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DIY Guide: How to Make a VGA Cable from Scratch

Building your own VGA (Video Graphics Array) cable is an easy and affordable way to create a customized video connection without having to rely on off-the-shelf cables. This guide will walk you through a step-by-step process to construct a high quality VGA cable using basic components.

Why Make Your Own VGA Cable?

Purchasing VGA cables can get expensive, especially for longer lengths. Constructing your own custom cable allows you to:

  • Save money by only paying for materials
  • Create a cable to your exact required length
  • Choose higher quality connectors and cabling for maximum performance
  • Repair or replace a damaged VGA cable without buying a new one

What You’ll Need

Step 1: Cut the Cables

Determine the required length of your finished VGA cable and cut the coaxial and shielded cables to match. Make sure to leave several extra inches on each side to account for connecting to the VGA connectors.

Tip: For longer cables, choose a thicker wire gauge for both the coaxial and shielded cables to prevent video signal degradation. 22 AWG is suitable for lengths up to 50 feet.

Step 2: Strip the Wires

Use wire strippers to remove approximately 1⁄2 inch of the outer plastic insulation from both ends of the coaxial and shielded cables, exposing the inner metal conductor.

Be careful not to nick or cut into the metal wire when stripping. Clean any dust or residue off the exposed section.

Step 3: Prepare the Connectors

Referencing VGA pinout diagrams like this one, solder the correct wires of the coaxial and shielded cables to their respective pins on the VGA connectors.

Apply only enough heat for the solder to flow smoothly and make solid connections. Overheating can damage the connectors.

Step 4: Assemble the Cable

Once soldering is complete, slide heat shrink tubing over the rear of each connector, covering any exposed metal. Position the connectors facing each other and twist the coaxial and shielded cable pairs tightly together to reduce interference.

Next, wrap electrical tape around the cables, stretching it slightly for a tight bind. This helps provide additional noise shielding.

Tip: Staggering the connector positions slightly allows for easier heat shrink installation in the next step.

Step 5: Test Connections

Use a continuity tester to verify all connections were soldered properly and that there are no shorts between any wires.

Check resistance by touching the tester probes to both ends of each individual VGA pin. Verify nearly 0 resistance on signal wires and no connection at all on grounds.

Step 6: Install Heat Shrink Tubing

Slide heat shrink tubing over the cable assembly, covering the connectors, exposed cables, and tape wrap. Apply heat gently to shrink the tubing to form a tight seal around the VGA cable.

Caution: Overheating can melt the heat shrink or damage internal components.

Conclusion

After following these steps to construct your DIY VGA cable, test it out by connecting it between a computer and monitor to validate video signal transmission.

If the video display looks distorted or cuts out, recheck the internal connections and cabling for any issues. With care paid to the soldering, shielding, and connector orientation, this homemade cable will deliver reliable performance equal to or better than commercial options.

The ability to fully customize the cable to your requirements makes creating your own much more cost-effective. And should anything happen to the cable down the road, you can repair or replace it easily without having to source a new one.

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