Telephone Cable Elevator Cable

At Worlds this year we saw multiple teams who used some sort of curly telephone cable to control their elevator and last year we used the plastic links in the Kit Of Parts to hide our wires. We were thinking of using the telephone cable to make our elevator only have the one wire going from the electronics board to our intake motors. Where can I find that telephone cable and is it something that works well? Sorry to be so vague, I have looked everywhere and I can’t seem to find it.

I searched for “coiled wire” on Amazon and found a bunch of options. Looking for something more specific?

I believe he is talking about something like this:

Do you have detailed photos of the robots you are referring to?

There were some robots where they used “coiled” pneumatic tubing to connect to cylinders on their elevator carriage.

Are you thinking that the “telephone wire” has only one wire in it? If what you saw was really a “coiled wire” or “coiled cable” like Gus suggests, it must still have the same number of wires you used last year to make all your motors work. You will not be able to reduce the number of actual wires. The coiled cable is just an alternative to the plastic links you used to deal with the slack wire. If you do use such coiled cable in the future, you will have to make sure that the wires in the bundle still meet the wire size requirements in the rules for that year.

One thing to consider if you are considering using coiled wire is that your wires will be end up being longer than if you used normal wires in a cable guide chain. This can be up to 2π times the length, meaning 6.3x the resistance in your wires and a 6.3x greater voltage drop.

Was it ours? We built our own self-coiling cable harnesses by taking coiley air tube (needed for our gripper), and fixing the wire to it using braided sleeve. We also found that running a length of latex surgical tube in the middle of the coil kept it nice and centered in the mechanism, especially with the coil loaded by all that extra copper weight. All in all, it was a nicer and easier solution than an energy chain.

1018 used:
15mm x 30mm Black Plastic Semi Closed Drag Chain Cable Carrier 1M
from Amazon

This provided sufficient space for two pneumatic lines, 1@ 14 AWG TP (Twisted-Pair), 2@20 AWG TP, 1@ TST (Twisted Shielded Triplet), 1@ TSQ (Twisted Shielded Quad), and a single 14 AWG for grounding.

We ended up capturing the chain at the top of the elevator, to prevent the chain from getting to far out of plane.

This stuff was durable enough to last the season.

Kudos to 829 for providing the suggestion to us!

Where were you able to buy twisted triple shielded cable? My day job is electrical system engineering, and I’d love to be able use TPSJ/TTSJ/TQSJs on the robot, but I haven’t been able to find a reasonably-priced source (the space-qualified stuff we use at JPL is a bit out of the FRC price range…)

Our robot also had what I think you’re talking about.

All it was is a coiled pneumatic hose from McMaster that had all of our wires for our intake zip tied every 6 inches or so (the wires were wrapped along the coil). It was a dual air hose, with a single hose zip tied on the inside also. The part number for McMaster we used was 5612K43. A word of caution-- this “umbilical cord” is really heavy but it worked great for a 3 stage elevator.

We used Dedenbear stretch cord. A bit expensive, but it worked extremely well. 14 gauge, not on 40 A circuit.

Yes! It was a pneumatic coil like 6090 and 5406. Thanks, I wasn’t sure if it was a special wire that teams used of if it was a sleeve like that. Thank you!

That looks really simple too. Did you have any issues with weight?

No weight or other issues at all. It was a simple solution to a potentially vexing problem.

Awesome! Thanks!

I managed to find a place called Skycraft Wire. They sell wire and cable surplus. I picked up the triplet and quad at about 50c per foot. They were nice enough to have 250 foot put-ups of each.

I also picked up solder sleeves on ebay for shield termination.

Hope this helps!

I’ve never actually bought anything from this site, but I’ve looked at these cables a number of times. They seem to have the best selection and choices of length and the price is reasonable.