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  1. #1
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    Heat Shrink Cable Ends

    I have been reading in the forums about heat shrink end caps for bike cables. Where do you find them?

  2. #2
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    My LBS gives me cable end crimps when I ask for them. These you can just pinch onto the cable ends. They come in various sizes.

    Al

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    holyrollin' FlatTop's Avatar
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    Heat shrink tubing, the plastic sleeves you see on wiring, can be bought at Radio Shack and other electronics stores. Auto parts stores may also stock it. Various colors available.

    Some brands heat to a harder consistancy than others, but I don't know a reliable means of determining that.
    In my VERY limited experience, the glossier stuff seems to set harder. Not that it matters in this application.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FlatTop
    Heat shrink tubing, the plastic sleeves you see on wiring, can be bought at Radio Shack and other electronics stores. Auto parts stores may also stock it. Various colors available.

    Some brands heat to a harder consistancy than others, but I don't know a reliable means of determining that.
    In my VERY limited experience, the glossier stuff seems to set harder. Not that it matters in this application.
    Thank you for your responses. Does the product come in strips that you cut to length or are they caps? Is there a specific size?

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    The tubing I buy from Sear's Hardware comes in packages of a 6 pieces about 4" long each. It comes in various diameters and the smallest I've found is 1/8" which will shrink enough to give a good fit on brake cables but not quite enough to stay on derailleur cables.

    I cut a 1/4" or 3/8" length for each brake cable end and shrink them in place with a Bic lighter flame.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider
    The tubing I buy from Sear's Hardware comes in packages of a 6 pieces about 4" long each. It comes in various diameters and the smallest I've found is 1/8" which will shrink enough to give a good fit on brake cables but not quite enough to stay on derailleur cables.

    I cut a 1/4" or 3/8" length for each brake cable end and shrink them in place with a Bic lighter flame.
    Thanks HillRider, I'll give it a try.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by MoRick
    I have been reading in the forums about heat shrink end caps for bike cables. Where do you find them?
    Soldering the ends is superior. If necessary, you can pull the ends out and thread them through back, without the risk of ends splitting. That risk reappears once you take a cap off. You should dip the end of a cable into the soldering paste before applying solder. I currently use a battery-powered Weller iron that can be had for $16. Avoid Cold-Heat.

  8. #8
    Get A Life - Get A Bike cheeseflavor's Avatar
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    Just out of curiousity, is this method better than crimp on ends? If so, why?

    Steve

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    Senior Member MudPie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cheeseflavor
    Just out of curiousity, is this method better than crimp on ends? If so, why?

    Steve

    I like to solder the tips instead of crimp on ends because :

    -the cables won't fray,
    -if the solder layer is thin, you can pull the cable thru the housing and reinsert without fraying
    -it looks clean

    I cannot solder stainless steel cables.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by cheeseflavor
    Just out of curiousity, is this method better than crimp on ends? If so, why?
    Because the soldered end has the same diameter as the rest of the cable. You can pull the cable out and put it back in w/o needing to take a cap off. You do not risk the cap slipping off. The soldered end is useable up to tip if you find that you need more cable as after replacing pads.

  11. #11
    Senior Member MudPie's Avatar
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    Also, my local hardware store (LHS) sells shrink tubing. Home Despot has it too. It's cheap. A match or lighter is all that is needed to shrink the tubing over the wire. I like to slip over a 1" piece of tubing before I cut the wire, and position the tubing where I want, then shrink it. Then I'll cut the last 1/4" of tubing and the underlying wire. This makes for a clean cut and prevents any fraying.

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    Most electronic/computer supply houses sell heat shrink tubing in a varity of colors, diameters, in 3' lengths. I use a $15 heat *** for shrinking tubing on tool handles, battery packs, etc. Thinking about putting some on new crank arms to try and prevent scratches.

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    Soldering is really the superior method but doesn't work with stainless steel cables without flux and solder specifically made for this material.

    The crimp-on caps work but heat shrink tubing is cheaper and easier to remove when changing cables.

  14. #14
    Senior Member spunkyruss's Avatar
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    When using heat-shrink tubing, try to apply the heat evenly (i.e., keep moving the flame around the tubing). Just remember that your goal is to heat the tubing; not ignite it.

  15. #15
    Senior Member MudPie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider
    Soldering is really the superior method but doesn't work with stainless steel cables without flux and solder specifically made for this material.
    .
    What does one look for when purchasing such solder and flux?

  16. #16
    Get A Life - Get A Bike cheeseflavor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MudPie
    I like to solder the tips instead of crimp on ends because :

    -the cables won't fray,
    -if the solder layer is thin, you can pull the cable thru the housing and reinsert without fraying
    -it looks clean

    I cannot solder stainless steel cables.
    Thanks! That makes sense.

    Steve

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by MudPie
    What does one look for when purchasing such solder and flux?
    Quote Originally Posted by neilG
    You need to use an acid, or corrosive flux with stainless steel. A 50-50 or 60-40 solder should work.
    How to cope with frayed or unraveled cable ends?

  18. #18
    I-M-D bell curve of bikn'
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    First I heard of this.....................sweet!
    Ego Campana Inflectum of Circuitous

  19. #19
    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    I use heat shrink tubing, but I apply epoxy first. I use a hair dryer to shrink the tubing. The heat causes the epoxy to set up quickly. The tubing can still be removed for maintenance. Epoxy doesn't bond to plastic very well.

    I've also used Plasti-Dip on cable ends. It works well, but you have to let it dry overnight.

  20. #20
    Senior Member MudPie's Avatar
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    Wow, unbelievable that we, as a community, find pleasure in the details of finishing the ends of a cable with solder. Regardless, off to the LHS (local hardware store) to get me some acid / corrosive flux.

    The only warning I give to you, dear readers, is don't use this as a conversation topic at a party. There's a reason why I am still single.

  21. #21
    Omega Fan BryanW's Avatar
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    Bit OT for this thread, but if anyone has experience of using heat-shrink on braided steel brake hoses, could you share it in this thread here

    Thanks

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