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Are questions about proper cable repair on-topic?

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Would a question about cabling repair be on-topic? My main focus would be to learn about the proper workmanship to do a professional, not just makeshift, repair on an automotive sensor cable.

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2 answers

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Lundin's answer notes:

I just realized that the on-topic page https://electrical.codidact.com/help/topics doesn't address electronics assembly.

It does now. I just added:

Physical construction of circuits or electrical products, within limits. This is generally on topic when there is some engineering aspect, or engineering tradeoffs that need to be made to accommodate manufacturing processes. If an electrical engineer needs to be aware of it, or needs to specify it to manufacturing, then it is on topic. How to wire a light socket in your house, for example, is off topic.

We can't possibly define the line in every gray area. I can't tell just from your brief description whether your automotive cable question would be on topic or not. The more the answers can be based on electrical engineering and physics, the better.

I'd say go ahead and give it a try and see how it's received and the quality of answers it solicits. We might end up editing the question a bit. Worst case, we close it altogether if that's the consensus. This site is young, and we need to figure out what is allowed.


@manassehkatz‭ said in a comment to another answer:

Either way, it fits here and hobbyists should not be discouraged.

I agree that hobbyist questions are not necessarily off topic. The more general case is low-level questions. Questions that ask about the basics are OK. This site is for learning.

However, the question must be about engineering, the underlying physics, the technology, etc, and about trying to learn the concepts. We don't tolerate "gimme da anser" questions where there is no interest in learning. For example:

Bad: What type of solder should I use for my hobby project?

Good: I am trying to find what type of solder to use for my hobby project. I see various types, like 60/40, eutectic, and lead-free. What are the advantages/disadvantages of each type. For do-it-yourself, what characteristics should I be specifically looking for?

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Basically, every EE needs to be aware of the bullet points in my answer, even if they don't know how to perform them (prettily) in person. For example, one cannot do a decent PCB layout if one isn't aware of how heat from the soldering process spreads through the ground plane(s) and therefore routes a connector pin straight into the ground plane without thermal relief etc. Lundin‭ 7 months ago

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I just realized that the on-topic page https://electrical.codidact.com/help/topics doesn't address electronics assembly. This was always ok on "the old site", so I think it should definitely be ok here too.

Basically, all questions about professional electronics assembly should be on-topic, including:

  • Soldering, including materials, tools and techniques used for such (hand/reflow/wave).
  • PCB manufacturing, stack-ups, materials.
  • Any other form of professional electronics assembly. Such as assembly of components, cables, connectors etc.
  • Production testing of electronics, including instrument questions (multimeter, scope, spec etc).
  • ESD concerns during assembly.

Repair questions concerning any of the above should be fine too, particularly if asking from a professional point-of-view.

Hobbyists without sufficient knowledge or tools to perform repairs of various home electronics is another story...

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That being said, professional repair of cables means replacing the cable. Spliced cables are generally frowned upon, particularly in an automotive environment where there's some major oxidation and moisture present. One classic problem is where someone has spliced a cable, the joint is fine electrically, but now water comes in between the insulation and the wire. And from there, in through your IP6x-when-mated connectors. Lundin‭ 7 months ago

Agree except the last line: Hobbyists without sufficient knowledge or tools to perform repairs of various home electronics is another story... I think this is an ideal place for Hobbyists to gain the knowledge and learn what tools they need. Home electronics are no different from anything else. If a home-brew project then this is a great learning experience. If off-the-shelf equipment then it was at some level (hopefully!) professionally designed and the repair will account for that. manassehkatz‭ 7 months ago

@manassehkatz As I said, it's another story :) Meaning it's a hot potato that will get debated whether or not it is on topic... elsewhere. Lundin‭ 7 months ago

Either way, it fits here and hobbyists should not be discouraged. The catch of course is that many consumer electronics are designed to be thrown away rather than repaired. The answer in those cases becomes "To fix that cable you need to do X and Y and Z and it will take you 2 hours, so it isn't generally worth it if a new replacement item will cost you $ 10." But that doesn't make the question a bad question-sometimes the right answer (parent to child or (philosophically) God to human) is "no". manassehkatz‭ 7 months ago

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