How to braid cables

Appendix: Extracting terminals of common connectors

While not directly related to the main subject, I’ve included this information for convenience.
It isn’t always feasible (molded connectors are obviously out of the question; IDC types often don’t allow you to extract the contact while still attached to the wire, and reinstalling in the same place on the wire may be unreliable), but where it is, by all means take full advantage.

Be absolutely sure to put the terminals back in their correct places; we will bear no responsibility for any hardware damaged by crossed wires. Braiding all-black wires is not something I would advise doing, but if you insist, then it is imperative to electrically test every pin.

If you remove the contacts from a 20+4 pin main ATX connector, then the pins with sense wire(s) must go back among the original 20 pins. Otherwise, connection to a 20-pin mainboard would defeat the sensing (no current being drawn through the additional 4 pins, so the sense lines can’t detect the voltage drop).
However, if you don’t care about compatibility with older (or small-form) boards, then you could swap the receptacle housing for a plain 24-pin type. (They can often still be inserted into 20-pin headers with a bit of persuasion, though.)

Fan connectors (3-pin and modified 4-pin Molex KK 254 or equivalent)
FDD “Berg” (a.k.a. Economy Interconnection Series from TE/AMP)

These are easy; just insert a small screwdriver blade into the slot, pressing the locking tab down (but don’t use brute force).
Some purpose-made tools are available to avoid the risk of accidental damage, though.

Front panel connectors (power and reset, LEDs)
SATA power (crimped, non-molded type)

In these, the contacts are latched in by tabs on the housing, which will need to be gently pried up to release.
For SATA types, I do NOT recommend trying to pry the tabs up from outside, as they are difficult to engage that way and easy to break. (And if you do break a shell, one from a different manufacturer won’t necessarily fit the terminals.) It’s safer to insert a small bladed screwdriver into the wire entrance, and lever its tip upwards from within.

Peripheral Molex 8981 (a.k.a. Commercial Mate-N-Lok from TE/AMP)

(Molex hardly even make these anymore, but that’s another story… I don’t really recommend the TE/AMP versions either, as they have a corner-cutting contact design with only one locking tab.)

You can buy purpose-made tools, or use a tubular piece with an inner diameter of 2.7–2.8mm and outer diameter no greater than 4mm (I have a section of telescopic antenna from an old cordless phone base); if the ID is slightly over, then you may be able to compress the end to get a close fit.

For the mating plug pins (as you may find on fans or adapter cables), the inner diameter should instead be 2.2–2.3mm.

Molex Mini-Fit Jr. or equivalent (Main ATX, ATX12V/EPS12V, PCIe and ATX12VO with modified housings, and many modular connectors)

Given how much narrower the space is, you’re not going to ghetto any extractors for these; you will need the proper tools.

AT power connectors and ATX auxiliary +3.3V/+5V (historical reference)

The locking tab is accessible via a small slot.

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