Strain relief using cable ties

Here’s how to do it with some cable ties.

Strain relief, as the name implies, is a means of transferring a load (or strain) from a weak spot to stronger spots. This is usually found where two things are connected together to prevent them from breaking apart. For example, the ribbed tubing on electrical plugs or the rubber jackets at the female ends of garden hoses.

In this case, I repaired a power adapter for an old pair of USB speakers. The wires had snapped off of the actual plug inside the protective covering, so I had to cut the entire plug apart (replacing it was out of the question, because the connector wasn’t any standard type) and solder some new wires onto it.

Since the plug has to stand up to a lot of twisting and bending right on the solder connection, I rigged up some strain relief with cable ties I had lying around.

The basic idea is to put 2 or 3 cable ties around the plug (parallel to the wire), with the “ratchet” end against the wire. about 2/3 of the length of the ties should extend past the plug.

--------------------------U (cable tie)
| plug |============ (wire)
--------------------------U (cable tie)

Then you hold those in place with 2 more ties. one goes around the plug and the other around the wire (right where you left the ratchet ends). Pull them as tight as you can get them. Finally, connect the lengthwise-running ties and pull them until they are a little shorter than the length of wire inside.

At this point, you’ll have successfully transferred any tension on the solder joints onto the cable ties.