Making & Mending - DIY DIN Cables
The term “DIN” covers a variety of different connectors used for power, audio, data, video, and more. DIN stands for Deutsches Institut für Normung, the German national standards organization that developed DIN connectors. There is a bit of basic information to know about DIN connectors before working on assembling one.
There are many different versions of DIN connectors. The name of each type comes from the number of pins the connector has (3-pin DIN, 4-pin DIN, etc.) Some of these pin numbers come in different configurations, with the pins arranged differently from one configuration to the next. For example, 8-pin DIN comes in 262° and 270° versions.
Note: This image does not display all available DINs, but these are the most common types.
There are also Mini versions of some DIN connectors, but these are generally developed for specific uses and referred to by other names. For example, an S-video connection is actually a 4-pin Mini-DIN but is generally just called S-video.
The other key detail about DIN connectors is that they do not have a standard configuration. Other types of cables have standard pinouts; the wires inside the main cable are connected from one side of the cable to the other in specific ways. For example, telephone cables use a straight or reverse pinout as standards. There is no “standard” equivalent when it comes to DIN cables. Before assembling a DIN cable, users must find out how the pins need to be connected from one side to the other.
Ideally, users will already have a spec sheet with the DIN cable pinout available. The next best option is contacting the manufacturer of the equipment the DIN cable will be used with to see if they have a spec sheet available. As a last resort, a cable can be cut open to verify the pinout.
For the below guide, we will be using a metal 4-pin DIN connector. A video for the 4-pin DIN connector in the images below can be found at the bottom of this article. These general installation guidelines can be used with any type of DIN connector. If you would like to see the video for a specific connector, a list of all our available connectors can be viewed here.
Step 1: Gathering the Supplies
There are a few simple supplies that will be needed for an installation or repair. The key components are the DIN connector as well as the cable. Since DIN connectors have different uses, there are many types of cables that can be used with them. Make sure to select a cable that has the correct number of conductors for the connector being used. Other specs, such as voltage rating and AWG (American Wire Gauge), should also be taken into consideration. For this guide, we will be using Cat5e ethernet cable.
For tools, users will need a wire stripper, a soldering iron, and a small pair of pliers or similar tool. When selecting a stripper, make sure to select one that will cover the AWG of the cable you are using. Keep in mind that the internal wires (conductors) will also need to be stripped. Either pick out a wire stripper that can handle both or use a small economy stripper for the smaller conductors.
Step 2: Positioning the Boot
Most DIN connectors are sold disassembled. If this is not the case, separate the connector into individual parts. To start the installation, simply slide the outer protective layer (boot) of the cable over the bare wire.
Step 3: Stripping the Jacket
Grab the end of the connector (the part with pins sticking out) and hold it up next to the cable. Measure the length of the pins against the cable and mark it; the length of the pins will be how far back the cable should be stripped for a perfect fit. Once that is measured, strip the outside layer (jacket) of the cable. Most wire strippers are rated for multiple AWGs so make sure to use the right notch when stripping the jacket. If the cut is too deep and damages the conductors, cut off the end of the cable and try again.
Step 4: Stripping the Conductors
Next strip the individual conductors, just like the jacket. Depending on the type of cable being used, there may be extra conductors. For example, we are using Cat5e (an 8 conductor cable) with a 4-pin DIN connector. So the extra four conductors can just be cut off with a pair of scissors in our example.
Step 5: Soldering the Connector
The back of the DIN connector will have solder points, each one corresponding to one of the pins on the front. These solder points are in the same pattern as the pins, making it simple to keep track of which point goes to which pin. Soldering can be difficult for new users so seeking help from someone with soldering experience is a good idea, provided it is an option. Otherwise, an excellent guide covering the basics of soldering can be seen here.
Step 6: Attaching the Casing
After the connector has been successfully soldered, place the two halves of the casing around the connector. Use the pliers to squeeze the strain relief on the back of the connector closed, securing the connector to the cable.
Step 7: Attaching the Boot
Take the boot from Step 2 and slide it up over the casing. Make sure the boot is snug and secure over the casing to provide maximum protection for the connector. After that, the cable will be complete and ready to go.