Thicc Cable Tricks

Bumps in the Road

If you are planning on making custom Thicc cables, you are going to run into a few problems. First and foremost, the cable is really thick. 3/8″ won’t fit into any connector unaltered unless you are using something custom. Here are a few of the techniques you can use to get it to work for you.

Remove Wires and Resleeve

This is the method I have used with success so far. For unidirectional SCART cables, you only need RGBS, LR audio, and 5V. Therefore you can take out one of the audio cables and one of the mini coax cables. These cables don’t have an overall shielding; technically not ideal, but the individual shielding makes this not a big deal. Because of this, the rubber sleeve can be removed without too much difficulty by carefully cutting it down the length with a craft knife. Then remove the wires (I remove the red paired wire and the black single coax as they are next to each other) and feed into a PET expandable sleeve. 3/8″ fits somewhat loosely but goes on easily. 1/4″ works and looks really nice, but it is a tight fit and it really hard to get over the cable.

Remove Sleeve and Wires at the Ends Only

This is something I will try if I need to make especially long cables. You can use the same method as above but only on the 6 inches or so at each end of the cable. You can then remove your wires and resleeve the cable in either shrink tubing alone or with a combination of the PET sleeving and shrink tubes. The PET tends to fray if it is not inside a connector or covered with shrink tubing, and the melting at the end to prevent this fraying can look a little ugly.

Fitting the Cable into Connectors

I have been able to get this resleeved cable to fit into an 8 pin din connector (along with another small cable beside it) by removing most of the strain relief tube from the end of the connector. I think this might be possible with the mini din connectors, but you would probably have to remove the shielding from the coax wires so that only the inner insulation is left and then thread those cables through the connector. Not something I look forward to trying. Connecting all of the grounds from the coax cables inside the connector is difficult. Just try to wrap them all into the center, solder them together close to the base of the wires, then cut all of the length of the wire off except for one or two thin twists of wire for the ground pin and/or shield.

SCART Connectors

The connectors I use are from Console5.com. These are meant to be used with 7mm cables, and ours are about 8-8.5. These cables fit nicely if you use a dremel on the threaded nut that screws onto the SCART head. The inner diameter of the non-threaded part of the nut just needs to be widened to where it meets the edge of the nut. If you go slowly and are careful this can be done without any visible change to the SCART connector once it is put together. If you have a drill press it would work nicely for this.

I recently did a test fit with some metal SCART connectors from Kabeldirekt and these fit the cable without any re-sleeving:

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The added weight if the connector makes it sit more loosely in switches so you may not want to use these. Also, due to the screw posts, PCBs designed for normal SCART heads won’t fit. I have a few of these available and can sell them if anyone wants them – check the bottom of the cable order page.

The only place I can find to get these connectors is to buy Kabeldirekt cables from amazon. Get the 10 or 15 foot cable as they are cheaper than the 6 foot (about $6). I contacted the manufacturer in Germany last year about selling the connectors and they told me the MOQ would be 500, but also that they don’t sell them right now, so it would be ridiculously expensive to get some. The cables themselves are not great – too thick to do anything with and not coax. Retro-access has a blog post from September 2017 about them with more info (currently on page 2).

Conclusions: Is It Worth It?

In the end, building a Thicc cable is a lot of work. This could perhaps be made easier by using a PCB in the SCART head that has separate pads for each ground (RGBS and 5V each have separate pins for their individual grounds), but for now it is a lot more work. Some would say it is worth every penny. When the cables are put together they look nice, feel sturdy, and their signal quality is amazing. The choice is yours.