USB Cord Repair




Introduction: USB Cord Repair

About: I miss the days when magazines like Popular Mechanics had all sorts of DIY projects for making and repairing just about everything. I am enjoying posting things I have learned and done since I got my first ...

This is the 30 pin connector to USB charging cord for my iPad 2. The outer covering has broken open, and that will add stress to the wires. I want to reinforce this part of the cord without cutting the wires so I can slip heat shrink tube over the flawed area, anyway. This Instructable will show how I used heat shrink tubing without cutting the wires.


  • Heat shrink tubing
  • Frosted cellophane tape


  • Scissors
  • Heat source

Step 1: Cut a Piece of Heat Shrink Tubing

I have some heat shrink tubing that is about 5/16 inch in diameter. It is too small to slip over the USB connector on the cable, also too small to slip over the 30 pin connector. I cut a piece about 5/8 inch long and slit it open.

Step 2: Wrap the Cord

I wrapped the piece of heat shrink tubing around the cable.

Step 3: Tape the Tubing

I used common frosted cellophane tape to keep the heat shrink tubing wrapped somewhat tightly around the cable.

Step 4: Use a Heat Source

I used a heat gun to shrink the tubing while covered with tape. The tape did not melt and the heat shrink tubing worked as if it had never been slit. The heat shrink tubing adhered to itself and made a fairly rigid strain relief, as well as shielding the break in the outer cover.

I probably used more heat than necessary. Notice the puckering in the cable covering above the end of the heat shrink tubing. There is also another unexpected consequence shown in the next step.

Step 5: Oops!

In my effort to shrink the tubing as much as possible, the white plastic fitting on the 30 pin connector began to open along a center seam. There is a little wiggle. I do not think it is a problem, but I may press some epoxy glue into the opening.

All in all, I am pleased. Heat shrink tubing will stick to itself, even if opened with a slit. The cord charges the iPad 2 as it should. Next time I will use less heat and try to concentrate it away from the white plastic connector body. The flame of a match may be a good option.

I did use a knife to pare the cellophane tape away. The heat shrink tubing remained firmly in place, and did not unwrap.



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    10 Discussions


    2 years ago

    Nice fix. Maybe someone should invent adhesive-backed, heat-shrink tape? I bet if it was made just right, it could coil up on itself when heated to there would be less strain on the glue and resist unraveling.

    4 replies

    Oh yeah, search for "dual wall, adhesive lined, heat shrink tubing".

    Sure enough, it's already been invented. Looks pretty interesting, thanks.

    here in norway we can get heatshrink tubing in alll different colors and with glue inside so it sticks to itself..

    Thanks. The heat shrink tube really holds its form very well, even though it is wrapped with an open end and not a closed circle. Still, you may be onto something.

    For bigger things there already exists self sealing tape. When you wrap it around and stretch it simultaneously it will "weld" to itself.

    Nice fix, you should post it under "slitted shrinking tube" or another more general Titel.

    You can buy dual wall adhesive lined heat shrink tubing. It's heat shrink tubing with a layer of hot melt glue on the inside. It seals as it shrinks. It's popular for marine grade electrical work.


    2 years ago

    That is great solution to a common problem. The apple wires on these USB cables is especially prone to this. At least the new connections are small enough to slip shrink wrap around it without this trick. Nicely done.

    1 reply

    Thanks. Now if we could just buy white heat shrink tubing. (My iPhone has the smaller "Lightning" connector you mention, but the 30 pin connector is made in a way that lets it roll out of my fingers when inserting it, which causes extra stress and flexing.)