How-To Geek

Field Hacks: Ribbon Cable Fixed with a Staple

Anyone who has worked in the trenches of IT knows that sometimes the only solution at hand involves duct tape and a long wait for a replacement part. Today’s clever field hack skips the duct tape but bridges a damaged cable with a staple.

What you see here in the picture is a shorted out ribbon cable bridged with a standard office staple. Hack A Day reader Thomas sent the photos in; they explain:

[Thomas] works in a hospital. One night, a piece of equipment went down because of a bad ribbon cable. Doctors were yelling at him to get the equipment up and running so out of frustration, he took stapler to the cable. It held up until a replacement arrived.

A staple is clearly not a long term solution but we love the on-the-spot ingenuity of the hack. Have a clever field hack to share? Sounds off with your duct tape exploits in the comments.

[via Hack A Day]

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 01/4/12

Comments (10)

  1. Anon A Mus

    “Doctor! Doctor! Is the patient stable?” “No, but the equipment is staple!”

  2. Einyoul

    Awesome! Great solution! Makes me feel like there is always a way to solve a problem!

  3. flink

    That is not too far different from the actual repair method. When one must repair a flex/ribbon cable, the procedure is to remove a strip of the coating layer, excise the broken portion, leaving nice 45 degree bevels, add a replacement piece, solder it, then replace the insulation with a suitable coating.

    But if you’re stuck for a fix and don’t have the right toolkit to do the job, then the that staple is very resourceful.

  4. Another Tech

    The author needs to learn the difference between a “short” and an “open”…

  5. John Oh

    Yeah Staples rule. An Aussie airline, well renowned for its safety, started having planes maintained in Indonesia, and they used staples like this.
    They must have seen this website. We often hear of software failures on planes. Could it be staple failures? with the corperations covering up?

  6. clakes

    glad he had an “easy button”

  7. GG


    This violates every safety protocol that hospital had…..way to open the hospital up to a major lawsuit!

    My question…Why did the equipment short out? enough to burn a hole through the ribbon cable. To some degree the staple is akin to putting a penny in the fusebox to bypass the fuse. Now if that equpment attempts to short out again, it will be harder to burn up a staple!

    Hopefully, no patients will be shocked because of this.

    But it does sound like an HMO fix!

  8. Jim

    If the ribbon cable fails in the same way again, the cable will “open” again at the currently weakest link — probably not the staple. I don’t think GG would want life saving equipment to remain out of service in an emergency just because the fix wasn’t up to standards. Of course the cable should be properly repaired or replaced as soon as possible too, but that wasn’t what the story was addressing.

  9. bill

    looks like a farcing open to me

  10. DYLAN

    IT REALLY DOES LOOK LIK A FACE PERICING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:)

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