What is flat ribbon cable? Oct 13, 2022

Ribbon cable (also known as multi wire flat cable) is a cable with many wires running in parallel on the same plane. Therefore, the cable is wide and flat. Its name comes from its similarity to a ribbon


 Ribbon Cable


Ribbon cables are usually used for internal and external devices of a computer, such as hard disk drives, CD drives, and floppy disk drives. In some older computer systems, such as the BBC Micro and Apple II series, they are also used for external connections. The ribbon shape interferes with the heat dissipation of the computer by interfering with the airflow in the shell, and also makes the cable difficult to operate, especially when there are many of them; Therefore, the round cable almost completely replaces the ribbon cable for external connection and is increasingly used for internal connection.


 rainbow ribbon cable


Cable color

Make it easier to identify individual conductors in the cable; Ribbon cable manufacturers introduce rainbow ribbon cables that use the color of repeated patterns borrowed from standard resistor color codes (brown is pin 1 or pin 11 or pin 21, etc. Red is number 2 or 12 or 22, etc.). Due to its unique appearance, it is sometimes affectionately called "hippie cable" by users.


To reduce the risk of reverse connection, one edge of the cable is usually marked with a red stripe. By convention, the striped edge is connected to pin 1 on the connector. This identification method is applicable to the cable composed of only two or more IDC connectors. Each connector is connected to each wire. However, when a single wire or group of wires must be connected separately, this method is not very useful.


Cable Size


Ribbon cable with three IDC connectors


Ribbon cables are usually specified by two mumbers: the spacing or spacing of conductors, and the number or path of conductors. A 0.05 inch (1.27 mm) spacing is the most common, allowing a 0.1 inch (2.54 mm) pin spacing between two rows of connectors. These types are used for many types of devices, especially interconnections within one enclosure. For PCs, this size is now used for floppy drive cables and older or custom parallel ATA cables.

Depending on the availability of standard connectors, the number of conductors is usually limited to several values, including 4P, 6P, 8P, 9P, 10P, 14P, 15P, 16P, 18P, 20P, 24P, 25P, 26P, 34P, 37P, 40P, 50P, 60P, 64P, and 80P. Sometimes a larger width is used and stripped to the required width. For example, a 26 way IDC cable Assembly can easily remove a wire to provide 25 ways (before adding connectors). The wires are typically stranded copper wires, typically 0.32,0.20, or 0.13 mm² (22 AWG, 24 AWG, or 26 AWG).


Thin and thicker pitch cables are also available. For example, the high-speed ATA interface cable ULTRA-ATA for the computer hard disk interface has a pitch of 0.025 inches (0.64 mm). Smaller pitch, as small as 0.3mm, can be used for portable electronic devices, such as laptops; However, portable electronic devices usually use flexible flat cable (FFC)

There are other types of connectors. We will continue to update articles on connector, wires and cables, and wiring harnesses.



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