I'm trying to replace the cable that connects the magic wand in a VTech Magic Wand toy laptop. It's an interesting beast. Inside its outer insulator is a bunch of strands of string plus the two conductors. Each of the two conductors is a braided bundle of enameled wires around a string core.

It's clear to me that this was designed this way so that it wouldn't break under tension or repeated flexing as a kid uses the magic wand to point-to-select things on the toy's LCD screen.

But what do you call such a bundle? I'd like to replace it with something similar to the original cable, but I'm having trouble naming the product that I'm searching for.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Try searching for flexible cable possibly? multicable.com/Products/… \$\endgroup\$ – DonT Jul 20 '16 at 19:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ Picture of the cable please. That said, some cords are there to pull the cable to prevent the pvc jackets from stretching, or to be able to strip it back. \$\endgroup\$ – Passerby Jul 20 '16 at 19:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ It sounds like you are describing "Tinsel cable as Richard mentioned. It is usually crimped and usually exceedingly hard to solder (slighly harder than impossibl when I tried many decades ago :-) . \$\endgroup\$ – Russell McMahon Jul 21 '16 at 3:50

You frequently see microscopic conductive "ribbons" (vs. round wires) wound around non-conductive fiber cores. That is commonly called "tinsel wire" and the technique is used to make super-flexible cables that will survive orders of magnitude more flexing than ordinary wire or cable. Very common in headphones, etc.

Tinsel wire is produced by wrapping several strands of thin metal foil around a flexible nylon or textile core. Because the foil is very thin, the bend radius imposed on the foil is much greater than the thickness of the foil, leading to a low probability of metal fatigue. Meanwhile, the core provides high tensile strength without impairing flexibility. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tinsel_wire


According to this presentation http://slideplayer.com/slide/5851896/

The cord can have one of a few related purposes.

Structural Filler: Inert extra materials added to help the cable maintain the proper shape. Strength member: An element mainly used to maintain cable rigidity. Aramid Yarn or Kevlar ® : Used for strength (longitudinal or “pull”). Dupont Kevlar ® 39

Definitions: Structural Gel Tape: A tissue-like material that expands into a gel-like substance when exposed to water. Rip Cord or string: A string placed just inside a cable jacket, used to cut the jacket material away. Usually make of Dupont Kevlar ® 40

Filler material being to bulk up a cable to a standard size due to missing inner conductors (cord is cheaper than copper). Not all jackets are shrunk to any arbitrary size, and manufacturing process may be easier to use one standard size with filler than changing to a smaller jacket.

Strength to make the cable last longer when constantly flexed.

Rip cord to make the outer jacket easier to strip or pull back. It also allows a long cable to be pulled, like for large wiring runs. Common in bulk networking cable.


Sounds like fiber core Litz wire. Multiple insulated strands are used to reduce the skin effect at high frequencies. Types 4, 5, and 6 at this link use fiber cores (where a standard 7-wire bundle has the central wire replaced with a fiber core, and in the case of the "type 6" the 6 outer wire bundles also have their central member replaced with a fiber core.

Type 4 from Litzwire.comType 6 from litzwire.com

  • \$\begingroup\$ I suspect it's more like the braided flex found in clothes irons and older microphone cables. There are a couple of strings twisted in with the mains cores to help with flexing. I can't find a picture or a name. \$\endgroup\$ – Transistor Jul 20 '16 at 22:44

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