Simple way to fix that broken Ethernet cable

Chances are you’ve come across an Ethernet cable where the small plastic tab that holds the plug in place has broken off. We have a crimper on hand and usually just throw on a new RJ45 connector but [Laxap] found a simple alternative to fix Ethernet plugs. By using a couple of correctly sized cable ties you can secure the damaged connector without replacement. The boxy locking mechanism on the end of the cable tie is used as the catch, slimmed down with the help of an X-Acto knife or razor blade. Once you’ve got the right fit, use a second cable tie to secure it to the Ethernet cable. Simple is brilliant.

[Thanks Password]

Comments

  1. octel says:
  2. HMBurgers says:

    Crushing network cable as is shown above is generally frowned on as it causes cross talk… though I suppose so close to a connector may not be a big deal.

    I’d have been fired if I had put an ordinary zip tie around a network cable at all–let alone yanked it down so tight that it compressed the insulating jacket–back when I worked part-time as a grunt wire puller.

  3. j9 says:

    Since when did this site become http://www.afrotechmods.com?

  4. Joe says:

    Seriously? It seems like this “simple” solution is more complicated than just re-crimping a new RJ45. I guess if you only have one cable you need to repair and you don’t want to buy a crimper, this could work.

  5. fartface says:

    The amount of time you take to do that, I’ll have the end lopped off and a new RJ45 crimped on in it’s place.

  6. spadefinger says:

    Ugly. Good enough if it works for him, I guess. I would think replacing the connector would be faster than carving out that notch with an xacto knife. Granted, if you don’t have a crimper it might not be an option (I’ve done it without a crimper, but I wouldn’t recommend it).

    @HMBurgers
    I think it’s safe to say that this wouldn’t be acceptable for any production environment. I once spliced one together with electrical tape in a pinch (the only tool I had on me was a pocket knife), and got all kinds of hell when my supervisor saw it. It took half an hour to convince him that it wasn’t meant for production.

  7. NatureTM says:

    Clever. Somewhere in the middle of the
    hackaday.com http://thereifixedit.com/
    spectrum.

  8. Leif says:

    Hmm… I know this isn’t new and I’ve seen it before.

    Anyway, I agree with those who say it would be easier to just cut and crimp on a new one.

    However, that’s for those of us who have done it multiple times before and do these things often enough to be worth buying a crimper.

    I suppose that for the casual home user who is somewhat handy but isn’t normally inclined towards computer hardware work (such as hacking ethernet cables) this could be a pretty good solution.

    I’m not picturing this for you professional office desk to switch closet down a long hall sort of run. I see this as a repairing the 2-3 foot long cable stuffed in the bottom of your laptop bag which goes to the cable modem on the desk next to you sort of thing.

    My compliments to the author.

  9. walt says:

    thanks for the lifehacker link. I almost clicked the link here and was nearly sent to that craptastic instructables site. hackaday, please fix the link and point to lifehacker.
    instructables boooo!

  10. xorpunk says:

    @fartface: It takes most people around a minute, literally, to crimp a new RJ45 or RJ11. This method is a good way to lose a job in most places as previously mentioned. If some in-house technician did this in my office I’ll tell him to never come back.

  11. 1nf1n1t3 says:

    Do we really need the Wikipedia link to X-Acto? Why not a link to the razor article? Or on RJ45 connectors?
    Anyway, at home I’ve usually been able to get away with a connector that has the tab broken off, just by the friction of the connector/plug.

  12. dave says:

    Why is it that many of the commenters here seem to do nothing but slam those that come up with simple ideas.

    How many times have you jackasses been in a hotel and find the connector tab is broken? It seems to happen every time I travel. seriously, are you all going to throw a crimper and spare ends into your baggage and travel the world fixing cables? I’d gladly suffer a bit of crosstalk for an evening then have to deal with a hotel room cable coming unplugged every time I move my netbook.

  13. 1nf1n1t3 says:

    @dave: You’re still going around the world fixing cables. But, fixing them badly, at that.

  14. Mark says:

    Who doesn’t have piles of extra cables laying around? I’m on the verge of throwing a bunch out at home because they are so useless these days.

    And at work we have bins full of cables that are still in the plastic.

    I’m not sure what the problem with using a broken cable is anyway. If you have some slack, the connector will stay put anyway as long as you hold your laptop still.

  15. vonskippy says:

    People “fix” patch cables?

    Throw it away and use a new one. If that’s not the most efficient cost model, you guys are working for waaaaaaaay too cheap.

  16. Joe says:

    @dave: So you just happen to have zip ties, dikes and an x-acto knife with you when you travel? Seems as unlikely as having a crimper with you…

  17. HMBurgers says:

    “How many times have you jackasses been in a hotel and find the connector tab is broken? It seems to happen every time I travel. seriously, are you all going to throw a crimper and spare ends into your baggage and travel the world fixing cables?”

    It’s probably easier then traveling w/ an x-acto knife or similarly sharp tool to play around with zip ties.

    What hotel are you staying in that doesn’t have wi-fi anyway?? :)

  18. cde says:

    This is a quick, jerryrig mod. Fix the cable, use it, then go to the dollar store the next day and buy a new one. This is for time sensitive and laziness purposes. Which is what all hacking is for.

  19. Hirudinea says:

    Since this is not ment to be a permenent fix, what the hell is wrong with a little wad of paper? To complicated to be simple, to crappy to be permenent.

  20. jamieriddles says:

    i think RJ45 connector is one of the worst connectors ever designed. people should not have to resort to these fixes in the first place. nice hack though

  21. Kyle says:

    I’d either not bother with anything, grab another cable or recrimp that sucker depending on how I feel.

    For trips I try to take along my own ethernet cord

  22. Arksardan says:

    Not the *preferred* solution, but it’s good to keep in mind if the proper tools aren’t on-hand.

    You’re far more likely to have a knife and cable ties accessible than a proper head and crimper (unless you carry around a LOT of crap with you). Like cde said, temporary fix until you can do a proper fix.

    It’s more of an “if I can’t get what I need” versus “I would want to” thing. And “If I can’t get what I need” is still a good hack like the soda can bottom and chocolate bar fire starter.

  23. barry99705 says:

    @ dave

    Yes, I do travel with cable ends and crimpers in my bag.

  24. barry99705 says:

    If it’s just going to be temporary, duck tape works too.

  25. João Rocha says:

    if you dont see the use for this AT ALL, then you must be some uptight, geeky folks.
    .
    jesus..

  26. nubie says:

    +1

    I like it.

  27. Whatnot says:

    @walt I don’t like the policies of instructables anymore either, their insistence that you make an account and log in via tricks and heavy-handedness are unpleasant (even though I already had an account when they started that nonsense), but lifehacker is just doing the same as hackaday, which is describing that instructables has an article, with a link to instructables, so why have a link to the same thing as here? (except as an acknowledgment that that’s where mike got the link in the first place of course.)

    As for the crimping a new plug, I think that the bigger issue is that you must have some spare plugs handy, because you can actually crimp with other things than a real crimper, the first cable I made I used a normal pliers and some stuff I had around the house, and it worked.

  28. wernicke says:

    There was a time when I would break those tabs off of my cables myself when working on industrial machinery. I’ve seen a laptop go crashing to the floor because some bozo tripped over a cable taking a shortcut instead of walking around. (no, I wasn’t that bozo, but I’ve come close)
    I’d much rather lose a connection than a laptop.

  29. Anonymous says:

    re: hotel scenario: I just keep the plug in by running the cable under the foot of my laptop. (A folded piece of paper under the other side levels it out. Pleasant side effect: better airflow.) It keeps the cable in place long enough to use without 45 minutes of messing around carving zip ties up.

    In a production environment, crimp a new cable on. At home, crimp a new end on or replace the cable. If you’re really desperate or can’t get to the store, flip the cable around and do the aforementioned “weigh it down so it doesn’t move” trick with the router. (Use duct tape if necessary.)

  30. Drone says:

    @Whatnot, I agree, the people at Instructables are Thugs; give me your real Email address or I won’t let you easily access what people post on our site for free, thereby allowing us to make money.

  31. octel says:

    @vonskippy
    throwing away perfectly good cables isn’t very green
    >:[

    (there’s a reason i linked to lifehacker — note the date)

  32. Punkguyta says:

    Umm for one, hooray hackaday for posting something that’s been floating around on instructables for well over a year! I should know, I’m a very avid member of instructables.

    @ Walt and all the other douchebags that have posted their 2 cents.

    What the hell is wrong with instructables? I see people in the comments here saying that instructables sucks and instructables is full of thugs and they take/make money off you?

    I have no idea how or what you guys are talking about, there are like 1 or 2 assholes on instructables but that’s about it. Also, you don’t have to give your email just so you can view their site. In fact, I know that recently they have limited the “View all steps” feature of their site and unless you pay for a pro membership (like $5 a year?? pfft come on I shit out $5 in a day), you can’t view all the steps of an instructable AT ONCE. However, you can still VIEW each step seperately.

    I’ve been with instructables for like 5-6 years and I automatically am a pro member because I’ve been there so long, I get the same features as paying users, but I don’t have to pay? All I can say is

    Suck it you whiny bastards.

  33. Michiel145 says:

    ” hooray hackaday for posting something that’s been floating around on instructables for well over a year!”

    “@ Walt and all the other douchebags that have posted their 2 cents.”

    “Suck it you whiny bastards.”

    “I have no idea how or what you guys are talking about, there are like 1 or 2 assholes on instructables but that’s about it.”

    Well, I think I know who one of those guys is…

    But I have to agree that this is a useless hack, maybe handy for at home but not for at the office. Some guys just don’t realize how sensitive a network is. Besides that, considering the time spend on making your own click thingy, it would be less expensive to just crimp\or to buy a new cable.

  34. osgeld says:

    “Some guys just don’t realize how sensitive a network is.”

    um lets see here i have a billion x foot segments twisted together and taped to form a ~ 100ft cable running to my office

    I didn’t do it, nor would I have, but shit its still connecting at 100mbs full duplex

    so it cant be THAT sensitive

  35. Michiel145 says:

    LOL.., connecting is not realy getting that speed. And why dont you have a gigabit network, this is 2010 you know. :P

  36. Gert says:

    I make thos cables every day for datacenters. I HATE THAT CRAP.
    We urgently need a new industry standard.
    The connectors are weak and are a hassle to connect.
    And they are expensive.

  37. osgeld says:

    “And why dont you have a gigabit network, this is 2010 you know. :P”

    this is my work computer im talking about, and why get a gigabit, its just going to a 768k dsl line

  38. MattG says:

    The guy is talking about how to fix a broken tab on an rj-45 connector. Not what if the cable was crushed. I bet your assumptions get you into serious trouble in the IT world :)

    PS any admin would simply replace the entire connector. Cross talking would not be a problem simply because the tab broke.

  39. B0b_zεε says:

    Obviously if you’re on a desert island, you forgot your crimping tool, RJ45’s and your connector kept falling out, I can see this
    OR
    This guy is unemployed, got tied of playing with his 5 cats (all sequentially names Mr. Boots I to V) and has the extra time to “whittle” a zip tie to fit this kluge connector

    No wonder the US is losing the tech battle with people tin hacking and wasting time like this

    I’m sure the uber version will be available from make (including the altoids can) to whoever has the 45 minutes to assemble the POS

  40. B0b_zεε says:

    tired

  41. Michiel145 says:

    “this is my work computer im talking about, and why get a gigabit, its just going to a 768k dsl line”

    Ok, but if you would have a few (file)server, gigabit is a big plus.

    And I’m in the IT world, and now for a fact that the most simple thing can cause problems.
    Besides crushing cables with tie-wraps (read the other posts), it is just not the way. I would kick the cable guy if I see him doing ‘repairs’ like that! :o

  42. Mel says:

    There are certain things that you do not waste time fixing instead of buying a replacement. RJ45 cable is one of them. Unless this is a very hard to find legth cable, say something incredibly short, like 6 inches or awfully long like 100 feet, you go to the neighborhood dollar store and buy a friggen replacement. If it is so hard to find and you have a need for such cables, you must have your own spool of CAT-5 (or better) cable and a stash of RJ 45 connectors. This is such a useless post in my opinion.

  43. Agus says:

    simple but this brilliant idea

  44. amazing says:

    I cant believe the amount of E-peen flexing I’m reading in the comments here… what a bunch of fucking assholes. yes i wouldn’t do this at work, however, yes it would work. I know there are a lot of network snobs but wow, every other comment… amazing.

  45. Trepkos says:

    I am in Afghanistan. There isn’t a crimper or an RJ45 that I can buy, beg, borrow, or steal. I can, however, probably find a cable tie to pull this off with. I can for sure find *part* of a cable tie and a twist tie to force into service.
    I’m glad that some of y’all not only had copious supplies at hand, but the time to complain about a simple work-around that is not only aptly labeled, but helps those in a bind.
    Thanks for the post, Mike!

  46. 808 says:

    for all you ppl who say its easier to just “crimp it” well DUH! but for an average person who doesn’t have a crimper and doesn’t want to spend $50 on a crimper that they are only going to use ONCE in a friggin lifetime just to fix ONE plug, this is a great solution. Thanks.

  47. 808 says:

    ALSO to add to that some ppl have an ethernet cord that has a bad end, and the cord just can easily be replaced since it is wired through the walls of the house otherwise again, DUH! that would be a simple solution, but not possible. This post is very helpful to those who can’t just replace the cord or for those who refuse to spend $50 on a crimp.

  48. ajaxn says:

    I’ve found patents which propose a solution for broken clips, but no one manufactures them, i wonder why?

  49. RJClip Provider says:

    Although this method does work, it takes time and work. On the other hand, you could use an RJClip. This new invention is an easy and inexpensive device that takes very little time and effort to put on. You can find out more about it at rjclip.com.

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