Since the early days of USB cables on smartphones, there have been many cases of cables fraying near either ends. I have to agree with that completely, and I did come across many frayed cables – particularly since the announcement of Apple’s Lightning cables. Here’s how you can minimize fraying on your USB cables.
There are a few other things that can be used to prevent this already, just like these pieces of plastic that clips onto the USB cable itself to strengthen the weakest point of the cable. That works, but those plastic clips aren’t made equal – because some cables can be clipped snugly and works perfectly, whereas some just wouldn’t clip at all.
Then there’s another VERY dangerous method – by winding a pen’s spring to wrap around the cable itself. The main reason why I say this is dangerous is because the spring is made out of metal, obviously, and the cable is wrapped with some type of rubber-based insulator. Unsurprisingly, the metal spring will eat into the insulator if you’re not careful enough, damaging a perfectly fine cable. If the “installation” of the spring was successful, do take note that if the spring is tightly wrapped around the cable, the spring will still eat the plastic and eventually cut through the insulator.
So here’s my solution to this issue – heatshrinks. They aren’t expensive, comes with a lot of random designs and colours, which you can find them here. Unfortunately, there are a lot of different sizes too – and this is the first thing to consider while getting your heatshrink, the diameter of your USB cable.
If you’re using Apple’s Lightning cable, the Lightning port itself is really tiny, so a heatshrink tube with a small diameter.
The one I am using for my Lightning cable here is with a diameter of Φ7.9mm, but as you can see, there is quite some leeway. I presume that if you can find something like a Φ7.5mm or maybe even smaller, it would be a perfect fit. The story is different with Android’s micro USB cables though, as different manufacturers have different sizes on the micro USB’s insulation itself. I used Φ9.5mm for these cables. If it’s too tight, heatshrink tubes can be expanded a tad bit by spreading it open with a scissors.
Once you have the heatshrink tubes and is ready to shrink some tubes, measure how much of heatshrink you need for your cable on both ends, and cut them accordingly. Slip then into the cable, and you’re up to the next step.
Whip out your hairdryer. I don’t’ recommend using any sort of torch, as it will burn and melt the heatshrink tubes, rather than making the heatshrink tubes shrink. Take your time with this, as once the heatshrink tubes are shrunken into size, it’s very difficult to reposition them. My tip for you is to do one end of the cable at a time, have the cable end facing downwards with the hairdryer also blowing hot air downwards. That will make sure the heatshrink tubes as close to the end as possible.
After that, you have your very own USB cable! Done!
I took some extra cable sleeves that I have sleeved up the cable as well – but it didn’t fit snugly due to how mesh cable sleeves are constructed. It fits in, but it has too much free space within the sleeve itself because of the diameter mismatch. A smaller diameter sleeve can’t be used, because of the USB cable’s tip size. Bummer.
They look nice, and that’s pretty much that other than some extra protector with the cable sleeves. Better save the effort and focus only on the heatshrinks.
Anyway if all these are too much headache for you or if your cable has already been damaged to begin with, check out iCable Asia’s i10 Power Series of USB cables for both Apple Lightning port and micro USB port. They’re highly durable cables, made with top-notch materials and available in multiple colours too.
A tad expensive, but they come with lifetime warranty though. Who doesn’t want a lifetime warranty for their cables – especially a single Lightning cable costs RM89 for both half meter and one meter (which makes absolutely no sense), and RM139 for 2 meters?!