6 Steps to Design a Quality Ribbon Cable Assembly

March 9, 2024 / Sam Tang

Ribbon cable assemblies are used in a wide variety of industries and applications, from aerospace and defense to medical devices and consumer electronics. Designing a quality ribbon cable assembly that meets your specific requirements can be a complex proces. It involves several key steps to ensure that the assembly meets the required specifications and is optimized for the specific application.

In this post, we’ll outline six key steps to help you design a high-quality ribbon cable assembly that meets your needs and performs reliably in your application.

Determine the requirements

The first step in designing a ribbon cable assembly is to determine the requirements of the application, including the number of conductors, the pitch, the length of the cable, and any special features or requirements.

here are some specific steps to follow when determining the requirements for a ribbon cable assembly:

  1. Define the electrical requirements: Determine the electrical specifications for the ribbon cable assembly, including the voltage rating, current carrying capacity, and signal integrity requirements.
  2. Determine the mechanical requirements: Identify the mechanical requirements of the application, including the bend radius, temperature range, and any other factors that may impact the performance of the ribbon cable assembly.
  3. Consider the environmental conditions: Determine the environmental conditions that the ribbon cable assembly will be exposed to, including temperature, moisture, and other factors that may impact its performance.
  4. Define the application requirements: Consider the specific application requirements, such as the physical space available for the ribbon cable assembly, the required length and pitch, and any other unique factors that may impact the design.
  5. Identify any special requirements: If there are any special requirements for the ribbon cable assembly, such as the need for shielding, special connectors, or other features, these should be identified at this stage.

By taking these steps to define the requirements of the ribbon cable assembly, you can ensure that the assembly is optimized for the specific application and can meet the necessary electrical and mechanical performance requirements.

Select the cable

Once the requirements have been determined, the appropriate cable should be selected based on factors such as the number of conductors, the insulation material, and the AWG size. The cable should be selected based on its ability to meet the electrical and mechanical requirements of the application.

Following are common ribbon cable types. For detailed specifications, please check common ribbon cable specifications.

UL2651

UL 2651 rainbow

UL 2678

UL 2468

UL 2468

UL20080

UL20080

glued wires

Select the connectors

The connectors for the ribbon cable assembly should be selected based on the specific requirements of the application. The connectors should be compatible with the cable selected, and should be able to withstand the environmental conditions of the application.

Following are common IDC (insulation displacement connection) ribbon cable connectors. You can also use crimp style terminals & wire housings, like crimp style connectors of JST, molex, TE etc.

idc plug

Determine the strain relief

Strain relief is important to ensure that the ribbon cable assembly is protected from damage caused by pulling or bending. The strain relief method should be selected based on the specific requirements of the application and the type of connectors used.

Verify the electrical performance

Once the ribbon cable assembly has been designed, its electrical performance should be verified through testing to ensure that it meets the required specifications.

To verify the electrical performance of a ribbon cable assembly, several tests may be performed, including:

  1. Continuity testing: This test checks for any breaks or shorts in the conductors of the ribbon cable assembly. A continuity tester is used to verify that each conductor is connected properly between the connectors.
  2. Insulation resistance testing: This test measures the resistance of the insulation material between the conductors in the ribbon cable assembly. It helps to identify any issues with the insulation material, which could cause short circuits or other electrical problems.
  3. Dielectric withstanding voltage testing: This test applies a high voltage between the conductors and the shielding of the ribbon cable assembly to verify that the insulation can withstand the specified voltage.
  4. Impedance testing: Impedance testing measures the electrical resistance of the ribbon cable assembly at a specific frequency. This test helps to verify that the ribbon cable assembly can transmit signals with the required impedance.
  5. Crosstalk testing: Crosstalk is the interference between adjacent conductors in the ribbon cable assembly. This test measures the level of crosstalk to ensure that it is within the specified limits.
  6. Signal integrity testing: Signal integrity testing is performed to ensure that the ribbon cable assembly can transmit signals with the required quality and reliability. This test measures parameters such as signal attenuation, distortion, and noise to verify that the signal quality is within the required specifications.

By performing these tests, you can verify the electrical performance of the ribbon cable assembly and ensure that it meets the required specifications for the specific application.

Verify the mechanical performance

The mechanical performance of the ribbon cable assembly should also be verified through testing to ensure that it can withstand the environmental conditions of the application and is durable enough for its intended use.

When verifying the mechanical performance of a ribbon cable assembly, there are several factors that should be considered, including:

  1. Flexibility: The ribbon cable should be flexible enough to bend and twist without breaking or causing damage to the conductors or connectors. The cable should be tested to ensure that it can withstand the expected levels of flexing without failing.
  2. Tensile strength: The ribbon cable assembly should be able to withstand pulling and stretching without breaking or separating. The cable should be tested to determine its maximum tensile strength, which should be sufficient to withstand the expected stresses of the application.
  3. Compression resistance: The ribbon cable assembly should be able to withstand compression without causing damage to the conductors or connectors. The cable should be tested to ensure that it can withstand the expected levels of compression without failing.
  4. Environmental resistance: The ribbon cable assembly should be able to withstand the environmental conditions of the application, such as temperature, humidity, and exposure to chemicals or UV light. The cable should be tested under these conditions to ensure that it can withstand the expected levels of stress without failing.
  5. Durability: The ribbon cable assembly should be durable enough to withstand repeated use over the expected lifespan of the application. The cable should be tested to determine its resistance to wear and tear, and to ensure that it can withstand the expected levels of mechanical stress without failing.

By testing the ribbon cable assembly for these mechanical factors, you can ensure that the assembly is robust and reliable enough to withstand the stresses of the application, and is optimized for long-term performance.

Conclusion

Whether you’re designing a custom cable assembly from scratch or working with a supplier to modify an existing design, these steps will help ensure that your ribbon cable assembly meets your requirements and performs as expected.

LDZY Electronics offers custom ribbon cable assemblies according customers’ specific requirements. Contact us today!

Contact Form

We needs the contact information you provide to us to contact you about our products. For information about our privacy practices, please see our Privacy Policy.

LDZY ELECTRONICS
LDZY electronics is a China manufacturer of connectors and custom cable assemblies (flat ribbon cable assemblies, discrete-wire cable assemblies, overmolded cable assemblies)
Contact
Address: No. 3 Yanxing 2nd road, Yan’gang Community, Humen Town, Dongguan City, China
Email: sales@ldzy.hk
Tel: +86 769 8532 7562
Fax: +86 769 8532 7563
back to top