s and 28's are getting old in the tooth and have started to fall apart. I mean fall apart. The rubber came off the cables. I stretched one out to check it, and it disintegrated into pieces from dry rot. I had to take a end cutoff section from another and redo both ends.  


FOR THE BRAVE, TIPS and TOOLS

I use WELLER and UNGAR temp controlled solder guns 25-40 watts with needle tips usually at 25/30  watts.  3M 1:2 shrink tubing in 3/64 - 1/16 sizes.  I prefer Kester solder #44 when available but have used Radio Shack brand of clean soft 60/40 rosin solder when I ran out.  I won't run out again,  I found the RS stuff is smoking a lot even with reduced heat. Thats not good!   I always request at my yearly flight physical a simple blood lead level and other metals test with my blood-work. I am also into competitive shooting doing loading and indoor range time. I am clear and clean, use exhaust fans and masks,  but very cautious about lead.

I also clean every joint with 96% or better ISOPROPYL, LKG 99% Brand Alcohol.  For those who do not know, never ever use rubbing alcohol, it contains a lubricant and water and never good for anything except back rubs.  

BOTTOM LINE

On the SC-17 the strain relief is a separate added component and held in place by a soluble glue and is workable. On the 28 and 29 models, the harness is a molded one part component. This means blind cutting using a Dremel and side cutting drill bits to recut and reshape the part: 


NOTE CAREFULLY:  This shaping guarantees no two will ever be the same. "A" Modified strain relief, "B" Shortened length, "C"  Removed strain relief parts. 

The quality naturally has gone down since out sourcing went to the Chinese mainland.  The rubber-plastic compound is quite different on the ones made on the mainland.  

Basically the process is the same, you open the part, camera side,  shorten the cable and re-solder,  then put it all back together. 

Sounds simple enough…BUT:  You now have seven or eight wires to contend with splicing and soldering 24 gauge wire in a 7/8 inch work space after the other nightmare, getting the strain relief back on so it looks good. There is no solution only a workaround and if you ruin that little piece, you are dead. We tried using other strain reliefs, the donut style but not enough room to get a grip with.  And the actual rubber is a composite now and doesn't take well to shaping as mentioned before and we will seal it. This is not the place to experiment as I have had no success in finding that part to replace. Grab the epoxy and make a mold.  or go wireless.


THE LAST WARNING

If this is beyond your scope, pass, and let me do it. You can easily make a sixty to eighty dollar cable into junk if this is not your forte. 

You may get it to the point where I cannot fix it or it becomes unreliable. 

The SC-17, I would call a four to five in difficulty on a ten scale for someone with skills.  Nine+ out of ten for the SC-28 and the SC-29.

Use the tools and solders I suggest. Silver solder is too hot and other solders may not be so pure.

Turn around time is based on what else I have to do.  There are more expensive ways to do this with a higher failure rate. 


OTHER SOLUTIONS THAT FAILED
Small dins, cutting the center out and more connections create a higher risk. I have already had to repair a few the geniuses already did. It was not pretty. Permanent solder joints work.

Some of them shorted out damaging the unit. This 24 gauge wire is too small for couple joints, too fragile for the average solderer. And as we said in grenade school, "Wrong tug, the grave is dug". And bear one little thought in mind, the positive and negative power to a strobe with a high synch rate can short to one of the squelching circuits which are only three volts in capacity. 

I have seen them all, the computer internet cable fix, the phone connector and the mini-board. So far mine has worked. It's not the prettiest, it's made to work. If you are a "purist" and everything in your world has to be perfect and in alignment, please bother someone else.

AL JACOBSON

 © copyright aljacobs Stardate 10-18-2012