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I bought an electronic device that consists of a controller attached to a larger main unit by wire. The wire cannot be detached from either end.

Unfortunately the wire is coming apart on the end attached to the controller, as you can see in this photo.

enter image description here

I asked the seller for an exchange, but they really don't want to exchange it and are offering me money instead to keep it.

Is there any way to fix this wire?

I have looked around and there are various suggestions for broken wires/cords:

  • Heat shrink sleeve/tube. That will only work for a wire that is completely cut. I wouldn't be able to get the sleeve/tube over the wire in this case.

  • Electrical tape

  • Liquid electrical tape

  • Electrical glue/putty such as Sugru

  • Liquid or moldable plastic such as Bondic or InstaMorph

I think the main difficulty with this is that the wire is coming apart right at that trapezoidal cylinder-shaped flexy thing (does anyone know what that's called?) on the controller. Electrical tape would have to cover both that and the wire and I'm skeptical it'd be a strong hold. Not sure liquid electrical tape or putty would work either.

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    The trapezoidal cylinder-shaped flexy thing is referred to as a "strain relief." – Stan Jun 21 at 2:38
  • Thank you Stan! – pacoverflow Jun 21 at 4:17
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I would generously hot glue the area where the wire is split and then wrap tape around it.

The hot glue is slightly flexible and would form a new strain relief. Tapering the glue from the original strain relief towards the cable in a conical shape reinforces this effect. Make sure the actual split in the wire is well stabilized and cannot be bent or pulled anymore.

To keep the hot glue intact, I would wrap some strong but elastic tape around it (like electric insulating tape or duct tape). This helps holding the DIY hot glue strain relief in place if it ever breaks.

  • @Stan and Elmy: I've never used hot glue before - can that be easily molded into a conical shape? Or could I achieve the same thing using a moldable glue or plastic like Sugru or InstaMorph? – pacoverflow Jun 22 at 10:21
  • @pacoverflow Yes. All are easy to use. These are Arts & Crafts kinds of things. Read the instructions. Be sure that you use materials before their Best Before dates. Good luck. – Stan Jun 22 at 10:34
  • @pacoverflow Hot glue requires a hot glue gun to apply, but is absolutely easy to use and mold. I have no experiences with the products you linked. They need to stick well to the cable, become somewhat hard (else you could pull the cable off) but stay slightly elastic (else you bend the cable too much right behind the glue). – Elmy Jun 22 at 14:27
  • So I'd have to wait until it becomes semi-hard to mold it, right? And it won't have started to drip/slide off the cord during that time? And there's no chance it could melt the interior wires? – pacoverflow Jun 24 at 7:29
  • @pacoverflow At least hot glue is almost never soft enough to be runny or drip. And hot glue isn't hot enough to melt the kind of plastic used as cable insulation. You could apply it directly onto the split and then shape it with the tip of the hot glue gun. Sugru seems to be like a self-hardening silicone dough. Silicone sticks very well to almost everything, so slightly wet your fingers with soapy water if it sticks to your hand too much. InstaMorph seems to be a moldable plastic that becomes very hard. I wouldn't recommend it, but it should work as well. – Elmy Jun 24 at 11:02
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You don't have a broken wire you have a split in the protective covering. We can see the individual colored wires that look undamaged.

If the device is going to sit on a shelf and never be moved, and the wires connecting to it are never going to be moved. No strain = no worries.

Personally I would just use a good tape. It does not need to be electrically neutral as the colored wire insulation is still intact. If the device will be subject to movement I would use duct tape, you could put a layer of electrical tape first if it makes you feel better.

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    There's a new guy on the scene called "Gorilla™" tape that you might want to investigate. The duct/duck tape varies in quality with the manufacturer and may or may not survive as well as the next brand right beside it on the shelf. Read the accompanying literature carefully to see how your application fits with the product "features." – Stan Jun 21 at 14:47
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This appears to be a cheaply (or carelessly) manufactured part. I do not think the cable jacket has broken or "split" according to the photo. I do think there is a visible gap because the cable jacket has pulled free of the utility box's wire guide strain relief. This can happen for a few different reasons.

  1. The jacket for the wire has been trimmed too short for the plug during manufacture. It does not have enough length when inserted and connected to the plug leads and has worked its way free from the plug during use very soon after you start to use it.
  2. Same effect as above but the jacket has exposed conductors because it has shrunk over some time because it is of a different material. It could be softer for abrasion resistance for example. It may continue to shrink as it ages.

If the cable is relatively new (you can still smell the plastic), the wire jacket is still relatively flexible. It can be stretched to close the gap enough to reinsert it into the wire guide (hole) of the cable's molded stress relief.

Starting at the opposite end of the wire, pull along the length of the wire to stretch the jacket. Apply a light tension several times until you see the gap start to close. Continue this until there is enough of the jacket to touch the plug. Work the loose ends into the stress relief so that the gap is closed. Continue to stretch the wire to get enough of the jacket into the molded plug to hold well. Use some cyanoacrylate glue (Krazy™ or Super™) to seal the joint between the jacket and the plug. Let cure COMPLETELY before you move it.

Notes: There are different kinds of cyanoacrylate for different materials and applications. Read the labels and get some advice from the hardware store owner on what's what.

When you stretch the jacket, the desired effect is not to pull the cable jacket free from the plug at the far end of the cable. Before you start, glue the far end of the plug and jacket at the joint to ensure it does not pull free from its molded connector. I found it helps to bend the far end into a tight "U" shape to help stabilize the relative position of the jacket and conductors inside. Increase the pressure as you pull along the cable toward the gap to prevent pulling the good end of the cable free. You may want to start halfway along the cable to see how it goes.

Good luck.

  • The cord is split, just not all the way around. The photo doesn't show the other side where it is still (for now) attached. – pacoverflow Jun 21 at 17:00
  • @pacoverflow Please disregard my answer which might have been applicable under different circumstances. I would go with either other alternative answer. – Stan Jun 21 at 18:41
  • the stub is probably already glued into the strain-releif – Jasen Jun 22 at 9:23
  • Could I try to superglue the split cord anyway? – pacoverflow Jun 22 at 10:21
  • Not sure if you saw my above question? – pacoverflow Jun 22 at 18:21
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self-amalgamating silicone tape is probably the bext fix short of full dissassembly clearing the strain-releif and refitting it so the jacket is again unbroken.

The alternative it to disassemble the unit at the broken end, disconnect the wires pull the wires through the strain relief, drill the jacket out of the strain relief, fit the unbroken wire jacket back into the strain relief, and glue it in (unless glue is unneeded because the cable it is clamped by the case) reconnect the wires and reassemble. after than you still need to improve the strain relief else the same cable will break in the same place.

  • I just watched a Youtube video demoing some self-fusing tape. Apparently self-fusing tape sticks only to itself, it doesn't stick to anything else. So I don't think it'd help in this situation. I'd want something that sticks to the strain relief and the cord. – pacoverflow Jun 22 at 19:38
  • it can be built up thick to make a new strain relef. – Jasen Jun 22 at 20:03
  • combining silicone tape with @elmy's hot glue suggestion is a probably ideal, electrical tape goes sticky over time – Jasen Jun 22 at 20:15
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You can also use something like Shoe Goo or E-6000 types of glue. They have enough body that you can shape them onto the wires and they dry very tough.

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