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I have a 10 meter long Ethernet cable. One plug has the little locking clip missing, just like missing the part in red ellipse in the following picture.

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How can I fix it? Is this something I should even attempt to fix myself, or is it better to replace the cable?

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The "head" is called a plug. It's not repairable. The broken plug can be cut off, and a new plug installed. But you would need a special crimp tool. –  sawdust Feb 2 at 2:37
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In a lot of cases it doesn't matter. If there is nothing tugging on the cable it will usually stay in place pretty well, even if the latch is broken. Or if there's a computer repair place in town they will probably replace the end for a few bucks. –  Daniel R Hicks Feb 2 at 22:49
    
If it helps, my ethernet plug (RJ45) broke like this also, and i wedged in a small amount of blu-tac (on the top of the plug where your lug has broken off) to hold the plug in place. This was only meant to be a temporary measure to help hold it into the network card socket until I got to the shop and bought a replacement cable, but this was 2 years ago now and it's still held in place :) –  flauntster Feb 3 at 5:15
    
What I used to do when this happened was get some blutac and squeeze a bit of it in there so it would stick. –  delete this account Feb 3 at 8:04
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I've attempted to clean it up a bit. Note that we normally don't like shopping/product-rec type questions (especially 'where is it cheapest' type), but I believe asking if it's fixable at all (with the alternative being buying a replacement) should be acceptable. –  Bob Feb 3 at 12:50

5 Answers 5

I 'fixed' my broken one for my laptop by attaching a long elastic band which I then stretched over and under the keyboard (luckily not blocking any keys) which pulled the plug in tight.

Then I splashed out on a short extension (about $5) as is shown in the article, and joined the two parts securely again by an elastic band, not by glueing.

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You can always cut the broken end and add a crimpless plug. Here is an example. They are more expensive than a crimped end, but perfect for an emergency. Different brands/models have different capabilities such as self cutting the wires.

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For a quick fix, I've successfully used a small piece of paper to wrap the 3 non-conductor sides of the socket and then insert the cable into the socket. Leave some paper extending outside the socket so you can prevent the plug from just pushing the paper into the socket. This hack can work for years, if there is not a lot of movement of the device or cable.

Otherwise, the only true fix is to cut-off and replace the plug.

Or, replace the cable if it is not a difficult routing issue. Cables are pretty cheap if you shop around online.

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It's entirely possible to cut off the plug and install a new one, but you will need a crimping tool. It's about $15. The thing is, your local store will probably charge you more than $15 for a cable - even if you buy it online, it'll probably be close to that when you take shipping into account. Therefore, it's cost-effective in my opinion, even if you only need it occasionally (and those pieces tend to break somewhat frequently, in my experience).

Also, if you ever need to run large amounts of cable, it's much cheaper to buy it in bulk and cut it yourself.

EDIT: Don't forget to match the plug type to the wire type - stranded or solid (in your case, the wire is almost certainly stranded).

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wiring an RJ45 isn't that simple for someone with no experience doing it. You can easily create a worse connection by improperly crimping/wiring a plug than if the tab were simply broken off. You should do some research on the process before you buy the tools and attempt it. Here is an instruction video: youtube.com/watch?v=iyZ9nEA_vCQ and there are many more like it on youtube. –  MaQleod Feb 2 at 3:12
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Maybe. I didn't find it difficult, but I already had a fair amount of networking experience before I actually did it for the first time (although there weren't any Youtube videos then). And if you do it badly, all you waste is half an inch of cable and a 5-cent jack. –  user55325 Feb 2 at 3:15
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It's not a "jack", but a plug in the photo. RJ45 jacks (aka sockets) don't have latches. -1 for giving (incomplete) advice to repair the cable without a caution on the proper plug to use (solid wire versus stranded). BTW there's a popular online store that has 10m 24AWG Cat5e cable for US$4. –  sawdust Feb 2 at 4:35
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Be warned that newer standards for very high speeds (cat5e, cat6, cat6a) tend to have fairly strict requirements for exposed wire lengths, how far you're allowed to have the pairs untwisted, etc.. It's easy to mess up, and doing so has a decent chance of preventing 1 or 10 Gbit from working. –  Bob Feb 2 at 7:52
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"A cable by definition is stranded" -- That's a definition that you made up that cable & wire manufacturers do not follow. You can find UTP cable (e.g. Cat5e) in both stranded and solid wire versions. Patch cables are almost always stranded wire for flexibility. Solid wire is preferred for in-wall use. Also, coaxial cable (aka coax) is a single solid core (not stranded) wire, yet it is called a cable; and an industry is named after it (i.e. the cable TV business). –  sawdust Feb 3 at 5:27

If you don't want to replace the cable or install a new jack, you have a few of options:

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42  
...and I thought I'd found all the uses for the humble zip tie. ;) –  jollypianoman Feb 2 at 5:00
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That is truly inspiring. I have more Ethernet cables than I would like to admit that suffer from this problem. I started using zip ties to "fix" them, but by "fix", I tied them to a cable that had a working retention clip before connecting the whole bundle of cables to my switch ;) –  Andon M. Coleman Feb 2 at 6:10
    
I came across the zip tie fix in a Lifehacker article several years ago, and this triggered my memory. Hope it helps. :) –  GrossT Feb 2 at 6:58
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+1 for the zip tie. –  glglgl Feb 3 at 8:58

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