Disconnect ethernet cable?
June 28, 2007 12:38 PM   Subscribe

Where to buy a quick disconnect Ethernet cable that will just pop open if tugged like those found on X-Box controllers?

Canadian source would be great but American or anywhere else will be OK especially if they will ship by mail. I just don't want to pay $70 in brokerage for a $15 cable.
posted by Mitheral to Computers & Internet (18 answers total)
Just pull the little plastic lock-latch off an existing cable.
posted by gum at 12:46 PM on June 28, 2007

Well, I don't really know what the xbox cable is like, but you can remove the tab on a normal ethernet cable and it'll pull out easily, but it'll stay in OK without pulling.
posted by RustyBrooks at 12:46 PM on June 28, 2007

If you snap the plastic tab off, is not any ethernet cable a quick-disconnect one?

I mean, you're talking about RJ-45 connectors, right? Which are well-known for being infuriatingly easy to break such that the cable won't stay in?
posted by jellicle at 12:47 PM on June 28, 2007

X-Box controllers have ethernet cables?

I've never owned either X-Box but this is news to me. What are they for?

Perhaps you are confusing it with a USB cable? I've been trying to google to confirm the ethernet thing... anyone care to confirm either way?
posted by utsutsu at 1:12 PM on June 28, 2007

Xbox 360 controllers use USB. Original Xbox controllers use a proprietary connection that has no 'latching' mechanism.
posted by NationalKato at 1:17 PM on June 28, 2007

Response by poster: I could just break the locking tab off but then they just fall out all the time.

As NationalKato says the original X-box has a proprietary connector used for the game controllers (USB apparently, I've never actually looked at them just seen my nephews trip over them with out causing the consol to crash to the ground) that just pops apart if you tug/trip over it yet stays connected otherwise. Amazing piece of engineering. I don't need the x-box connector specifically just something that acts like it under mechanical stress.
posted by Mitheral at 1:52 PM on June 28, 2007

Response by poster: Also a tabless RJ-45 connector is not quick disconnect when a tangential force is applied (IE: perpendicular to the insertion direction.)
posted by Mitheral at 1:55 PM on June 28, 2007

I should specify that the 'proprietary' connector from the original Xbox controller is likely a USB jack encased in shaped plastic. The 360 controllers now just use naked USB jacks.
posted by NationalKato at 2:01 PM on June 28, 2007

The term you want to search on is 'Breakaway' not 'quick disconnect.' The idea is that if the cable is pulled the machine wont be pulled down also. I wasnt able to find such a thing for ethernet, which I'm sure is tricky to engineer and still be cat5 considering the breakaway part of the cable would untwist the wires.

I would get a female-to-female coupler and a short ethernet cable. break off the clip on the short one. Plug the short one into the 360 and the coupler. plug your long ethernet cable into the other end of the couple. Cheap-ish breakaway device.

The coupler does mess with the twists so you might have interference problems with long runs.
posted by damn dirty ape at 2:07 PM on June 28, 2007

Response by poster: I'll give that a try damn dirty ape.

This isn't for an X-box rather the ethernet on my laptop. I had quite the moment yesterday I'd prefer not to repeat. I'm totally amazed this isn't a commercial product but that would explain why hours googling failed to come up with anything. Maybe it's the unpairing you referred to. Wouldn't seem any different adding that additional connector between my router and machine than that introduced by a patch panel between a wall socket and a switch.
posted by Mitheral at 2:53 PM on June 28, 2007

Just to clarify what's going on with the xbox controller cord: the cord has two sections; One section is shorter and connects into the xbox itself. The shorter piece is about 7-8 inches long and then has another connector which is the joint that disconnects when under stress, as not to displace the console itself when someone trips over the controller cord. The second length of the cord leads to the actual xbox controller. And yes, the controller is actually a USB device, but both the trip connection and the connection into the xbox are proprietary/non usb standard connections. For what it's worth.

As for having seen that in an ethernet cable, or any other cable for that matter, I can't say that I have. It's such a simple mechanism, and incredibly effective, yet it doesn't seem to have been imitated by anyone else.

Maybe it's time to invest in a wireless set up? :D
posted by jcruden at 3:40 PM on June 28, 2007

If the problem is your laptop network connection, is there some reason you haven't looked into wireless (the ultimate breakaway cable :)?
posted by puddpunk at 3:53 PM on June 28, 2007

I like damn dirty ape's idea if you don't want to switch to wireless. If the cable with the tab broken off comes out too easily you could try cutting/filing the shoulders of the tab down so the plug can pull out but the tab still provides some tension to make it a bit tougher to do so.
posted by 6550 at 4:48 PM on June 28, 2007 [1 favorite]

I think you need to "dongalize" it, because of the tangential direction problem you mention.

That said, you could probably just use a connector standard that disconnects easier, instead of RJ-45. Mini-DIN, or just a DB-9 even..

Or, instead of tearing the tab right off, why not glue it down and/or round off the corners (as well as rounding off the locking edges in the female-female coupler). I bet you could finesse it to work how you want.

Ya, all of those are terribly DIY, but I've never seen the product you are looking for..
posted by Chuckles at 5:06 PM on June 28, 2007

Hey, I think they use DB-9 connectors to ruggedize ethernet.. Here it is: RJ-45 to DB-9 cable.
posted by Chuckles at 5:15 PM on June 28, 2007

And ya, I know that isn't a ruggedized ethernet connection, just some CISCO proprietary thing, but that doesn't really matter much.. Here's the pinout.
posted by Chuckles at 5:33 PM on June 28, 2007

This adapter converts serial DB9 female to RJ45 Jack (female).There are eight wires in total (because the maxium number of wires from RJ45 is 8). This adapter is half-ready, unfinished product, leaving DB9 end open (see picture). It is designed to leave room for users to decide their own PIN-OUTS for various purposes. Its users must have ideas of what they want their PIN-OUTS to be, in order to complete the product and to enable it to work.
posted by Chuckles at 5:36 PM on June 28, 2007

please pardon derail to answer tangential question...

X-Box controllers have ethernet cables?

Yes, intended for network play, but they're one of the things that make a modded XBox useful as a cheap home theatre PC -- it's easy to network it to give it access to an external machine with big hard drives.

posted by Zed_Lopez at 7:58 AM on June 29, 2007

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