Cable Sleeving Guide

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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.

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 🙂

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.

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.

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

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

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

One wire out, three to go.

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

One connector down, three to go.

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On to the dreaded Molex.

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.

One down, three to go.

My trusty tool for pin removal.

Okay one Molex down, two to go.

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

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

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

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

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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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.

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

Well this leads done and it looks AWESOME!

I’ve still got quite a mess ahead!

Next is the SATA power connector.

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.

Ready to be shrunk!

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:

4-Pin power next.

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.

{mospagebreak}

Ready to get shrunk.

What’s this? The whole PSU is done!

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

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

This PC needs some cleaning!

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

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

These cables look ripe for sleeving!

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!

Looks even better! Now for some close-ups!

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.

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.

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.

Kyle Lunau

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