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I have a number of chassis fans in my computer which have cables that are way too long. I've been wanting to cut them, but wanted to make sure that I knew what I was getting into before proceeding.

I was thinking that I would

  1. Strip back wire where I'd cut.
  2. Cut.
  3. After tinning, etc., solder the wire back together.
  4. Find a way to wrap back up the exposed wire.
  5. Profit.

Is this generally speaking how this is done? I've never soldered before and am looking to get my hands dirty in an easy project.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Generally speaking, what is done is to gather the excess neatly with wire ties... Splicing wires is hard to do neatly, and the crimp pin connectors typically found in this application can be annoying to source and take determination to re-use securely. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 3, 2013 at 15:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ The crimp-pin connectors on most PC chassis fans are often Molex KK (0.1") for the 3- and 4-pin motherboard connections, or a Molex 8981 power connector. Sourcing these parts is easy, but the tools (insertion/extraction) can be expensive. \$\endgroup\$
    – JYelton
    Jan 3, 2013 at 16:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ChrisStratton I've done that already. The only problem is that there is WAY too much wire, all over the place in my chassis. For my rear fans, I need the cable lengths to be 2-3 inches (due to a splitter I'm using), while they're about 1' long each. Similar story for other fans. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 3, 2013 at 18:54

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Your plan looks fine, although it is a good idea to cut, then strip. Cut staggered (see below).

Some suggestions:

  • Keep the exposed area as short as possible. 5-15mm (1/4 - 1/2 in) off each wire depending on how big your soldering iron tip is (and how confident you are!)
  • Tin both ends before join
  • Thread heatshrink on wires before join (if you're using heatshrink)
  • Clean iron often on wet sponge to get dry solder off the iron.
  • Feed solder onto joint while you heat with iron.

  • Stagger the soldered joints, for example, + is where the soldered joint is:

    wire 1: -------+----------------------

    wire 2: --------------+---------------

    wire 3: ---------------------+--------

This will stop the joints from shorting on eachother if your insulation comes loose. It will also reduce the insulation thickness, since the thicker sections are staggered.

Insulation options:

  • Heatshrink: Three small gauge heatshrink pieces for each individual wire, one larger gauge over all of them together. This is really a nice and neat way of insulating.

  • Insulation tape: Small pieces of insulation tape to insulate them separately, then 1 bigger piece to insulate together over the top. You don't need a lot of tape, a little goes a long way.

Nice tutorial (with pictures): http://www.personal.psu.edu/djn5065/wires.html

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