Living At The Close Of The Multiway Era

After over a decade of laptop use, I made the move a couple of months ago back to a desktop computer. An ex-corporate compact PC and a large widescreen monitor on a stand, and alongside them a proper mouse and my trusty IBM Model M that has served me for decades. At a stroke, the ergonomics of my workspace changed for the better, as I no longer have to bend slightly to see the screen.

The previous desktop PC was from an earlier time. I think it had whatever the AMD competitor to a Pentium 4 was, and if I recall correctly, its 512 MB of memory was considered to be quite something. On the back it had an entirely different set of sockets to my new one, a brace of serial ports, a SCSI port, and a parallel printer port. Inside the case, its various drives were served by a set of ribbon cables. It even boasted a floppy drive. By contrast the cabling on its successor is a lot lighter, with much less bulky connectors. A few USB plugs and a network cable, and SATA for its disk drive. The days of bulky multiway interconnects are behind us, and probably most of us are heaving a sigh of relief.

You Might Need That Cable One Day!

Just a small fraction of the cable chaos
Just a small fraction of the cable chaos

The trouble with multiway cables is that they were usually quite expensive in their day, so I still ascribe a bit of value to them. Thus even when my last SCSI drive or VGA monitor has shuffled off this mortal coil I still hang on to the cables, y’know, just in case. There is a bulging box of them lurking on a shelf somewhere, or if you are in my makerspace in Milton Keynes, a bunch of bulging boxes. Before I have a clearout, let’s take a closer look at these artifacts, assuming you won’t be offended by taking the cutter to otherwise perfectly good cables. Scanning the pile, the most numerous come into four main groups. Parallel SCSI, VGA, parallel printer, and because this is being written in Europe, SCART multiway adiovisual cables.

As you’d expect from a parallel interface, a SCSI cable takes the form of a bundle of wires, but the surprise on taking a peek inside the plug is that there is neither any shielding between the wires, nor are they twisted pairs. The parallel printer cable has a very similar construction: it was simply an 8-bit port on the host computer.  VGA and SCART cables, on the other hand, contain a selection of co-ax shielded conductors for the video signals and a few single wires for control signals.

What use is there for a box of parallel SCSI cables in 2019?
What use is there for a box of parallel SCSI cables in 2019?

It was on considering how a cable like these might be reused that it really dawned on me how much we have moved on from the era of multiway cable interfaces. USB now covers most desktop-type devices once served by parallel SCSI, parallel, and serial ports, and nearly all audiovisual connectivity is fast heading towards HDMI. These fast serial interfaces deliver much higher data rates with much less copper involved.

It seems everywhere I look then there is a huge stack of cables that have become effectively useless. Unlike other technological shifts, such as for example from vacuum tubes to transistors, their usefulness did not tail away alongside the new technology, so it’s not as though they’ve outlived their service life. Instead they instantly became e-waste just as their technologies peaked, and it’s there we can find the origins of their ascribed value. If you have a pile of SCSI cables somewhere, did you hang onto them because you felt you’d need them again some day?

Re-Use, Keep, Or Recycle?

Burning cables to recover copper, Accra, Ghana. Muntaka Chasant [CC BY-SA 4.0]
Burning cables to recover copper, 2018, Accra, Ghana. Muntaka Chasant [CC BY-SA 4.0].
So what’s to be done? Can they be used for another purpose? Who uses a 40-way bundle of wires or a bundle of not-very-good co-ax these days anyway? I’d be interested to hear your views in the comments.

Meanwhile  I’ve have a huge pile of cables to get rid of, and here’s the problem. There’s a value to the copper they contain but in most cases their insulation is PVC can be problematic to recycle and if inefficiently burned it can release toxic chemicals. Over the years there have been a series of scandals involving e-waste from develped countries exported to developing countries where it was burned in the open to extract the metals, but even though steps have been taken to end this practice it’s still a concern that cables be disposed of responsibly.

Here, my local government has centralised recycling facilities, and in turn passes sorted recycled material to specialised recycling companies. In the case of PVC-coated cables they are shredded to separate the copper from the plastic, and then the plastic is broken down to produce hydrocarbon feedstocks for the chemical industry.

In my hackerspace, we’re going to throw a work party to bring the cable pile down to manageable proportions. We’ve lived through the passing of an era without realising it, even though Brian Benchoff called it for Hackaday several years ago. Intevitably some years down the line we’ll find a SCSI peripheral and regret throwing out those SCSI cables, but given the space we’ll gain I think we’ll take the risk. The question is, will you?

97 thoughts on “Living At The Close Of The Multiway Era

  1. You have to pry my 30 yrs worth of totes from my cold dead hands… having worked AV, POS, corporate & health IT I got a cable for that… ( and Ram, and an ISA modem or 2 ) :P

      1. I’ve seen some with HDMI/DisplayPort, but even brand new servers still come with VGA (EG, HP DL380 Gen10).
        No one wants to have to throw out (our buy adaptors for) all the KVM’s still in server rooms everywhere. (or the ‘monitor which sits next to the rack and has a really long cable’ if you can’t afford a KVM).
        USB has managed to supplant PS2 port though, so I suspect we’ll retire VGA eventually.

    1. I tried HDMI to my LCD for the console on my FreeNAS build and it just didn’t work properly. Had to buy a VGA cable for $5 from the local geek shop and now I’m good to go again. Lol

      One more point on the “can’t throw that away” scoreboard

    2. DIY computers like Arduino computers and FPGA development boards still use VGA because with a couple of resistors you can make a nice analog video signal. Though, I must wonder about DVI-A, isn’t that wire-compatible or at least just as easy?

  2. VGA cables are still useful for connecting data projectors to laptops, because long HDMI cables are flaky – they either work, or they don’t work. VGA signal just looks slightly more fuzzy, but nobody will notice.

  3. The “bundles” are mostly useless. But pull them apart and you have plenty of “free” hookup wire. Solid core wire is great for breadboarding or permanent prototypes. The stranded core is more rare and in a lot of cases more superior to the solid core. It is great for wiring up custom interconnects.

    Outside of electronics, the solid core wire works great for as a twisty tie substitute.

    1. Could also put a few colored strands together, twist it into ring, curl up the ends to form flower-like spirals. I had one oh about 4 decades ago from old telephone wire

    2. Came to say exactly this. It’s the cheapest source of tons of different color hook up wire. I don’t want to buy 40 different colored spools, but sometimes I need a bunch of colors for a project, then I’ll break out one of these old guys and strip it.

  4. The challenge when you find that old SCSI drive is do you have a system with a controller that works, software that will support that controller, and then right cable to go between them – this SCSI end to this other SCSI end…

    I broke down a number of years ago when I found an old drive that I hadn’t used in probably 10+ years. I spent a solid hour or two looking for the gear to hook it up, you know, just to see what was on it. Then it dawned on my that given it’d been years since I did anything with it, the answer clearly was “nothing I care about” ;)

    I’ve found some of the older cables and nice sources of wire (yeah, I know that’s what they’re made of but not all “wire” is equal).

    The wire in that SCSI cable pictured is useful – it’s probably real copper conductors with multiple colors of decent insulation – nice for making things and way better than that copper foil over a nylon core that a lot of wire is made like today.

    But even then, how much do you need? I went through my cable box(es) a while back and ended up with a few decent lengths of multi-con cables (that were separable into individual wires after removing the jacket). The rest were really not suitable for re-purposing. The amount of space after getting rid of 3 or 4 or 5 bankers boxes full of cables was a nice payoff.

    The vast bulk of it went to recycling – wherever that went but at least I tried…

    1. ” Then it dawned on my that given it’d been years since I did anything with it, the answer clearly was “nothing I care about” ;)”

      I have about a half dozen IDE drives waiting for me to search them.
      I’m pretty sure there are some digital photos on (some of) them worth recovering.

      Anyway, a lot of specialty equipment (such as medical devices) often need legacy parts to keep running.
      I had an acquaintance ask me ~15 years ago if I knew where he could obtain a 20 Meg hard drive for one.
      (IIRC, he needed an ST-225)

      1. Have a couple old pieces of synthesizer gear that use SCSI. RaSCSI is awesome, but to make it work, I neede to actually _buy_ SCSI cables. In 2018!

        (They weren’t bad, actually. $10 at a local online shop, delivered in a couple days. Would not have justified hoarding cables.)

    2. After keeping my legacy scsi stuff for between 1 and 2 decades, I finally threw it away having never really used it then not 2months later someone gifted me an A2000 with SCSI card and failing hard drive.

      This is my story. Every time I finally get over myself to throw something I’ve hoarded for years (or decades) within 6months I finally find a use for it and no longer have it.

      The sunk cost fallacy can go bite me.

      1. I tossed my last Zip Drive in the trash, and the following day I got a request to copy data off of a box-full of Zip Disks. Being a paying job, I became a dumpster-diver in my own dumpster.

        I still have that drive.

  5. 3 slight updates:

    Keyboards and mice have gone wireless, as did internet, you may find a system with only the video and power cables! (On a mac these might even be the same cable)

    As of 3 generations ago M.2 hard drives are standard on motherboards, they slot in like a laptop wifi card. One more cable gone.

    DisplayPort is where it is at for video, Thunderbolt is catching up, with both the option to send display port data, or PCIe and have a GPU in the display or external.

    Slightly off-topic:
    I am getting some good deals on old Lenovo Tiny models, M72e M92p M93p M900 M700 etc. If you want to go nuts the P320 P300 have actual PCIe cards with 4x video output (+2 onboard from iGPU)

    Roughly 7″x7″x1.5″ and using actual desktop processors. Amazing! (I know they are the rare low power processors originally, but I am positive the regular ones could work fine, maybe using throttle stop or intel XTU to lower the voltage. My 4570t low power chip was using 40watts on turbo even though its a little 35w chip. So I increased the turbo tdp to 40 and undervolted by 60 millivolts, got it to hold turbo at 36watts. Taking the 51w desktop chips I am sure you could get them to a reason able 40-45w if you wanted a cheap system, or use the non turbo lower speed chips)

    1. > Keyboards and mice have gone wireless

      No… not all keyboards and mice have gone wireless. Yes, there are wireless keyboards and mice available for those who want them… but lots are wired, and depending on the application, a wired keyboard/mouse in many ways is superior.

      1. Not anymore since they’re connected by USB, because it limits the refresh rate to 125 Hz and you can’t have n-key rollover anymore.The reason is that PS/2 transfers make/break codes whereas USB updates what keys have changed in value, and there’s only six keys that can be updated per frame.

        1. In comparison, a PS/2 port is basically a serial port that works at a “refresh” rate of about 1500 Hz because that’s how long it takes for one code update to get through. The host computer tracks which buttons are pressed or not.

          So all keyboards (and mice) today are severely slowed down by USB and there’s no real advantage over a well designed wireless implementation.

          1. My wired mouse can be a pain at times, sliding off the back of the keyboard tray.
            But it sure beats having my daughter taking a wireless mouse because she’s lost hers!

          2. For mice, the difference isn’t so great because of the slightly different way a PS/2 mouse is read by the computer. It sends an interrupt at 200 Hz so the USB wired mouse isn’t that much slower, and because of the different HID class it can be set up for 1000 Hz refresh rate.

    2. “Keyboards and mice have gone wireless”

      I switched to wireless mice some time in the late 1990s or maybe it was the very early naughts. After a few years of cussing and stumbling by on key combo shortucts because my mouse batteries were empty I grew up and cut that shit out. Now I only use a wireless mouse for portable devices like my phone or tablet.

      I never understood wireless keyboards outside of multimedia PCs. It’s just a completely pointless battery to have to maintain/replace on a desktop. It’s not like the computer is going anywhere anyway! And laptops have smaller screens so I don’t really want to put it any farther from my face than where it naturally goes when I use the built-in keyboard.

      “as did internet”

      Ugh! WiFi sucks! Don’t even bother arguing against that. WiFi sucks so bad that methods of remotely rebooting a router are common articles here on HaD! I have been through stacks and stacks of access points. None of them work 100% of the time. I’ve ran ethernet wires to every location where I have a non-portable device. Desktops, Chromecasts, Blueray player… it’s all Ethernet. Consequently not only do my non-portable items work better so do my portable ones as there is less congestion on the WiFi!

      “you may find a system with only the video and power cables!”

      Find yes, buy, no

      “(On a mac these might even be the same cable)”

      Yeah, I wonder if Apple contracts out to Monster to build those overpriced shoelaces. No matter, you can throw that cable away when you are done too because it will no doubt not fit your next computer. Apple will obsolete it with some new “standard”

      Finally.. on the death of VGA…
      for a primary computer where one wants to buy something decent.. yes. VGA is dead. But if you are setting up anything secondary where cost is more of a deciding factor… new monitors are expensive! Years old LCDs however are only a few dollars at the local thrift store but I’ve never seen one that took anything newer than VGA.

      1. I’ve found one or two LCD monitors with DVI, but I don’t think any with hdmi. Unless the few monitors I’ve found that had serious problems (broken screens) had hdmi and I wasn’t counting since they weren’t worth it.

        I have a 28″ LCD tv set to look out, I’m hoping a few bad electrolytics. Tv sets now generally have hdmi.

      2. My keyboard cord always snagged when pulling my keyboard tray in/out on my desk so I went wireless 15 years ago at least.

        Modern keyboard mouse combos can last years on a battery, so the battery thing isn’t really an issue anymore.

  6. Extracting metal from them is a new, old problem. I spent time as a kid in the 90’s burning the insulation of electrical wire salvaged from dumpsters so we could turn the copper in for scrap. We used a 55 gallon barrel, but if we’d been more safety-conscious we’d have used the wood stove (it recirculated smoke across the coals to burn it too).

  7. Probably have over 30 VGA cables remaining from previous clients that had them binned.

    And have about 15 VGA cables now in use as instrumentation control cables to carry SPI and I2C and current-loop signals.

  8. I still use VGA cables a lot — and the ones that annoy me are the ones with the EDID lines internally clipped. Yes, it saves the production company a half-cent of wire on each cable, but it screws me over royally because many of my VGA-compatible systems NEED those friggin wires. While I’ve been to the UK in what you might call a past lifetime (don’t ask, it’s *very* complicated), that ended when 2007 did, and postal services worldwide have changed a lot since then…

    Miss List, if your Royal Mail has something reasonably similar to ePacket — /please/ contact me on the [dot]IO side in PMs/chat and let’s see what we can work out! I *love* old tech — not just VGA cables — or this scratch-n-dent Atom N450-powered HP Mini I’m typing this on, as I’m away visiting family at the moment and Steampunkish Too (aka the 2nd Steampunk Lappy) is a bit cumbersome for the suitcase — but all the old gear. My family’s first computer was a Sinclair ZX80, you know… ;) Somewhere I still have the folder full of faded sales literature and the yellowed typewritten (!) letter from Sinclair informing him that they’d run out of “kit” models and so he’d be getting a pre-assembled one at no extra charge.

    1. Those old VGA cables are a pain. There are companies that make emulators for VGA (and HDMI), to trick the PC into thinking a monitor is attached at all times. So, you can use any cable you have, and the PC doesn’t try to turn the display off (useful if you have dual screens, with one going to a video switch, or a monitor that isn’t VESA compliant). It also works well for old RGBHV BNC connections, too. Here’s one I’ve used in the past:

      http://www.hallresearch.com/page/EM-EDID-HD15

      1. It’s also becoming a pain that newer screens turn off too soon.

        Too eager they are to save power that they turn off maybe 1 sec after the signal is lost.
        So with a multi input monitor and multiple PC’s connected to it, it keeps forgetting the last connected PC which is rebooting and if the input menu is a PITA to navigate (used to be a single button also cost saving) you have to keep switching back manually.

        Or the monitors should come with a timeout adjustment setting !!!

  9. I’m continually amazed by the odd niche places I find old cables and connectors in use. Corporate IT closets have serial connections all over the place. The strangest was probably a recording studio that had a headphone mixing system that used 50-pin scsi connectors to send the audio channels to each unit.

  10. Old IDE ribbon cables are fantastic for keeping things tidy in projects. Just peel of as many strands as you need, separate the wires at the end, then cut those to fitting lengths.

  11. “given the space we’ll gain I think we’ll take the risk.” I have been on the fence about some of the stuff I have, but I think this pushed me over the edge. I need to get rid of it.

    1. I had the same thought. Based on this article, this weekend all my 15k scsi drives, lvds cards, and cables, are going to electronics recycling.
      However, I have (at work or at home) a need for a parallel or serial cable about once every two months, and that frequency has not diminished at all in the last 10 years.

      1. Indeed, VGA cables are still in use and I’ll be hanging on to those, but some crazy parallel and serial cables haven’t seen use in a long time. Electronics is a hobby though, so I’ll save just a small portion. I think I can take 2-3 bins of “stuff” down to about 1 bin. That’ll be worthwhile.

  12. I work in the power industry. ASDL, serial port, modems, and floppy disk are still alive and well. Depens when the last time your utility did a hardware update. I had a customer give me 5.25″ floppy disks with the RTU configuration. Throwback.

  13. it used to be that the connectors and cables were the cheap part of the computer, so there were lots of them. These days the connectors and cables are the expensive parts and so they are slimming down or going away completely. Now that silicon is cheaper than wires it is cheaper to put fancy chips on both ends and use a serial protocol with only a couple of wires, than it is to run the whole data bus through the cable. Those big fat SCSI cables with active termination look pretty stupid now esp. from a waste disposal point of view.

    I like the idea of a phone with wireless everything and no connectors at all. With no holes to seal up it can be 100% waterproof and very cheap at the same time.

    1. “Those big fat SCSI cables with active termination look pretty stupid now esp. from a waste disposal point of view.”

      You left out the “too thick to bend” . A bunch can be a pain to deal with collectively. For the time-period SCSI was the bus to have though.

      1. One of my work systems uses a multifunction switch/measure unit, still in production, that uses a DB50 cable. Actually it uses three of them, to move signals from the DUT to the switch/measure unit. Bending them is possible, but we’ve broken connectors off boards trying to fit our systems into EMI measuring systems because the minimum bend radius is so large, and I’m in the middle of designing a safety shielding system around these to prevent high voltage exposure, because the stupid inflexible cables won’t fit into any existing safety enclosures. Arrgh.

    2. > With no holes to seal up it can be 100% waterproof

      My phone is already IP68 waterproof with regular USB connectors. When it detects moisture between the contacts, it says “moisture detected, do not plug in charger”. Then you blow the water out.

  14. I am thinking the same here. I am already kind of fed up with laptops as the trend is leading to a difficult way to upgrade anything on them. Even memory RAM now are coming soldered on the motherboard and to change a little piece of laptop internals has became a nightmare now.
    Big manufactures are not bothered about environment issues and such they are bothered about making money until Atlantis sends the whole rubbish back to us again (citing Aquaman film -> Atlantis can be the nature herself).
    By the way, post a photo of your new desktop, if you can…

    1. Also you can’t get any “grunt” unless you pay double or triple what the same horsepower cost 5 years ago, thousand bucks for a middling i5 maybe when you can grab a SFF desktop with a faster one in for a couple of hundred.

      1. Thx for sharing. If it was mine, I would use a TW, instead of gnome, kde, budgie or whatever. In my case, I have xmonad, I3wm and Stumpwm around here. But, I use Stumpwm in a daily basis :)

  15. On my bicycle, I have a Yaesu FT-857D radio transceiver which originally uses two cables: a RJ-45 for the microphone and a RJ-12 for the head unit. After many connect/disconnect cycles and exposure to the elements, these connectors tend to become unreliable so I got the bright idea of making a break-out cable that would use DB25s.

    With DB25s, I’d then be able to re-cycle some old printer cable to link the two. Seemed like a good plan.

    Turns out there’s a significant amount of cross-talk. Probably not enough to worry 5V TTL, but the head unit/radio body signals were basically audible on my transmissions.

    I’m now using a 24-pin cable, home-made using 3 runs of CAT5e soldered to DB25s, and the results speak for themselves. Been using that for years now.

    So that’s probably my cautionary tale. It’ll work just fine for digital stuff, particularly digital signals sent as differential pairs (e.g. LVDS, CANbus, USB, Ethernet, RS-485) but anything analogue is going to want some sort of active signal conditioning for it to make it from one end to the other intact.

    1. The only cables I would have recommended to try for that would be the high quality switchbox cables which are about as thick as your pinkie. Though they would be a bit bulky and hard to contain slack on a bike. Other 25 pin cables, yeah, thin, spindly, crosstalky, may not even have 25 wires in, have half of them wired to the ground shield maybe.

  16. I have an embarrassing amount of old POTS wire (four conductor US phone cable, about AWG 22-24) and I keep trying to figure out a use for it. It’s not even twisted pair, so it could only carry very low data rates. Maybe some home automation task? Low voltage lighting?

        1. I should be able to get modem speeds over it, which might be enough for some remote sensing. I’m in no rush to get rid of it, so for now I’ll just hang on to it. I have bigger fish to fry in my “clear out the junk” efforts.

          1. @RW, Hmm, I do have a good idea on how often twisted pairs in CAT5-7 cables are twisted(per meter) since I’ve used/handled/installed enough of them but I’m not as sure about said aspect of POTS cables (in Germany) though having handled similar amounts.

            I’d guess that I’ve never seen POTS cable with – lets say – less than three twists/meter but maybe the cables just weren’t ‘old enough’.
            Even the municipal POTS cable entering the House of my parents through the ground into the cellar with it’s 6-8 pairs (3-4 star-quads) had more twists/m in my memory when I had the fun of repairing it because “someone” literally hacked through it (thinking it was a trees root or something).
            ~15 years later and the soldering, multilayered shrink-tubing and gluing job still seems to hold up and works okay with ADSL. Just need to wait until the Telekom moves the DSLAM closer and see if VDSL (super-)vectoring works too….

    1. It’s kinda-sorta 300ohm-ish so you can kinda-sorta put video or low UHF and VHF TV signal down it with those 75-300ohm convertors/baluns each end. Maybe rig a simple 2N2222 video amp to give things a bit of a shove.

      RS-232 can be fairly tolerant of “meh” cable, just don’t expect to get 115kbps

    2. FTR, you can take pairs, anchor one end (clip to the edge of a benchtop for instance), put the other end into a drill chuck, and pull the trigger to twist them (start slow and work on your technique, but it’s quite easy).

    1. It’s also the rule for interesting boxes of cables and adapters cheap at thrift stores and yard sales, you will never need any of them until 3 days after you didn’t buy them LOL

      Actually, I got a “wrong size/shape for anything since 2001” laptop bag stuffed with a crapload of neatly bundled cables, dense packed, weighed a lot, a couple of years back. I wanted one nice long USB A to B cable out of it, offered 50 cents and found I’d bought the whole bag. Anyway, that random lot has been surprisingly very good to me, it’s half empty now from cables put into use and given to family when they were in need of one. I guess maybe because it was mostly full of 21st century cables.

  17. Old computer stuff is slowly starting to become interesting because of its age. I have a bunch of VGA and DB25 cables left, because i also have a few pre-pentium computers sitting around.

    I prefer cabled connections for stuff that doesn’t move. Keyboard, printer, mouse, monitor…

  18. It is good to know others share my pain. I have boxes and draws of cables. I kept at least two of each just in case one of them is faulty every time I ‘attempted’ a clear-out. I can’t recollect the last time I used any of these odd cables, including ST-506 cards, cables and drives!

    I even have a full-height 300MB SCSI drive – It is something I just have to keep for the pure curiosity. At some stage I’ll have to create space so I can actually do something rather just be a collector!!

  19. Cleaning out my old stuff recently, I had to keep the v.35 stuff for the “maybe i’ll re-use the connectors”. My recycler buys “data cable” but scrap prices are low right now. 600lb of everything from SCSI to cat5 got me just over $100.

  20. I have a box of cables like that. A few months ago (October 2019), a friend from church asked me to help him fix his sentimental Mac SE.

    From all the boxes of spare parts, I upgraded it to an 160 MB internal SCSI drive, installed an HD floppy driver and processor upgrade extension, and maxed out the RAM.

    Copying files to and from the Mac SE made good use of the SCSI wires. First I downloaded files from MacintoshGarden or MacintoshRepository. Then I used a USB-PATA enclosure to copy files onto a 2.5″ disk. Then I put that disk into a PowerBook G3 M4753 with SCSI (small HDI-30 connector). I booted the PowerBook, and copied the files to an external 2 GB SCSI disk (formatted Mac OS Extended). That used an HDI-30 to DB-25 SCSI wire. Then I used a Performa 6300 to copy the files from that SCSI disk to smaller SCSI disk (formatted Mac OS Standard). That used a DB-25 to CN-50 SCSI wire. Finally I plugged the smaller SCSI disk into the Mac SE using the DB-25 to CN-50 wire, and copied the files to the internal disk.

    Yes, it took about half an hour to move a file. Yes, there are ways to use SCSI on a Raspberry Pi.
    https://hackaday.com/2017/05/01/the-raspberry-pi-becomes-a-scsi-device/

    I could’ve used a SCSI to FireWire to Thunderbolt adaptor. But this way I didn’t need to order anything new, and I don’t need to do this often. So yes, I do hang onto these old wires, and have no regrets.

  21. With the popularity of DIY 3D printers, CNC and other home automated devices, these types of cables are becoming once again handy. The connectors are even big enough to drill out for the bowden tubes to pass through. Don’t throw them out!

  22. Yes I still have too many obsolete cables stored.

    Back in the day (ok, 80s and 90s) i was using DB9 and DB25 connectors for all sorts of stuff – remote controls, even short audio snakes (multiple runs of RG-174) running between a TEAC mixer, a patchbay and a 4-track recorder.

    Maybe hackerspaces should have cable libraries – a few of each useful type – for loan to members.

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