How I Fixed an HDMI Cable - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 01-17-2011, 02:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Fixing an HDMI Cable
How I Fixed a Broken HDMI Cable...
(this was posted elsewhere on the Forum and it was suggested that I re-post it here -- hope it helps)

The first question many of you will ask is "Why do you need to fix one, instead of just replacing it?"

Answer: Because there are some situations where you simply can't pull a new HDMI cable through the two floors of your house to the point where your connection is needed unless you tear out walls or ceilings.

My employer lives in a high-end home and is very tech-savvy. But his brand new Samsung TV needed to be installed on a stone wall area above his fireplace. Running a 75-ft HDMI cable took many hours, and a lot of effort and several patched wall areas. A short time later, as some workers were removing the TV to fix a different issue, they forgot to disconnect the HDMI cable from the back of the TV. The entire weight of the TV pulled the male end of the cable apart, making the connection inoperative.

He was explaining his predicament to me, and I suggested we try to repair it. Running a new one would have required opening up ceilings and wall areas, then patching drywall -- something he was not anxious to do, again.

Three days of searching on Google were frustrating. I found a lot of wise-ass remarks directed at other people about the folly of such a venture. There are 19 wires to be connected, and no readily-available easy-to-use kit for such a thing. Many are rumored to be "out there", but I could not find them. One excellent short article I found mentioned two or three possible parts -- none of which I could find at any distributor in the USA.

But it gave me a clue. The keyword search on Google should be "HDMI field termination connector". And I found it at www.l-com.com: http://www.l-com.com/item.aspx?id=27557. Their Part Number: HDMIFT. If you go there you'll see it has a Female HDMI Connector on one end, and 20 screw-down terminals arranged in rows of 10 each. 19 wires will be connected from your busted HDMI cable. The 20th will be the Ground, which is the mesh braiding inside that cable sheathing.

Next, you must cut the end of the broken cable cleanly AND LEAVE ALL THE WIRES THE SAME LENGTH. Do not be tempted to trim one shorter than the other as you connect them to these posts. This is IMPORTANT for signal integrity -- or so every article I could find would say.

After that, you need to study a decent diagram of the typical Male HDMI Connector which will explain how the Pins are positioned. Like the one at: http://www.cablek.com/free_popup.php...EN&language=en

Warning: Do not be fooled by line drawings which might not identify whether it is showing the Male or Female view. In the above image you will see the #1 Pin is located at the Upper Left as you look straight on at the Male end (with the widest part of the connector at the top). Further notice that all the ODD Pin Numbers are positioned on the same level across the top. All the EVEN numbers along the bottom. There are 10 across the top, and 9 across the bottom.

Now -- the biggest problem is this: Every cable manufacturer uses a different color on almost every wire!! If you have the name of the manufacturer, you can call them and they "might" be able to tell you the sequence of those colors. "Red is #1", etc. However, in our case, we bought the cable from FireFold about a year ago, and FireFold had switched sources for their cables so many times since then that they admitted they had no clue. Excellent cables, none the less.

What to do, I thought... what to do? Aha! We still had the broken end. So we cut it off and I carefully sliced open the black shroud and sheathing to expose all 19 wires within the Connector housing. Using a magnifying glass, I could follow each color and compare the connector end to my illustration above. Be CAREFUL here, because you cannot make a mistake. And you may find the wire ends are embedded in somewhat clear, but hardened silicone -- making your attempt to trace their position difficult. So break it down into sections. This sounds more daunting than it really is.

Typical "Pinout" drawings will identify what each wire does, but you MUST know which colored wire should be screwed down to each terminal post on your Field Termination Connector from L-Com. Also, please notice the following...

Inside the HDMI Cable there are four larger sets wrapped individually in an aluminum wrapper. Look at these carefully before removing those wrappers because it groups together the majority of the wires, cutting your problem in half.

In our case it was the following. The numbers in parentheses indicate the Pin they were attached to:
Crimson(1) with White(3) and a Silver Wire(5)
Green(7) with White(9) and a Silver Wire(11)
Brown(4) with White(6) and a Silver Wire(2)
Blue(10) with White(12) and a Silver Wire(8)
...those Silver Wires are called a "Drain" on most Pinout Drawings. You may notice they all go next to each associated pair. Do not mix one Drain with another pair.

Then there were several individual thin wires...
Purple(13)
Grey(15)
Yellow(17)
Red(19)
Black(16)
Orange(18)
...and (14) is NOT USED (and so marked on every drawing I found).
(20) on the L-Com Connector is the GROUND position. Twist up the surrounding Mesh Braiding and attach it there. You may notice this Braiding is attached to the surrounding metal end band on your Male End once you remove the rubber housing.

Again, I cannot stress this enough -- You MUST map your own colors to each Pin looking at your own Cable, unless your Manufacturer is certain which colors belong where. A close-up magnifier with a light is very helpful for this. Take your time and double-check everything.

You may not be able to trust anything else if it has been awhile since you installed the original HDMI Cable because a different Manufacturer Source may have been used since then on current cables of the same "brand" whose wire colors are now different.

Connecting all of them to the designated Screw Down Connectors worked perfectly for us. You then take a short standard normal HDMI Cable and plug it into the Female Connector on the L-Com Field Terminator. Plug the other end into the TV -- Voila! Our repair was on a 1.3 Cable and these numbers may not apply to a newer 1.4.

No, this is NOT as elegant as a new Cable. But in some cases, it may be the only choice you have. And if it is hidden behind a wall-mounted TV, what do you care what it looks like? After connecting, test the results on different stations and screen resolutions.

Good Luck!!
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post #2 of 8 Old 10-05-2011, 08:02 PM
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Well unfortunately I think I am also going to have to go this route or something similar. I was too stupid to demand to have a conduit installed through which to run the hdmi cable from the a/v cabinet to the tv.

I have a Blue Jeans series 1 hdmi cable. The force of the connection to the tv bent one of the pins inside the connector end of the cable. While I was inspecting it tonight the gold connector end piece came completely off of the cable. I had ordered port savers in the hope that this would help. Too little too late.

I'm pretty frustrated.

Any more or other advice / options would be completely appreciated.

Blue Jeans Cable, if you are around, maybe you could offer up some advice. Maybe some help with the order of the wires inside the cable.

Oh well, here goes nothing.
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post #3 of 8 Old 10-05-2011, 10:19 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mphfrom77 View Post

Well unfortunately I think I am also going to have to go this route or something similar. I was too stupid to demand to have a conduit installed through which to run the hdmi cable from the a/v cabinet to the tv.

I have a Blue Jeans series 1 hdmi cable. The force of the connection to the tv bent one of the pins inside the connector end of the cable. While I was inspecting it tonight the gold connector end piece came completely off of the cable. I had ordered port savers in the hope that this would help. Too little too late.

I'm pretty frustrated.

Any more or other advice / options would be completely appreciated.

Blue Jeans Cable, if you are around, maybe you could offer up some advice. Maybe some help with the order of the wires inside the cable.

Oh well, here goes nothing.

I meant to send this out sooner - please remember that connecting the wrong pin to the wrong wire can lead to loss of equipment, including a burning smell and arcing. So, please keep this in mind when you attempt this repair. It would be bad if a non-working $30 cable becomes a non-working $2000 TV. Just a word of caution...
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post #4 of 8 Old 10-06-2011, 03:41 AM
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Thanks. I had no idea.
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post #5 of 8 Old 10-06-2011, 04:39 AM - Thread Starter
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While the cautions are well-founded, this is the reason I tell people to check twice... maybe three times. The repair I describe was for a situation where you absolutely cannot afford to rip the installed cable out of the wall, out of the ceiling, etc.

However, it sounds like your situation is better than most. You lost a pin. Many people literally rip the plug end off the cable and are staring at shards of the cable end. With careful forethought on this you may not need Blue Jeans to describe anything to you. If they can, great! Most companies cannot because they'll say "We use whatever cabling is available to us that month and the colors constantly change."

With a fairly undamaged end, you can snip off that end from the cable, and open the casing using your Dremel tool, etc. to figure out which colored wires on THAT cable go to which Pin.

Good luck on this! But -- if you have an easy way to replace the cable completely, I would pursue that route. This was intended as a last-resort option. My employer's connection is still going strong, so I feel glad we were able to resolve it for him. In his case it was about 50 feet of cable... and $2,000 of repair and demolition work to replace it. So it did not simply involve the cost of the cable.
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post #6 of 8 Old 10-06-2011, 06:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alk3997 View Post

I meant to send this out sooner - please remember that connecting the wrong pin to the wrong wire can lead to loss of equipment, including a burning smell and arcing. So, please keep this in mind when you attempt this repair. It would be bad if a non-working $30 cable becomes a non-working $2000 TV. Just a word of caution...

I have an old computer monitor that has an HDMI input and an old Blu-Ray player with HDMI output. My first HDMI cable test is to hook up the new cable to these BEFORE the cable is installed. If the cable passes the "smoke test" and it provides a good picture then I install the cable and test again with the installed cable and my old HDMI test equipment. Only then will I hook the cable up to the good equipment.

HDMI cables look similar enough to USB cables that many people assume that they can be safely inserted and removed like USB cables. This is not the case. Before inserting or removing HDMI cables, equipment at both ends of the HDMI cable should be powered off and both AC power cables should be unplugged when inserting or removing an HDMI cable. If the equipment at either end of the cable has more than one HDMI cable connected then power off and unplug all equipment that is connected with HDMI cables.
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post #7 of 8 Old 10-06-2011, 08:26 AM
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^^^

hdmi is designed to be hot swapped.... so no, all that process isn't necessary at all...

as far as testing a commercially bought cable before pressing it into service... hey, if it makes you feel better, go for it...

- chris

 

my build thread - updated 8-20-12 - new seating installed and projector isolation solution

 

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1332917/ccotenj-finally-gets-a-projector

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post #8 of 8 Old 10-08-2011, 04:00 AM
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Thanks Guy Owen for stopping back in to let us know that everything is still functioning properly.
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