Cable Sleeving Guide

Detailed How-To reduces temps – Kyle Lunau

I picked up an Ultra Cable sleeving kit with my new Video Card a few weeks back and finally got around to installing it. Will it look good? Will it improve temperatures in my case? Will it be a huge pain to install? All these questions are going to be answered shortly.

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So here is the victim of this project – a Thermaltake Purepower 420 Watt PSU (this is after the PSU fan connector had already been sleeved – sorry guys, I couldn’t contain myself :)

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Here is a close-up of the connector. This one is VERY easy to do, just use a screwdriver to press down on the three tabs on the top, then pull the connector off. Slip some sleeving (and heat-shrink if you want to use it on the PSU end of the wire) over, then put the connector back on. Make sure you remember which wire goes where – I used a couple of markers to mark there positions on the connector. After that, put heat-shrink over the connector and shrink it using a heat-gun, lighter, or a very high output hair dryer. I used the third method myself.

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UH-OH! The heat-shrink doesn’t shrink enough to keep the sleeving in place. I had to use one of the included blue cable ties to keep the sleeving on.

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Well THIS is going to be fun! A 4-connector lead with 3 Molex’s and a Floppy power connector.

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Now to start removing connectors, I started with the floppy power connector.

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Use a small flat-topped screwdriver to push down on the tabs and then pull the wires out.

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One wire out, three to go.

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Make sure you know which way the wires/connector goes back together, markers are VERY helpful here.

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One connector down, three to go.

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{mospagebreak}

On to the dreaded Molex.

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These are supposed to be hard to get off, which is not true; all you need to get the Molex off is a straightened paper clip to push in the “Wings” on the connector pins.

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One down, three to go.

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My trusty tool for pin removal.

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Okay one Molex down, two to go.

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Here is the lead after all the connectors have been removed.

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Here is the lead all taped up so the sleeving doesn’t catch.

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Here are four lengths of sleeving cut and ready to be put on.

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This is how I taped up the lead to make it easy to slide sleeving over top.

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Here is the lead after having the sleeving put on. All that is left is to add heat-shrink and put the connectors back on.

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{mospagebreak}

Remember to fold the “Wings” on the Molex pins back out before putting the connector back on. This is also important to do with any other types of pins.

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Connectors and heat-shrink on, ready for the hair dryer treatment.

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Well this leads done and it looks AWESOME!

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I’ve still got quite a mess ahead!

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Next is the SATA power connector.

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These are weird to get apart. First you pull the back plastic piece off and then you ease the wires out. Please note that this is a pain to get back on.

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Ready to be shrunk!

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Finished! This is one of the more ugly ones, as I had to cut the heat-shrink a little to close up the end properly. And to keep the end closed, I had to use cable ties. Don’t worry though, considering I have no SATA drives, this lead will be well hidden:

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4-Pin power next.

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UH-OH! I can’t fit the paper clip in to disengage the pins. Oh well – guess the sleeving will have to go over the connector.

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{mospagebreak}

Ready to get shrunk.

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What’s this? The whole PSU is done!

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Well that was fun and I must say it was WELL worth it; it looks A LOT better now!

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Okay on to install and cable tidying! As awful as this looks, this is without the PSU in place.

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This PC needs some cleaning!

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This is after the PSU was reinstalled and the cables were cleaned up slightly.

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Believe it or not, this is Revision 1 of 3. I went back, cleaned up and sleeved more cables two more times. Why 3 revisions? Well this is because I wanted to see if cleaning up the cables made any temperature differences. Here are the results for the original and Rev.1

Stock CPU Temp Load: 52ºC
Stock CPU Temp Idle: 47ºC
Stock MB Temp Load: 27ºC
Stock MB Temp Idle: 27ºC
Stock VGA Temp Load: 67ºC
Stock VGA Temp Idle: 51ºC

After Rev.1 CPU Temp Load: 52ºC
After Rev.1 CPU Temp Idle: 47ºC
After Rev.1 MB Temp Load: 27ºC
After Rev.1 MB Temp Idle: 27ºC
After Rev.1 VGA Temp Load: 65ºC
After Rev.1 VGA Temp Idle: 49ºC

A two degree decrease in GPU idle and load temperatures! The sleeving is working! And now Rev.2

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These cables look ripe for sleeving!

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Okay this is Rev.2. See if you can spot the differences between this and Rev.1!

And the temperature results!

After Rev.2 CPU Temp Load: 51ºC
After Rev.2 CPU Temp Idle: 46ºC
After Rev.2 MB Temp Load: 27ºC
After Rev.2 MB Temp Idle: 26ºC
After Rev.2 VGA Temp Load: 63ºC
After Rev.2 VGA Temp Idle: 47ºC

Another 2-degree decrease in GPU idle and load and a 1-degree decrease in CPU idle and load! Now for the moment we’ve all been waiting for… Rev.3!

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Looks even better! Now for some close-ups!

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This is the Hard-drive area. You can see that the sleeving pops out of the heat-shrink if you don’t use big enough lengths of heat-shrink, another UH-OH on my part.

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This is the top area of my case. Notice how I used the cable ties to secure the sleeving at the PSU end. You can use heat-shrink here instead, but I found that the Ultra kit I was using did not include enough heat-shrink to go overboard so I had to cut down in the less visible places.

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Case side back on and ready to go! And some final temperature readings

After Rev.3 CPU Temp Load: 51ºC
After Rev.3 CPU Temp Idle: 46ºC
After Rev.3 MB Temp Load: 28ºC
After Rev.3 MB Temp Idle: 27ºC
After Rev.3 VGA Temp Load: 63ºC
After Rev.3 VGA Temp Idle: 47ºC

Not really any change here. And a table for those of us who like that kind of thing:

Component
Stock

After Rev.3

Delta

CPU Load
52

51

-1

CPU Idle
47

46

-1

MB Load
27

28

+1

MB Idle
27

27

0

VGA Load
67

63

-4

VGA Idle
51

47

-4

Wow! A 4-degree reduction in VGA temps Idle and Load! Those are pretty impressive results for some simple cable sleeving/ tidying.

All in all I think the project was worth it. The inside of my case looks much better now and I needed something to do over Easter-weekend. This is a really time consuming project though – it took me a day to get Rev.1 done and Rev.2 and 3 took another day. I really liked the Ultra UV reactive cable sleeving kit I used in the project; I just wish they put in more heat-shrink.

Some things I’d like to point out was that I didn’t melt the sleeving ends because the sleeving really doesn’t fray unless you compress it multiple times; also I haven’t used heat-shrink prior to this, but I thought it would shrink more. But for $9 CAD you can’t go wrong. Also if you’re like me with 5 case fans and lights, fan-controllers etc, I suggest you get two kits, even if you go with something besides the Ultra kit as most kits contain the same amount of heat-shrink and sleeving.

In conclusion, thanks for reading my article and I hope it comes in handy if you are planning on sleeving your power supply.

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