How to fix an HDMI Cable. For real. - AVS Forum

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HDTV Technical

Guy Owen's Avatar Guy Owen
09:45 PM Liked: 11
post #1 of 21
10-20-2010 | Posts: 258
Joined: Sep 2007
How We Fixed a Broken HDMI Cable...

The first question many of you will ask is "Why do you need to fix one, instead of just replacing it?" Answer: Because you can't pull a new HDMI cable through the two floors of your house to the point where your connection is needed.

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 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:

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...
...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!!
adb's Avatar adb
06:43 AM Liked: 11
post #2 of 21
10-21-2010 | Posts: 2,640
Joined: Jan 2003
Congratulations--a good job done
Joe C's Avatar Joe C
09:30 AM Liked: 10
post #3 of 21
10-22-2010 | Posts: 17
Joined: Jan 2006
This is very impressive, you should post this in the HDMI cable area so more people will see it.
Mr. Lucky's Avatar Mr. Lucky
08:59 AM Liked: 10
post #4 of 21
04-01-2011 | Posts: 10
Joined: Apr 2011
My cable runs through my walls and can't be re-run without busting up the place. I'm pretty pissed at the installer who didn't leave near enough extra cable behind the receiver. When I turned the receiver to look back there, bam! The metal end just bent with the turn so I pulled the cable out of the socket and when I gently tried to straighten it, off it came. Argghh! Thankfully I ran into this post and I got the terminal connector. I have a couple questions. How far back did you strip the cable? It seems as though I'm going to need a fair amount of exposed insulated wire to be able reach all the connections. How much bare wire did you leave at the ends to stick into the receptacles? Did you use any makeshift shielding after all was inserted? I was thinking of globbing silicone around the connector and wires and letting it cure to protect the assembly. Do you think that's a good idea? Thanks for your help!
Guy Owen's Avatar Guy Owen
10:45 AM Liked: 11
post #5 of 21
04-01-2011 | Posts: 258
Joined: Sep 2007
I'll answer by email and at the Forum...
We stripped only about 1/4" of each wire. You do not want to bare them much beyond that. We stripped the outer sheathing about 6" in order to be able to get easy access to each wire and to splay them apart. In our case, we also needed the severed end to match the pin-out color coding for the wires -- without it, you are doomed for failure unless the cable manufacturer can confirm that their color sequence never differs. Our cable was from Monoprice and they freely admitted that their sources all use varying color sequences from one batch to the next.

To answer more of your question, trying to dress-up the wiring after connecting everything to the card did not work. If we scrunched everything together and shrink-wrapped the splayed cables, the connection that was working fine in an open state suddenly stopped working. This might be due to not having any sheathing to replace the sheathing we had removed. Keeping this in mind, you may only want to remove as much sheathing as you need to stretch wires to your card. So we were forced to remove all that tape, and the connection then worked again, perfectly -- and has continued to do so to this day.

Hopefully, your "ugly fix" can be hidden by the TV once you re-hang it on the wall. Also, please search online for short HDMI Safety Disconnect Cables. Monoprice has them. These work like breakaway cables you find on an X-Box or PS3. They attach to the TV, then to your card (or existing HDMI Cable). Should the TV be lifted and pulled away from the wall, they will, hopefully, disconnect at that Connector instead of ripping the end off.

Again, we never did find a way of dressing up the repair. So the wires sit exposed running to the card, but hidden behind the TV.

When you view the pin-out positions for your cable end, be sure you are understanding which colors run to which pin. For example, the drawings posted online for the HDMI Cable End -- are they showing it as you look at the end, or from the position where the cable exits that connector? I discovered that the drawing guide I found was as viewed from the Cable side (which reverses the #1 Pin Position, and all others).

Mr. Lucky's Avatar Mr. Lucky
01:45 PM Liked: 10
post #6 of 21
04-04-2011 | Posts: 10
Joined: Apr 2011
I have what should hopefully be my last questions. I was able to map the wires at the broken terminal. It was a nightmare because there was a fairly well integrated translucent (well practically opaque for my puroses) silicone blanket in and around the wires which obscured the solder connections. It took forever to tease it apart w/o yanking out the wires. But it's done. Here's the question: The L-com connector has two opposing rows of receptacles. They are consecutively numbered, i.e., 1 through 10 on one side and 11 through 19 and ground on the other. As the HDMI drawing at shows, the top row is all odd numbers and the bottom all even. Do I put all the even numbers on one side of the L-com connector and the odd on the other side or do each of the numbers on the HDMI drawing correspond to the numbers on the L-com connector ( 1 to 1, 2 to 2, etc.) with the caveat that it may be the reverse of the drawing (1-19, 2-18, etc?)? Finally, can I blow a circuit in my receiver if I put the powered wire (number 18 on the cablek drawing) into the wrong number receptacle and then plug it into the receiver port?
LXIX's Avatar LXIX
09:43 PM Liked: 10
post #7 of 21
05-19-2011 | Posts: 188
Joined: Sep 2005
Just finished this repair today and it worked perfectly on the first try, I was shocked!!! These directions are awesome.

I almost lost my mind when this first happened (in the future when I install an HDMI cable in a wall I will spend the money and get HDMI wall plates to keep the cable safe).

A few tips for those of you trying this:
1. When you are trying to figure out the color code, if the solder contacts are covered in a resin or silicon, you can use a torch or lighter to melt it away to get a good look at the colors (just be careful not to blacken to conductors or set the whole thing on fire).

2. Don't over think this, the numbers on the diagram of the cable end that opp posted are exactly the same as the numbers on the new end.

Guy Owen's Avatar Guy Owen
06:31 AM Liked: 11
post #8 of 21
05-20-2011 | Posts: 258
Joined: Sep 2007
Glad to hear some of you found this helpful. For others who may not want to attempt it, keep in mind that there are some seemingly working versions of Wireless HDMI out there. Small possibility that this might work for you, but check into it carefully.

For those of you who attempted the repair and it worked, great! It makes the time expended toward writing up the article so much more meaningful when I hear back (although, I don't hang out here a lot).

Keep in mind, too, that I do receive update notifications by email if you post within the Thread -- but not if you send a Private Message, for some reason.
Ken H's Avatar Ken H
11:21 AM Liked: 14
post #9 of 21
05-20-2011 | Posts: 45,876
Joined: Nov 1999
Originally Posted by Guy Owen View Post

Glad to hear some of you found this helpful. For others who may not want to attempt it, keep in mind that there are some seemingly working versions of Wireless HDMI out there. Small possibility that this might work for you, but check into it carefully.

For those of you who attempted the repair and it worked, great! It makes the time expended toward writing up the article so much more meaningful when I hear back (although, I don't hang out here a lot).

Keep in mind, too, that I do receive update notifications by email if you post within the Thread -- but not if you send a Private Message, for some reason.

Great job, and a tip of the AVS hat.
Richard Collins's Avatar Richard Collins
05:42 PM Liked: 10
post #10 of 21
11-08-2012 | Posts: 1
Joined: Nov 2012
Thank You for creating this discussion. The link you posted led me to the item i needed to buy but couldn't find it until you pointed it out to me. I was told it existed but the guy that told me didnt remember where it was available or what it was called. Do keep in mind that if you use the field terminal connector you are limited to 720p as stated by the manufacturer in the product description. Also in order to connect it correctly all you need to do is buy two then hook one up at the good end and test continuity from pin 1 on good side to your wire 1 on bad side, repeat for each wire. Thanks smile.gif
Guy Owen's Avatar Guy Owen
06:09 PM Liked: 11
post #11 of 21
11-08-2012 | Posts: 258
Joined: Sep 2007
Wow! I'm surprised this is still running and getting responses since 2010. But I'm glad some of you found it helpful. It's perhaps possible that L-Com offers a 1080i or -p connector -- not sure. I don't think the 720p issue was a concern at the time because my employer may not have purchased 1020p at that time. But it also never occurred to me it might have this limitation. Truly, this was intended to help those situations where you absolutely could not easily replace the entire cable. If you can replace the cable that's a much better overall option.

Mr. Lucky -- my apologies. I did not receive an update that you had posted any questions. I could not have answered your concerns over blowing anything in the Receiver. I'm sorry, but I'm a self-taught computer geek with a lot of interest in electronics and good audio / video. But I'm not understanding of it enough to answer professionally. I was simply posed with a self-imposed challenge -- "No, this can't be done." -- and immediately started trying to prove that answer wrong because it made no sense to me. In my case, the boss was willing to give anything a shot. It worked for him, although the result was not a "pretty" fix. He still uses the connection today, so it has stood the test of time. But I was, perhaps, lucky. A solution that's merely a pain in the butt is better than not having one of any kind -- other than spending hundreds of dollars ripping drywall out, etc.

I, too, was really afraid of the connection diagrams. I, too, had to deal with getting the tough covering off that the wires were embedded in -- I cheated and resorted to a high-power magnifying glass to carefully follow the colors of the wires to see which Pin position they were connected to. And I checked all of those three times before feeling confident I had them right. The frustrating part was to call the cable manufacturer on a hunch to ask if all the colors of the wires are "common standards" -- only to find out they were not. Pin 1 might be blue on one cable, then pink on the very next copy of that same cable by the same manufacturer. They simply use what they can buy at a discount from one batch to the next. At least they understood the point of my question (although, they, too, told me "What you're attempting can't be done."). I'm not sure if that's still true today, nor if it's true with higher-end cables.

Richard Collins -- The idea of hooking up a good cable at the opposite end to test continuity is EXCELLENT. I would have thought of that if I knew how to use a continuity tester. Honestly, I'm naive as can be with electronics. I will learn this year. I've just never taken the time. But that idea was EXCELLENT and really solves the pin identification issue.

I just jumped out to Google and found the following -- if you have enough cable to make this useful. It becomes a lot more expensive, but you may prefer this option.
1) Clamshell Kit for 1080p Connector End: -- $140.
2) Hand Crimping Tool for Terminating the broken cable: -- $125
There may be cheaper options available now.
Such as here:

And THIS website not only offers the components, but near the bottom are detailed Field Termination instructions:
Cool! But you do need enough excess cable length to make it work. smile.gif
Deb P's Avatar Deb P
11:26 AM Liked: 10
post #12 of 21
12-31-2012 | Posts: 1
Joined: Dec 2012
I was wondering if you could help me with something. I did as was instructed above and the tv works great again. The hdmi that was broken was from our tv to our home theater receiver, this receiver also has a sattelite receiver and play station connected. The sattelite and tv works great however when i switchto the playstation the pic on the tv has a rainbow of colors flashing across the bottom half of the tv screen. Any suggestions as to what needs to be fixed. Thanks
videobruce's Avatar videobruce
06:44 AM Liked: 178
post #13 of 21
01-01-2013 | Posts: 15,568
Joined: Dec 2002
Because you can't pull a new HDMI cable through the two floors of your house to the point where your connection is needed.
Not necessarily true. It all depends on how and when it was run.
If it was a house under construction or remodeling, where the walls were open and the cable run with it being secured to the studs, you are correct.
If it was run by fishing it between walls from one floor to another, or under the 2nd story floor, why not?

Of course you would of run a 'pull string' when you run the cable(s) and you would also piggyback it to a 'pull wire' where the strain would be to the single conductor wire, not the HDMI cable. Right? wink.gif

videobruce's Avatar videobruce
06:46 AM Liked: 178
post #14 of 21
01-01-2013 | Posts: 15,568
Joined: Dec 2002
On a side note, this is a perfect example why I wouldn't consider wall mounting a TV, especially a large one. And above a fireplace no less. rolleyes.gif

Good thread. I also agree this needs to be in the separate HDMI sub-forum. smile.gif
Guy Owen's Avatar Guy Owen
08:35 AM Liked: 11
post #15 of 21
01-02-2013 | Posts: 258
Joined: Sep 2007
Deb P: I'm afraid that I cannot offer a definitive solution. It's possible the game unit resolution is not supported by the limitations of the card that these lines were reconnected to. Or there is a mismatch somewhere, which is hard to know for certain -- I would try double-checking there, using a high-powered magnifier to be sure the colors are matched relative to their pin positions. Finally, the insulation on each wire and the entire cable is important. For example, the aluminum wrap (or whatever existed) should go back on the cable once the pins are connected. Be sure lines are not touching each other. That outside wrap might be an interference shield that is causing the problem. Again, I'm not an expert. Just a bull-headed "let's see if this will work" DIYer... 8-) Also, one or more of the lines may be Reversed in position. But one of the more technically-experienced participants here might offer a suggestion for you.

Videobruce: Again -- not to be picky or defensive -- but I only offered this as a last-ditch option. Obviously, if you can run a new cable, this exercise is pointless. Nobody is suggesting replacing the option of a new cable with this workaround. But there are many installations in existing, older homes, where no forethought took place. The twists and turns required to fish a new cable in the beginning example that started this Thread mandated tearing the ceiling out. That was far more expensive than this option, but would have been the only choice if this option did not work. And we got lucky.
videobruce's Avatar videobruce
08:56 AM Liked: 178
post #16 of 21
01-02-2013 | Posts: 15,568
Joined: Dec 2002
But there are many installations in existing, older homes, where no forethought took place.
Which reinforces my statement.
I more than understand in this case, there was little option other than running another cable externally.
miahac's Avatar miahac
03:08 PM Liked: 10
post #17 of 21
08-06-2013 | Posts: 1
Joined: Aug 2013
As for mapping the pins. My plan is to order a female terminal as well, plug in the other end to that and that will give me terminals that do not require a magnifying glass.
natha's Avatar natha
09:13 PM Liked: 10
post #18 of 21
09-17-2013 | Posts: 3
Joined: Aug 2013
Is a possible solution to buy another cable from the same manufacturer (hoping the colour combination is the same) and cut the cable part of it and connect the 2 cables together?
Colm's Avatar Colm
09:40 PM Liked: 90
post #19 of 21
09-17-2013 | Posts: 4,652
Joined: Aug 2002
Sure it is. It is just difficult to do it in such as way that the cable functions like a new one. It may work well enough for your needs, or not.
Guy Owen's Avatar Guy Owen
09:06 AM Liked: 11
post #20 of 21
09-18-2013 | Posts: 258
Joined: Sep 2007
Actually, in my first Post, I describe how this "might" work. It was the first thought I had, but there's no guarantee because of one glaring unbelievable issue: The cable companies buy their cable in bulk. And the colors are arbitrary. One week, that cable might contain all the colors that were identical to the previous batch. The next week, they might be all different.

So, call your original Mfr first and ask if they can guarantee that the colors match consistently. In my case, I describe where the company said "No. There's no guarantee -- and no way to know what color was used for which pin location."

That's the very reason we had to use the splicer board.

One idea, however: If the original cable is a high-end very expensive brand (Monster, I'm looking at you!), your idea might work. One would think that they better-control their production than, say, Monoprice. Not that I mean to disrespect Monoprice. I'm just commenting on production decisions. smile.gif
Glimmie's Avatar Glimmie
12:01 PM Liked: 271
post #21 of 21
09-18-2013 | Posts: 8,060
Joined: Sep 2000
The color coding should not be an issue at all. If you have an ohm meter just ring out both ends and make a color chart. As for how to get to both ends of the installed cables at the same time there are two tricks:

1) Use the cable shield as a return wire for the meter.

2) Drag a long piece of doorbell wire to the other cable end and use it as a meter probe extension.

However the impedance matching issues of an HDMI cable splice are major. It's not just a matter getting the right pins tied together, that's the easiest part. A skilled technician that has may years of cable assembly experience could probably do a good job that would work for most installations. But a novice stands little chance of making a reasonably impedance matched splice. It may still work and in anther thread here it did but I for one can't see how it did - just luck.
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