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I'm looking for a multiconductor cable with 30-40 conductors, optimized for flexibility and small outer diameter. Unlike say, Litz wire, most wires will carry an independent (microvolt) signal. The application is to transmit data from a tethered, mobile data acquisition device.

The multiconductor products carried by the major electronics suppliers tend to be larger diameter; for instance, while this one is not bad at 7.4 mm OD for 36 conductors, I'd like something smaller still. For this cable, the individual conductors are 28 AWG, but I'd be happy for them to be 30 or smaller.

Where might I find such a thing?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Do you need twisted pairs or shielding? Microvolt levels, small diameters, and independent signals grouped in a cable are a perfect recipe for crosstalk, distortion, and interference. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 14, 2011 at 21:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, twisted pairs and shielding -- a screen with drain wire, perhaps -- would be nice. For this particular application it hasn't been essential, though: I have made a such a cable from individual, untwisted PTFE-insulated wires myself (but I don't want to do it again, hence the question). \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 14, 2011 at 21:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ Why microvolt signals? If you can interface to more standard logic levels, it might be better to use TMDS/LVDS transceivers and serialize the data. No matter what you do, I doubt 40 conductors would turn out to be all that flexible... \$\endgroup\$
    – Toybuilder
    Commented May 5, 2011 at 1:53

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I might be barking up the wrong tree here, but if you've got any extra space at all at the far end of the cable, you'd probably do better to digitize the data there. You can then use a robust signaling method over a single conductor pair to deliver the data upstream. Coaxial antenna cable can be gotten in really tiny diameters, it's very noise-resistant, and can be quite strong.

Most of the major analog IC manufacturers sell multi-channel serial ADC chips that you could trivially integrate (again, assuming you have space).

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How about this stuff... used for connecting telecoms patching frames:

100 core cable

Available with up to 100 cores from www.trinitycablesint.co.uk.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the suggestion, I hadn't come across them before. Looking at the spec sheets for those cables, though, they reach 7mm OD for 16 cores. So it's thicker by a fair amount than what I need. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 14, 2011 at 21:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ Try searching google images for cat5 UTP "100 pair", there are loads of examples, but I'm having trouble finding the specs for it at the moment! \$\endgroup\$
    – BG100
    Commented Feb 14, 2011 at 22:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ This is another possibility: IO cable, although the data at the bottom indicates it may still be too thick. \$\endgroup\$
    – BG100
    Commented Feb 14, 2011 at 22:05

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