7 Points to Help You Understand Ribbon Cable Assembly

The understanding ribbon cable is no difficult task, so long as you have an eye for details. Information is power, which is especially true as it concerns following instructions and doing the right thing.

There are quite many factors that help you understand how to make use of ribbon cable assembly. These factors are a determinant factor in using ribbon cable and getting maximum output from its use.

Now, you may wonder, “How do I understand ribbon cable?”

This article provides you with the seven points that provide an in-depth understanding of ribbon cable assembly.

An image of fiber optic cables on top patch

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1. Description of Ribbon Cable Assembly (Physical attributes/ qualities)

Ribbon cable assembly is also known as flat ribbon cable assembly.

To some others, it is also a planar cable assembly. Whatever name you choose to call it, it is all the same. It simply reveals that it means different things to various individuals.

One thing the ribbon cable is notable for is insulation displacement connector (IDC) terminations. It is also very significant in effectively maximizing different types of wires.

To achieve the very best form of using these wires, you need to place the wires in a parallel manner side by side. In doing this, you are sure of achieving a flat and parallel outlook. The resultant effect of this is that it produces a ribbon-like shape.

One quality ribbon cable possesses the fact that it is very flexible. Its flat-like nature makes it very easy to use in confined spaces. For this reason, ribbon cable assemblies are not known to take up too much space.

Interestingly, the flexibility of the ribbon cable makes it easy for the cable to change positions. It means that it is easy to achieve any shape or form using the ribbon cable. That is, if you want a right-angled way, you only need to fold an edge of the cable assembly over itself.

In making the ribbon cable assembly, there is usually use a common material. It is known as stranded copper wire. It ranges in various sizes from 18AWG and gets to 34AWG.

Additionally, in making ribbon cables,  you need to be aware of using the insulating material. The majority of the content that is relevant in the insulation process is mostly PVC-based.  Though, there are situations where the PVC material may substitute for Teflon or Olefin material.

An image of a technician plugging ribbon cable

2. Specification of the Ribbon Cable Assembly

The specification of the ribbon cable assembly takes two values. It is either the specification specified by using spacing or the number of conductors on the ribbon cable.

Another name for spacing is pitch. The pitch of the ribbon cable assembly is usually made available in distances that are over reasonably length. It comes in various measures such as 0.025, 0.156 and even extends to 1mm pitch.

The number of connectors of the ribbon cable assembly links easily with the positions of the ribbon cable. Usually, the connectors are in a standard form and are mostly in even numbers. They include 4, 6, 8, 9, 30, 50, and even 80 different positions.

The ribbon cable assembly also makes use of color-coding. For an easier understanding of the ribbon cable assembly, could you pay attention to its color-coding? The ribbon cable termination is either edge marked or sometimes in color-coding.

The advantage of this color coding is that it aligns the pins on the ribbon cable’s connector and makes it averts occurrences of a poor connection.

One notable feature of the ribbon cable assembly is that one edge of the ribbon cable always has one color different from the other part of the ribbon cable.  When made the color on the ribbon cable is, it gives a mark that makes it easy to identify.

If the ribbon cable assembly is such that it possesses different colors, the conductors for the ribbon cable are usually with shades of various sorts. The colors are generally multiple colors that are green, blue, red and some other colors. In cases where the colors are above ten, the colors of the conductors repeat.

An image of colored multiwire connector ribbon cables

3. The Benefits of the Ribbon Cable Assembly

There are quite a handful of advantages that are associated with using the ribbon cable assembly. Among all the advantages of using ribbon cable, a notable benefit is its ease of termination.

If you use the IDC connector, you are certain of getting the termination across many spaces. The IDC connector structure in a manner that possesses fork-like attributes that make it easy for you to pierce the insulation and come in contact with the connector.

Additionally, the ribbon cable assembly is flexible. Its flexibility makes it easy to use and allows room for space. The flat surface of the ribbon cable makes it easy for individuals to make use of it.

Another advantage of the ribbon cable assembly is that it makes room for space. Organizing wires for various purposes is not an easy task, especially for large bodies. The ribbon cable helps to organize wires and protects the environment from hazards.

The ribbon cable is also very light and doesn’t consume a lot of space wherever they keep. In this vein, it is capable of working well. It is also capable of accommodating large equipment and tools.

Furthermore, the ribbon cable assembly possesses good traits of electrical equipment. They are reliable and are also consistent. For this reason, the ribbon cable also carries a greater capacity of current.

The flat shape of the ribbon cable assembly makes it possible for a reasonable level of temperature to go through the conductor and makes it easy for the conductor to dissipate heat.

It is also easy to use the ribbon cable because it is easy to organize it. Of the truth, it isn’t easy to manage individual wires, especially when they are in bulk. So, the ribbon cable helps to keep the individual together in one piece.

An image of 10pin 2 IDC connector ribbon cable

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4. Applications of the Ribbon Cable Assembly

Ribbon cable assembly is relevant for numerous applications. They are most significant for use in the internal components of computers. Some equipment such as floppy disks, CD drives, and hard drives use ribbon cables.

Furthermore, a ribbon cable assembly is also relevant for connecting medical equipment, test equipment, print head, and consumer electronic products.

The diversity of ribbon cable is such that many commercial sectors use it for various purposes. They are also very relevant for various components such as computers and printers. More so, multiple industries make use of ribbon cables.

 A majority of electrical products use ribbon cables because of the simplicity of their design and size. The beauty of the ribbon cable is that even the aviation and automobile industries build various products using a ribbon cable.

Interestingly, ribbon cable plays a significant role in various industries and helps produce outstanding works and projects.

An image of a blue parallel multiwire ribbon cable

5. Ribbon Cable Assembly Connectors

These connectors are usually very compatible with IDC termination. There are varied types of ribbon cable connectors and their various applications as well. Some of these connectors include:

The BT 224 connector: This is otherwise known as the IDC connector. This connector type comes in various standards, such as BS 9525- Foo23, DIN 41651, and the last but the least, MIL-C- 83505. These connector standards of the BT 224 connector type are suitable with ATA cables.

The D- subminiature connector: This is a unique type of ribbon cable connector. It is not as common as the crimp connector type. This connector type is suitable for various ports of printers and serial ports.

The DIN 41612 connector: This is mostly suitable for electrical suppliers that work in harmony — Euro card bus, Future bus, NU bus, etc.

PCB transition headers: PCB is an acronym for the printed circuit boards. It is a reliable and cost-effective way of linking various applications to PCB. This connector type helps to connect the wire and secure it to the board.

More so, it works both ways and performs dual applications.

DIL headers: These connector types work well with two PCB headers. In the same vein, they work with the DIL socket to produce a workable socket and plug.

An image of an old IDE computer

6. Factors That Affect The Ribbon Cable Assembly

Are there factors that affect the ribbon cable? Of course, certain elements are likely to affect the performance of your ribbon cable. So, you must pay heed to these factors and understand how to go about the ribbon cable assembly.

The type of construction of the ribbon cable is most likely to affect its performance. To get the best use of ribbon cable assembly, you must use good quality to construct the cable assembly.

It is impossible to get optimum results from the use of ribbon cable when you make use of inferior material.

Another factor is the firmness of the cable assembly. When you want to use your ribbon cable, it is important that you securely place the wires and make them firm. It is firm; you are certain of using the ribbon cable assembly with little or no risk attached to it.

It doesn’t suggest that the cable becomes too tight. When the cable assembly becomes too close, it also poses some dangers, which may be disastrous. In some cases, it amounts to the inability of the ribbon cable assembly to function properly or as expected.

Another factor that affects the performance of the ribbon cable is the type of material you use in its production.

Hence, it is important to understand the material suitable for high temperatures and those that are not. Understanding the various elements will assure you of getting nothing but the best in using the ribbon cable assembly.

An image of a flexed printed circuit board

7. Any Disadvantages?

The question that you are very likely going to ask is, “Are there any disadvantages in the use of ribbon cable assembly?” Well, it is near impossible to come across a product that bears only advantages without any form of disadvantage attached to it.

The ribbon cable is almost an exception considering its numerous advantages, especially its flexibility and the ability to function well in a given space.

There are no proven disadvantages to the use of a ribbon cable. So long as you understand the material type to use and the suitable environment, there are no disadvantages to its use. Additionally, it is also important to understand the situation that works best with the ribbon cable.

An image of colored multi wire parallel connector detail


Ribbon cable assembly is one of the easiest cable assemblies to get. They are straightforward to use when you possess the right understanding of their use.

To get the best from using the ribbon cable that is safe to get good material and use the right connectors. How do you determine the factors responsible for a proper ribbon cable?

CLOOM Tech is readily available to lead you through the process of discovering the type of material to make use of and how to go about it.

Additionally, if you require assistance with the ribbon cable, CLOOM Tech is one of the few tech organizations that offer top-notch tech services. You are certainly sure to get good services with CLOOM Tech.

What are you waiting for? Contact us for further inquiries and assistance.

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